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Chapters

start of a book chapterPeople who are familiar with the Iceberg Publishing story know that this labor of love is an after-hours initiative. Since the very beginning, all three partners have been either full-time students (in the case of Kenneth in the early days) or have had full-time jobs. For the most part we’ve kept these different aspects of our lives totally separate, as is appropriate. But every so often the two worlds meet, such as on the occasion of the company’s 10th anniversary in 2012, when many of our workday friends joined us for our gala reception.

Today, my last day at Wilfrid Laurier University, is another of those junctures… because today’s Author Note is about chapters, and the fact that no matter how amazing they are, chapters must inevitably end.

As I look back over a career that marks 30 years next month, I marvel at how fortunate I’ve been in my line of work. I didn’t know, when I left Newfoundland for Journalism School at Western University in 1982, that the world of professional communications existed. I knew only that I loved to write. It was therefore a shock when on day three of the program I came to the harsh realization that journalism wasn’t just about writing. Certainly writing is critical to the profession –– no matter which medium you work in –– but so are many other skills. And while I could force myself to do what needed doing… I found it incredibly difficult.

And so, despite the respect for journalism that I had developed, I moved immediately to what was affectionately called ‘the other side’ and accepted a communications position. By the time we moved to Ontario in 1999 for my new role at Laurier, I’d spent 16 years in the field, working in a crown corporation, an electrical utility, a teachers’ union, and a university. All were memorable chapters in their own right and each one worthy of its own post. But today my thoughts are occupied with Laurier, so I will focus there.

Fourteen years is a long time… the longest I’ve spent in one organization. And the decision to leave was not an easy one. You grow deeply attached to a place and its people during that stretch of time. You feel as though it has touched every fibre of your being.

If you’re lucky as a communicator, you get to tell incredible stories, since at its very core, that’s what the communications profession is all about –– storytelling. We’ve done that at Laurier. We’ve done that and more.

I feel immense gratitude for all that I have learned there, and, I don’t mind admitting, great pride in all that we’ve built. And I’m intensely thankful for the people, both within and outside the university, with whom I’ve shared the journey.

You know who you are. You brought tears to my eyes more than once this past week… with your words and your gifts and your hugs. I will treasure them always, as I will treasure you.

Chapters… they come to an end. Good editors know instinctively when one must conclude and another begin, and I know this is such a point.

But the best chapters in the best books are the ones that we want to remember… know we’ll remember… because they touched us so, and taught so much. As I walk out of my office today, and get ready to embark on a new role in a new sector just ten days from now, I’ll do so with the knowledge that when a page turns and a new chapter begins, the characters in the story don’t automatically disappear. Indeed, many of them continue on.

We may be finishing a chapter today, but it has most definitely been one to remember and to cherish. I thank you all for that. I thank you for everything.

And I look forward to seeing you again… as the next chapter unfolds.