Leo Artalejo, NATIONAL Public Relations

On February 18, I was honoured to have the opportunity to introduce Premier Stephen McNeil at the Premier’s Inaugural Address, as part of my role with NATIONAL. We’ve sponsored this event for over 13 years, and this year I was the lucky team member asked to represent our firm in front of 750 of Halifax’s business and community leaders. Each year as part of our sponsorship tradition, we create something interesting that highlights or celebrates our province in some way.

It turned out that 2014’s address took place at an incredibly interesting time in Nova Scotia. The release of the ‘One Nova Scotia’ commission’s final report had taken place just the week before, Now or Never: An Urgent Call to Action for Nova Scotians. This report was born out of public engagement and hearing from many people in communities across the province, but its message was for every Nova Scotian: That everyone can do something. We made it our goal to capture that spirit in the room.

We worked with the Chamber to coordinate an activity that each person in the audience could participate in. Something that would hopefully inspire them to take the spirit of the event outside the room to Nova Scotians across the province. It was all about starting conversations – conversations that captured personal anecdotes and stories about exciting things happening, and what actions we can all take to help create the change we need to see in our province. We asked people to tweet their responses, or share them with us in the room. We gathered hundreds of Nova Scotia pledges, everything from mentoring a young entrepreneur to reducing the tax burden for small business to shifting our attitudes to a “can-do” spirit.

It’s our thinking at NATIONAL that you can’t know who we could inspire or what spark we could light if we just talk about the opportunities that are out there, right here at home, and how we can all make a difference. As a relatively recent newcomer to the province, my Nova Scotia pledge is to encourage people I know outside the province to see the potential that’s here. So what’s your #NSPledge?

Leo Artalejo is Senior Counsel at NATIONAL Public Relations.