Category Archives: In the News

Business Success Secrets

web-business-successResearch suggests that highly successful people do two things extremely well: they give themselves and their team credit where credit is due, and they relentlessly pursue improvement. CEO David Poirier of The Poirier Group a leading B2B consulting firm knows this first hand.

Mr. Poirier has made his mark in the consulting world, and is no stranger to hard work.  As a former Senior Vice President, Development & CIO of Loblaws Companies, Executive Vice President & CIO of The Hudson’s Bay Company, as well as a former CEO for a German Shipbuilding supplier, Mr. Poirier understands complex issues that companies face every day.

When he started The Poirier Group in 2005 he understood that in order to be successful he had to be able to address the issues companies have; struggles due to growth, inefficiencies and increased complexity, old processes not working anymore or worse, struggling just to stay afloat.

“By focusing on the companies needs and listening insightfully not only to management but the company as a whole, our team is able to fix the issues.” Mr. Poirier said, “and that is simply the key to our success. “

David went on to say that he does not believe in two sides of the table. “There is no us {the consultant} versus them {the company} we are one.  It is our goal to be embedded as part of the team, a seamless part of the operation as a whole and implement our core tenets and when I say ‘our’ I am referring to both the organization and The Poirier Group.”

“Companies with a growth driven need to change, as well as those in survival mode, are stretched and stressed trying to run the business and often spending excessive time in crisis mode. Like Alice in the Looking Glass world, they are running as fast as they can (or believe they can) just to stay in the same place. They are looking for three things from consultants:

•            Expertise (they don’t have or can’t free up) to get at the root cause of issues holding them back

•             Clear focus on the problem, on building the business capability/capacity and acceleration/Speed in getting to “done”

•             Creating sustainability in the improvements

The leadership has recognized that, left to their own devices, they will not succeed as well as they could with help. They will not get the right stuff done in the right time. They know they need help, now it is a question of who” says Stephen Middleton, Senior Business Development for The Poirier Group.

“The Poirier Group is different, we don’t just come in and say, “ah-ha, here is your problem, and I have just the magic bandage to fix it.” Poirier explains; “We are business improvement specialists that work with organizations to accomplish enterprise level transformation, and we can focus on targeted needs in high value, high payback areas.

In short we offer expertise, clear focus and acceleration on three core and five essential supporting fronts. In any improvement campaign, it is crucial that all fronts are driven forward in an appropriately balanced manner. We bring this capability.”

David says his focus has never been to be the “biggest; he would rather be the best!”

“The true measure of success is the success of our clients! We operate a business that is strongly values based. We are adaptive to the needs and style of billing and risk sharing, from a phased approach, to fixed cost to pay for performance; working with our clients to ensure there is a clear scope of work with clear objectives. Costs to our clients are known in advance so there are no surprises.

Our clients maintain long-term relationships over the years with us. Our belief is that our successes are based on creating a greater lifetime value for our client base, who are happy to refer others to us. To do this, we have to ensure that their success is paramount in all we do. Our success is achieved when our client recognizes the benefits of our work in their organization.”

For more information on The Poirier Group, visit, or visit the company profile on LinkedIn at:


4 Billionaires That Were In The Right Place At The Right Time

While the argument could be made that nobody gets to be a billionaire by being in the wrong place at the wrong time, there are instances where individuals have serendipitously stepped up to the rank of billionaire – transitions facilitated by being in the right place at the right time.

Some of this luck is purely a function of when one is born – how successful would Bill Gates have been if he had been born ten years earlier or ten years later? (There’s no way to tell, but we do know that Gates was able to perfectly take advantage of the newly developing world of computer technology because he was born at the right time and he happened to be at the right place – one of only two schools that had mainframe computers). The planets aligned for these four billionaires who had the creativity, drive, foresight and the luck of good timing to turn their ideas into profitable realities.


Mark Zuckerberg
Mark Zuckerberg’s father taught him Atari BASIC Programming in the 1990s and went on to develop additional programming skills with the assistance of a private tutor. Zuckerberg had the reputation of being a programming prodigy by the time he started classes at Harvard.

The 2010 movie The Social Network depicts the story of how Zuckerberg developed Facebook, a company that earned him the distinction of becoming the world’s youngest billionaire in 2008, four years after co-founding Facebook. Zuckerberg and co-founders developed Facebook at a time when millions of internet users were hungry for social media opportunities. Zuckerberg was able to develop his natural talent for computer programming and came up with an idea that would connect people all over the world – at precisely the right time.

Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs co-founded Apple Computer in 1976. As a high school student, Jobs was able to attend after-school lectures at the Hewlett-Packard Company, where he was soon hired and worked with Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak as a summer employee. In 1984, the Macintosh – or Mac – personal computer was introduced – the first of its kind featuring a mouse and a graphical user interface (GUI) instead of a command-line interface. The timing was perfect as small, personal computers were gaining in popularity and users were extremely enthusiastic about the more user-friendly interface.

Bill Gates
When Bill Gates was 13, the Mothers Club at his school used fundraising money to purchase for the students a Teletype Model 33 ASR terminal and computer time on a General Electric computer. Gates and classmate Paul Allen became interested in computer programming.

Gates and Allen founded Microsoft in 1975 and wrote an operating program for one of the first microcomputers – the Altair 8800. Five years later, Microsoft developed MS-DOS, an operating system for IBM’s new personal computer. Having access to computers at a time when most people did not – and therefore being ahead of the curve – helped Gates build a successful company.

Oprah Winfrey
During her last year of high school and first two years of college, Oprah Winfrey worked at a local radio station doing the news part-time. She became both the youngest news anchor and the first African American female news anchor at Nashville’s WLAC-TV. She later moved to Baltimore’s WJZ-TV in 1976 to co-anchor the six o’clock news. In 1986, The Oprah Winfrey Show was born, displacing Donahue as the number one daytime talk show in the U.S. Winfrey was able to transform the show from one that was initially classified as a tabloid talk show, to one that focused on broader topics.

In addition to the hugely successful TV show which aired its final episode in 2011, Winfrey publishes magazines and maintains a website. She is the Chairwoman, CEO and Chief Creative Officer (CCO) of theOprah Winfrey Network (OWN). Winfrey’s humor and empathy came at a time when many women needed a powerful role model, particularly one who was willing and able to broach topics that were considered social or cultural barriers.

The Bottom Line
Timing is everything. In order to become a billionaire, one really does need to be in the right place at the right time. Most individuals who have managed to achieve this level of wealth have done so through luck, recognizing opportunities, networking and turning an idea into a reality. Being in the right place helped make these entrepreneurs, and many others like them, billionaires.

investopedia  Jean Folger

Never thought your husband’s funky smelling socks would come in handy for something? Read On!

Scientists say smell of old socks can help fight deadly malaria by luring mosquitoes into trap

The Canadian PressBy Katharine Houreld, The Associated Press

NAIROBI, Kenya – What do mosquitoes like more than clean, human skin? Stinky socks. Scientists think the musky odour of human feet can be used to attract and kill mosquitoes that carry deadly malaria. The Gates Foundation announced on Wednesday that it will help fund one such pungent project in Tanzania.

If they can be cheaply mass-produced, the traps could provide the first practical way of controlling malaria infections outside. The increased use of bed nets and indoor spraying has already helped bring down transmissions inside homes.

Dutch scientist Dr. Bart Knols first discovered mosquitoes were attracted to foot odour by standing in a dark room naked and examining where he was bitten, said Dr. Fredros Okumu, the head of the research project at Tanzania’s Ifakara Health Institute. But over the following 15 years, researchers struggled to put the knowledge to use.

Then Okumu discovered that the stinky smell — which he replicates using a careful blend of eight chemicals — attracts mosquitoes to a trap where they can be poisoned. The odour of human feet attracted four times as many mosquitoes as a human volunteer and the poison can kill up to 95 per cent of mosquitoes, he said.

Although the global infection rate of malaria is going down, there are still more than 220 million new cases of malaria each year. The U.N. estimates almost 800,000 of those people die. Most of them are children in Africa.

“This is the first time that we are focusing on controlling mosquitoes outside of homes,” said Okumu, a Kenyan who has been ill with the disease himself several times. “The global goal of eradication of malaria will not be possible without new technologies.”

Some experts worry eradication is unrealistic because of the lack of an effective malaria vaccine and because some patients have developed resistance to the most effective malaria medicines.

“This is an interesting project,” said Richard Tren, the director of health advocacy group Africa Fighting Malaria. “But there is no magic bullet. We are going to need a lot of different tools to fight malaria. Certainly we need to solve the problems of insecticide resistance and preserve the effectiveness of malaria drugs that we have at the moment.”

Other scientists — including some funded by the Gates Foundation — are also researching equally novel ideas, including breeding genetically modified mosquitoes to wipe out malaria-spreading insects and creating a fungus that would kill the parasite.

Okumu received an initial grant of $100,000 to help his research two years ago. Now the project has been awarded an additional $775,000 by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Grand Challenges Canada to conduct more research on how the traps should be used and whether they can be produced affordably.

Okumu said more research was needed to find the right place to put the traps. Too close would attract mosquitoes near the humans and expose them to greater risk of bites, but the devices would be ineffective if too far away.

The current traps are expensive prototypes but Okumu hopes to produce affordable traps that can be sold for between $4 and $27 each. He said they hoped to develop the devices so they would work at the ratio of 20 traps for every 1,000 people.

Edward Mwangi, who heads an alliance of 86 aid groups working to eradicate malaria in Kenya, said keeping costs low was key to developing successful technology in the developing world.

He said the current interventions such as the treated nets and malarial drugs had managed to reduce the child deaths caused by malaria in Africa by 50 per cent.

“It’s African innovation for an African problem being developed in Africa,” said Dr. Peter A. Singer, the head of Grand Challenges Canada, one of the project’s key funders. “It’s bold, it’s innovative and it has the potential for big impact … who would have thought that a lifesaving technology was lurking in your laundry basket?”


Associated Press Writer Tom Odula contributed to this report.

U2 gets spelling lesson in ‘Winnipeg’ while planning visits to Edmonton and Moncton

By Marc Weisblott | Daily Brew

A recent appearance on “American Idol” to promote the beleaguered Broadway musical “Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark” couldn’t dampen the Manitoba capital’s enthusiasm for a concert by U2.


But a pre-show display of factoids that made reference to the province as a “state,” and spelled the city “Winipeg,” led a few of the more than 50,000 fans at Canad Inns Stadium on Sunday night to chortle at a condescending acknowledgment of their city.

Serving as guest editor of The Globe and Mail for a special Africa edition last May, alongside Bob Geldof, might have helped frontman Bono recognize the error. “Hello Winnipeg,” he announced, “with two Ns.”

The chilly outdoor date on the U2 360° world tour, which started in Barcelona almost two years ago, was postponed last June after the singer had to undergo emergency back surgery.

As a result, Montreal and Toronto will be visited in July, a year after originally scheduled. The long-overdue closing date is scheduled for Magnetic Hill in Moncton on July 30.

U2’s tour director, Craig Evans, stopped by New Brunswick to size up how the former papal visit sitecould be successfully transformed for the evangelical Irish band, and a similarly spiritual opening act, Arcade Fire.

The 198-foot-high concert stage, dubbed ‘the spaceship’ by the band, will temporarily become one of the tallest free-standing structures in Moncton. A week will be spent putting it together, and two additional days will be spent hauling it away, a process that has given the Irish band spare time to save the world, or visit some local pubs.

Still, there are three different versions of the stage, even though the 60-tonne cylindrical video screen has to be hauled from one show to the next.

Naturally, as U2 played in Winnipeg, construction was underway for Wednesday night’s show at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton. A second crew has packed up the screen, sound and lighting equipment for the drive west.

The Edmonton Journal reported on the extent to which U2 has boosted the local economy for the week, as the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 210 put about 300 workers on the job, and brought in extra riggers, climbers and machine operators from Calgary and Vancouver to calmly meet the deadline.

Still, the attention paid to the geographical gaffe in Winnipeg proved that, even if everything technical comes off without a hitch, spelling still counts in rock ‘n’ roll.

(Reuters Photo)

Canada Post union readies members for possible strike


The union representing Canada Post workers has told its members to prepare for a strike amid stalled negotiations with the Crown corporation.

However, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUP-W) says it did not plan to submit a 72-hour strike notice Sunday and said there will be no strike action on Wednesday.

The union’s national committee said in a message on its website that it was meeting Sunday to “evaluate the situation” and to plan its next move.

The union said it wants Canada Post to address issues such as inadequate staffing, excessive workload and what it says is “constant harassment of workers when they are sick or injured.”

The union said it has proposed things such as greater rotation of duties and ergonomic studies on behalf of its members. It said the corporation has not addressed these and other issues during seven months of negotiations.

Canada Post has not immediately responded to the message.

Last Sunday, the union released a statement saying it had made important compromises in tabling a new proposal.

An earlier agreement covering some 50,000 employees expired on Jan. 31, and talks on a new deal began last fall.

Last week, Canada Post reached an agreement with the union to bring in volunteer postal workers to deliver cheques to pensioners and those on social assistance should a labour disruption occur.


‘Genderless’ Baby Highlights Gender Role Anxiety

By Stephanie Pappas, LiveScience Senior Writer,

Beyond the online condemnation for two Toronto parents who reportedly refuse to make public the gender of their youngest child, there’s a deeper question on how gender forms, scientists say.

Though there are no solid answers, experts on gender say whether a child identifies as a male or female comes from a mix of biology, environment and something deep inside themselves. And at the end of the day, the “genderless” baby, a 4-month old named Storm, will more than likely figure out which gender he or she identifies with.

Raising a child without a public gender is indeed unusual (In 2009, a Swedish newspaper reported a couple doing the same thing with their 2-year-old, nicknamed Pop), and experts say the jury is out on how or if the doing so will influence Storm’s development. But the response to the case has revealed how deeply gender issues resonate, said Diane Ehrensaft, a California psychologist and author of  “Gender Born, Gender Made: Raising Healthy Gender-Nonconforming Children” (The Experiment, 2011).

“It makes people mad, like you’ve tricked them,” Ehrensaft told LiveScience, adding, “There’s a real division between those who want to hold onto our traditional gender norms and those who say, ‘What for? They’ve only limited people’s lives.”

Case in point: Hundreds of outraged comments all around the Web reacting to Storm’s parents’ choice.

“How absolutely selfish to play games with their own child’s mind,” read one representative comment on the Toronto Star’s Parent Central website, which first reported the story about Storm’s family. “Cruel and unusual punishment.”

Bringing up baby

Storm’s parents know their child’s sex, as do Storm’s older brothers. The goal of keeping the information inside the family, Storm’s parents told the Toronto Star, is to limit messages that tell young children how to act based on their sex.

“We thought if we delayed sharing that information, in this case, hopefully, we might knock off a couple million of those messagesby the time Storm decides Storm would like to share [his or her gender],” Storm’s mom Kathy Witterick told the Toronto Star. [Read: America’s Most Hated Baby Names]

It’s unclear whether the experiment will work out, said KatrinaKarkazis, an anthropologist at the Center for Biomedical Ethics at Stanford University and author of “Fixing Sex: Intersex, Medical Authority and Lived Experience” (Duke University Press, 2008). That’s because gender messages are inescapable in our society, Karkazis told LiveScience. However, Karkazis said, Storm’s parents are correct in thinking that people treat children differently based on gender, sometimes in very subtle ways.

One 1975 study, published in the journal Sex Roles, put 42 non-parents in a room with a 3-month-old baby and three toys: a football, a doll and a gender-neutral teething ring. A third of the volunteers were told the baby was a girl, a third thought the baby was a boy, and a third were told that the experimenter couldn’t recall if the baby was a boy or a girl.

Unsurprisingly, when the volunteers thought the baby was a girl rather than a boy, they were much more likely to offer “her” a doll to play with. If they didn’t know the baby’s gender, the male volunteers tended to go for the teething ring, while women offered the baby the doll. That could mean that women see dolls as less gendered, or it could mean that the men in the study hewed more strictly to gender roles.

Overall, people held and touched the baby less if they thought “she” was a girl. When they didn’t know the sex, a gender difference emerged again: Men held the unknown baby less, while women held the baby more.

Likewise, parents view their own children through the lens of gender. A 1991 analysis of 172 previous studies on gender bias found that parents, especially fathers, encourage activities for their children based on sex stereotypes. A study published in 2000 in the Journal of Experimental Psychology found that moms of girls underestimate their 11-month-old’s crawling abilities, while moms of boys overestimate crawling skills, highlighting a trend in which male infants are seen as more hardy. A 1995 study published in the journal Sex Roles found that these gender-based perceptions emerge quickly, with moms and dads rating their newborn girls as less strong, finer featured, more delicate and more feminine than newborn boys.

Gender and biology

None of this is to say that gender identity, separate from gender behavior, is a social construct. Gender is “nature, nurture and culture” woven together, Ehrensaft said. And regardless of what they’re told and how they’re treated, kids usually identify their own gender early.

“There are children who are assigned male on the birth certificate who say, ‘Hey, I’m not. I’m a girl,'” Ehrensaft said. “That’s not because anyone told them who they are. It comes from inside.”

For that reason, it’s unlikely that Storm’s genderless status will go on for long, Karkazis said.

“You’d have to give an extraordinary amount of power, all power really, to nurture [rather than nature] to say that this will without a doubt shape all sense of if this child is male or female and his or her behavior,” she said. “We’d have to give no space for biology.”

Storm is growing up in a household and a culture in which almost everyone identifies as male or female, Karkazis said. And because babies pick up on gender cues early — by age 1 or so, studies suggest — by the time Storm starts talking, he or she will likely have something to say about his or her own gender.

“This child is only going to have two models, even within the house,” Karkazis said. “I would be shocked if this child didn’t self-identify.”

Chris Medina Says He Wasn’t Invited To The ‘American Idol’ Finale

by Lyndsey Parker in Reality Rocks

Earlier this season, Chris Medina was a standout contestant on “American Idol.” His sob story was perhaps the saddest in “Idol” history, and it created a huge amount of buzz for the series as it launched its all-important first post-Simon Cowell season. But now it seems that “Idol” producers have already forgotten about Chris, even though his story was clearly manipulated to full effect to generate ratings. According to Chris’s tweets, he has not been invited to appear at the “Idol” finale next week, not even as an audience member.

For those of you who don’t recall, Chris auditioned in Milwaukee, where he told the judges his horrific backstory about how he has been a caretaker for his fiancée, Juliana Ramos, since she suffered a traumatic brain injury in a 2009 car accident. Juliana even attended Chris’s audition, and Steven Tyler wept as she was wheeled into the audition room. Viewers at home wept as well, no doubt.

Later, when Chris shockingly didn’t make the top 24, it was Jennifer Lopez’s time to cry, as she emotionally delivered the bad news. But it wasn’t all bad news for Chris back then, as Interscope’s Jimmy Iovine decided to put out a Chris single anyway. “What Are Words,” a ballad penned by “Idol”-associated producer Rodney Jerkins, and inspired by Chris and Juliana’s real-life tragic love story, was rushed onto iTunes the day after his elimination episode aired, before any of the top 24 had even competed.

But this week, only a couple months after all that fanfare, Chris tweeted: “Just found out I will not be at the finale for #AmericanIdol sad and disappointed.” When one of his followers tweeted back inquiring why, Chris replied, “not asked. Then I asked for tickets and I [was] told they can’t. No harsh feelings #AmericanIdol”

Obviously Chris and Juliana have suffered setbacks far greater than this one, so I am sure they’ll get over this apparent snub. But still, this seems rather rude, if you ask me. “Idol” viewers may have differing opinions as to whether Chris deserved to be in the top 24, but his dramatic audition and equally dramatic elimination were a major part of the “Idol” story arc this season, so it seems strange that producers wouldn’t invite him to participate in the finale in some way.

Yes, “Idol” has done a lot for Chris already–few top 40 contestants ever get the opportunity to put out their own single on a major label–but not giving him a couple of tickets still seems a little cold.