Building Community

Yes this blog title matches the theme of the 2013 Canadian Sponsorship Forum. But no, this isn’t an advertisement to attend. Not today anyway.

Today these two words summarize for me some reflections I am having.

The first reflection is of Jane Knox and Eamonn O’Loghlin. This week at the 2013 Sponsorship Marketing Council of Canada Conference we are honouring Jane and Eamonn. Both were people I did business with. Both attended numerous Canadian Sponsorship Forum events. Both became friends of mine, I hope. Both were community builders. Both departed us much too early in the past two years.

Jane was a stalwart in the sponsorship community through her work at CBCF and Sick Kids. She was active as a marketer, volunteer, and champion. Eamonn led sponsorship at the CNE for years, all the while championing all causes Irish in Canada.

We invited their families to the conference this week, so our industry could say thanks. Both individuals make me realize why I love the Canadian sponsorship community.

The second reflection is from Coca-Cola’s presentation at the conference. While the presentation focused on their partnership with WWF Canada, the key for me was their rationale for this type of activity. The Coke presenter eloquently stated that when you Build Community you Build Business.

Building Community isn’t just about building business. Take Paralympic Champion Michelle Stillwell, who has decided to trade her Team Canada uniform for a campaign outfit as she runs for the Liberals in Parksville on Vancouver Island. I don’t really know Michelle, but she partnered with one of our clients last year. What struck me about her was that she was so genuine in determining whether she would work with our client. The money they offered didn’t matter. The exposure they offered also didn’t matter. What mattered was how our client was contributing to society.

Makes me believe that as a politician she will be truly more interested in her riding, in her community, than her potential personal rise to the top. If I was eligible to vote for Michelle, I would. Twice!

The Day the Music Died: a tribute to Eamonn O’Loghlin









It was much too late on Sunday, November 26th, 2005 (admittedly it was probably early the 27th) when I first heard the music.

The notes bounced off the the high ceilings and dramatic windows of the Pan Pacific lobby, inspired by the magical fingers of Maestro Eamonn O’Loghlin. Surrounded by a posse of enthusiastic conference goers and some of my staff, Eamonn led us through chorus after chorus of O’Canada, Danny Boy, and American Pie!

I hadn’t seen this side of Eamonn before that night. Until then, I knew him as the super-cheery Director of Sponsorship for the Canadian National Exhibition, who first called me years earlier about an emergency with one of our activations at the Ex. Thankfully the problem passed and even more fortunate for me, a friendship sprung up.

If you knew Eamonn, you knew he was more than a stalwart of our industry. He was a most fierce advocate of all things Irish. Publisher of Irish Connections Canada, host of an Irish radio show, and even interim President of the Irish Canadian Immigration Center. He was an accomplished musician, a tireless volunteer, and a fearless entrepreneur.

Eamonn 4

But as the keynote speaker at his funeral this week said, words cannot describe Eamonn, for he was larger than life. Yes, I said funeral.

On January 4th, the music died. Suddenly. Tragically. Inexplicably. Eamonn was taken from his admirers.


I’ve just returned from his funeral and my hands are numb as I type this. My fingers don’t want to extend to my keyboard. They are rebelling. Fighting back. Fighting back so hard. Trying to tell me that there is no way Eamonn is dead. My skin tingles. My throat is turned inside out. My chest is in pain.

I think when people die, their obituaries talk about how unique an individual was. How loved they were. I am not doubting that. Every death brings sadness. Every death brings despair. But we also know that most deaths reach a limited pool of people. Not Eamonn’s. No sir, this man was loved. Far. Wide. Universally. Internationally.

His funeral today was easily a thousand people. Last night I waited nearly two hours in line at his visitation. But the wait didn’t bother me. It allowed me to reflect on a great man. A man who had an impact that few of us could ever make. A man who touched hundreds, thousands, and left everyone with a smile. A man who you just wish could join you one last time on a bar stool for a pint or the first tee for a round of eighteen.

He would tease and joke with you, yet still deliver so much to his friends. At the 2010 sponsorship forum in Whistler, it was his word to John Furlong that resulted in the Olympic leader delivering an impromptu speech to my conference delegation. That was probably my most satisfying moment in business. I am not sure if I said thanks to Eamonn…..

Eamonn 5Writing this brings me back to that night seven years ago. The sing-song at the Pan Pacific resulted in a hotel security complaint about a “large foreigner” who wouldn’t stop playing the piano and a “man of colour” who kept shouting “I own this hotel”. I think we told any unsuspecting victim this yarn one-hundred times since. I think sometimes that’s the definition of friendship, being able to repeat the same stupid stories and laugh like it was your first telling.

Oh Eamonn, how I would like to tell that story one-hundred and ONE more times with you.

Eamonn O’Loghlin 1951-2013

A good friend of mine, the Canadian marketing community, and the Irish Canadian community passed away Friday. I haven’t found the words yet to express my feelings, every time I type, I can’t see the keyboard. But I did want to share his obituary and funeral details with you.

Eamonn, I miss you already. Mh3


Eamonn O’Loghlin, born in Ennistymon, County Clare, Republic of Ireland on September 7, 1951, passed away on Friday, January 4th, 2013 at the age of 61, surrounded by family and friends. He was the beloved husband of Madeleine, the loving father of Treasa and Rory, and the adored son-in-law of Eleanor Treacy. He is survived by his 4 siblings Cathal, Ursula, Donogh and Roddy.

Eamonn O’Loghlin was larger than life, with a personality to match, which virtually filled any room he walked in to. His generosity to his fellow countrymen and women knew no bounds, as he helped hundreds of young people land their first jobs in Canada on their work visa, or in a more permanent way.

He was never afraid to speak his mind, to say what he thought was right and needed to be said. He made beautiful music with his loving wife Madeleine, especially during their time together with the band Tip Splinter. Oftentimes, when Eamonn played a song by Madeleine on his radio show on a Saturday morning, producer Alex Young would lower the volume on the CD and raise up Eamonn’s microphone, so that listeners at home could hear him singing along with his wife.

His family was very important to him – all one had to do was listen to hear the pride in his voice as he spoke about his devoted wife, Madeleine, and his adoring children, Treasa, now a lawyer, and Rory, now excelling in his first year of Biology at McGill University. Eamonn felt he had come full circle as a father to see Treasa embarking into happily married life with Edward Pendergrast, and Rory setting out into the world as an extremely capable young man.

A successful businessman, Eamonn had been the Executive Director of the Ireland Canada Chamber of Commerce since 1993. He graduated from University College Cork with a Bachelor of Commerce degree in 1975, the same year he came to Canada. He worked in marketing for Hallmark Cards for 18 years before starting up his own marketing and communications consulting business, O’Loghlin Communications.

Eamonn hosted a weekly Irish radio show and published a national magazine, Irish Connections Canada , formerly the Toronto Irish News . A long time supporter of the Gaelic Athletic Association, Ireland Fund of Canada, and Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann, he was Director of Strategic Partnerships and Corporate Sponsorship at the Canadian National Exhibition, and was the interim President of the newly formed Irish Canadian Immigration Centre.

He was honoured as Irish Person of the Year in 2009 for his work on Ceol Agus Craic , the weekly Irish-Canadian radio show he had founded in 1998. He loved traditional Irish music and it was not unusual for a sing-song on the piano to break out whenever he was about. He was also fond of getting back to nature through golfing. He would return for his annual pilgrimage of golfing, travelling and All-Ireland hijinks every September.

Eamonn will be remembered for the good work he did in the community, his generous spirit, his love of family, and for being a great leader amongst Canada’s Irish community.

Ar dheis De go raibh a anam dhilis

Ni fhicimid a leithead aris

Funeral Details
Turner & Porter – Butler Chapel
4933 Dundas Street West, Etobicoke, ON, CANADA, M9A 1B6
Tue, 8 Jan 2013 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Tue, 8 Jan 2013 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Info: Rosary prayers at 8 p.m.

Transfiguration of Our Lord Church
45 Ludstone Drive, Toronto, ON, CANADA, M9R 2J2
Wed, 9 Jan 2013 10:30 AM

Below is the link on information regarding our dear friend Eamonn’s visitation and funeral service