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TELUS Friendly Future Foundation: Helping Youth & Communities Across Canada

Across Canada, 1.5 million children go hungry without access to nutritious food every single day, 30K Canadians are homeless (mostly young people), and 40% of low-income families don’t have internet access putting kids at risk for falling behind in school. We can all do something to help and this year Telus launched the¬†Friendly Future Foundation putting $120 million into addressing the social and economic challenges facing Canadian youth.¬†¬†I am proud to work with Telus and have been a¬†#TeamTelus¬†partner for the last 8 years.¬†¬†


The Foundation will give grants to grassroots charities¬†in communities across Canada who really know their community and how to help. By partnering with smaller charities, they’re able to help out groups that might be missed by huge corporate donors and make a big impact in small communities. I think this is an amazing approach. I work with¬†Brands For¬†Canada, an organization that provides new clothing & basic needs supplies to people across Canada and this method of working with local charities has worked great for them.¬†

The¬†Friendly Future Foundation¬†funding will help kids build up digital literacy skills, get basic healthcare and mental health support to the homeless, and open up other educational opportunities. Here’s an example of doing good in a community not too far from us, Telus donated $20K to the Women’s Shelter in Barrie.


casie stewart, telus, give where we live, toronto, charity, donations

The $120 million TELUS has provided for the Friendly Future Foundation is the largest donation made by a publicly traded Canadian company in history and one of the largest ever in North America. Way to go team!

Over the past two decades, TELUS, team members and retirees have contributed more than $1 billion of value to Canadians, through $530 million in financial support and 1.21 million days of volunteerism. Last year alone they (we!) volunteered 1 million hours. 

I’m continuously impressed by how Telus gives in communities where they live.¬†I’ve had the opportunity to do some giving back of my own through volunteer programs and they have¬†made over $21,000 in charity donations on my behalf. This year my donation went to Cambridge¬†Montessori (where I went!) and last year my donation went to SKETCH, an art based program for kids in the GTA.¬† I’m hoping to do more with Telus and local programs for 2019.


Have a project that could use some help? You can APPLY for funding here. The deadline for Toronto applications is January with different deadlines across Canada. So, if you want to make a difference, learn more about community grants here and get on it.

casie stewart, telus, give where we live, toronto, charity, donations

For more information about the TELUS Friendly Future Foundation visit friendlyfuture.com/en/foundation. And for some inspirational stories about people Telus has already helped, check these out.


This post is part of my long-term partnership with Telus sharing great stuff the brand is doing, my favourite things about being a customer, and tech gadgets I love (or want!).

Instant camera photos of children faces in heart-shaped pile
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Smart Tech to Help You Through The Winter

We all know it’s coming, the dark and cold months of winter where all hibernate a little more and give thanks to the Netflix gods. I’ve been trying to stay on track with working out and am determined this winter to exercise just as much time as I spend binge-watching. Scroll down for tech accessories I find help me through colder days.

I love my FitBit.

Finess Tracker: FitBit

I have been using a Fitbit on and off for the past 5 years. I love the reminders to move every hour and getting those steps in each day. It’s a small thing that keeps me accountable to move. I also love seeing my heart rate, the interval tracking, and getting text messages on my wrist. The weekly reporting is a great way to motivate yourself to be more active. I’m currently using the FitBit Versa and Sean has the FitBit Iconic. I still use my FitBit Alta HR¬†sometimes because it’s slimmer and looks more like a bracelet. Telus also has Apple Watch if that’s more your speed.¬†

M fav picks for a FitBit from Telus

FitBit VersaFitBit IconicFitBit Alta HR

A Home Assistant: Alexa

I love her, I ask her things every day. Mostly ‘what’s the weather’ so I know how many layers to put on and what type of jacket to wear. I love the weekly email from Amazon telling me with ‘What’s¬† New with Alexa?” and all the skills you can add to help her help you. I am particularly¬†fond of CBC News and Entertainment Tonight. Check out her top & trending skill here¬†and pick up an Amazon Eco that suits your needs and budget. The Echo Dot is a great entry level device at $54.99. ¬†I don’t have a Google Home but same kind of thing!¬†

Amazon Echo Dot near laptop on stand

Smart Lights: Phillips Hue 

Last winter I added Phillips Hue Smart Home Lights and I love them so much. Almost every night I set them to a certain mood before bed, they’re also timed for sleep and wakeup. I spend a lot of time working from home and during the day I can set the white to a bright daylight that makes me forget it might be gloomy outside. This may seem like a small thing but it really helps my mood when I’m feeling down. My favs are the Phillips Hue starter pack of 4 lights and the Hue Go portable LED. Sometimes I want to concentrate or be in a tropical¬†paradise, a millennial pink world, or be reminded of a cottage sunset on the lake.

Wireless Speaker: UE Wonderboom

Get a good speaker so you can have dance parties, listen to your fav podcast or escape in an audiobook with great sound. These are lots of different available depending on your budget, see here.  

I’ve been using the UE Wonderboom for the last couple months and it’s got great sound and is surprisingly loud for a little guy. It’s small enough to pack in your purse for outdoor hangs or in your suitcase for a getaway.¬† It also has a¬†10hr battery, is waterproof, and you can pair more than one for surround sound. So, go ahead, play your fav music in a relaxing bath and pretend you’re on vacation at a sunny resort.


All my¬†recos¬†can be found online at telus.com or your local Telus store. They have heaps of other cool tech things for holiday and gifting your loved ones, or yourself ha! I’ll be sharing my¬†holiday¬†favs soon, how is it almost NOVEMBER!

The other non-tech thing I recommend for winter is to get outside. Even if it’s cold, bundle up and get some fresh air. A 15-minute walk is great to start your day or clear your head at any other time. I try to get out for a few minutes in the morning so I don’t fall into a work-from-home hibernation slump. It’s the little things¬†that make all the difference!¬†

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I am a #TeamTelus partner and this post was all my idea and these are my fav things. Stay warm out there. Love you. 

 

 

Why Don’t You Have a Will Yet? Get One Today, Meet Willful.

willful, will, legal, casie stewart, toronto, blogger, influencer

Do you have a will?¬†No, of course, you don’t!¬† Who thinks about that while you’re out living your best life?¬† Hate to remind you but along with taxes, we can’t avoid death.¬†You should have a will and you can get¬†one with Willful in 20 min for less than $100¬† today.¬†¬†


This weekend my friends got hitched, Erin Bury married Kevin Oulds, the creator of Willful. I’ve knows this duo for 10 years and am not surprised that they had the most unique wedding guest gifts I’ve ever seen, they gave every one of their guest a will. Till Death Do Us Part, right?¬†

Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, outdoor
The happy pizza loving couple, congrats Erin & Kevin! 

Kevin created¬†Willful¬†after dealing with a difficult family situation, something none of us¬†wants to deal with. To be honest, I’ve learned anything from TV or The Young & The Restless, it’s really important¬†to have a will.¬†Do you have any idea what will happen if you don’t? Read this.¬† If you’re common law, your partner gets nothing, the government will¬†get involved in your finances, your family could have to vacate your family home, it’s not pretty.¬†

I saw first hand what can happen to families when certain aspects are unknown and what happens when there’s not a proper plan in place. I set out to make that experience easier to navigate and make it more affordable and accessible for people.

Kevin Oulds, Willful Founder & CEO

Their mission is¬†to move estate planning from the back of your mind to the same spot as insurance, retirement, or financial planning. Stuff we might not want to think¬†about and but get more intense the less attention you pay to them.¬† Even if you don’t have a lot of stuff, you still have something, protect your future and the ones you love. I made special notes for who gets my notebooks, tech, sunglasses, vintage clothes, and shoes. That stuff is important to me!¬†

Over 56% of Canadian adults don’t have a will. 

If you don’t have a will, don’t worry, you aren’t alone, 56% of Canadian adults don’t have them. Mum had me make one when I was 21 before moving to Australia, it was with a lawyer and I don’t have any idea what it says or how to access it. This year Kevin gave me a code to set up my own will on Willful and it was so easy. I was done in 20min and can access or change it anytime. Willful helps you create a fully legal will and gives you the ability to add anything¬†you own that’s important including house/car, electronics, clothes, and pets.

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What if something happened to you, what would happen to your stuff?

Today is Willful’s 1 year anniversary and they are offering 25% off all plans. Their Essential¬†plan is $99 at¬†full price and gets you Last Will and Testament so you can take care of your estate, children, and final wishes with unlimited changes.

USE THIS CODE TO SAVE AN 25% OFF ANY PLAN: ANNIVERSARY25

Code will expire on October 25th, 2018
11:59 PM Eastern Time


Congrats Kevin on your success with Willful and marrying Erin! Learn more about willful here or ask me about mine anytime. 

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Vancouver: The Telus Innovation Centre

Vancouver: The Telus Innovation Centre

Earlier this year I was in Vancouver for a city planning conference and stayed an extra day to pop by the Telus office and have lunch with a friend. I’ve been working with Telus since my days at Much/MTV Canada, about 8 years ago.¬† I’ve had the opportunity to do some really neat stuff like volunteering, videos, city adventures, and making friends.

A couple years ago I helped them with some ideas to create their influencer program and it’s really grown into something awesome. Next month, they’re taking the ENTIRE GROUP of Canadian influencers (including me!) to their HQ in Vancouver.


Telus Garden

I was really stoked to visit this building. I remember when it started in 2012 and was opened in 2016. The Telus Garden building takes up an entire city block downtown Vancouver, totalling 1M sq ft. It has amazing energy saving features, a fantastic garden, and has won a bunch of awards for the design and sustainability. Unfortunately, I was there in winter so I didn’t get to see the outside areas, it snowed!¬†¬†

‚ÄúTELUS Garden is Canada‚Äôs most beautiful and ambitious LEED Platinum building, and one of the most environmentally-friendly developments in North America,‚ÄĚ Darren Entwistle, TELUS President and CEO


Telus Innovation Centre

I met up with Ana from Telus (check out her IG @msanadouglas) and she took us up to the Innovation Centre where. I was amazed to see a beautiful bright space filled with technology.


One of the coolest features were the doors. Telus has created a set of doors that have screens instead of windows. Hello, why didn’t I think of that!? They’re the only 4 doors like this IN THE WORLD and they’re right here at Telus in Vancouver. A couple of them have cameras where you can host meetings and have the person you are talking with will show up on the screen. Other ones have touchscreen and heat sensors, so they can tell when there’s a person standing in front of them. This blew my¬†mind. Imagine the possibilities? Our guide said they were originally developed for hospitals (Telus Health does heaps in healthcare, telushealth.co).


The space has a number of workstations, fully equipped with pop-up monitors for video conferencing. They pop up OUT of the tables! The card with wifi details doubles as seeds you can plant later at home. As a lifelong lover of tech, this was like being a kid in a candy store! 

They also have a 3D printer where they create and test out innovative ways to make our lives easier. For example, this small purple object made with PLA plastic could never be made by hand but it is 3D printed in a way that makes it unique and super strong, you can stand on it without it breaking. It can hold up to 300lbs!

I was really impressed to¬†check out the mock apartment¬†they have to test smart home technology. I’m not just talking a couple smart lights, they’ve got smart home everything. It’s not just the appliances and light bulbs, there’s a laser that reads prescriptions in your cupboard, smart pillows, smart bed. It was like living in the future and tbh, I’m totally into it.¬†


I can’t wait to be back on the West Coast with the #TeamTelus crew. There’s some really rad people on the team, a few I’ve known for years and some I’ve never met. I’ll be documenting as I go next week and fill you in on the details.

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The Internet of Things – Protecting Your Smart TV

The Internet of Things – Protecting Your Smart TV

We just got a new Smart TV and I’m super stoked. Sean and I worked from home the day it arrived and we also ordered tacos which turned into a great game of tv or tacos?! It’s my first time having a *brand new* TV.

Our previous model was bought 2nd hand years ago, we’re retiring it to the cottage now.  The Sony 4K Android Smart TV is so clear and it was really easy to set up. It comes with Google Play, Netflix, and internet connectivity making it easy to watch your fav shows, download movies, or watch videos on YouTube.


Over the last year, I’ve been making our home smarter with the addition of Hue Lights, a Dyson fan, Alexa, and now an Android Smart TV.  As we start to make our home smarter, we’ve got so many entry points putting us at risk for privacy and hacks.

90 percent of Android TVs are reportedly vulnerable to hacking

The solution is to make sure we can browse the internet and watch all our fav shows without having personal data compromised. ESET is a leader in security solutions for home computer & mobile.  They’ve created the world‚Äôs first ever security solution for Android Smart TVs, using tech to guard against cybercriminals with their eyes on connected TVs.


I quite like their i-Robot style dude below. 


There’s a free version available for download as well as a paid version that gives you premium features for a year at $14.99. I went for Premium. If you have a Sony Android TV, the app is already downloaded you just have to pop into the HOME section from the remote and click Accept.

Android TVs are run on the Android OS used for phones and tablets meaning the software can extend to more of your devices. ESET can be used on up to 5 devices under one Google Account.

You wanna watch more Wild Wild Country tonight, honey?

There’s Anti-Virus and Anti-Phishing and the ability to set up regular scans anytime. It also keeps an eye on any browser you might be using on your tv. One thing that really peaked my interest was the ability to watch for spying using TV sensors like the microphone and camera. Audio spies really creep me out, we’ve all seen ads on Facebook after having a conversation about something. 


In a time where we’re getting smarter with our gadgets, it’s time to get smarter with our home security. 

 

 

 

 

 

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This post is in partnership with ESET. Smart home security is important. Take the time to secure your networks and always use a smart password!

For more information about making sure your Android Smart TV is secure, check out ESET for a free download.

 

Building a Great Influencer Program

Building a Great Influencer Program

This summer I went to Vancouver to meet with the Canadian team of Telus Advocates. I’ve shared my love for Telus over the years but this experience was truly amazing. They flew in content creators from across the country to visit their Vancouver office, tour Telus Garden, create, eat, explore, and build relationships.

I’ve worked with heaps of brands but I truly admire the influencer program Telus has built over the years. Ok yes, I am a little bias because I chatted with the team before they created the program and shared my likes, dislikes, and brand experiences. They have set the bar high for what it means to work with a telecom company or a big brand. The experience (as an influencer) is tailored to each person’s style of content and audience.


In this post, I’m sharing a few of my tips for creating a great influencer program with Telus as my example. 

Build Relationships

The thing about being an influencer is that you’re usually sharing your real life, so when you work with a brand, it means authentically integrating their content into your own experience.

You have to get to know each other in order to learn what works and create opportunities that mutually benefit the relationship.

It’s cool when you work well together and even cooler when it becomes a friendship. I’ve worked with Telus for about 8 years now and we’re colleagues but also friends. I can text with jokes, links, or that odd time on the weekend when I broke break my phone. (Sorry!)

Since we’ve built a good working relationship, we all reach out whenever something cool comes up like an event, giveaway, or content idea.

 


Customize Content

It really sucks when you’re scrolling Instagram and you see a sponsored post that seems kinda generic, but then you see another Influencer say almost the same thing, then another, and god forbid another. It doesn’t show personality, it’s not that creative, and it’s boring. Everyone is different and creates content (hopefully) in their own style.

Your influencer crew should be talking in their own voice and sharing photos that look like their real life, not just an #ad.

Telus is really cool about knowing what each of us likes and letting us create our own stories. At the start of the year, we have a 1-on-1 meeting where go through content ideas for the year. Each influencer picks out the events and ideas that speak to them, and we plan around that.

This means everyone has a unique story to tell that integrates with their life. In the past, I have talked about Telus travel plans, tech giftsgreat coverage at the cottage, giving back, their use of VR, and more.


Get Together

I am amazed that this doesn’t happen more. Brands have groups of influencers, sharing content around the same #hashtag, often in the same city, but they never hang out. Bring your people together! It’s a great way to build relationships between client/influencer but also between the creators.

We like hanging out, taking photos together, meeting new people. It helps strengthen the team, give each other ideas, and the brand has an amazing opportunity to create original content.

#TeamTelus, Vancouver, influencers

(Some of) #TeamTelus 2018 in Vancouver!  


Give Where You Live

If you have a great team of people you like working with who are sending out good vibes and great content, why not use that power for good? Telus gives $45M a year communities across Canada and half a billion since 2000. This year at TELUS Days of Giving events 35K employees will be involved in 2,000 events across Canada.

In Vancouver, the Telus Advocates (us) and a bunch of Telus employees joined forces to pack 200 bags with weekend snacks for Backpack Buddies. This charity was started by two women to help fill the weekend hunger gap for Vancouver kids in need. We went around the room in a circuit with people doing different jobs to hustle through packing. It was a lot of fun and it brought us together. Love to see more of this from other brands. See more at #GiveWhereWeLive.

#teamtelus, Vancouver, casie stewart

We packed 200 bags for Backpack Buddies and Telus donated $10,000!


Ask Questions

If you’re building an influencer team or already have relationships, remember they’re good at what they do because they have experience. They work with multiple brands, agencies, timelines. You don’t need to get super specific but asking questions is a great idea. What do they like about other programs? Do they have ideas on how to make things better, faster, smoother? How could we use technology to tell stories in a different way? Asking questions helps you learn and when you learn you have more ideas, and everything gets better.

Telus Vancouver dinner and the day I first wore my fav dress.


Bring Them In

I love learning about a program while it’s still in development and giving feedback or sharing a related experience. I usually have a different perspective and turn it on its head.  Last year, Telus brought a few of us in to ask about a new program they’re thinking about and while we were in Vancouver we talked a lot about Telus programs and the future.  It’s great to hear about what the company is doing, planning, how you can work together.


Create

You know what all content creator influencer people have in common? They all like to make things, create things. A lot of them even like the camera. ūüėČ Make stuff with them!

Telus had each of into Telus Vancouver Studio (inside their building) to shoot some fun stuff on camera. They planned it out well, has scripts, full crew, and we each took turns for private studio time. It was fun and now they have a whole bunch of fresh-faced content.

Last year before Mother’s & Father’s Day Telus had a bunch of us come to the Toronto office and shoot us talking about gadgets & gift ideas. We also called our parents to ask about their favourite present we ever gave them. You will laugh at mine because I was born on Mother’s Day and like, what is a better gift than THAT!? ūüėú


Learn & Grow

Through building relationships, coming together, and asking questions, you learn a lot about people, marketing, and what works best. Your program should be agile and change with the times, the content, technology, the people. New feature on IG or app to make something cool, try it. Find a great new creator, reach out to them. Someone not posting as much as they used to bc they just aren’t really into it, cool no problem, work with that or move on.

You need to be constantly innovating or you will be left behind. Innovate or die.

Finally, this goes without saying at this point, if you’re working on all this stuff with someone or a group of people, you should pay them for their time and expertise.  It can be cash (cheques are good) or in-kind (must have great value) but please recognize the immensely unique perspective and value someone of this nature can bring to your program or organization.

Sidenote, Vancouver is really beautiful. Especially in the summer!

 


How to Build a Great Influencer Program

  1. Build Relationships
  2. Customize Content
  3. Get Together
  4. Give Where You Live
  5. Ask Questions 
  6. Bring Them In
  7. Create
  8. Learn & Grow
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I love working with Telus as you can tell from this post. Check out some of my other stories over the years here. ūüíö

Image result for telus logo png

About Casie Stewart

Casie Stewart is a Canadian writer, director, and entrepreneur. She’s an award-winning content creator and expert in digital. During her decade-long career in media, she’s been named Canadian Screen Award Winner (Voice Pioneer), Best Travel Blog, and Top 30 Lifestyle Blogs in Canada. Casie¬†has been a keynote speaker at SXSW, NXNE, TEDx, and spoken at YouTube Canada and the United Nations of Canada. She lives in Toronto with her boyfriend and loves summer weekends at the cottage when she’s not travelling.

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