Tracy's blog

I’m Tracy Au and I have graduated from the Professional Writing program from university. I am an aspiring screenwriter, so this blog is used to promote my writing and attract people who will hire me to write for your TV show or movie. I write a lot about writing, TV, movies, jokes, and my daily life and opinions. I have another blog promoting my TV project at

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Donna Butt/ performance-management strategy

Oct. 23, 2017 The Ladder: Donna Butt: Today I found this article in the Globe and Mail:

Donna Butt, 65, is a founder, executive and artistic director of Rising Tide Theatre in Trinity, Nfld. Besides portraying the culture of Newfoundland and Labrador, the theatre has been a major economic generator since 1978.

I grew up mostly in St. John's, with a strong sense of what being a Newfoundlander meant. My father was a railway dispatcher, very involved in politics and history. Our first Rising Tide show was Daddy, What's a Train? My father was involved in the battle to save the railway, outraged by the behind-the-scenes trade of rails for roads and way [workers] were treated. I saw the impact and got involved in all things Newfoundland.

I was political science student. I went with my friend auditioning for The Mummers Troupe, spring of 1973. I got the part. The politics drew me, trying to define our place and culture, art reflecting that. There was great loss – culture, identity and economics – because outports were resettled and the inshore fishery downgraded. We were passionately driven by our love of where we came from, part of the movement to reclaim the province. The place we came from mattered, was something to honour and be proud of – humour and tragedy.

Basically, we lived in an old bus and toured the province. My parents were horrified. We were the first generation to be able to go to university. I'd always done well in school; they had high hopes and expectations. Despite that, they never missed a show, ever. I have an honorary degree now; I told the students, "Your parents only had to wait four years, mine had to wait 30 years."

They Club Seals, Don't They? played across Canada, a delicate time in 1978 due to worldwide protest of the hunt, garnering massive media attention for the tour. I left in 1979 to form Rising Tide in St. John's with David Ross [who died in 2009]. Trinity had an active historical society starting restoration, so we developed an outdoor historical play. Moving there, people were horrified and skeptical, had no idea what in the name of God we were going to try make happen. That summer, 1993, everybody we hired for our New Founde Lande Trinity Pageant had been working in fish plants and so on.

We were early pioneers of cultural tourism. About 40 work in a population of 169; we rent houses and the parish hall. We have a significant economic impact, built a permanent home and have 20,000 visitors annually. We're trying to walk that line recognizing the value and importance to the community and region – to have voices ring out on the landscape and seascape and contribute economically to the province. Luckily, I'm interested in those things. I've been involved in a lot of regional economic development organizations because they genuinely interest me.

All kinds of business grew alongside us. Now, this whole region is a major tourist destination. There are amazing things happening, amazing accommodations and restaurants, a new brewery, some of the best hiking trails and historic sites. Trinity was a large mercantile centre in its day, so a lot of buildings restored were remains from merchants and the money taken out of Newfoundland. Our story – and pageant – is exactly the opposite, about those who stayed.

I tell the young people I hire, when we were their age, we were really interested in talking to older people with different experiences; we went into communities, talked to miners, people who fished and lost everything.

The model we developed could be used anywhere. That sense of wanting to belong to something is universal and you can make that work if you have a strong concept. [A visitor] told me our story of inshore fishing was like what happened with farms in Saskatchewan.

Business and non-profits need to be in the same room figuring out how to make both work. Sometimes non-profits are taken for granted; it's going to be harder to dedicate a lifetime to them. I ran a non-profit company so I own nothing. I can't retire. If someone really dislikes me, I say, "Give me a pension, get rid of me."

My life, in a strange way, has been to bring elements together. I felt there was a way culture, history and economics could matter. When I look to the future, and in my stage of life, about what I can do to ensure this [the theatre] survives, what's been created can continue. It will ultimately change, but I want to make it as strong and stable as it can be when it passes into other hands.

Oct. 28, 2017 "How effective is your performance- management strategy?": Today I found this article by Bill Howatt in the Globe and Mail:

Chief research and development officer of work force productivity at Morneau Shepell in Toronto

On a scale of one (low) to 10 (high), how effectively does your current performance management help you professionally?

Most organizations use performance management to align a person’s goals and objectives to the organization’s, the end outcome being to maximize employee performance, engagement and results.

Organizations that have figured out how to make performance management work right for them report significant financial results and improved customer service and engagement over their competitors.

Traditional performance-management systems facilitate a formal annual performance appraisal where the employee and manager review the past 12 months. Some models also include semi-annual or quarterly goal setting and check meetings.

More and more organizations are evaluating the effectiveness of their performance-management systems. Deloitte reported in the Harvard Business Review that it was dropping its traditional model. Many others are reporting similar decisions.

The challenge with traditional performance-management models is that they can breed a pass-or-fail mindset, with the focus on getting a passing grade.

Performance 2.0 is a human-capital model that turns its focus to performance and results achieved through a highly interactive process.

The leader’s role in this model is not management; it’s facilitation of performance. Dropping the word “management” puts the primary focus on performance, the goal being to create a level playing field where the employee and manager can focus on obtaining results rather than passing.

This new model’s primary purpose is to move from static to interactive conversations that promote learning and growth. It appears 69 per cent of millennials think the annual performance managing model is flawed and are looking for ways to receive meaningful feedback, development and growth.

This framework outlines elements that move to a balanced two-way accountability model that focuses on promoting continuous growth over the entire year.

Performance 2.0 success requirements

Senior leadership has determined that manager-employee interactions are critical. There is no more important relationship than the employee manager relationship. A manager’s effectiveness is determined by their results and how successfully they influence their people’s behaviours and outcomes on a consistent basis. The manager’s time can be occupied by technical, financial, process and operations issues that can take the lion’s share of their day.

In one organization, the average manager spent 95 per cent of their time on technical and operations issues and only 5 per cent focused on employees’ needs, development gaps and acknowledgment of good work. The time spent with employees was primarily focused on correcting or asking them to do more with less.

These changes need to be recognized by senior leadership and it should be made clear to managers that spending time with people is of value to the operation. When managers spend quality time with employees – with encouragement from senior leaders – this facilitates trust, creating winning teams and results. Manager-employee staffing ratios need to be realistic A 15-to-1 ratio is most likely as high as a manager can go to interact and communicate with and support a group of employees effectively on a monthly basis.

Managers who are expected to do performance management with 50 employees are engaging in an administration checkbox process, as there’s no time for meaningful interaction, reflection and relationship building.

This model’s success requires a minimum of 10 per cent of the typical manager’s time each month to focus on their employees. This doesn’t seem like a lot, but it has a massive, positive impact in relationship building, trust, growth and discretionary effort by employees, as they are grateful that the organization is investing in them.

Performance 2.0 in action

Following is a snapshot of some elements of Performance 2.0. The focus is on high levels of interaction, coaching, learning and engagement. Every employee is provided an opportunity to focus on their needs at least once a month.

People time: The primary goal is to increase the number of employee-manager interactions and communications that are relevant to the employee. A 12-month structured calendar:

Every month, a goal is framed for all employees in the organization to focus on with their manager. Managers are provided with a calendar and materials that can be used to facilitate each of the monthly conversations. This allows the organization to facilitate performance one conversation at a time.

Managers’ training: Every manager is trained to facilitate this model. There’s no assumption that managers have the skills to build trusted relationships or to facilitate effective employee-manager meetings and influence employee motivation, behaviours and performance.

Organizational aggregated results: The model allows for scoring that can act as a pulse check for where the entire organization is monthly with respect to impact and results. As well, annual metrics can be obtained for benchmarking. Organizations can use technologies to facilitate a model such as Performance 2.0 to make reporting seamless and easy for all involved.

Employee drives the structured meetings calendar: Each employee is accountable to set their own monthly meeting with their direct manager and to have their dates booked three months in advance. The meetings are typically anywhere from 30 minutes to 45 minutes, and the goal is to be focused.

Real-time interaction: This model promotes real-time learning. In addition to the structured monthly meetings that are meant to be the minimal interactions, managers are encouraged to focus on providing real-time feedback, support and acknowledgment.

"Diversity and inclusion"/ "Power of Partnerships"

Oct. 27, 2017 "Diversity and inclusion is about more than meeting numbers": Today I found this article by Mary Ann Yule in the Globe and Mail:

Efforts to create a diverse work force must be embedded into the DNA of an organization so its brand narrative can be authentic and meaningful

Fostering a work culture that emphasizes the importance of diversity and inclusion is a business imperative, not just a moral or ethical one.

A more diverse work force will put any company into a stronger position to grow and innovate. It will attract top industry talent and help businesses connect with customers.
And, of course, it’s the right thing to do.

As part of one of the most diverse countries in the world, business leaders in Canada need to act now and embed diversity and inclusion practices throughout their organizations and leadership teams.

How can organizations reinvent the standard for diversity and inclusion and truly lead on this front without embracing and valuing the differences – including race, ethnicity, gender, religion or sexual orientation – of their work force?

As business leaders, we know that exceptional storytelling is the central underpinning of effective leadership and the way customers see your brand.

All good storytellers agree you must first understand your audience.

Who are they, where do they come from, what experiences have shaped them and what matters to them?

How do they want to be spoken to, what vernacular is comfortable and what cadence captures their attention?

You can’t tell an effective story or brand narrative to your customers if you only value select points of view. This is why a commitment to diversity and inclusion leadership means more than just a number, a department or even an objective.

Diversity and inclusion efforts must be embedded into the very DNA of an organization so that its brand narrative can be authentic, meaningful and distinctive.

A McKinsey study showed that “companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 per cent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.”

Another study showed that diverse companies had 2.3 times higher cash flow over a three-year period than non-diverse companies did.

If we don’t embrace an inclusive culture, it is impossible to speak genuinely to our customers.

To lead from the top on inclusion and reinvent the standard of diversity, here are a few best practices business leaders should drive toward.

Get unapologetically real

Unconscious bias is alive and well. Instead of treating it like the proverbial elephant in the room, it’s time to acknowledge that our personal experiences inform how we see the world.

Recognizing the reality of unconscious bias is a critical first step in working to reduce it in the workplace.

Providing diversity and inclusion training, using technology to eliminate biased language in job listings, ensuring that underrepresented colleagues have a voice and that there are opportunities at all levels of the organization are all ways to build a more inclusive, less biased work environment.

Your talk must match your walk. I’m proud to be a female leader at a company that is reinventing the standard for diversity and inclusion efforts. HP has the most diverse board of directors of any technology company in the United States, including five women among the 13 board members – almost 40 per cent. Several are from South Asia.

In Canada, our leadership team is more than 60 per cent female, with diverse backgrounds across the entire team. Your commitment must shine through in everything you do.

Invite and empower vocal diversity champions

Give your most passionate and active employees the resources and tools to bring diversity leadership across the entire organization at the grassroots level. Equip them to have sensitive conversations and make it safe to discuss what matters to them. Then reward and celebrate them.

Give your employees meaningful benefits, such as work-life balance programs, diversity and inclusion awards, an open and collaborative workspace, employee resource groups to share like-minded experiences, goals and values.

Highlight how the organization values and directs diversity efforts to drive new business, fuel innovation and attract and retain top talent.

Lead by bold precedent

If you want to change how things are being done, take big, brave leaps. For instance, challenge your partners: Our chief marketing officer asked each of our advertising and PR agency partners to submit a plan to increase the number of women and minorities in key creative and strategy roles.

He also announced that HP would donate $100,000 to #FreeTheBid, an initiative aimed at increasing the number of female directors in advertising by pledging one in three competitive bids will go to a female director. Our global legal leadership team launched a “diversity holdback” requirement that allows HP to withhold up to 10 per cent of all amounts invoiced by our law-firm partners for so long as the firm fails to maintain diverse staffing in our legal matters.

Embracing diversity of ideas, perspectives and experiences has the potential to unlock innovation and growth. Business leaders must reinvent the standard of diversity and inclusion to make a difference in their organizations, marketplace and community.

How can organizations reinvent the standard for diversity and inclusion and truly lead on this front without embracing and valuing the differences – including race, ethnicity, gender, religion or sexual orientation – of their work force?

Establish unimpeachable credibility

"The power of partnerships: Why businesses are better together": Today I found this article by Paul Parisi in the Globe and Mail:

President, PayPal Canada.

There is no better approach to solving challenges than the famous saying "two heads are better than one." Whether creating internal partnerships between colleagues or departments, to larger partnerships between businesses, harnessing the strengths and abilities of others from different corners of your ecosystem is one of the most strategic ways for businesses to scale their innovation and solve complex challenges.

In today's fast-paced environment, a "do-it-alone" approach is not the best strategy for growth. Companies that initially grew organically need to look for new ways to drive collaborative innovation that delivers on what their customers need today – and in the future.

Collaboration and strategic partnerships are fundamental to improving business outcomes. I've worked in the payments industry for more than 20 years – first at American Express and now at PayPal Canada – and have struck more than 50 major partnerships and strategic alliances that brought innovation and improved offerings to customers.

Strategic partnerships benefit everyone: businesses, employees and customers.

Businesses can broaden their relevance and increase their addressable market; customers benefit from the strengths and offerings each organization brings to the table; and employees can expand their development opportunities by being exposed to new perspectives and expertise.

Plus, deepening ties between complementary businesses fosters collaboration and longevity, and allows companies to offer services and solutions that help their customers and other businesses become more successful.

The fintech ecosystem has seen this happen over the past few years. Traditional organizations such as big banks and government agencies are partnering with newer players, startups and entrepreneurs. At PayPal, we've embraced a partnership approach wholeheartedly – from the top of the organization to the bottom.

Since we separated from eBay as an independently listed company in 2015, we have been focused on forging partnerships with leaders across the financial and technology industries to expand our services, increase conversion for our merchants, create better experiences and give our consumers the flexibility, security and speed that digital payments offer.

Some organizations may be resistant to partnering with a company that competes with them for customers or profits, and some employees may not feel the need to collaborate internally in new or unexpected ways.

The reality of today's business landscape, however, means that partnerships are key to better serving customers by merging talent, expertise, technology and purpose. While the rewards are great, strategic partnerships require thoughtful consideration to ensure success is achieved.

Identify the gap and opportunity

I've seen the greatest success when opportunity drives collaboration. Partners – whether internal or external – need to first identify the specific challenge they can solve. Look at your customers and consider what their pain points are, what worries them or what would help accelerate their growth.

For employees, think outside the box to find unexpected expertise. Could your finance team bring unexpected insight to a financial product you are developing? For business to business relations, do you share customers with other businesses? What issues do your shared customers face? Can you work together to achieve common success? Sometimes the best ideas come from combined solutions from different perspectives.

Work toward a common goal

Any partnership, big or small, will work best when there is a shared goal. Establishing a common purpose sets the foundation and acts as the glue to holding the partnership together. Earlier this year, PayPal Canada developed a strategic collaboration with Canada Post.

We saw that our existing customers lacked a seamless payment and shipping solution and were wasting precious hours that could have been spent growing their business. In Canada Post, we found the best partner to launch a convenient, easy-to-use shipping and payment solution for small businesses that saves time and money.

The partnership was built on that fact that we both shared a common goal of helping small businesses grow their operations and harness e-commerce as part of their business strategy. Throughout the partnership, we kept this shared goal as our North Star, and our employees were motivated and excited to create an experience that would positively affect our customers.

Lean into each other's strengths

Strategic partnerships enable teams to bring the best of their talent and strengths forward.

Every person and every business has unique strengths, so honing your partnership strategy to play to those strengths will let you shine. It's rewarding to see how doing so generates functional and creative solutions. We regularly partner with teams internally across geographies to learn from their expertise and apply key learnings to our own market.

When the Toronto Parking Authority launched the Green P Parking app to enable Torontonians to pay for parking from their mobile phone, we teamed up with them to add PayPal as a payment option and promote it across our customer base.

The Toronto Parking Authority team excelled in understanding everything to do with parking and we brought expertise in providing a seamless mobile payment experience and marketing skills to drive increased usage.

Communication is key

For a partnership to succeed, an emphasis on clear communication between partners is essential. Leverage internal communication and collaboration channels when working on partnerships within your organization.

For external partnerships, in-person meetings can go a long way in developing a solid working rapport. Open and effective channels of communication between members of the partnership or alliance will ensure there are no misaligned expectations between parties.

Big breakthroughs and progress can't happen in silos. Working collaboratively with partners – within an organization as well as within your ecosystem to solve business problems – generates the kind of energy that fuels growth, innovation and creativity. Developing value-aligned partnerships that focus on common goals and complementary strengths is key to ensuring successful outcomes for all.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

"The Hollywood fable that enabled Weinstein"

This whole email/ blog post may be hard to read.  After you read this, you may be angry and depressed and in a bad mood.  You have all been forewarned:

Oct. 12, 2017 "The Hollywood fable that enabled Weinstein": Today I found this article by John Doyle in the Globe and Mail:

Even as they confront the unnerving allegations against the movie magnate, many continue to cling to fairy tales about the business

There are now so many unnerving allegations against and public stories about Harvey Weinstein that it’s hard to figure out a context other than disgust.

But here’s one way of looking at the larger context – a problem with public perception of the allegations against Weinstein is that it fits into the public’s imagination as a kind of perverse beauty-and-the-beast illusion.

Weinstein is a large, aggressive and abrasive, powerful man. He’s nobody’s idea of a dreamboat. He conforms to the monster myth – physically intimidating, capable of great fury and destruction. The female, in the illusion the public sees, is attractive, young, smart but inexperienced, emotional and slight of frame, easily overpowered.

This isn’t helpful. Some people familiar only with the surface gloss of the entertainment industry will look at the allegations and conclude, “It’s gross but that’s gonna happen.”

Everybody is inclined to believe stories that conform to ancient myths and fairy tales, especially about the entertainment world. And in doing so, everyone enables the likes of Harvey Weinstein.

Predatory behaviour and harassment should never happen. And here’s the thing to remember: Not all predatory men in the entertainment world are ogres who resemble Weinstein.

Most who harass, abuse or humiliate women are slicker than Weinstein but have great power in making or breaking careers. It’s just that we, by inclination, want to see ogres.

To be clear, based on my knowledge from years of covering television, the vast majority of people in the industry, men and women, are professional, disciplined and more interested in their work than sexual shenanigans.

What some of them share, however, is a sense of protectiveness about their industry and the material they create for public consumption. They want the fantasy to remain intact: the fantasy of happy, skilled, motivated, attractive people working together to create inspiring, entertaining stories for the audience.

Admitting that there is obnoxious and sometimes disgusting behaviour is anathema to them. The truth about that would undermine everything.

That’s one reason why, perhaps, so few women come forward to name and shame predators and harassers. The main reason, obviously, is the fear of repercussion and career destruction, but in a general way, there is the reluctance to shatter myths and conventional assumptions about working in film and television – and a belief that the public doesn’t want the myths shattered.

Ask women actors about the casting couch and harassment in television, even off the record, and they will clam up. That’s understandable, if regrettable. There is anxiety about being the first to speak about it and the work drying up.

Ask others, who would have no such fears, and they are coy or shrug. There is, especially among men and among media, publicists and others on the fringes, a fierce impulse toward denial and there exists a strange omerta based on the notion that the public doesn’t need to know what’s going on.

Media coverage of the movie business accepts the omerta. Most journalism about the film world inhabited by Weinstein is limited to puffery. Usually, there are limitations on what questions can be asked in interviews.

At the same time, writers and editors want journalism that amounts to easy-to-understand stories that fit into a limited number of genres. Those journalism genres are rather like myths and fairy tales.

Everybody likes stories about underdogs. Everybody likes stories about a deep personal connection between the star and the material in the movie. That sort of journalism taps into a very old human desire to see everything in terms of a small set of storylines.

Most movies do precisely the same thing, and people worship at that altar.
There are so many layers and connections in the Weinstein story at this point that it’s a bewildering saga, apparently decades long and filled with all manner of malfeasance. Responses to it all can vary wildly. Everybody has an angle on it in order to point a finger at somebody else.

But here’s the main takeaway we should remember after the dust settles and the indignation only simmers – the entertainment world traffics in fantasies we want to believe, and to buy into a beauty-and-the-beast scenario is only to buy into a fantasy version of the sordid truth.

If we expect female actors to speak out, we should be prepared to challenge our own convenient assumptions and myths. There are ogres everywhere, it’s just a myth that they all look like Weinstein.

Oct. 20, 2017 "Rapid fire cuts ties to former director": Today I found this article by Paula Simons in the Edmonton Journal.  It was about Chris Craddock, this guy I have talked to a few times when he was the Writer in Residence at the Edmonton Public Library.  He critiqued my script.  I never got a bad vibe from him before:

Rapid Fire Theatre, Edmonton’s largest improv troupe, has issued a statement distancing itself from its former artistic director Chris Craddock, saying he will no longer be affiliated with the theatre company.

“This week so many people around the world have engaged in a large conversation of sexual harassment and abuse; much of that conversation focusing on issues of sexual harassment and abuse in the entertainment industry. The improv industry has its fair share of predators and we know that at times in Rapid Fire Theatre’s 37-year history we have featured some of those individuals in our performing ensemble. Enough is enough,” says the statement, posted to Rapid Fire’s Facebook page Wednesday.

“This includes the work of former artistic director (2004-2008) Chris Craddock who has publicly admitted to unacceptable behaviour in violation of our own harassment policy,” read the statement.

In the statement, Craddock attributed much of his behaviour to his alcoholism and cocaine addiction, adding that he has been sober for the last four months. 

“(T) he clear lens of sobriety has opened my memory to the realities of my actions, micro-actions and things more overt, and I have so much to make up for.”
Craddock’s Facebook post has since been removed.

“As a sex addict, I sought out sex in ways that people were grossed out by me. People didn’t want me to hit on them, and in my state, I didn’t have the emotional intelligence to see that. But I want to make it clear that I’m not a sexual predator, especially now, when I’m sober.”

"Show business sex scandals hit Quebec": Today I found this article by Graeme Hamilton in the National Post in the Edmonton Journal

Oct. 19, 2017 "Women and Weinstein: end the blame game": Today I found this article by Zosia Beilski in the Globe and Mail

"Kevin Smith donates film residuals": 

Kevin Smith got his Hollywood break in the early 1990s when Miramax bought distribution rights to his low-budget indie film Clerks, but now the filmmaker wishes he never got involved with the production company founded by Harvey Weinstein.

After the New York Times published its report detailing decades of sexual-harassment and assault allegations against Weinstein, Smith wrote on Twitter that he felt “ashamed” for profiting from a relationship with the movie mogul while others were suffering.

Now the Jay and Silent Bob creator wants to go a step further by donating future residuals from movies backed by the Weinsteins and Miramax to Women in Film, a nonprofit organization that supports women filmmakers.

Oct. 28, 2017 Boss Hog: This is an article by Jamie Portman in the Edmonton Journal.  I can't find the article on the internet, but there was mainly about how it was a toxic environment to work for Weinstein's Miramax company.

Miramax marketing coordinator Amy Hart complained that it was like "factory labour in a Third World country."  She had a meagre salary and Weinstein paid for Gwyneth Paltrow's weekend in Paris which costs $100,000.

"McAdams among Toback accusers": This is an article by Lindsey Bahr in the Edmonton Journal.  It's against James Toback.  I forewarn you this is pretty offensive:

McAdams, an Oscar nominee for her supporting role in Spotlight, also met Toback to audition for Harvard Man. She was 21 and just starting out in the business. After her audition he told her he wanted to workshop with her. They met that night in his hotel room where, she said, the conversation quickly turned sexual.

“He said, ‘You know, I just have to tell you. I have masturbated countless times today thinking about you since we met at your audition,’ ” McAdams said.

He later asked if she would show him her pubic hair. McAdams said she eventually excused herself and left.

“I was very lucky that I left and he didn’t actually physically assault me in any way,” she said, adding that she has felt shame ever since that she didn’t leave earlier. When she told her agent about the encounter.

Tyra Banks talk show: This reminds me of an ep she did about "The casting couch."  They did an experiment where an actress auditions for a role with a director.  Then later, the director invites him to her hotel room to do more of the audition.

A black woman in her 20s says: Can I bring a friend along?

My opinion: That's good with bringing a friend for safety.

Another black woman in her 30s did enter the hotel room.  She was talking to the director.

Director: Well do you want the role?
Woman: Well not that much.

Then Tyra enters and the woman freaks out that she's meeting Tyra.

Another woman in her 20s.  I remember she was a new immigrant.  As soon as she enters the hotel room, she looks all around.

Another one I remembered was another experiment in the same ep.  The director was passing out cards inviting people to his hotel room.  One woman came with her boyfriend.

"A new wave of sex harassment complaints": Today I found this article by Cassandra Szklarski in the Edmonton Journal:

TORONTO -- Media reports detailing sexual harassment claims against high-profile film and TV titans including Harvey Weinstein and Bill O'Reilly have been relentless.

So too are the far less-sensational claims being made in average workplaces everyday, says Toronto workplace harassment investigator Monica Jeffrey.

"Every investigator that I know right now in Toronto is just totally, totally swamped," Jeffrey says of non-stop claims that spiked in the past year.

My week:
Feb. 5, 2018 Beware of human traffickers: I found this Yahoo article on Mar. 27, 2017:

Mom-of-three, Diandra Toyos, was shopping for couches in Ikea when she noticed something wasn’t right. As she guided her children aged four, one and seven weeks, through the maze-like furniture store, she claims noticing two men watching her family intently.

The woman from South Carolina says her instincts kicked in when the men separately formed “circling patterns” around her and her kids. While no arrests have been made, Toyos’ experience left her convinced her family was being targeted by predators.

She goes into detail on Facebook: “At one point he came right up to me and the boys, and instinctively I put myself between he and my mobile son. I had a bad feeling.

“He continued to circle the area, staring at the kids.

“He occasionally picked something up, pretending to look at it but looking right over at us instead. My mom noticed as well and mentioned that we needed to keep an eye on him.
“We moved on… and so did he. Closely. My son wandered into one of the little display rooms across from the couches and I followed him closely with my baby strapped to me.
“My mom said she watched as the older man dropped what he was doing and quickly and closely followed us into the area.”

Toyos said she had a “gut feeling” that something was not quite right so decided to sit down in the store with all of her kids and wait for the men to move along.

She continued: “We sat in one of the little display rooms. For close to 30 minutes. And they sat too.

“They sat down on one of the couches on the display floor that faced us. That was when we knew our gut feeling was right and something was off.

“They sat the whole time we sat and stood up right as we got up.”
Toyos and her family finally managed to lose the men after talking to an employee and going to the toilet.

“I am almost sure that we were the targets of human trafficking,” she added.

Be it fear mongering or a mother’s intuition, Toyos’ words have garnered more than 100,000 shares and more than 40,000 reactions online, reminding parents to stay vigilant in public.

“Please, PLEASE be aware when you’re out with your children. It’s not the time to be texting or Facebooking or chatting on the phone. When you’re in a public place with your kids, please be aware and present so that you don’t become a victim.

“Had I let my kids roam and play while I checked my phone… I may have lost one,” she said.

My opinion: I don't have kids and I don't work with kids or teens.  However, it's about safety so I'm putting it up.

Feb. 8, 2018 Nick Carter accused of rape: His name was on top 10 on Yahoo.  I clicked on it.  I was like "Oh my God.  As soon as I saw the name Melissa Schuman and her pic, I know it was the girl from the pop group Dream.  I was a fan of Dream back then.  I still listen to Dream's music sometimes on YouTube.  I also read her blog post about it:

Former pop singer Melissa Schuman may have forgiven Nick Carter after going public with allegations that the Backstreet Boys star raped her, but that’s not stopping her from taking her allegations to the police.

Months after making her shocking allegations, Schuman took to Twitter on Wednesday to reveal she’s filing a police report.

I’m finally doing what I thought I could no longer do. Im filing a police report ✊🏻 thank you @RAINN for empowering me to take this step.

In December, Schuman sat down for an episode of “The Dr. Oz Show”, where she shared a message for Carter and explained what motivated her to come forward with her allegations in the first place.

“I forgive you,” Schuman, 33, said, directing her remarks toward Carter. “I don’t want anything from you. I wish you only the best. I don’t want your money. I didn’t do this to hurt you or your family. I did this for me, because I needed this healing.”

“I also came forward because I want to inspire other victims, other people who have been assaulted to come forward and know that they have a voice,” she added in this sneak peek of the upcoming episode.

Schuman — who was a member of the early 2000s girl group Dream — came forward with allegations in a post on her personal blog earlier this month, in which she claimed that Carter raped her when she was 18 years old and he was 22.

After the post was picked up by media outlets, Carter denied the allegations.

“I am shocked and saddened by Ms. Schuman’s accusations. Melissa never expressed to me while we were together or at any time since that anything we did was not consensual,” Carter said in a statement released to ET. “We went on to record a song and perform together, and I was always respectful and supportive of Melissa both personally and professionally. This is the first that I am hearing about these accusations, nearly two decades later. It is contrary to my nature and everything I hold dear to intentionally cause someone discomfort or harm.”

While speaking with Dr. Oz, Schuman claimed that she originally considered pressing charges against the popular boy band member, but was allegedly warned about the ramifications of coming forward.

“I’d actually confided in my manager at that time about pressing charges. And I was told that he had the most powerful litigator in the country and that I didn’t have the money to pay for an attorney to essentially defend me, if he were to come after me,” she said.

The former singer further claimed that her manager told her, “‘Everyone’s going to call you fame hungry, [and say] that you’re trying to use this to better yourself or get your name out there and at this point there’s nothing we can do.”

Her blog:

My opinion: I read the blog post, and she did forewarn the part that is going to be offensive.
I don't think I'm going to watch the Dr. Oz episode.  However, good for her for coming out about this.

This has a really strong effect on me.  It's probably because I'm a fan of hers and she is my age.  I am taking it personal.  I had written about this before like the below 2014 post:

Jul.1 Surviving Evil: 

Charisma Carpenter: On Jun. 30, 2014, I was reading in the Globe and Mail about the new Investigation Discovery Channel docu-series called Surving Evil.  It’s on Slice at 9pm starting Jul. 4, 2014.  The episode will be hosted by Buffy and Angel star Charisma Carpenter who played Cordelia on the show.  It said she survived an experience when a gun man attacked her and her 2 friends in 1991.  She was 21 back then.

The show is where they re-enact true- life stories where women experienced this and survived it.  Here’s the article and they actually re-enact Carpenter’s experience.  It’s intense to read.   She talks about after it happened, she didn’t really deal with it.  Then she went to counseling.

My 2018 opinion: I have never met Charisma Carpenter, but I feel like I know her because I have seen her on TV and movies for years.

Sexual harassment scandals: It all started with Harvey Weinstein in like Oct. 2017.  However, there have been lots of scandals prior to it like:

-Jian Ghomeshi
-Bill Cosby
-Michael Jackson
-R. Kelly
-Roman Polanski
-Lou Pearlman
-Kobe Bryant

I read the newspaper everyday and there has been accusations about once a week.  I'm sure some of you guys are sick of reading it in the news, so I don't really write about it on my blog.

The same goes for the current American President that will not be named.  I have some emails about the above topic and him in my weekly emails/ blog posts drafts, but I haven't really put it up. 

Feb. 9, 2018 Rose McGowan's manager suicide:

Jill Messick, a former Miramax executive producer who once managed actress Rose McGowan, died by suicide Wednesday at age 50, her family confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter

A scathing statement provided by her family’s attorney criticized disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, his vocal accuser McGowan and members of the media for their coverage of the #MeToo movement. Messick represented McGowan in 1997, at the time she says she was raped by Weinstein, and she later took an executive position at Miramax, then led by Weinstein.