Category Archives: Sector Gives Back Through Living Our Values

How You Can Support the Homelessness is Unacceptable Campaign


Sector Learning Solutions’ CEO Gerry Brimacombe is the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce rep on the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness’s Leadership Council. He is encouraging everyone who agrees that homelessness is unacceptable to consider supporting the GVCEH’s Unacceptable campaign.

You can support the campaign by:

1. Tweeting #unacceptableyyj to @homeforhope in advance of our May 2013 Provincial election.

How does this help? Each time #unacceptableyyj is tweeted to@homeforhope, the Coalition will retweet the tweet to local MLA candidates. The more you tweet, the more MLA candidates will see the campaign.

2. Contact your local MLA Candidates by letter, email or phone and let them know that you think homelessness is Unacceptable.

How Can Homelessness Be Ended?
The Coalition’s 2012 Procurement Action Plan, recommends the creation of 964 units of affortable and supportive housing to end homelessness by 2018. Our goal is to ensure that all those that want a home have access to one in a timely fashion.

Did You Know…

Web_home_cot12% of clients that used emergency shelters in 2011/12 were seniors (56 and older). Sleeping on a thin foam mat night after night is unacceptable. This is unacceptable.

Web-Home_benchOn the night of February 8, 2012, 1,205 individuals were counted in temporary accommodation (shelters, motels, transitional housing, etc.) and 35 additional individuals were turned away due to lack of space. This is unacceptable.

Web-Home_carMany families experiencing homelessness are “hidden”, they may sleep in cars or couch surf rather than visit an emergency shelter. Approx. 19,000 people visit Food Banks in one month in Greater Victoria, 49% are familes – more than 5,500 are children. This is unacceptable.

Web-Home_couch1It’s estimated that more than 600 youth and young adults are experiencing homelessness in Greater Victoria. As many as 80% of homeless youth do not sleep rough on the streets, but are ‘hidden’. They may couch surf, or sleep in cars instead. This is unacceptable.

Learn More…
You can read more about the Unacceptable campaign at the GVCEH’s “Home for Hope” blog – including some captivating photos of live installations set up around Victoria to spread the message to the community.

-Kelly Marshall,
Director of Communcations,
Sector Learning Solutions

Created with content from Gerry Brimacombe, CEO, Sector Learning Solutions.

Former Sector Instructor Matching Donations to Mustard Seed Food Bank

Paul Holmes, a good friend and former instructor of Sector Learning Solutions, is now working as a consultant with Investors Group Financial Services Inc. He recently sent an email to our CEO, Gerry Brimacombe, discussing what he had learned from Twitter co-founder Biz Stone at a recent speaking event.

We decided to share this update from Paul’s new life with you, as we found his philanthropy-focused marketing plan for 2013 aligned with our company values and purpose of producing positive change in organizations and the world:

Dear Gerry,

I was excited to hear Biz Stone in person on November 27, as I’ve been an avid Twitter user for about 4 years. Surprisingly, he struck me as a pretty humble, ordinary guy. He talked almost as much about his failures as he did about his successes. Seeming as I’ve been an entrepreneur since I was a teenager, it was refreshing to hear!

One thought that stuck out the most to me, though, was a bold prediction as he wrapped up his talk:

“The future of marketing is philanthropy.” — Biz Stone, November 27, 2012

For those who’ve known me for a while, you know I’m not afraid of hard work, I believe in providing outstanding service, and I’m pretty good at marketing. You will also know that I love giving back to the community.

What you probably don’t know about that last part is that it was a value instilled into me in childhood. Not only has my Father helped found and support important charitable causes my entire life, but there were times in my childhood when we needed some charity, too.  I remember very vividly going to the Mustard Seed Food Bank to get some groceries, because if we didn’t, we’d simply have nothing to eat. I remember those hard times well, and they truly shaped me and my outlook today.

Perhaps it’s this personal experience that made Biz Stone’s message hit me so hard. So I decided to take some action, and put Biz Stone’s thesis to the test. It’s on this matter that I’m asking for your help.

I’m going to call this: My Philanthromarketing Plan

My Philanthromarketing Plan
For every appointment I book with somebody who wants to review a component of their financial plan, I will match their donation to the Mustard Seed Food Bank, up to $25. If I reach my goal of 200 meetings, that’s $5,000 for my favourite local charity (and some great financial planning for those who decide to take me on as their planner).

No Obligation
Let me be clear. To qualify for the matching donation, all you have to do is book an appointment, come to my office, enjoy a cup of coffee or tea (optional), allow me to show you my process, and interview me as your financial planner. Naturally, I hope you will choose me as your planner, but there’s absolutely no obligation.

But My Current Planner Is Awesome
Already have a planner that you’re really happy with, but still think I have a pretty cool idea – please send my name along to a friend.

What Do You Do Again?
For clients, I develop a financial plan that fits their family and their business, suitable to help them achieve all of their goals, and protect their loved ones.

In case you think this means you need to have a bunch of money right now (or fill up that jar before we meet), that’s simply not the case. One of the most satisfying things I’ve done this year is help businesses and families increase their cash flow, so they have more money to invest (be it in their business, their homes, or in an appropriate financial product).

What products do I offer?
–       Life Insurance – Do I buy term or permanent?

–       Critical Illness Insurance – Is it right for me?
–       Disability Insurance – Am I protected?
–       Group Benefit Plans – Do my employees get great benefits? Am I paying too much for my current plan? Am I getting service with my current plan?
–       Mortgages and Home Equity Lines of Credit
–       Banking Products – RRSP Loans, GICs, etc.
–       RRSPs, TFSAs and RESPs – What priority should I assign to these?
–       Over 400 Investors Group and partner managed funds, in addition to 1000’s of third-party mutual funds – Which investments are right for me?
–       Full Service Brokerage

How’s that for tip of the iceberg. There are many products in the financial world. The question is – what’s right for your situation?

If you’re still reading… thank you! I’m working with a great assistant, Rachelle Rey (and asked her to follow-up with you next week).

It’s been a privilege to help bring financial security to many families and businesses. Is it worth 45 minutes of your time to see if I can help you too?

Thanks for your time,

Paul Holmes

Investors Group Financial Services Inc.
250-704-9556 | Office 250-727-9191

Do you have a friend, family member or colleague that I might be able to help out? I’d truly appreciate the introduction!

-Kelly Marshall,
Director of Communications,
Sector Learning Solutions

Sector Accepting Donations for Christmas Hamper for Victoria Women’s Transition House Society

Sector Learning Solutions has volunteered to assist the Victoria Women’s Transition House Society with collecting donations for Christmas Hampers.

We’ve been matched with a family with a single mother and three small children – a 6 year old boy, a 2.5 year old girl, and a one year old baby girl.

Items on thier wishlist include:


  • Bubble bath – vanilla or citrus
  • a medium sized black shiny purse
  • throw blankets for couch
  • Mayfair Mall giftcard

6 year old boy:

  • LEGO
  • Batman or Ironman items
  • X-box games
  • arts and crafts items (such as colour books and crayons)
  • Pajamas and slippers

2.5 year old girl:

  • Bubbles
  • Rideable car
  • Arts and Crafts
  • Workout outfit (matching pants and hoodie)

1 year old baby girl:

  • Learning Blocks
  • Toys that make nosie
  • Fun noisy teething toys
  • Leap Frog Items

If you would like to assist us in helping this family have a plentiful holiday, please contact Katie Caplan (250-727-2266 or to discuss what items on their wish list we still need to purchase.

Our hamper donations are due on Friday, December 7th, 2012.

-Kelly Marshall,
Director of Communications,
Sector Learning Solutions

Hear Sector Learning CEO Chat on CFAX Radio

Did any of you catch Sector Learning Solutions’ CEO Gerry Brimacombe on CFAX 1070 radio yesterday?

Gerry was a guest on the Frank Stanford’s radio show that aired live between 2:30-3:00pm. The show was hosted by Patty Mack (in Stanford’s absence) and covered the importance of small businesses successfully  leveraging technology.

Gerry was joined by Social Media expert Steve Kim and the conversation covered a gambit of topics including:

  • Small businesses drives our economy.
  • Small businesses must embrace technology for maximum efficiency and mobility.
  • Small businesses must understand that they can’t know-it-all or be completely up-to-date as technology is always changing.
  • Training is key to get the most out of technology tools that you already own.
  • Learning organizations that are committed to attracting and retaining good staff can do so by providing staff with training that allows them to be productive.
  • The BC Chamber of Commerce Micro Business Training (MBT) Pilot Program is available for small business owners to get funding for training.

If you missed Gerry’s radio spot and want to hear a recording, check out this podcast of the conversation:,-2pm

-Kelly Marshall,
Director of Communications,
Sector Learning Solutions

Sector Donates Hand-Carved Kayak Paddle to Chamber’s 30th Annual Chamber Dinner Auction

Sector Learning Solutions has donated a silent auction item to The Chamber’s 30th Annual Chamber Dinner Auction.

This  kayak paddle was hand-carved from West Coast red cedar by a local artisan and friend of Sector’s CEO, Gerry Brimacombe.

The Chamber’s 30th Annual Chamber Dinner Auction
is taking place on Friday, November 23, 2012.
Reserve your spot for one of the most anticipated events of the year!

-Kelly Marshall,
Director of Communications,
Sector Learning Solutions

The Way of the Peaceful Warrior

CEO Gerry Brimacombe shares a quote from the book The Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman then reflects on how relevant the story is to what we do at Sector Learning Solutions.

… “There is one quote in there that I really liked and I thought it was relevant to what we do here at Sector.

That was the story about a woman who takes her son to Mahatma Gandhi (which I’m watching that movie with my kids interestingly enough) and she says, “Mahatma, please tell my child to stop eating sugar.” …

-Gerry Brimacombe,
Sector Learning Solutions

Sector Sponsors Future Teacher

Sector Learning Solutions has been sponsoring a child in Sri Lanka through World Vision since 2005. Kohilavani Selvarasa was born on September 25, 1998 and for the last seven years of our sponsorship, we’ve received annual Progress Reports translated by the sponsorship coordinator.

Our 2011 Progress Report explained that Kohilavani, who is now 14 years old, lives with her mother, four sisters and three brothers.

She is a quiet person who enjoys reading books and participating in drawing activities. Her favourite colour is red and the animal she likes most is the rabbit. In her leisure time, she plays with her friends – especially Elle (pronounced el-lay) which is a traditional Sri Lankan sport similar to baseball.

A Day in Her Life… “Normally I wake up at 6:00 am. Then I get ready to go to school which is 1 km away from my home. I go to school by [foot]. My school starts at 7:30 am and ends at 1:30pm.”

This year she is in the 8th grade. There are 24 students in her class. Her favourite subject is math and her future ambition is to become a teacher.

She had a special message to share with us:

“I can read well now through the evening class. So I am … happy now. Before, I can’t read more clearly. But now, I am getting chances to improve my knowledge.”

“May God bless you. Thank you”

-Kelly Marshall,
Director of Communications,
Sector Learning Solutions

Rave Reviews & Some Learning for Collaborate & Produce : SharePoint 2010 Introduction for Gov’t & Business Event

The Collaborate and Produce: SharePoint 2010 Introduction for Government and Business event delivered on Thursday, April 12, 2012 was well attended, with 49 registrants filling the Ambrosia Conference Centre’s main room.

The presentation itself was well received by those looking for a general introductory overview of SharePoint. Some comments we received were:

“It was just what we needed to help us understand what SharePoint 2010 can do for us. In particular the document management discussion is encouraging us to change our processes and systems to have ‘one version of the truth’ wherever practical.”

Scott Clark,
Assistant Director Information Technology (CIO),
City of Victoria


“Nurses are people-focused – they don’t want to have to be computer savvy to be able to get the information they want. They just want it to be easy – so they can get what they need and then go back to doing what they are passionate about – caring for people.

SharePoint has allowed our staff to become accustomed to accessing documents and conversations whenever and wherever they want.  As the largest nursing program in BC, we have a lot of information that is coming to our staff. Information is getting up and out and that’s a big deal.

From an administration point-of-view, I’m completely stoked for the new features in SharePoint 2010 – especially document collaboration and the new Windows Explorer browser feature – which will resolve so many of the frustrations I was hearing from our staff.”

– Dawna Hurst,
 Camosun College – Nursing Program

For some attendees, who were looking to gain in-depth information, the presentation was not an ideal fit. Based on their comments, we have made the following adjustments:

  • We have changed the name of the presentation to – Collaborate and Produce : SharePoint 2010 Overview Introduction –  to be clear that this presentation is an overview that does not include in-depth information.
  • We have narrowed the scope of the intended audience – only those who are new to SharePoint, or have had limited experience using SharePoint, will be advised to attend.
  • We will advise future registrants who are looking for more information about the specific differences between SharePoint 2007 and SharePoint 2010 to attend our half day hands-on SharePoint 2010 Skills Upgrade course.
  • Future offerings of this presentation will include more real world examples of how different organizations have used SharePoint to improve their collaboration and increase their productivity.

We want to thank all the attendees who provided feedback to help us continue to improve our processes and our presentations.

-Kelly Marshall,
Sales and Marketing Coordinator,
Sector Learning Solutions

New Opt-in System for Our Mailing List

Why Did We Change Our Mailing List Sign Up Process?

In March we received a complaint from a client regarding the way we were automatically adding all of our alumni’s email addresses to our mailing list – with the option for them to opt-out after the fact.

We realized that this process did not comply with Canadian Bill C-28, which states that “electronic messages” or commercial e-mails may only be sent when the recipient has specifically requested them.

In the spirit of integrity, we have revamped our entire mailing list process to a double opt-in system. From now on, we will no longer use information gathered from our participation lists to populate our mailing list.

The Opt-In Process:

Alumni are now given the option to opt-in by:

  • checking a tick box in our evaluation form to “Join My Mailing List”
  •  clicking a “Join My Mailing List” button in our Alumni follow up email
  • clicking a “Join My Mailing List” button on our website

They are then required to submit their email address and add or confirm their contact information in a Signup Information form. A confirmation notice email is sent to their inbox. Clicking the “Confirm Subscription” is the last step.

Requesting Your Permission Email

On March 26th, we sent out an email to our newsletter mailing list subscribers requesting their permission to confirm their continued interest in receiving our monthly newsletter by clicking a link.

We wanted to ask our current subscribers to confirm their interest to protect them from receiving unwanted emails.

If they did not respond, their email address would be placed on a Do Not Mail list and mailing list.

If you do not receive our April newsletter that will be sent out on April 2, 2012, you can click the link below to opt-in your email address:

Opt-in to Confirm Your Subscription to Our Mailing List

-Kelly Marshall,
Sales and Marketing Coordinator,
Sector Learning Solutions 

Sector Thanks Nexus Facilitation and Coaching

Sector Learning Solutions would like to thank  Niki Kux-Kardos, Family Business Coach and Founder of Nexus Facilitation & Coaching for making a $35 donation to the Victoria Restorative Justice Society as a token of her appreciation for our input in her Professional Development Survey.

We applaud the unique, community-focused incentive she offered her clients and colleagues as an expression of her gratitude.

We’re excited to announce that we will be working with Niki in the spring of 2012 to be able to offer an exciting new course – details to follow!

-Kelly Marshall,
Sales and Marketing Coordinator,
Sector Learning Solutions