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Vision, Experience and Leadership makes for Positive Change

Vote Mavis for Mayor, Port Hope, OntarioAs a businesswoman and entrepreneur, community builder and volunteer I am committed to, and invested in, the Port Hope community.  I have been a Municipal Councillor, President of the Port Hope and District Chamber of Commerce; I am a local business owner and the proud recipient of an Innovation Business Excellence award. I have a track record of effectively managing large teams, an achievement which requires strong leadership skills.

For 17 years I was a senior executive managing large department stores for the Hudson Bay Company, which consistently led the region in sales and profit. I have owned and operated a successful communications company in both Port Hope and Toronto for the past 8 years.  My organization was recently featured as an industry leader in a national magazine.

I was elected to Council for the Municipality of Port Hope in 2000 and served a three year term with the portfolio of Economic Development and Tourism.  I was successful in elevating Economic Development and Tourism to a full Municipal Department at Committee of the Whole. During my term, the committee developed initial marketing and branding materials to position the community in a positive way. I also introduced basic by-laws to facilitate economic development and commercial growth. I am particularly proud of the work I did as founder of Port Hope’s Accessibility Advisory Committee.

Previously I had been a warden of St Marks Church and when my council term ended in 2003 I continued investing my time and skills in Port Hope in a volunteer capacity as one of the founding directors of Small Town Radio. Since January 2009, I have been a member of the Port Hope Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors with a role on the Executive since 2010.  I became Board President in 2013 and under my guidance the Chamber received accreditation, successfully launched Port Hope’s Young Professional Association, initiated an international trade show in Port Hope and has been a thriving, member-driven association committed to economic growth in the region.

I truly care about our municipality and want to drive an agenda of change and prosperity. I know I have the vision, experience, skill and leadership to bring positive change. I consider it to be a privilege to serve this wonderful community. I am ready to be the next Mayor of Port Hope.



Julie Mavis For Mayor.

Julie Mavis For Mayor - Port Hope, OntarioPort Hope, Ontario
For Immediate Release

Smaller, Smarter, Faster, Cheaper:
Julie Mavis declares intention to run for Mayor in Municipal election.

Long time Port Hope resident Julie Mavis has officially declared her intention to run for Mayor in Port Hope’s upcoming Municipal Election.

Mavis’ platform will take a simple approach to solving Port Hope’s complex challenges; Smaller, Smarter, Faster, Cheaper. “These are not unique words,” states Mavis, “These are words we all understand and they are the words we need to start using when we talk about the next government in Port Hope. We need a fundamental change of mindset in how we manage this community. Under my leadership the government will stop growing and start contributing to a better life for all Port Hopers.”

Mavis asserts that we need to overhaul the governance model and committee operations to get the right people focused on the right things. “We need to develop more nimble processes and embrace innovation to further sustainability and prosperity in our community,” says Mavis. “Creating a competitive landscape that is attractive for new businesses and a destination for young talent needs to be supported by a healthy fiscal environment. We have a critical and urgent need to change our financial model. We have to broaden our revenue streams and identify long term solutions” says Mavis.

Mavis believes she has the skill, commitment and experience to lead essential change. She reaffirms that Port Hope has always had an incredibly engaged citizenry and now, under her leadership, the public’s concerns will be listened to and their opinions respected. “We need to improve our communication systems to create a transparent, inclusive government. We need less government and more empowered citizens”.

Mavis feels that Port Hope is an outstanding community in which to live, work and raise a family but it lacks a unified front since amalgamation. Port Hopers are tired of negative, divisive politics. The harmonizing of Ward 1 and Ward 2 to represent one Port Hope needs to begin and everything we do must make life better for all residents of Port Hope.

“A great community needs long term vision, thriving partnerships and, most importantly, strong leadership,” says Mavis. “We’re one community with a shared purpose and we’re all in this together.”




I Hate Cancer!

One phone call can change everything. Four weeks ago my partner’s cell phone rang. She couldn’t take the call at that moment, so I did. It was our family doctor. She asked me to have my partner come to the phone.

Laurie and I work together. We sit on opposite sides of the same work table at our studio in Port Hope. I watched as she listened to what the doctor was saying. When she put down her phone, she put her hand up like a stop sign so I would not ask anything. She didn’t even raise her eyes to look at me. She knew I was anxious to know what was going on.

We work in a small but busy office. A few minutes later Laurie packed up her computer, picked up her briefcase and left the office. I followed her outside. We got in the car and as we went home I heard what the doctor had to say. Laurie has breast cancer. This was on a Friday. The surgeon’s appointment was already scheduled for the following Monday.

We had dinner plans that night with a group of friends. Each month a different person takes a turn to cook and we share a meal together. It is always a lot of fun. A different signature dish, a few drinks and a bunch of laughs. We went. Laurie did not want to discuss her news even though we were surrounded by friends. It was a little too soon for her to talk about and I, of course, respected her decision. I, on the other hand, wanted to talk openly right away. I felt removed from the events of the evening and had very low energy. Our hosts had cooked a beautiful meal. It was as if I was having an out of body experience. I was there, but not really.

We talked and cried and sometimes sobbed on Saturday and Sunday. I’m not sure why we took it so hard. My partner is not dying. She has cancer. She is not dying! We have a bumpy road ahead of us. Laurie will have to take a few months off work so she has time to recover. But that’s all. She will be fine.

We went to her appointment on Monday with the surgeon. Laurie had a long list of questions to ask of the surgeon. Fortunately for Laurie, both her sister and brother in law are doctors and they had armed her with a lot of questions to get the information she needed. In summary, he told us Laurie would have surgery followed by chemo, if necessary, followed by radiation – a 10 month process, perhaps less. We left his office feeling confused and frightened.

Thursday of that week we left for Austin, Texas to attend our daughter’s wedding. We had originally hoped to take 10 days, rent a car and tour around Texas after her wedding but our thirst for the open road had diminished. Everything was different now. We reduced our trip to only a few days. Long enough to meet her now husband’s parents and his children and enjoy their ceremony.

While we were away, we arranged for an appointment with a different surgeon to get a second opinion. She told us very much the same thing as the first surgeon did, but we felt more connected to her. When she came into the room to meet us she pulled up a stool and sat right beside Laurie. She started drawing diagrams and graphically explained the process, the possibility of different options and gave us her recommendations. Perhaps because she wasn’t the one delivering the bad news for the first time we felt better, I don’t know, but we opted for surgeon number two.

As the word filtered out, first among our family members and then our friends and colleagues, a friend of Laurie’s sent her an orchid with a note that said I FUCKING HATE CANCER! These are powerful words from a young mother of two small boys whose name, Grace, describes her. The card made us stop in our tracks. We instantly knew that we had a community of support behind us. As the days followed there was an outpouring of affection and caring from everyone around us.

Surgery is now complete and we are both feeling strong and hopeful for a speedy recovery. We are still waiting to find out the next steps in this journey but, regardless of what difficulties life hands us, we will be fine, thanks to great friends, loving family and our caring community.

The Social Bar & Table

the_social_blogThe Social is a very small – and very cool – restaurant on Ontario Street in Port Hope. I am delighted to be one of its owners. The space had been a restaurant before we opened but had been closed for four or five months before we moved in. The only experience I have had in restaurants is eating in one but the idea of opening a 30 seat restaurant was not overwhelming. On the contrary: it was exciting!

I knew I had to hire a good manager with plenty of experience and preferably one with a local network in the industry. I hired a young man I knew; I had patronized several of the restaurants he had worked in over the years and had always been impressed by him. Jeff Bray is competent and interesting and engaging. He is professional and knowledgeable and well respected in the industry. It’s been interesting to watch his career develop over the years and I am delighted he is working with us.

We opened within two weeks of Jeff coming on board. For my part I had negotiated the financials, the licence and the permits and dealt with the administration. Jeff developed a business plan and budget.   He hired a chef, Isaac Meadows, and a competent team. He and the chef created an edgy, moderately priced menu. The restaurant has an open kitchen so it is its own entertainment. It has a small bar and a few tables – it is intimate and friendly. It has a pleasant vibe to it, it is embracing and warm.

Interior designer, Sheilagh Fletcher gave us design suggestions and colours. Tracy Kerr, Art Director for Cats Media created the  branding, signage and menus. Jeff used his strong local network to coordinate a flurry of activity which included chair cushions being reupholstered, table tops being built, walls and ceiling painted, light fixtures being installed, a TV moved and shelves rebuilt. Isaac worked off his notice with his previous employer at the same time cooking and cooking and planning and cooking for The Social after his shift was over. Collectively we pulled together a tight, fun team who understand food and service; we created a fresh and functional space and an interesting menu that is moderately priced in a very short time. We opened a restaurant we are proud of. That makes it all worthwhile.

Many thanks to Jeff, Amelia, Isaac, Caity, Andrew, Dave, Cameron, Meghan, Kiera, Sheilagh and Tracy – and to all our friends and colleagues who helped us open The Social.

The Finished Project

The Finished ProjectHow many times have you thought that it would be easier to walk away from the promise of a project or abandon it part way through the plan? Sometimes things get too difficult or too onerous, sometimes we lose enthusiasm and sometimes we get so crippled by fear of failure we can’t make another move. But abandoning a project, whether at the beginning or part way through, has far more negative consequences than it being just an unfinished job. If a project doesn’t get completed our business suffers unnecessary risk. Deadlines are missed, client expectations are not met and cost overruns are incurred.

Sometimes a project doesn’t get finished because we have too many options, or nothing can ever really be good enough, or we are perfectionists and we don’t want to settle for ‘well overall it’s pretty good’. When that happens it is important to evaluate our entire performance on a project. Budget overruns, missed deadlines and not achieving client goals are costly to our companies, not only financially but also to our reputations. If you are on time and on budget and have achieved the goals the client laid out then you have succeeded.


Sometimes projects never end because we haven’t thought far enough ahead. We need to embrace the end of every project by planning the next steps. How will we be launching that website we just developed and monitoring the traffic going to it? What will we do to market and brand that product we just produced? Or how will we use the strong branding we just created to market the client’s next events? If we are excited about the next steps in the project the completion will come quickly.

There are times when we simply lose enthusiasm and energy on a project. If you abandon a project there is no benefit to you, your company or your client. All of the energy and time you have put into it so far will be lost. The best defence is to set realistic goals and deadlines. Ask your colleagues to help you to stay accountable with regular update sessions. Where practical, let them assist in the process in order to achieve the desired outcome. You’ll be surprised at how quickly that energy and enthusiasm for the project returns!

Collaboration and teamwork make every project more enjoyable. Our colleagues become our clients when we are working together on a project. They rely on you to do your part just as you rely on them to do theirs. Similarly we need to partner with our clients and keep them informed of the project at every critical step. It is not our job to magically create a finished product or solution to their problem. It is our job to develop a relationship with them, listen to their needs, guide them through the creative process, help them stay on track. It is our job to meet their expectations. If they have been part of the process all along there will be no surprises when we get to the end of a project. It will be congratulations all around.

Stronger Leadership: 14 Strategies for 2014

Strong Leadership, Julie Mavis1. Envision the future | Business and technology has fused into one system, one conversation, one strategy for one world. This is central to understanding the future. Strategic leadership is having the ability to think ahead, to study industry and to seek out what opportunities are available. Leaders have to search for future gains and advantages.

2. Be conscious and aware of your brand | Understanding and developing one’s own personal brand can build the same equity as a good business brand. To do so we have to set goals, develop a mission statement and then define a personal vision and value statement. The integrity of your brand must remain consistent and solid but the message it sends out must stay fresh and vibrant, otherwise it will not stay top of mind.

3. Innovate to create new opportunities within your industry and beyond | Entirely new industries will be formed by innovations yet to be brought to market. Innovations are about new business models, marketplace collaboration, and knowledge engineering. At least 20% of your time and your company’s resources should be devoted to innovative services or products.

4. Embrace disruptions in your industry | Disruptions are coming in the form of emerging markets, new technologies, and changing customer demographics. Embrace these changes and demand a cultural change within your own organization.

5. Understand that human capital is your most valuable resource | Hire only the best. Once you have hired, do not accept mediocrity. Hire for attitude, then train, mentor, nurture, and coach to develop skill. Make it a policy that everyone who works on your team is one of the best in their industry. Make sure your best people are highly visible and are in positions of influence. They should be where they can contribute the most. That way they will help to attract the culture of great talent you are striving for.

6. Refuse to maintain the status quo | Leaders must think critically. Challenge everything. Find better ways. Leaders must change current mindsets and current methods. The most important thing is that as leaders we must constantly strive to make our processes, products or services better and better.

7. Always keep learning | Never stop talking to other professionals. Constantly encourage feedback and dialogue with those around you. Keep reading and stay in touch with your industry. Knowledge is power. How you get that knowledge or where it comes from doesn’t matter; what matters is that you do. Keep trying. Keep learning. When you make the decision to lead a company you make a commitment to your staff, customers and suppliers. You make a promise that you will continue to grow and learn.

8. Take a vacation | There is nothing worse than a leader who is bored. We all periodically reach a point where we should be doing something other than work. Vacations help us put everything back into perspective, they help us refresh and relax. It doesn’t matter how much work you have to do, you’ll do it much better and be a more interesting person if you take a break.

9. Build on your strengths – don’t focus on your weaknesses | Build on your strengths instead of spending time working on your weaknesses. Whatever business you are in, focusing on weak areas takes energy and effort away from building on strengths. Your strengths will suffer; they will be in danger of becoming weaknesses. Trying to be well rounded, or all things to all people, doesn’t set you apart. Great strengths, and a little lopsidedness, does.

10. Analyse and make decisions | A good strategic leader holds steady. Don’t jump on new thoughts or waves until you’ve analysed the market, opportunities and trends. Thoughtfully review options. Make a decision before you become paralyzed by too much information and too much time to think about it. Have an opinion and take a stand.

11. Motivate your team | Good leadership involves building trust with your team and engaging key players. Even when different points of view exist, good leaders can bring the cause to the foreground and make a difference. Good leadership respects the rights and dignity of others. Good leaders are not self-serving. They are keenly aware of how their decisions affect others. Good leaders create a desire in others to be self-sufficient by empowering them. Good leaders motivate others and put the needs of the team ahead of their own. Great leaders don’t overshadow others – they elevate others.

12. Be your own mission statement | Who you are and how you behave every day is your company’s mission statement. You are your company. When clients deal with your company their focus is on you. When you dress professionally, deal with people openly and honestly, treat your colleagues with respect, pay your suppliers on time and contribute to your community, you are your company’s mission statement. If you are belligerent at parties, if your favourite word is not printable, if you engage in gossip or manipulative behaviour… that will be your company’s mission statement.

13. Build on your strategic plan | The starting point for a growing business is always a strategic plan. Once you have a strategic plan, stick with it. Strategic plans are meant to evolve, but not to be thrown away. Tossing it always results in repeating again and again the process of getting there. Leaders with vision will take the plan, implement it step by step and nurture and embrace its evolution.

14. Step outside of your comfort zone | The most dangerous place to stay is in your comfort zone. It is the least safe place for anyone to be. If something outside your zone grabs your attention run with it. If it gives you an opportunity to shine – do it. You never know what you may discover.


October 2014
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