United Nations recognizes Canadian’s World Creativity and Innovation Day, April 21 |

It’s official! I’m pleased to announce that on her birthday April 20th, sixteen years after its creation by my friend, colleague and fellow Canadian Marci Segal, the UN will recognize World Creativity & Innovation Day April 21, celebrated in more than 50 countries:

World Creativity and Innovation Day April 21


I. Rhonda King

The event and declaration can be followed live online April 20th 10:00 Eastern Time on UNWebTv when Inga Rhonda King, Permanent Representative/Ambassador to the United Nations from St. Vincent and the Grenadines will read a UN resolution on the floor of the General Assembly to include World Creativity and Innovation Day, April 21, among the UN Days of Observance which includes Earth Day, Water Day, World Humanitarian Day, etc.

In her 10-minute speech, Ms. King will emphasize the importance of using creativity to meet the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals: 17 Goals to Transform the World

Marci Segal began studying creativity in 1977 at the International Center for Studies in

Image result for marci segal

Marci Segal, MS

Creativity at the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is the first Canadian to hold the paired designation of the program’s first accredited minor and their master’s degree in Creativity and Change Leadership. 

Segal has been a senior faculty member at the Creative Problem Solving Institute, an MBTI ® instrument qualifying instructor, and sessional faculty at Canada’s Ontario College of Art and Design. She sat on the board of the American Creativity Association and was a member of and presenter at the World Future Society for many years.Image result for marci segal She has spoken worldwide at other conferences and events, including TedXCanmore, and has consulted with many leading organizations including NASA, the Ontario Public Service, PHD Canada, Ricoh and Bosch.

Marci founded World Creativity and Innovation Day, April 21 (WCID) in 2001 which grew to become World Creativity and Innovation Week April 15 – 21 (WCIW) in 2006. This observance reaches people, businesses, organizations, families, communities, schools, and governments in over 50 countries. WCID and WCIW are non-commercial, volunteer occurrences, and no one pays to participate. Like Mother’s Day, each celebrates in their own way, relevant to their context. 

Marci was born and grew up in Toronto and now lives in Canmore (another metaphor I love), Alberta. Her creative life journey is featured in Optimizing Your Creativity, Chapter 5 in my book Making Opportunity Knock.

She will be attending the April 20th proceedings at the UN. Watch it live!

She can be reached by email at marci@wciw.org




Please share the news with your network. 

Don’t Give Up

I love hearing stories of the twisted routes creative people take towards achieving their goals.  In my TV and podcast radio interview programs and Making Opportunity Knock book, I’ve shared their “failures” and successes. The overriding message loud and clear is, “Don’t give up…you never know how one thing with lead to another…” It’s about going with the flow…

I’ve had plenty of my own failures.

Computer KeysWhen I attended high school, if we chose the general rather than commercial (secretarial) track, we were not allowed to take typing. I always felt typing was a necessary skill, so years later I took an adult typing class offered by our city’s Continuing Education program. This was before computers. I’d forgotten that I don’t like competition – and speed typing in a classroom of ‘competitors’ didn’t suit me. When I ‘failed’ typing. I was ashamed. However, my second name is Perseverance: I practiced on my own, first on a typewriter, then on a computer. I’ve managed to write/type books, scripts, essays, articles and blogs. Who knew back when that all of these would come about?


As a child growing up, I attended 13 schools in Toronto when my immigrant parents moved around according to circumstances. I became an elementary school teacher, leaving when I gave birth to the first of four kids. Returning to university, I took note of the profs in addition to my kids’ teachers. What made them good instructors? Subsequently, because of problematic issues I was identifying in the school system, I wrote the draft to an article which I submitted to a newspaper editor – who rejected it. Who knew that a chain of events arising from that rejection would lead to a manuscript my agent sent out that would be itself be rejected by 29 publishers before being picked up by Penguin Books Canada? Who knew that all those positive and negative school experiences from childhood through adulthood would contribute to Grading the Teacher: A Parent/Teacher Guide, a book that became a bestseller featured nationwide by media and sold worldwide? Not I.

What’s your story? What failures led up to your success? What roads did you travel to achieve your goals?

The updated 2017 print edition of Grading the Teacher: A Parent/Teacher Guide will soon be available. To be notified of publication date, contact me to add your name to the list.


Now Playing: SunnySideUP!

My friend Barbara has been after me for years to pull together and share the stories I’ve told her about encounters I’ve had with others. She says I have such funny way of presenting – even experiences that aren’t funny to begin with, yet turn out so – that audiences would enjoy listening and participating.

I resisted. Look, Barbara’s a really good friend, and she always laughs uproariously at my telling, so why would she say otherwise? And she’s a great audience all by herself.

She and I each like a good moral, metaphor and character analysis. Barbara thought the themes I’d likely weave through the presentation would speak to and connect with common experiences of participants. She thought I could provoke great discussions and sharing of others’ stories.

I resisted.

I reThirsty Free Clipart #1sisted until a few months ago, when life circumstances were unfolding that almost shut me down. I thrive on being creative. Creativity raises me, envelopes me, encourages and inspires me. Without creativity, I’m in a drought, saddened and very, very thirsty.

Sound drastic? It was.

So. You know how sometimes events come together and build? A former aquatic instructorlaughter%20clipart emailed me that for years she has shared my sweater story and laughs like crazy each time. A neighbour I met at the hairdresser became hysterical over my meeting my former boyfriend at the bank after 40 years story. I still fall into gales of laughter along with the listener every time I unfold the recent true story about my mom and a dog…

In the manner of a really good friend who understands me, Barbara kept hammering at me until my shell of resistance began to crack. I started to record, remembering more and more as days passed. My creative juices began flowing again. She and I discussed at length format, themes, issues, organization of material, what to include, our objectives and the impact we aimed for.


Over months, we brainstormed a title, planned a preview event, prepared a special guest list and decided on food to serve.

A month ago, we sent out invitations. Two weeks ago, when guests arrived we offered a table full of refreshments and drinks. Well sated, they took to their seats. The imaginary curtain went up – and the show began. How did it turn out? Read for yourself:


Thank you, Barbara.


To read my post about the second SunnySideUp! preview, click here.

To Like, connect, and share your own stories on SunnySideUp!’s Facebook page, click here.

Click on each of these blue links for more details about the SunnySideUp! program, my book take-home bonus gift  Making Opportunity Knock, rave reviews, FAQs, pricing, contact, and to visit the new Nellie Jacobs Presents SunnySideUp! website homepage.

Click here to  contact me.



How a Road Taken Can Lead to Unexpected Results

What do you do when you face a challenging situation?

I tend to mull it over and over until a kernel of an idea forms that leads to something that might be a solution. To get there, I talk and discuss with everyone around me until they engage in finding that solution. I gather information. I want to know why it’s challenging. Why has it presented itself? What are the issues? What are possible solutions? And then, in collaboration with others or on my own, I decide on a pathway to what is hopefully a satisfactory resolution.  And that often leads to surprising results.

One example: MAMMA

Challenges about mothering led to development of a MAMMA newsletter, TV series, mini-conferences and workshops.


The five cousins who ignited the idea for MAMMA.

Those initiatives began with discussions I had with my sister-in-law Marlene whose children were the same age as mine and  sick. Each of my three kids at that time were in the midst of taking turns with chicken pox over the course for six weeks. Hers had croup. We were completely isolated in our homes. No friends over to visit. What saved us from going nuts was our dial up telephone. In our discussions, we recognized that our situation was universal: moms at home had little to no support system.

We bandied about the idea of starting an entity that would address real issues of motherhood. We approached a municipal government organization offering family services about distributing a survey asking moms to indicate their interest in participating in and contributing to what we assumed would be a regular newsletter. Very supportive, the organization’s committee agreed. Response was considerable – and positive. We decided on an unwieldy, yet appropriate name: Modern Activities for Mothers’ Mental Awareness. We wrote articles, invited contributors to write, typed, copied and collated our first MAMMA issue.

Each family member, from grandparents to children, took turns at folding and stapling each newsletter




Eventually, MAMMA became a quarterly publication, edited and designed by professionals, sent to the presses for printing, and mailed to subscribers across the nation and around the world. One issue included a Directory to Home Party and Services that led to a Home Party  feature by Financial Post Magazine. A journalist with a copy of MAMMA asked to interview us and some of the home party business owners mentioned in that issue.


After capturing the attention of local and then national media, we were contacted by the director of a small cable company about the idea of a taped half hour weekly cable show along the lines of our publication. We were excited to take on the challenge.

That gig in turn led us to pitch the idea to a major cable company of an hour long, live, interview and phone in show, once again ‘wo’manned by local volunteers.



We became a phenomenon, especially after the airing of an interview with our camera woman – a last minute guest who – til then, it turned out, had received the largest divorce settlement  in the history of Canada! (How well do we know the people who cross our lives?)


You never know when the solution to a problem can lead to wonderful results you never considered. You just have to take the leap.


Challenges about my children’s education motivated me to writing a proposal for an article in one of our local newspapers. It was turned down as not suitable for that publication by the editor – with the suggestion that I expand it into a potential article for a national magazine. With that in mind, I created a report card to send with my proposal to another newspaper. That became the focus of a full page focusing on evaluating teachers, using some of the points in my report. (See the Toronto Sun headline “Marking the Teacher” in the photo below.)

The editor there suggested I use the report as the source of a book.

That led to writing an outline, submitting a proposal, taking on a New York agent, being turned down by 28 publishers, and then contacted by Penguin Books Canada!

My book Grading the Teacher became a best seller worldwide. And … as well as by most major local and national media across the country, it was featured on page two of the newspaper by the very first editor I approached with my proposal for an article!


Have you taken risks overcoming challenges that led to surprising results? Share your story…


In the next post, I will describe the background of a completely new initiative I’ve just previewed this past week. Here’s a sneak look:  https://www.facebook.com/NellieJacobsSunnySideUp


Image result for conversationThis week an email request arrives from a friend who has the weird belief I know something about communicating with people. Although she’s an expert in her field, I know she’s shy and uncomfortable in crowds. What she initiated with her seemingly simple question was an honest response that then led into the absurd.

For your entertainment, in this post I’ll share our exchanges. I’d love to read your personal stories and reactions…

In her first email, she asks, “Can you coach me I how to make small talk?”

To get a better perspective of her need, I write back, “How small? The size of an inch, a foot, a yard? Who’d be the recipient?”

Then I add, “I just tend to wander away.” (Which is true when I find myself bored or uninterested in the conversation).

She responds with, “I’m going to a fundraiser for our local MLA next Saturday. Not sure how to interact with the people there. Want to feel more confident. It’s only 2 hours, late afternoon.” 

Okay. After a bit of thought, I send her this:

“All you have to do is ask any person about themselves. And away they go…

  • How are you connected to this?
  • Have you lived here all your life? No? Where are you from? Yes? Where’s your family from?
  • What are your interests/hobbies? 
  • Have you read any good books lately”? Movies? Tv programs? Theatre? What are your favourites/recommendations?
  • What are your favourite activities?
  • Do you have family here?

I suspected any of these questions would lead into a fuller conversation.

Next, I get this surprising response:

Hmm. Now, she’s opened the door to my imagination… So-o-o-o, I go there with,

Ask more generic question.  Are these less personal …

My friend responds with, “Fabulous! Game on.” And then adds,
  • “how did they make their money?
  • What kind of future do they envision for Canada/ is it aligned with the one they want…”
At first, I’m pleased that she’s galvanized. Suddenly, I reread the money bit, and realize that she often doesn’t ‘get’ jokes and may very well think that the suggestions in my last two emails are serious.
Oh my. She/I could be in real trouble.
At first, I re-direct with, “How did they make their money? Or, what’s your specialty?” Then, to be totally clear, I write, You know I was joking w the last bunch of questions?
My final words in this exchange:
“I had so much fun w the absurd ones. And shared them w Paul and a friend w a hearty sense of humour. We laughed crazy. Thank you!

Signs of a Successful Marriage/Partnership

I’ve always been interested in family relationships. What makes them good? What causes them to fall apart? So, after Grading the Teacher was first published in 1996, I decided my next book would be about family.

Image result for family

When friends, relatives, acquaintances, and even strangers I met in the supermarket, learned my intention, they eagerly shared their family insights and experiences. People wrote letters, emails, phoned – and stopped me whenever I went out. I took so many notes, there came a point where I had so much material, I realized the stories I’d collected would add up to more than 1,000 pages. Facing the daunting prospect of collating, sorting, organizing and editing the voluminous material, I was completely overwhelmed.

Paul said, “Forget writing the book. Design a great cover. Add blank pages. Sell it. Let people record their own stories.” I abandoned that project, and went on to write Magical MousePainting and Making Opportunity Knock.

However, my interest in family never waned.

This past week, I read disturbing Facebook posts written by young mothers whose partners were deceitful and abusive. I thought about my wise friend Merle’s  belief that couples abide by their unwritten contracts. Interesting concept. What is your contract? I reached out to my long married friends/followers who could offer advice about signs of successful marriages. Ruth Asher, a social worker married over two decades, sent this link to a video entitled “6 Things We can Learn from Happy Couples”:  http://bit.ly/2hRTtsX

Here’s the beginning of a checklist contributed by some who have been in long marriages/partnerships. This list could be referred “Grading the Relationship.” Feel free to add to it.

___ Trusts the Significant Other completely

___ Openly discusses mutual and personal issues

___ Truly listens and addresses the concerns of the Other

___ Values Other’s opinion and reasoning

___ Shows appreciation  for all that the Other does

___   Focuses on giving emotionally, rather than taking and having certain expectations

___ Offers consideration, mutual respect for the Other’s needs and wants – and appreciation for same

___ Shares common interests

___ Accepts Other’s right to have the opportunity to follow personal interests, friends and activities

____Communicates issues and opinions well



Promoting Creativity. Selling Yourself.

sell-yourselfIt’s one thing to be chomping at the bit, ready-finally-to inspire and change the world; it’s quite another to let the world know you exist. These days, with a bit of imagination anyone engaged in the creativity field is in a terrific position to promote themselves and their creative passion. Countless platforms and websites offer simple tools to help you grow your network and achieve your goals.

If you haven’t already done so, for very little time, money and research, you can start a blog or send out an e-newsletter to your network. (If it’s too difficult to maintain regular postings, invite guests to contribute articles, or offer to write your own for other people’s blogs.) Pitch editors of traditional or online publications with an idea for a regular daily, weekly or monthly column. (Have some samples ready for submission). Consider writing and self-publishing a short e-book that might, for instance, offer a step-by-step guide to your insights, experiences, or expertise. Speaking of specialties, prepare a course to teach in-person or online. Initiate and lead supportive groups. Post comments and share links on social media. Conduct interviews of creative individuals on a podcast series-or offer yourself as a well-informed talk show guest.

BELCHATOW POLAND - MAY 02 2013: Modern white keyboard with colored social network buttons.

Creativity has become the buzz word used in ads, articles and media headlines around the world. The trick is to produce a ‘hook’ for a press release that will lead to a feature story. Plan events relating to current events or holidays. Identify a pressing public concern, its creative solution-and then act on it. As example, after internationally renowned creativity specialist Marci Segal read a 2001 newspaper banner that said creativity was in crisis, she was moved to establish World Creativity and Innovation Week April 15 (Leonardo da Vinci’s birthday) to 21 (WCIW). Through networking and media coverage, WCIW is now celebrated in more than 40 countries worldwide!

WCIWHere’s an idea to promote creativity AND yourself immediately. Use WCIW as a newsworthy reason to go out into the community to encourage individuals and groups to do something special to celebrate creativity. Approach businesses, schools, recreation centers, clubs, and public institutions to establish partnerships or guide creative projects. For great ideas, explore https://wciw.org/. Add to the list!


This article was first published in the March, 2014 Creativity Coaching Association Creativity Calling! newsletter