Nominations Open for Leaders Summit

21incMy first experience with 21inc came through the Emerging Leaders Summit in 2010 where fifty of Atlantic Canada’s most promising leaders under age 35 gathered in St. Andrews, NB.

The leaders were chosen from a pool of 407 nominations and engaged in curriculum focused on providing them with the leadership skills and knowledge needed for the 21st Century.

It was a fantastic program where I met some amazing people – people who I have kept in touch with ever since.

21inc is now accepting nominations for the latest Emerging Leaders Summit, and there was a great article covering it in today’s Telegraph-Journal.

Be sure to take a look, and send in your nominations!


FUSION Saint John

The following article was written by FUSION Saint John’s Claire Ryan:

A regional “action tank” that works to develop, support and encourage leadership across Atlantic Canada is looking for exceptional leaders between the ages of 20 and 35.

21inc. has opened nominations for the second edition of the Emerging Leaders Summit, an intensive three-day leadership experience, designed to encourage and support young Atlantic Canadians who have been identified as leaders or who have demonstrated considerable leadership potential in their field or workplace. The selected participants will take part in sessions led by some of the region’s most highly respected educators, practitioners and mentors, while networking and collaborating with peers from across the region.

“With the present economic situation and the challenges the Atlantic provinces have to overcome, it’s pertinent to assure collaboration among the next generation of leaders and offer them the tools necessary to take the lead and face the challenges,” says 21inc.’s executive director Nadine Duguay.

21inc. is reaching out to its network of alumni and supporters for nominations, with the target of receiving 500. Nominees will be asked to submit an application package, from which 50 participants will be selected by a panel of regional judges. Applicants will be evaluated on criteria including: demonstrated leadership, achievement and a commitment to serving or enhancing the community.

“Participating in the Emerging Leader’s Summit was a challenging and refreshing experience that helped me grow as a leader and transition into a meaningful career path,” says Angélique Wojcik Simpson, who participated in the 2010 Emerging Summit and is manager of international recruitment at the University of New Brunswick as well as the president and project manager at Interlingual Translation. “I met a wide variety of inspiring colleagues across Atlantic Canada who have, in the time since, encouraged me to strive for excellence and work toward the best for our province and our region.”

The Emerging Leaders Summit will take place in St. Andrew’s October 20-23, and is held in conjunction with the Ideas Festival, 21inc.’s bi-annual forum that brings young leaders together with the region’s established business leaders, entrepreneurs, innovators, artists, educators and policy makers. The Ideas Festival will be held October 23-25, with the theme of “The Internalization of Atlantic Canada.”

“In many ways 21inc. sets participants on fire and leaves them with a strong network of movers and shakers to help them get things done,” says Wojcik Simpson of her own experience as one of the seven people from Greater Saint John who participated in the 2010 Summit,

The nomination period for the Emerging Leaders Summit will be open until Friday, June 7. More information on the nomination and selection process is available on 21inc.’s website:

Claire Ryan is on the FUSION Saint John board. Reach her

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Campaign on the Clock 2012

FUSION Saint John is once again organizing a “Campaign on the Clock” to give Saint John residents a chance to meet many of the 2012 Municipal Election Candidates in person.

I was at the event during the previous Municipal Election (in 2008), and I found it to be a great opportunity to quickly meet and ask the candidates questions that mattered to me.



More information from the FUSION Saint John website:

In 2008, FUSION and the Saint John Board of Trade saw a need to engage the Saint John community in the upcoming municipal election. To address this need, Campaign on the Clock was born. The first event was a huge success that drew a large crowd, including many of thecouncillor and mayoral hopefuls.

This year FUSION, the Saint John Board of Trade, and the UNBSJ Students’ Representative Council, have come together to host another Campaign on the Clock event in advance of the election on May 14. This is an opportunity to for the Saint John community to meet with the candidates in a social setting. Attendees will have a couple minutes with each candidate to learn about their platform, put a face to a name, and enjoy the company of others who have also decided to attend. It is expected candidates from all four wards, at large, and mayoral will be in attendance.

Aside from this Michael Quinn, Elections New Brunswick’s Chief Electoral Officer will be on site to answer any questions you may have about voting. There will also be complimentary appetizers and a cash bar.

Campaign on the Clock 2012 will kick off at the Market Square Atrium, May 3 rd at 5:30pm, and will last until 8:00pm (individuals are welcome to show up at any time during this period).

Be sure to visit the FUSION Saint John website to see other great things taking place in Saint John.

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Stopping wasteful practices

This column previously appeared in the Telegraph-Journal on October 12th, 2010.

The article was written by FUSION Saint John’s Claire Ryan:

On any given day, were you to walk into my apartment, you would be quick to notice the plastic bag that sits beside the actual garbage can that contains the milk cartons, plastic bags, pizza flyers and other odds and ends that are eligible candidates for the blue bins.

More often than not, this bag near overflows before the end of the week while the actual garbage does not usually exceed more than one small bag.

I’ll be the first to admit that it’s not the prettiest set-up, but it’s an easy way to separate the garbage, and by leaving it in plain view I’m more likely to remember to bring it along anytime I’m headed near a set of blue bins. I’m also happy to announce that since implementing this system, there has been a significant decrease in the size of the garbage bag I put to the curb each week.

Ordinarily my recycling habits are not something I discuss – let alone with all of Saint John – but this week it’s timely.

Next week is Waste Reduction Week (WRW), a national event organized by a coalition of 13 recycling councils and organizations from across Canada, including Recycle New Brunswick. Since 2001, WRW has taken place during the third week of October and targets three audiences – schools, local governments and small to medium-sized businesses.

The number of participants has more than doubled in the last six years. This year, FUSION is joining countless other Canadian municipalities and organizations participating in this waste reduction effort, and encouraging Saint Johners to take a look at their own waste reduction practices.

The program’s goal is to inform Canadians about the environmental and social ramifications of wasteful practices. WRW aims to encourage people to take action and adopt more environmentally conscious choices by providing information and ideas for reducing waste and creating solutions for the environmental challenges facing the planet.

FUSION’s Urban Planning and Economic Development Committee will be collecting tips and suggestions for waste reduction over the next week and will be creating a waste reduction tip sheet that will be available online.

Reducing the amount of waste you create doesn’t need to be complicated or time consuming. Your ideas do not have to be wildly creative to be effective – sometimes is as simple as putting your recycling pile in clear sight so as to remember it’s there.

Waste Reduction Week in Canada takes place Oct. 18-24, 2010. You can share your waste reduction tips and experiences, and be included in FUSION’s waste reduction tip sheet by emailing

Claire Ryan is on the FUSION Saint John board. Reach her at

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Mentorship program targets young adults

This column previously appeared in the Telegraph-Journal on October 5th, 2010.

The article was written by FUSION Saint John’s Claire Ryan:

This month, FUSION will launch its mentorship pilot project, an initiative that will aim to create links between young adults and individuals who have been successful in creating meaningful living and working opportunities for themselves in the city.

The program will target young adults, and will aim to increase their awareness of the variety of career and volunteer opportunities and prospects that exist for them here in greater Saint John, and help create stronger links to their communities and an enhanced sense of belonging with involvement. It will also be an opportunity for an intergenerational dialogue, which will encourage an increased appreciation of the both the similarities and differences between the generations that exist within the different generations that make up the city’s workforce.

FUSION has been working with the New Brunswick Population Growth Secretariat over the last several months to develop the program. A similar pilot project will also be executed in the Chaleur region by the Synergies Chaleur organization.

Applications will be available at the launch event and a handbook has been developed to help guide participants in getting to know each other and set the parameters for their relationship. Successful applicants will participate in a training session scheduled for late November, which will provide opportunities for the mentors and those they are advising to get together over the course of the six-month program. Otherwise, the project is designed to be largely informal in its structure, and participants will be encouraged to establish their own goals for the program in the hopes that it will foster relationships that continue to live beyond the project’s completion. It is hoped that the mentors and those they are helping will continue to learn from one another and share their experiences living and working in greater Saint John.

Mentorship traditionally sees a person learn from an older, wiser colleague. For the purpose of this program, a mentor is defined as a trusted adviser, willing to share their experience and knowledge, and provide support to those they are advising as they set out in their careers and lives. Mentors will be represented by a variety of professions and volunteer organizations so as to bring a wide range of experiences and expertise to the program.

While there are certainly merits to the traditional mentorship experience, this program will aim to nurture a mutually beneficial relationship for both sides. However, more and more, members of different generations are working side-by-side at work and in the community; the program will give participants to find common ground and learn from each other.

The official launch event for FUSION’s mentorship program will take place Oct. 14 at Happinez wine bar, 42 Princess St. For more information, visit

Claire Ryan is on the FUSION Saint John board. Reach her at

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Women focusing on A-ha moments

This column previously appeared in the Telegraph-Journal on September 28th, 2010.

The article was written by FUSION Saint John’s Claire Ryan:

This week, the local chapter of Canadian Women in Communications (CWC) will host its first event of the season and will open its doors to greater Saint John women interested in learning more about the organization.

The focus of the event is “A-ha moments” and will be an opportunity to meet women from different sectors of the business community who may not otherwise be brought together to socialize, and learn about moments or people who have inspired them to take a particular course or make a change in their lives.

“What we’ve found is that everyone, women in particular, have lots of calls on their time. We want to give them an opportunity to do something that is interesting, engaging and fun,” says Christina Taylor, chairwoman of CWC’s regional board. “Women are quite often looking for a place to have a voice in an audience that is receptive.”

CWC is a national organization dedicated to the advancement of women in broadcasting and communications through strategic networking, target professional development and meaningful recognition; its members attend events and can participate in educational and professional development opportunities. The Saint John Chapter – formed in 2002 – is the only chapter east of Montreal, and was the first women’s networking group in the city at the time; it has since grown to a dedicated membership of 40, with a distribution list of approximately 200 women in the region and hosts five to six networking events each year.

Though it targets women in the communications and ICT sectors, the Saint John Chapter has broadened its mandate to appeal to women in business, from a variety of sectors, careers and backgrounds. The national organization offers programs and educational opportunities for its members from the ICT sector, but the local events have appeal for most working women looking for networking and professional development opportunities. The idea for the A-ha Power Hour had its foundation in a past CWC event.

“What is an a-ha moment? Something that makes you reflect on what you’re doing and causes you to make a change,” says Taylor. “It could be a big thing, or it could be something that reinforces something you knew all along or made you recognize you’ve veered off course.” Special guest speakers Mary Ann Gallagher, owner of Benjamin Books and Shadow Lawn Inn, community volunteer Victoria Clarke and Louise Steward, Irving Oil Refining Manager of Corporate Social Responsibility will share their own a-ha moments, and books from CWC’s ‘recommended reading’ list will be highlighted.

Aha! Power Hour – CWC’s first networking event of the season, will take place on Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m. at Thandi Restaruant, 33 Canterbury Street.

Claire Ryan is on the FUSION Saint John board. Reach her at

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Thanks to technology, there’s no reason why we can’t cast educated votes

This column previously appeared in the Telegraph-Journal on September 14th, 2010.

The article was written by FUSION Saint John’s Claire Ryan:

Campaign season is in full swing in New Brunswick. There are interesting points of discussion and debate surrounding this election, not the least of which being voter turnout.

In the past two provincial elections, approximately 70 per cent of eligible voters took part. Curious about how people are feeling about voting this year, I conducted some quick research last week, and polled ten friends on the issue. Some are born and bred New Brunswickers, others are working or studying abroad, and a few others found themselves here to pursue school or work. What they all shared in common is that they’re eligible to vote on Sept. 27. My survey asked two questions: “Will you be voting in the upcoming provincial election?” and “Why or why not?”

The good news is that everyone who responded plans to vote; unfortunately, there was a common theme among their reasons for doing so. Some of the comments were as follows:

* I feel it is important for people in our generation to get more involved and to stop complaining.

* If I don’t, then I have no right to complain about whatever political decision has just wronged me. Sadly, I don’t care who wins, I just don’t want the voting (or non-voting population for that matter) to continue to lose.

* So I can commend or criticize about the decisions and actions of my local MLA and the premier with the knowledge that I participated in the election.

While it was not exactly inspirational reading, I found promise in the fact that people recognize the importance of casting their ballot. The consequence of choosing not to vote is that you give up your right to have an opinion on the actions of our government officials and the decisions they make. My hope is that this understanding will ultimately get more New Brunswickers to participate in the election process this time around.

As is the case with most things, the decision to take the time to mark an educated “X” has to come from within, even if the motivation stems from dissatisfaction. Apathy is as big a threat to our future as anything that may happen in the legislature. To vote is to make a contribution, however small, to the province’s future; conversely, apathy is the same as saying you just don’t care.

Engaging in an election does not require you to be glued to the news or be on top of every opinion poll. Technology, the Internet in particular, is making it easier for candidates to reach out to voters, and vice versa – you are only one Google search away from a wealth of election information. Most of the candidates have Facebook profiles and the major parties have their own YouTube channels, so information on where a party or candidate stands on a particular issue is not hard to find. I’ve kept up with this election via Twitter. It’s 2010 – there is no reason why we can’t all cast educated votes.

Claire Ryan is on the FUSION Saint John board. Reach her at

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Young people can learn from business leaders

This column previously appeared in the Telegraph-Journal on September 7th, 2010.

The article was written by FUSION Saint John’s Claire Ryan:

As part of Small Business Week 2010, the Saint John Board of Trade is bringing in one of the world’s top business leadership experts for a rare public presentation. Robin Sharma, author of 11 best-selling books, including The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari and The Leader Who Had No Title: A Modern Fable on Real Success in Business and Life, will be in the city for a public speaking engagement.

He is one of the most widely read authors in the world, his work has been published in more than 60 countries and nearly 75 languages, and he has worked with some of the world’s biggest corporations including Nike, FedEx, General Electric and Microsoft. His talk, Lead Without a Title – The New Way to Win in Business, is based on his most recent book – one of the best-sellers on the business book list today – and will focus on employee leadership at all levels in an organization.

Leadership has been described as the “process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task.” For many young people in the workforce, being a leader is something we aspire to, rather than how we see ourselves now. We are able to start learning and thinking about these things from the outset of our careers, which puts us in a unique position, since the field of business leadership is one that did not really exist for past generations to the extent it does now. Some of the tips found online in Robin Sharma’s 73 Best Business and Success Lessons blog post include: Leadership is no longer about position – but passion. It’s no longer about image but impact and “lucky is where skill meets persistence.” The ideas are not necessarily new, but it is always helpful to be reminded to reflect on the way we conduct ourselves at work and in the community, and seek opportunities for self improvement.

Having read – and learned from – authors such as Sharma since joining the working world, I think there is a lot of value in the business leadership genre, especially for those of us just starting out in our careers. Many of the lessons and tools are really applicable to all areas of life, whether you work in business or not.

Regardless of the organization in which you work, or the position you hold within it, there are important lessons to be found in the world of business leadership. Many of the world’s business leaders are considered role models not just because they achieved wealth or success, but because they did it in a unique or inspiring way.

The Saint John Board of Trade will present Sharma for a breakfast event on Wednesday, Oct. 20, at the Saint John Trade and Convention Centre. The event will begin at 8 a.m. with registration and networking, followed by Sharma’s presentation. Early bird tickets, available until Oct. 1, are $149 for members of the board of trade, and $199 for non-members. Tickets will be $199 for members and $249 for non-members from Oct. 1 until the event.

Claire Ryan is on the FUSION Saint John board. Reach her at

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Harvesting the Arts – Moved to Sunday!

We were all expecting the worst; but, Hurricane Earl seems to have passed us by here in Saint John, NB.

As a precaution on Friday, Harvesting the Arts was delayed one day just in case the weather was bad.

Today’s TJ had a great article on the Festival, check it out below:

SAINT JOHN – As FUSION’s Harvesting the Arts festival enters its seventh year, main organizer Jessica Gozdzierski wants to make the festival “bigger and better” than in the past.

“Harvesting the Arts Festival started as a FUSION event on the Market Square Boardwalk and the pier around the Hilton, now part of Harbour Passage,” Gozdzierski said.

“The idea was artists showing work at tables along the boardwalk toward the Hilton and then along the Hilton boardwalk was food from Hilton’s kitchen.

“Down the boardwalk toward King Street were more artist tables and the dancers and musicians had the stage at Market Square in front of more restaurants giving samples. The circle at Market Square was the kids’ circle.”

This year, the festival takes place in King’s Square in uptown Saint John on Sunday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. The event was originally scheduled for today, but was moved back a day in anticipation of Hurricane Earl.

As in the past, the festival will highlight the best in music, food and arts the province – specifically Saint John – has to offer.

“There’s the music portion of it where we have a stage and musicians and bands perform that are local to Saint John. Then we also have tables set up for artists and food vendors and artisans. We try and fill up King’s Square,” Gozdzierski said.

“We also have the food alley portion of the festival, where food vendors that are local are able to sell their food to the public.”

Harvesting the Arts is free of charge, and Gozdzierski said there will be a tent that the musicians will play under and seating will be available.

Local band Girls Would Kill are headlining the musical entertainment, with other acts scheduled to perform.

“A lot of (the musicians) performed last year and they were really well-liked by the crowd. A few of them are new,” Gozdzierski said.

She added the festival’s organizers are always looking for new people to get involved in Harvesting the Arts.

“We love to see new people, that’s what it’s all about.”

Harvesting the Arts is all about uncovering the hidden arts talent in the area.

“It definitely uncovers emerging artists, whether they’re musicians or painters or food vendors. I think it makes people more aware of them,” Gozdzierski said.

“It’s getting bigger as the years go by. It’s a really great festival to highlight local talent from around New Brunswick.”

The name itself represents both the time of year that the festival is held in and the purpose of the festival, Gozdzierski said.

“The name Harvesting the Arts, not only does it make reference to when it takes place but it also makes reference to what’s happening at the festival and how we’re harvesting and gathering local art and artists and musicians.”


Artists: SudsMuffin, Christy Clarke, Tracy Gavin, Zitawear, Erin Howell Sharpe, Sheila Howell, Jennifer Nicholls, Krista Hasson, Nawal Doucette, Leanne Grey, Jocelyn Bichard, Doreen Boyd, Mary Collier Fleet, Van Martin, Alison Smith, Gillian Salmon, Scott Marshall, Mallory Driscoll, Kate Thorne, Pallavi Singh, Chylynn Brideau, Emma Barlow, Abby Matthews, Dafna Mildenberger, Sarah Jones, Jocelyn Bichard, Sarah Gautreau, Andrea Locke, Angela Black, Yolande Clark, Joel Bustard. Roxanna Morrow, Marissa Rignanesi, Heather Rice, Kathy Rumson, Donna Mackinnon, Fabiola Martinez and Jacqueline Marcoux.

Musicians: Girls Will Kill, Josh Peters and True Grit, Mike Biggar, Keith Facey, December Fall Out, Quonset, Meatus, Kristina Trites, Earthbound Trio, Meka, Mitch and Matt Soucy.

Dancers: Bellydancing with Nawal Doucette.

Food Vendors: Happiness is Homemade, Kalra Neerja – Indian Food, Perry McCullum & Heather Acker – Lobster Rolls, hot dogs, hamburgers, Makhoul’s Cedars.
Designated Areas: Karate Korner with Joe Hatfield, Butterfly Bisque – children can paint pottery, InterAction Children’s Theatre – children work on putting on a play together, Colouring station for children, Indigo reading circle, Face painting with Cathie Wilson.

Learn more about Harvesting the Arts Festival 2010 here!

Be sure to stop in, it will be a fun day for the entire family.

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Festival aims to create buzz for local artists

This column previously appeared in the Telegraph-Journal on August 31st, 2010.

The article was written by FUSION Saint John’s Claire Ryan:

Saint John’s arts and culture community will once again take centre stage at King’s Square this weekend as it plays host to one of Saint John’s most anticipated autumn events. FUSION’s sixth annual Harvesting the Arts Festival will include some of the city’s best art, dance, musical talent and food vendors showcasing their talent.

The annual, all-ages, free-of-charge event has grown each year – more than 2,000 people passed through King’s Square over the course of the day last year, including a number of cruise ship passengers spending the day in Saint John.

The festival’s aim is to help create a bigger buzz for the individuals and groups who make up the city’s thriving arts and culture community and draw attention to the wealth of both emerging and established artists, musicians and performers. As well, this year’s event will highlight some of the many diverse cultures that exist in Saint John, featuring booths that will allow visitors to write their name in Chinese and receive henna paintings.

“It’s phenomenal to see how much this event has grown over the past five years,” said FUSION board member and Harvesting the Arts chairwoman Jessica Gozdzierski.

“Harvesting the Arts is a unique opportunity for the community to interact with artists from a variety of disciplines and see first-hand the calibre of talent that exists in our city.”

Beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday, King’s Square will be abuzz with activity, including art and jewelry sales, as well as dance and musical performances that will take place throughout the day. A number of local acts are scheduled to take the stage including: The Zingaro Quartet, EarthBound Trio, Michael McDonald, Mike Biggar, Kristina Trites, Josh Peters and True Grit, Quonset, December Fall Out, Meka, Meatus, Matt Soucy, Keith Facey and headlining band Girls Would Kill.

Being a part of events such as the Harvesting the Arts Festival is a great way for emerging artists to gain exposure and share their work with people who may not otherwise see it. Meanwhile, it’s “one-stop shopping” for Saint Johners who want to see and interact with the wealth of talented artists in Greater Saint John. The festival continues to grow in size and stature each year – a testament to the benefit of increased exposure for the artists and public alike.

The Harvesting the Arts Festival runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit

Claire Ryan is on the FUSION Saint John board. Reach her at

Learn more about Harvesting the Arts Festival 2010 here!

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Party on Princess, the Sequel

This column previously appeared in the Telegraph-Journal on August 24th, 2010.

The article was written by FUSION Saint John’s Claire Ryan:

Once again this year, FUSION is taking its August Party with a Purpose to the streets and hosting a block party on Princess Street.

“There is a momentum building on Princess Street and the surrounding area,” said Kelly Lawson of FUSION’s Ambassadors Committee. “It’s becoming the centre of an energetic, diverse nightlife in the uptown. The block party is an opportunity to showcase and celebrate this growth and energy.”

“It’s wonderful how we have seen a number of new businesses open on and around Princess Street over the last year,” says Peter Smit, owner of happinez wine bar. “What this all does is provide more choices for the people of Saint John who want to go out for an evening. It’s also becoming more like the night life in larger cities.” Happinez, along with Alley-gria, Callaghan’s, Bourbon Quarter, Magnolia Café, Scores, Big Tide Brewing Company, The Canterbury Lounge, Uptown Saint John and Saint John 225 have partnered with FUSION to host the block party. The host restaurants will circulate food and music will be provided by DJ Mike Hawkins. FUSION will have a cash bar in the street and will host its usual Party with a Purpose 50/50 draw.

Uptown Saint John is also running a contest in conjunction with the event to encourage people to use social media to help spread the word and include the “livelifeuptown” hashtag on Twitter, Foursquare and Plancast. Prizes will be awarded for best event video post and best event photo post, with additional prize draws for anyone who includes the hashtag in tweets on the event. Saint John 225 will also be on hand with prizes.

The block party will highlight more than just the development that this area has experienced in the past few years. It’s also an opportunity for Saint Johners to visit and learn more about the establishments that are opening – and thriving – in the uptown. That the establishments are keen to partner with one another and with community organizations to promote the area is beneficial for the entire city.

“This is a really great event in a setting that features the best of uptown Saint John’s nightlife and is truly unique to our city,” Lawson said. “It’s a hallmark event for living life uptown, and a great opportunity for people who love the area to connect with like-minded Saint Johners.”

The August Party with a Purpose – a Princess Street Block Party will take place this Friday from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Princess Street, between Prince William and Canterbury Streets. For more information please visit

Claire Ryan is on the FUSION Saint John board. Reach her at

Note: You can read more about the first event that took place last year, right here!

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