There is life after radio

When Kory Hopkins worked in radio, his golden voice found its way onto lots of commercials. His wit formed the foundation for lots of commercial “storyboards” where the advertising gameplan told an ongoing story and built to an established audience.

Kory moved around in radio and then when the provincial government funded Environmental Action Barrie in the early 90’s, Kory saw an opportunity to blend his interest in the community with his commitment to responsible living. The mandate of EAB included building analysis for insulation factors to reduce the consumption of non renewable energy; replacement of water-consuming devices to conserve the city’s pollution control plant; education of the public to its individual and collective responsibility.

For Kory, this was the job made in heaven and he relished in the Public Relations role.

And then EAB lost its provincial funding when Bob Rae lost the election and EAB moved from its Collier Street quarters to the back of a Ross Street real estate office. Through diligent commitment on the part of its members, EAB maintains an admirable presence in the community, with very little operating capital.

Of course Kory, along with many, many others, lost his dream job.

What now?

It takes a special kind of person to look back and pick up the most valuable pieces and look ahead and decide to put your feet on a strange and untried road. Kory is one of those people. He decided to try self employment, selling his many talents essentially to the non profit sector. Jingles, radio ads, newsletters, internet web page development, press releases, all the elements that help maintain a community profile for agencies who could no longer afford their own PR person.

Kory’s business plan reads like a journey in altruism. The non profit sector was certainly his target market. Reality, however, is stranger than fiction. Kory founded Decent Exposure Media Consulting, and joined about 20 other new businesses being launched through the support of the federal government’s self employment assistance program.

While he initially targetted non profit sector, he quickly found that his volunteer opportunities lay there and he gave them willingly while he bit his teeth on the private sector, developing advertising campaigns, generating radio spots for companies which were also new in town.

Kory plugged along, buoyed by his sense of humour and his tremendous capacity for seeing the best side of any situation. He became a cornerstone of the Community in Motion organization, a group dedicated to providing mentoring and targetted advice to small companies needing it. He became chair of the Victoria Village marketing committee, helping to develop the early image of the Ross St. facility.

And then he wrote a proposal for Luke McWatters at the Orillia Learning Centre to become part of a cutting edge educational curriculum being developed for grade 11 high school students. Called The EDEN Project (which stands for Electronic Distance Education Network), Kory has joined a number of currilicum people as they develop an entrepreneur course for grade 11, 15 year old high school students. The course is enjoying its test semester now at the Barrie Learning Centre.

This credit course is completely offered on the internet; students work at their own pace, communicating with experts linked through the web. They do real-life assignments, and look at the attributes and skills they’d need to become self employed. It’s truly a course developed to meet the needs for working in the new millenium.

Kory’s work, three days a week, is to design the web pages, develop the entrepreneur case histories, help with wordsmithing and make the pages as lively as possible to keep the attention of highly stimulated students who demand top notch in interactive graphics. It’s a real talent to be able to say more with less.

And what are Kory and Decent Exposure doing with the other four days of the week? (Remember, we’re talking about self employment here–there are no five day work weeks). He’s running like a jack rabbit to fit in his other business. He has a myriad of clients, some private sector and some non profit. He put his talent to work for me last January when I needed help to develop a brochure with pictures and text to celebrate the life of my mother-in-law at her funeral services. He can do just about anything, and brings to each project a willingness and positivity that keeps you coming back.

When Environmental Action Barrie closed (downsized, eliminated, whatever you want to say), for Kory it looked like the permanent shutting of a door on his life. Instead, it’s become a gateway to more, much, much more. It’s a funny thing how reaching up to pick a new fruit off the tree can give you a whole new taste for living!

Thanks, Kory.