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02.28.2022

WCD Announces Partnership with Pride in Business

WCD Announces Partnership with Pride in Business WCD is proud to be partnering with Calgary’s Pride in Business as their official Print and Signage Sponsor. Established in 2011, Pride in Business works to create connections within the LGBTQA community of professionals and entrepreneurs. The organization is on a mission to enhance visibility, support, and commerce in the community, and to become a positive influence for LGBTQA youth and young professionals. “WCD is working hard to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace. We have made great strides, but we know there is always more work to do. We are excited to partner with Pride in Business to better strengthen our support of the LGBTQA community.” — Rob Steed, Vice President of Partnerships & Client Engagement, WCD Learn more about Pride in Business Through community initiatives and events, Pride in Business is connecting the Calgary business community to organizations, programs, businesses, professionals and charities that exist within the LGBTQA space. Discover ways to get involved and learn about upcoming events on their website.

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02.15.2022

Book Printing File Setup Guide

Book Printing File Setup Guide Whether you’re writing a children’s fairy-tale or compiling family photos, creating a personalized book is a meaningful way to bring your story to life tangibly. In this guide, we’ll walk through some of the basics of how to print a book, including formatting your book so you can prepare a finished, print-ready product. Then once it's ready, you can reach out to an on-demand book printing service. Get an online estimate for book printing with WCD > Print a Book From PDF: Accepted File Formats for Book Printing To submit your book for printing, you’ll need to export it as a print-ready PDF. This process will vary depending on the software program you’re using to design the book. Learn more about how to print a book from PDF and book design software below. WCD does not accept Microsoft Word, Microsoft PowerPoint, JPEG or PNG files for book printing. If you’ve created your book in the Microsoft Office Suite and need help exporting it, reach out to our Client Services team for assistance. How to Set Up Your Inside Book Pages for Print To ensure your printed product is clear and easy to read, set up your pages with the following: Bleed: A 0.125” bleed is required on all four sides of your page so that text or images that bleed to the edge aren't cut off in print.Margin: This is the white space between content and the edge of the page. Having a proper margin makes for a better reading experience. The margin size is up to you, but 1" is recommended.Gutter: The gutter is an extra margin added in the centre of your spread where the left and right pages meet, allowing for space so content doesn't seep into the crease where the book is bound. The gutter size is up to you, but 0.5" is the standard for books.Export: Export your book as one PDF, set up as single pages. Adding Images and Graphics to a Book When adding graphics to your book, always use images that are optimized for printing, otherwise, they may turn out blurry or pixelated. Images used in print should have a resolution of 300 DPI. For more information, refer to this image size and resolution resource by Adobe. Need help with design? Our Creative Services team can help > How to Set Up Your Cover Pages for Print Because book covers are printed separately from the inside pages and require special finishing, they have unique requirements during the file setup phase. Setting Up Hard Covers When setting up your cover spread for a hardcover book, ensure your file size is 0.5” larger than inside pages in width and height and use a 0.75” bleed on all four sides of the spread. Setting Up Soft Covers When setting up your cover spread for a softcover book, use the same file size as the inside pages and set up a 0.25” bleed on all four sides of the spread. Get a Free Online Book Printing Estimate > What Software Can You Use to Design a Book? Before you can send your book to print, you’ll need to design the layout and format it properly using the specifications above. There are many software applications available to help you, and choosing one will depend on your level of experience and the complexity of your finished product. Here are some options for you to explore, ranging from the most user-friendly and affordable to paid options that can be used for more complex book designs: Microsoft WordShutterstock EditorScribusAdobe InDesignAffinity Designer Print on Demand Books in Canada Once you’ve created your print-ready PDF, submit the final product with print specifications through our Send Us Files portal. Whether you’re printing a single copy or hundreds, our book printing team is here to help!

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02.08.2022

WCD Announces Partnership with the Calgary Marketing Association

WCD Announces Partnership with the Calgary Marketing Association WCD is excited to join the Calgary Marketing Association’s roster of Gold Corporate Sponsors alongside other leaders including ATB Financial and Pattison Outdoor. The Calgary Marketing Association (CMA) is a non-profit industry association that supports Calgary’s thriving marketing community. They bridge the awareness gap between agencies and large corporations—providing industry professionals with access to exclusive events, mentorship opportunities, shared tools, and networks. “The CMA is an Alberta-based business with an entrepreneurial spirit that wants to put Alberta marketing on the map. WCD shares these same values. We’re excited to be part of the CMA’s community of businesses and professionals that are working together to drive creativity and connection.” — Jennifer Brookman, Vice President of Marketing at WCD Join the Calgary Marketing Association Ready to join a community of like-minded marketing experts? The CMA is a great resource for hiring top local talent, expanding your knowledge, and connecting with the community. Learn more about becoming a corporate member on their website.

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02.02.2022

How to Set Up Design Files for Signage and Large Format Print

How to Set Up Design Files for Signage and Large Format Print With the right application and an eye-catching design, large format print (also known as signage) can transform your space, build brand recognition and create memorable customer experiences. Designing creative for signage or large format print can be tricky to navigate, so let's have a look at some of the basic steps you can take when creating your design files. Want help designing your signage? Discover our creative services > 1) File Formats for Signage File format is the first and most important consideration for designing signage. PDF/X-4 is the ideal file format for large-scale graphics, although we can also accept Adobe Creative Cloud files from InDesign (packaged), Illustrator (packaged), PhotoShop, high quality JPGs, and TIFFs. 2) Converting Text to Outlines for Signage Because your files are being scaled from a small screen to a much larger finished product, it's critical to embed, package, or convert the fonts in your creative files. This will ensure your text can scale infinitely without losing quality or becoming pixelated. To learn more about converting text to outlines in Illustrator, read this article from Adobe. 3) Using Vector or Raster Graphics Computer graphics can be created as raster (i.e. JPEG) or vector files (i.e. EPS). A raster graphic is a pixelated image (tiny squares of colour info) and a vector graphic uses algorithms to create coordinates joined by lines and curves. Each have distinct uses, benefits and limitations. Vector GraphicsRaster GraphicsProsInfinitely scalableSmaller file sizeEditableProsRich detail in complex imagesPrecise editingConsLimited detail with complex imagesConsBlurry when enlargedLarge file size Based on this information, it is best to use vector graphics like EPS, AI and PDF when designing your large format signage. 4) Selecting Colours Models for Print Whenever possible, set up your print files using the CMYK colour model. RGB and CMYK are colour models used in design, each with their own purpose. Compared to the CMYK colour model, RGB has a larger range of colours in its spectrum which is ideal for computer monitors, but does not render properly in print. High-end digital processors will convert RGB colours to the most accurate CMYK representation of the colour, which may not be an exact match to what is seen on a monitor. Pantone Colours A Pantone Matching System converts pantone swatches to the closest CMYK colour possible when designing and outputting to digital print. Note that exact matches to every pantone colour cannot be guaranteed in digital print. Transparency When you combine transparencies from one colour space with those from another (for example, a CMYK drop-shadow over a Pantone colour), you'll get surprising results. If you want to print artwork with transparency, you'll need to go through a process called flattening, which divides transparent artwork into vector-based and rasterized sections. Text Safe Zones The text-safe area of a document should be equal to approximately 96% of the width/height, leaving a quiet space equal to 2% of the trim size on all four edges of a graphic. For example, on a 96 x 48” board, the text-safe area is 94 x 46”. This ensures no text or logos are too close to the edge and offers a cleaner layout. In the case of banners, this ensures there is room for grommets around the edges. 5) Bleed Guidelines for Signage When a document has images or graphical elements that touch the edge of the page, you must include a “bleed” in the file setup. Bleed is created by extending the image or element beyond the edge of the document. Documents with bleed are printed on a larger sheet and trimmed down to size. Including bleed prevents two common issues: White paper on the edge of a finished and trimmed productGraphics, text, images and logos being cut off The amount of bleed required is based on the size of the sign or display. 6) Image Resolution for Large Format Print Signage and display file sizes can get quite large, creating challenges when submitting files to print. To reduce file size, build a scaled file with the intention of enlarging. Scaled files require adjustments to the resolution in relation to the scale and must include the actual scale in the file name. For example, if a file is built to half the size of the finished product, the resolution of images needs to be doubled to 600 DPI so the final size meets the minimum resolution of 300 DPI. Scaling of a document will always be done proportionately. The recommended DPI (dots per square inch) for raster images is relative to the expected viewing distance of full size images. 7) Designing for Clear Adhesive Vinyl White ink can be used when printing on clear media in one of three ways: Flood White - Where the entire area on the back of the graphic is coated with white ink to help give the CMYK print proper saturation and density.Spot White - Where white is used as a colour in a design and should appear as white against the clear background.Spot White Base - When white is printed behind the colours to achieve proper colour saturation and density of specific areas of a design. Designs requiring white ink need a second layer in the file labeled ‘spot’ with only white areas as vector elements. 100% magenta works well. Window Vinyl When printing on clear adhesive vinyl that will be applied to a window, it’s important to note whether the image should be front-facing (from the non-adhesive side) or back-facing (from the adhesive side of the graphic) or in some cases, both. 8) Signs that Require Shape Cutting If a project will be shape-cut, include the desired cut path as a separate layer in the file marked “cut-line”. Best practice is to use a one-point vector path in a contrasting colour from the design so your cut line clearly stands out. For decals that require weeding (removal of the unneeded vinyl), supply a reference file to determine what elements are to be removed and what elements should remain in the final product. Explore Our Signage Solutions Find your creative inspiration and view some of our favourite signage projects on our Signage Solutions page.

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01.21.2022

7 Ways to Track the Effectiveness of a Direct Mail Campaign

Accurately tracking the success and ROI of marketing campaigns is a challenge all marketers have faced. While it's easy to assume that an increase in leads is related to our marketing efforts, being able to show concrete results that attribute dollars earned to dollars spent helps teams make calculated decisions that will drive tangible results. When it comes to direct mail marketing, it's a common myth that mail is untraceable and therefore less effective than digital tactics. We're here to bust that myth by sharing several simple and effective ways you can track the success of your next direct mail marketing campaign. Read FAQs on direct mail from marketers > Is direct mail effective?     Direct mail is one of the few marketing tools that allows companies to put something tangible in their customers’ hands. According to Canada Post research, many Canadians agree that mail has a good reputation, with 93% reading their mail either the day of or after its arrival. For marketers, direct mail has proven to be an effective component of integrated marketing campaigns. In a Canada Post study, customers who received a direct mail piece were 43% more likely to order a product online, 64% more likely to visit a website, and 54% more likely to engage with a brand on social media.   While the research shows that direct mail can be effective, marketers still need to be able to report the return on investment. Like any marketing channel, it’s important to test your campaigns in small batches and quickly scale the best results to a wider audience.      How do you track direct mail response rates?  Here are seven methods you can implement into the design of your direct mail piece to track engagement:      1) Coupons and promotion codes Whether you’re driving traffic to your online store or physical storefront, using exclusive promo codes for each direct mail campaign will allow you to track campaign lift.  2) MURL By using a marketing-specific URL that leads to a landing page with content on your offer, you can attribute all unique visitors and conversions to your mailings. 3) PURL  Personalized URLs are web addresses that lead to a landing page that's unique to each prospect so you know exactly who engaged with your mailer. These can be generated using marketing automation technology. 4) Social media tags Using campaign-specific hashtags on your mailer encourages clients to share offerings with others in their network and allows you to track responses. 5) Email and phone numbers  Dedicating a toll-free number or email address to your mailer is an easy way to directly attribute leads to the campaign. Plus, they're easy to set up. 6) Augmented reality Using augmented reality (AR) technology, marketers can add an interactive area on a printed mailer. When scanned with a smartphone, the mailer will reveal dynamic images, videos, and even games! 7) QR codes  QR codes have greatly increased in popularity in the past few years. With any smart phone, prospects can scan the unique code, leading them to a landing page with information on your campaign. These codes are simple and affordable to set up online. What else goes into creating a direct mail campaign? Learn more > With the right strategy, direct mail can be an effective and engaging part of your integrated marketing campaigns. As Canada Post Smartmail Marketing Expert Partners, WCD can help you develop and execute on a direct mail campaign that gets results. How to Get Started with Direct Mail Ready to learn more about direct mail so you can develop campaigns that drive engagement? Access our downloadable guide that covers the basics of the direct mail process from start to finish—with valuable tips to guide you through a successful campaign.

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12.10.2021

Announcing the Prairies 2021 Family Enterprise of the Year Award Recipient, WCD

Announcing the Prairies 2021 Family Enterprise of the Year Award Recipient, WCD Original news release published by Family Enterprise Canada We're proud to share that WCD has been selected as the recipient of the 2021 Prairies Family Enterprise of the Year Award (FEYA)! This honour was celebrated virtually at the Prairies FEYA celebration on December 9, 2021. About Family Enterprise of the Year Award The Family Enterprise of Year Award (FEYA) was established in 1986 to celebrate and promote the achievements of Canadian business families and the considerable contribution they make to the economic and social fabric of both their local communities and Canada as a whole. Each year, business families across Canada are nominated and recognized at regional FEYA celebrations. Each regional recipient is then considered for the National Family Enterprise of the Year Award, chosen by a volunteer selection committee and presented at the National FEYA celebration. FEYA is unique among business awards in Canada, as it does not only focus on traditional business metrics. Instead, the selection committee also looks at how well the family enterprise integrates best practices that benefit the business, the family and their communities. Having demonstrated significant capabilities in these regards, FEYA recipients are examples of excellence and are integral to Canada’s economic future. A Family Business Since 1952, WCD (formerly West Canadian Digital Imaging) has been a market leader in digital on-demand solutions for print and information. George Brookman, our former CEO and current Chairman, saw a need to evolve the business from a traditional microfilm and reprographic service provider to a modern document management company. In 2019, George decided to step back from his role as CEO. He appointed his daughter, Karen Brookman, as the President and CEO, and her sister, Jennifer, as Vice-President of Marketing. Later in 2020, Karen's husband Allan Megarry joined WCD as our Chief Financial Officer. The family and entire leadership team are committed to upholding our corporate culture. We would like to give a warm congratulations to the other worthy finalists this year, Wallace & Carey Inc. and Doortech Manufacturing & Distribution Ltd.Watch our official FEYA video submission by clicking here. About Family Enterprise Canada Family Enterprise Canada is the national community for family business in Canada. Their goal is to ensure the long-term success and continuity of enterprising families and their family enterprises, across generations. Family Enterprise Canada empowers business families and Family Enterprise Advisors (FEAs) to thrive by providing a dynamic peer community, family-focused learning, relevant insights, a family enterprise specific designation and — together with our Foundation — a voice for all.

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11.19.2021

How To Create a Direct Mail Marketing Campaign

How To Create a Direct Mail Marketing Campaign This content is adapted from Canada Post's Essential Guide to Direct Mail. Our homes are central to our lives—they're where we spend most of our time and where we make life's big decisions. For many Canadians, the mailbox remains a ritual and a vital connection to the world. In fact, Canada Post studies show that more than 70% of Canadians pick up their mail at least three times a week. That makes direct mail the ideal channel for businesses to reach customers where they are. Like any marketing tactic, it's important to understand the formula for success. What does it take to run an effective direct mail campaign that captures attention and incites action in your customers and prospects? Let's walk through the six steps to creating a successful direct mail campaign. For a more in-depth process, download our 6 Step Guide to Direct Mail Marketing > 1) Strategy and Planning The first step to a successful direct mail campaign is nailing down your campaign strategy. Planning ahead will simplify and speed up your decision-making process and will also help guide your creative and print partners (that’s us!) in recommending the best possible solutions. While developing your direct mail strategy, use this checklist: What is your main objective? What do you want your audience to do?What is your offer/message?Will your campaign be integrated?What is your budget?What data do you have? 2) Targeting and Analytics If you’re just starting out with direct mail and don’t have an existing database (or yours is in its early stages), you may turn to external sources for your targeting. In this case, you’ll use what you’ve learned researching your target audience to develop a list. Working with our team, we’ll apply those insights to generate your list using a Canada Post list rental. Canada Post's advanced data allows you to target customers based on hundreds of attributes, including some of these examples: Geography and address attributes (region, type of dwelling)Demographics (family size, occupation) Interests and behaviours (hobbies, pet ownership) Lifestyle (outdoor adventurists, vacation homeowners) Life stage (families with young kids, retirees) In this step, you'll also work with our direct mail experts to determine what type of mailing best suits your campaign. For more information on the three types of mailing—Neighbourhood Mail, Postal Code Targeting and Personalized Mail—click here. 3) Creative Design A perfectly timed, well-written piece that has a clear and relevant message with a compelling call to action is the key to a successful direct mail campaign. If you’re designing your own direct mail piece, we recommend following the 40/40/20 rule—40% audience, 40% offering and 20% creative execution. Audience — Consider who you're mailing to and what information you need to reach them Offering — Think of your customers asking, "What's in it for me?" Creative — How can you use design and formatting to make your piece stand out from the rest? You'll also need to take into consideration Canada Post's size and weight requirements for each type of mail. For more details, download the 6 Step Guide to Direct Mail Marketing eBook. Need help with designing your direct mail piece? WCD Creative, our in-house design agency, specializes in designing award-winning integrated direct mail campaigns that get results. Learn more about WCD Creative > 4) Printing Before WCD can print your direct mail piece, there are a few critical steps we’ll guide you through to ensure your mailers get where they’re going and capture attention when they get there. First, we'll need to validate your data to ensure you're not mailing duplicates and that all of the addresses on your list are formatted to adhere to Canada Post's requirements. Second, we'll work with you to select the right paper thickness, colour and finishes that will capture the attention of your audience. 5) Mail Preparation and Delivery With millions of pieces going through the mail stream daily, it’s important to prepare direct mailers properly to avoid issues or delays. Our team will manage mail preparation for you, but having a basic understanding of the process will help expedite things and ensure your campaign gets out the door smoothly. In this stage, you'll need to: Create a Canada Post Business Account — We always recommend our customers sign up for a free account to gain instant access to tools and savings on postage. Create a Statement of Mailing (SOM) — Before Canada Post can accept your direct mailers, you'll need to have a SOM with detailed information on the size, weight and quantity of your mailers, distribution routes and more. As Canada Post Smartmail Marketing™ Expert Partners, we'll work closely with you to manage the mail preparation process. Once printing and mail preparation are complete, it's time for delivery! Our team will organize your mailers and deliver them to Canada Post. 6) Measurement and Insight Today’s direct mail campaigns are driven by data. With customer journeys constantly changing, it’s important to keep measuring your campaigns to determine what works best. How can you test and measure the success of your direct mail campaigns? Make sure that any point of contact included in your direct mail piece is unique and trackable. Using coupon codes, landing pages, QR codes and other identifiable trackers are great ways to attribute success to your direct mail campaigns. For a more detailed list of attribution methods, download our 6 Step Guide to Direct Mail Marketing eBook. Download the eBook on Direct Mail Eager to learn more about direct mail marketing? Download our free eBook, the 6 Step Guide to Direct Mail Marketing to gain additional insights into: The three types of direct mail targetingTips for designing your direct mailer Specifications on size and weight requirements from Canada PostTracking and attribution methods that can help you measure ROI on your direct mail campaigns

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09.20.2021

FAQs from Marketers: The Four Basics of Direct Mail

FAQs from Marketers: Understanding the Basics of Direct Mail Have you ever opened your mailbox to find a personalized offer from a brand? It might look like a coupon from your local bakery for a free loaf of sourdough, or a letter from your insurance provider offering 10% off for bundling home and auto. It could range from a basic flyer to a comprehensive, personalized piece of oversized mail. If your answer is yes, then you’ve received direct mail. For the marketer considering adding direct mail to the mix, let's cover the four most frequently asked questions about direct mail, including: What is direct mail?What are the different formats of direct mail?How do you build a direct mail list?How much does direct mail cost? 1) What is direct mail? Direct mail is defined by Canada Post as “physical advertising sent through the mail to find new customers and increase the value of existing ones.” It allows you to carefully target customers with precise messages, customized offers and promotions. Statistics from Canada Post For marketers, direct mail can be a powerful medium to include in your marketing mix. When properly designed, DM campaigns combine physicality, data and connectivity to achieve the best results and produce the highest ROI. Physicality – Research has shown that the physical nature of direct mail is proven to generate a 20% higher response rate than digital messaging.Data – With direct mail, you can target the customers that matter most for your business. Target geographic, demographic and psychographic segments where people are likely to respond to your offer and transform prospects into valued customers.Connectivity – Direct mail complements other marketing media, particularly digital. Incorporate it to get your brand and messaging noticed and remembered, raise brand awareness, and drive customer engagement. 2) What are the different formats of direct mail? The options are endless when it comes to direct mail formats, shapes and sizes. Each has features and benefits that could work for you, depending on your campaign. Here are the most common formats of direct mail: Self Mailers Self mailers, including postcards and coupons, are one of the most cost-effective forms of DM. Since your customer address is printed directly on the piece, there is no need for an envelope. You can be endlessly creative with self mailers. If you’re a pizza shop, you can design a coupon in the shape of a pizza. If you’re a realtor, a postcard in the shape of a house. While best practice is to use a durable cardstock, your self mailer doesn’t have to be a basic format—it can have multiple folding panes and vary in shape and size like the examples below. Designed by WCD Creative Catalogues Catalogues allow you to include more information than other direct mail formats, so you can tell your brand story and describe your products in more detail. Many businesses use catalogues to send look books, gift guides, or seasonal collections to their customers around important dates. Mailing a catalogue is more expensive, so you’ll want to make sure to send them to a highly targeted list of customers or prospects that you know want to hear about your products and services. Outer Envelope and Letter For more detailed or personalized offers, letters are a great way to reach your customers. Plus, using an envelope provides you with extra real estate to print a unique and eye-catching design. Designed by WCD Creative 3) How do you build a direct mail list? One of the most important parts of a successful direct mail campaign is targeting the right people with your message. There are three standard targeting methods you can use to build your direct mail list, including Canada Post Neighbourhood Mail™, Postal Code Targeting, and Canada Post Personalized Mail™. Canada Post Neighbourhood Mail™ Neighbourhood Mail targeting is used to reach mailboxes in a specific neighbourhood, region, or even the entire country. It’s ideal for mass awareness campaigns and acquiring new customers. As an example, restaurants often use this type of targeting to reach new customers in the neighbourhoods nearby their physical location. Postal Code Targeting Postal Code Targeting is a very precise method of reaching customers that match your ideal customer profile. Using demographic, psychographic and geographic data, you can home in on audiences that have certain characteristics—such as household income, age of the residents, pet and car ownership and many other data sets. Canada Post Personalized Mail™ Personalized Mail is used for one-to-one communication, enabling you to personalize the message and creative for your customer. The mailing data for Personalized Mail can either come from your own list of customer contacts, or you can buy/rent a list from Canada Post. Personalized Mail is best for helping you acquire new customers, deepen connections with existing ones and build customer loyalty. For example, not-for-profits often rent lists to obtain new donors, and banks often use Personalized Mail to communicate with their customers or send them special promotions. Image from Canada Post For more information on types of targeting, visit Canada Post. 4) How much does direct mail cost? The costs for direct mail can seem ambiguous, but they’re simpler than you might think. There are three key components to consider when pricing out your DM campaign. Creative The cost of designing your direct mailer depends on whether you’re designing the piece in-house, using an agency, or using a Smartmail Marketing Expert Partner (like WCD Creative) to design your piece. Printing Factors including the quantity, paper stock, size and finishing of your direct mail piece will impact the price of printing. A basic postcard printed in a bulk quantity could start around $0.15 per piece. For more complex campaigns that involve printing and packaging several pages in personalized envelopes, the cost could be a few dollars per piece. Contact us directly for a free, no obligation quote on direct mail design and print > Mailing Canada Post’s pricing depends on factors like the size, weight and distribution of your piece. To give you an example of what a Neighbourhood Mailer would cost, sending one flyer to every address on a postal route (approximately 500 addresses) would cost as little as $0.17 per piece. You pay: $0.17/flyer x 500 = $85. Working with a Canada Post Smartmail Marketing™ Expert Partner like WCD can save you up to 15% on postage rates. Learn more about our direct mail services. How can WCD help with your direct mail campaign? Our direct mail experts will work closely with you to understand your campaign goals and will recommend a strategic approach that maximizes the effectiveness and ROI of your direct marketing campaign. As Smartmail Marketing™ Expert Partners, we provide creative design, print, preparation and mailing services under a single roof.

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08.27.2021

Celebrating Pride at WCD with Rob Steed, VP Partnerships & Client Engagement

Celebrating Pride at WCD with Rob Steed, VP Partnerships & Client Engagement We are proud of the diverse individuals that make WCD's culture one that is entrepreneurial, creative and caring. We also recognize there is always work to do in creating a more inclusive workplace where everyone feels empowered to be themselves. This Pride Week, our leadership team is committing to joining the conversation and taking steps toward a more diverse and inclusive future. In celebration of Calgary's Pride Week, we interviewed our Vice President of Partnerships & Client Engagement, Rob Steed, to learn more about what Pride means to him as a member of the LGBTQ+ community. What does Pride mean to you and your family? For me, pride means being authentic and proud with who you are without having to hide your identity. It’s about loving yourself and not feeling ashamed or scared. Growing up in rural Nova Scotia was tough. I was isolated in a very small town where gay people were not open about their sexual orientation. Things changed slightly when I moved to PEI for university and eventually to Calgary with a friend, but it was never easy. Fast forward a few decades and it wasn’t until I was almost 40 that I was truly comfortable with my true self, and now I think, “what a waste”. I think of all the time spent trying to create a personality that fit with people around me, and it’s something I hope people will not have to continually go through in the future. How will you be celebrating Calgary Pride this week? I will be celebrating with my husband and son. Tyler and I have been together for 22 years. We will celebrate our 12-year wedding anniversary on August 29, during Pride week. We plan to take in as many virtual events as we can with our son. Rob Steed (Centre) and Family How do you show support for diversity and inclusion in the workplace year-round? I’m open. I no longer hide who I am, and I relate to many of my personal stories when talking about business problems. Many of my clients and colleagues have met my husband and supported us while we were going through the adoption process with our son. When you step into my office, you will see personal photos and memories that celebrate our family. What is your advice to businesses who want to be better allies to the LGBTQ+ community? First and foremost, be supportive and treat everyone fairly no matter of race, religion, or sexuality. Secondly, get involved and participate in community events and help with charitable donations that directly help our at-risk youth who may living in a dangerous environment. Lastly, I would recommend that all businesses take the time to find those professional organizations that support our community both professionally and personally. Several years back, I joined the Calgary-based Pride in Business group and it’s been so great to make connections. Not only did I make friends in the group, but I was able to connect with TD Bank to help my son start a small business which never would have been possible without this wonderful organization. Show Your Pride Calgary Pride Week takes place August 27 - Sept 6, 2021. Learn more about the week's festivities and what you can do to get involved by visiting www.calgarypride.ca.

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