Believing in Products You Want to Sell Is Essential

Marketing and selling are just facts of life. Whether a person is selling himself to a would-be employer or friend or pushing a product for purchase, it takes salesmanship to be successful in the effort. Believing in yourself or your product is critical.

Whether you are selling homes to prospective homeowners, cars to people who want to get a new automobile, clothing to shoppers in a retail outlet, or nutritional products to people whom you want to get involved with your network marketing venture, you need to believe in the products you want to sell.

It becomes necessary to learn all you can about the product in order to be knowledgeable about it when people ask questions. A car salesperson who knows nothing about cars is not going to be successful. People like to buy from someone who knows and believes in the products they are selling. There is a learning curve which must be adhered to in order to sell items to others.

When people are starting out in a network (MLM or multi-level) marketing venture type of home based business, they usually do so with high hopes and big dreams. They may have been approached one on one by a distributor who represents the company. They could have attended a meeting or group presentation in which testimonials were given about how well the products work for certain people. A new person in the company naturally would not have his own success story involving the product which is being sold. He may have to rely on someone else’s experiences until he develops his own.

There are hundreds of network marketing companies selling all manner of products. A large number of them are in the nutritional supplement field selling liquids or pills which are touted to improve one’s wellbeing. They are forbidden from making medical claims, but people are able to tell of the benefits they have personally received by using the products. If a person is credible and believable, the products may be sold more easily. The buyer needs to be interested and willing to purchase, but the seller needs to believe in the product.

In order to sell anything, a person should feel that the product has merit. If he does not have a personal experience and story to tell, he can still believe in the possibilities if he listens to others who use the product. He needs to feel good about the product and not be deceiving in order to convince others to buy. One’s own personal testimony can be developed later as long as the person is convinced that it is a good product. Selling something which someone does not like or endorse is difficult or impossible unless one is willing to lie and cheat which is a very bad idea. Belief in the product is essential for success in selling.

Presenting: Another Neighbourhood Walk and Talk Along Queen Street With Maria Minna

Maria and I really hit it off so we planned to get together for another “neighbourhood walk and talk” to be able to check out a few more of the merchants along Queen Street East. We met again at the Honey Bee Restaurant where Maria had just been having lunch with her husband Robert who excused himself shortly after as he had to leave. Maria and I picked up where we had left off last week.

In my interviews I always try to get to know the real person, stripping away official titles and pre-conceived notions. Somehow Maria and I started talking about family issues again. I asked Maria whether she and her husband shared the same last name, and Maria explained that her husband’s last name is MacBain, and that he is originally from Inverness, Scotland, and that he is a retired media and communications consultant. Maria added that when they got married in 1982 she retained her own last name, a common tradition in Italy. Maria noticed my surprise and explained that women generally keep their last names in Italy, despite the common impression that Italy is perceived as a rather traditional country characterized by a certain Latin machismo.

Maria’s mother’s name was Pierina Ligori, but when they arrived in Canada the Canadian authorities single-handedly renamed her mother and gave her her husband’s last name “Minna”. She added that by that time her mother was 47 years old and had lived her entire adult life with the last name “Ligori”. Not surprisingly Pierina always resented this imposed loss of identity. Maria also told me that her grandfather in Italy brought in tutors to teach his son (Maria’s uncle) while Maria’s mother was not allowed to attend school or be part of the private tutoring sessions that her brother enjoyed. For a woman born in 1910, this was all part of the belief system that women did not need education, that they were simply going to stay home and have children. Maria’s mother often expressed anger at her own father for having denied her these essential educational opportunities, and not only did Pierina have trouble learning English later on in life, she had never learned how to read or write. I concluded that many of these experiences made Maria a strong advocate of education and women’s rights early on.

We revisited Maria’s childhood which was strongly shaped by the family’s arrival in Canada in 1957. As the middle child with two younger sisters and an older sister and older brother, Maria’s parents had chosen to entrust her with the family’s administrative issues ever since she was very young. Maria had to look after important family affairs, handle the family’s documents and had a significant role in assisting the family financially. At age 24 she finally began to look after herself when she enrolled in a degree program in sociology.

As her parents aged, care-giving became a major issue. Maria had always been the main administrator in the household, and caring for her increasingly frail and elderly parents became another one of her responsibilities. When Maria was first elected to Parliament in 1993 her mother and father were healthy, but just a few years later in 1999, the year when Maria became a federal Minister, Maria’s mom was diagnosed with Alzheimers. Maria seriously considered not accepting the position, but one of her younger sisters convinced her to pursue the once-in-a-life-time opportunity of becoming a minister in the Canadian federal government.

Maria would spend time with her mother on weekends when she was in town and arranged for 24-hour on-site care to look after her mother’s health and safety. Pierina’ s short-term memory was destroyed by Alzheimers, while her long-term memory and rational thinking remained intact until her death in 2001. Often during severe episodes of Alzheimers, Pierina would get very agitated, and when her caregiver phoned Maria in Ottawa and let mother and daughter talk, Pierina would calm right down again.

In later years, Pierina often demanded to “go home”, and her caregiver would reply “But Pierina, you are home”. Often the caregiver would take Pierina on a tour of the house and explain that this was indeed her house, that she had just recently completed certain renovations, in the hope that Pierina would recognize her own home. Sometimes none of these strategies worked, and Pierina would keep on insisting on going home. As a creative solution, the caregiver would call a taxi, take Pierina out for a coffee, and take a cab back home. Because of Pierina’s short-term memory lapses, the caregiver would sometimes have to take her out three times, because upon her return Pierina forgot again that she was in her own home. But Pierina’s long-term memory was intact until the end: the day before her death, Pierina and Maria were singing old Italian folk songs, and Pierina remembered every detail of the lyrics.

Family has been an important aspect of Maria Minna’s life. She is very close to her three sisters and her brother who continues to live in her parent’s original home in the Bloor – Ossington area. The entire extended family with all the nieces, nephews and their children gets together on holidays such as Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Maria, who has two step-children with her husband Robert, is also very close to her nieces. She explained that her older sister’s first child was was born when Maria was 10 years old, and as a result of this small age difference her older niece simply calls her “Maria”. There is a much greater age difference with her younger sisters’ daughters; they respectfully refer to Maria as “Zia Maria” (Aunt Maria) or simply “Zia”.

Just recently Maria connected with some of her nieces who suggested that they get together and make some home-made pasta just the way nonna (“grandma” – Maria’s mother) used to make it. So the women got together and visited Matilda, a good friend of the family in whose house the family had stayed when they first arrived in Canada. Matilda taught them how to make pasta dough, and the ladies made pasta fina from scratch and even cut the pasta dough by hand. They served the pasta on two long wooden platters that are made of tree trunks from Maria’s home town in Italy. The consensus was to do this again soon and make this a regular bonding ritual among the female members of the family. Maria explained that her family gives her nourishment and acts an important anchor for her. She is also very grateful for her husband’s support of her political career which has been a critical element in her success.

I also asked Maria about what it was like to be one of the first female political trailblazers in Canada. Maria responded that she was the first Italian-Canadian woman minister in Canada, and added that many Italian-Canadians were very proud of her. She even received a medal from an Italian organization that was honouring prominent Italian exiles all over the world for their achievements. Another recipient of this medal was Mario Cuomo, the former governor of New York State. Maria explained that Jean Chretien wanted a minister of Italian heritage as well as a woman for this position, and with Maria’s appointment he was able to kill two birds with one stone.

In 1999 Maria was selected for the International Co-operation portfolio because of her social justice background. This happened despite the fact that she had been very aggressive in the past in fighting for social causes, sometimes criticizing her own party for not being progressive enough. In Maria’s words she definitely was not a “wallflower”, and she added that former Prime Minister Chretien actually liked people who spoke their mind and did not back down. Maria had no problem being pushy and advocating for child care, immigrant or women’s rights, the homeless or pension reform. In fact, when Jean Chretien met Maria’s mother in his office, he told her,” Maria is always giving me hell.”

Another fond memory for Maria was her trip back to her home town of Pofi in 1995. After a few days in her birth town she was planning to leave for a round-trip of Italy to visit Rome, Florence, Venice, Naples and Sicily. But her cousin said “You can’t leave”, and was hesitant to give her an explanation why. Finally Maria was able to prod the secret out of her relative: the entire town had planned to honour Maria in a big celebration that would involve the whole village. On the day of the festivities, senior police officers escorted her to the Piazza, located on a hill in her beautiful home town which dates back to about 1000 AD. The whole town was assembled, and the mayor gave a speech to honour Maria and her achievements. Maria was showered with gifts and speeches, and was invited to speak to the townspeople during a special outdoor mass, an enormous honour. Maria was astounded at the pride that people felt for her in her home country although she had left Italy at nine years of age.

The immigrant experience has definitely shaped Maria Minna, making her keenly aware of social justice issues. She has dedicated an entire lifetime to fight for immigrant rights, women’s issues and environmental causes. She is passionate about Canada and wants to change this nation into the country that it can be: an economically successful nation where nobody is left behind.

Current political developments have devastated Maria. The Conservative government has dismantled the National Childcare Program, something that Maria personally fought very hard for over many years. Women’s rights have been attacked by the removal of the mandate of the Status of Women’s office. Charter challenges have been eliminated, and Maria feels the current government has little respect for Parliament and tries to get everything done through executive powers. Despite all her past trials and tribulations, Maria admitted that the past year has been the most difficult year of her life.

At the same time she feels that the average Canadian citizen is still very progressive, a positive thinker who believes in sharing the wealth. She feels that currently there is a misfit between the average citizen and the government in power, and is committed to changing the current government.

Maria had shared some very personal experiences with me, and we had just about an hour to do another neighbourhood stroll to drop in on some of the stores. We left to check out some of the cool merchandise on offer along Queen Street, one of the most eclectic shopping neighbourhoods in Toronto, featuring a broad variety of fashion retailers, gift stores and specialty shops.

The first store we dropped in on was the “Nutty Chocolatier” , an “olde fashioned candy & ice cream store”. Brenda Brooks, the manager, was not in, but her colleagues Needra Doornekamp and Monica Bettson welcomed us. The Nutty Chocolatier currently has nine stores across Ontario and offers hand crafted chocolates, sugar free chocolates, novelties, candy, fudge, imported and domestic candy, antique replica tins, gift baskets, corporate gift items, and much more. There was still a selection of Valentine’s chocolates available, and Maria was also interested in the sugar-free chocolates which would make a fabulous gift for anyone with diabetes. Maria picked up a sweet little something for her husband, and off we were to our next store.

All the interesting displays at The Gingerbread House, a few steps east from the Nutty Chocolatier, caught our interest. This store sells unique presents and jewellery, and Kelly Hutchman, the owner, invited us in. I was particularly enchanted by the displays of beautiful handcrafted fashion jewellery in the most brilliant colours, including turquoise, amber and salmon coloured pieces. Kelly mentioned that the jewellery is made from Swarovsky crystal.

The Beach is one of Toronto’s most dog-friendly neighbourhoods, and as Maria and I were strolling along the south side of Queen Street all of a sudden I saw a sign on the other side: “Bark & Fitz – For You And Your Dog”. I pulled Maria over and suggested that we go visit this place. We walked into a really hip boutique that has everything a dog owner could ever want: from shampoos and conditioners to grooming tools to freshly baked treats and toys and even practical items such as beds, bowls and blankets – Bark and Fitz has it all, and owner Kelly Cole showed us around. Kelly is a Beacher who is very proud of her connection with this neighbourhood, and was very curious about the Beach Photo Exhibition and promised her support for this event.

We also headed into Living Lighting in the Beach, a place where Maria had bought some Murano glass lamps recently. Living Lighting features a wide range of interior and exterior lighting, ceiling fans, track and recessed lighting as well as electric fireplaces. The store is packed full of unique lighting options, and I saw various types of lamp designs that I had never seen anywhere else. In addition to the contemporary designs we also had a look at the Tiffany lamp display at the front of the store. Maria had a chance to catch up with the owner Norton Abramson again, who had assisted her on her recent purchase.

Last but not least we decided to pay a visit to Overkill, a popular beach volleyball retailer. Toronto is Canada’s beach volleyball mecca, and Woodbine Beach is the location of hundreds of beach volleyball nets that are busy with enthusiastic athletes from early spring until late fall. As a volleyball player myself I figured I’d like to pop in and say hello to the crew at Overkill, one of Canada’s most well-known volleyball outfitters.

Maria and I entered the store and three enthusiastic young staff members welcomed us. Overkill carries everything for the serious beach volleyball athlete, from t-shirts to sweatshirts, hoodys, sweat pants and yoga pants to visors, hats and cool beach flip flops. Maria and I were quite enchanted by the ergonomically designed beach sandals; they looked amazingly comfortable yet sturdy. The crew at Overkill was very excited about the Beach event and said they would help spread the word about the Photo exhibition. Maria recognized the last name of one of the employees and started chatting with the young man. Apparently his grandmother hails from the same town as Maria and the two ladies actually know each other quite well.

After our outings, both Maria and I realized what a small world this is, even in a big city like Toronto. Now I understand why one of Maria’s favourite pastimes is to go shopping along Queen Street. The variety of merchandise, the friendly merchants and the personal connections make this a truly special shopping experience.

It was great to have a chance to meet Maria Minna. All too often, we feel that our local politicians are not approachable or do not share the same interests as we do. After talking to Maria, it is evident that she listens to the concerns of people and is always ready to help.

Maria is an active advocate for social justice. In Ottawa, her work with women’s rights, minority rights, environmental issues, and homelessness is commended by colleagues of all political stripes. She lobbied hard for the Child Tax Credit, and continues to fight for a National Childcare Program, a National Poverty Strategy, improves health care, pay equity and EI reform to better suit Canadian families.

Although Maria has ruffled a few feathers in Ottawa, she certainly vows that she will continue to fight to protect the rights of others and the betterment of Canada.

The Polish Arabian Influence In Australia – From the Past to the Present For the Future

Throughout the history of mankind and its association with the horse, no other breed has caught our imagination, dreams and spirit like the purebred Arabian.

As the oldest known and recorded pure breed of horse in the world, its influence on the establishment of other breeds and its impact on individuals and nations across the globe are monumental. From its beginnings as a war horse of the desert tribes of the Bedouin, the Arabian horse has become a national treasure in many countries.

One such country that has had major influence and significance on Arabian breeders worldwide is Poland. The colorfully rich saga of Arabian history in Poland began in the 15th Century when members of the Polish aristocracy bought the finest horses they could acquire from the desert countries. Private Studs were established on their estates and breeding programs were set in place. Horses from these programs were highly prized for their beauty and abilities as excellent mounts and for the resulting prestige they brought to their owners. Unfortunately a great number of these Studs and innumerable horses were lost during the conflicts of invasion and civil strife up to and including World War II.

A disastrous event that had direct influence on the Polish Arabians was that of the attack upon the Antoniny Stud of the Potocki family, founded in the 19th century and probably best known for being the owners of the spectacular Ibrahim. Bred in the desert and bought circa 1907 in Constantinople by an agent for Count Josef Potocki, Ibrahim died during the Bolshevik revolution in 1917, but his immortality in Arabian horse history was to be established by his son Skowronek foaled in 1909 and later exported to England. With an ironic twist of fate the Ibrahim sire line was lost to Poland until its reintroduction with the importation of *Naborr from Russia in 1956.

(*Naborr’s paternal grandsire was the famous Skowronek son Naseem who was bred in England and later sold to Russia.)

World War II decimated the private studs of Poland and nearly destroyed Arabian breeding entirely. The Russians invaded and took a large group of horses back to Tersk. Then the Germans removed many more. Uncountable numbers of horses were killed before the dedicated Poles could hide them from their invaders. Of 195 mares at Janow Podlawski Stud in 1939, no less than 143 perished or disappeared. In 1946, some 30 broodmares, 12 foals and the stallions Witraz, Wielki Szlem, and Amurath Sahib were allowed to return from their exile within Germany, but not to Janow which was so badly damaged that breeding operations there did not start again until 1960. While Janow was under repair, its horses were distributed among three new state studs: Nowy Dwor, Albigowa (where *Bask was foaled in 1956), and Klemensow. In 1951 the latter was moved to its present location at Michalow. Thus due to the dedication and tenacity of the Polish people, many of whom hid horses in their homes at risk to their own lives, the breed survived and has flourished in these Polish State Studs we know today and once again many private breeding farms flourish.

Historically, the Arabian horses of Poland have been used as foundation progenitors and developers of Sport horses. Various breeds such as Andalusians, Trakheners, Oldenburgs, Hanoverians, and other Warmbloods all have lines that trace directly to the Polish Arabian. The Poles have always maintained stringent criteria for producing good performance horses emphasizing balanced structure, angled shoulders, lengthy necks, great legs and powerful hindquarters. In fact one of the strongest characteristics of the Polish Arabian is its wonderfully long and deep hindquarters and large stifle muscles. This strength was defined by the levelness of hip which is why Polish breeders meticulously culled rafter hipped horses. This enhanced the Polish Arabians abilities to perform well and prove themselves especially in racing and diverse performance disciplines. And breed type has not been sacrificed to do so. Outcross stallions and mares, with strong bloodlines and desirable characteristics have long been acquired and integrated into the Polish breeding programs. Thus we have seen influential horses from Egypt, Russia, England, and now the USA and the UAE appearing in the pedigrees of the Polish Arabian. Two distinct phenotypes are recognizable in Polish breeding, the Seglawi and the Kuhailan. The Seglawi tend to produce the more feminine attributes of great beauty, elegance and refinement, and are more often than not grey in color, whilst the Kuhailan, who are predominantly bay or chestnut, produce very strong, correct horses with lean, sculpted and more masculine characteristics. Two contemporary and legendary examples were Bandos [Negatiw x Bandola] a Seglawi, and Bask [Witraz x Balalajka] a Kuhailan. A point of interest here is that Bandola, who was one of the great matriarchs of Polish breeding, was a full sister to Bask as well as the dam of Bandos and Banat. While each of these wonderful stallions sired outstanding progeny of both genders, Bandos is most noted for his exemplary daughters and Bask for his strong, athletic and consistent producing sons.

With selective breeding and attention to which lines crossed best, stringent culling and performance testing, the Polish Arabian has given the world some of the strongest and most influential sire and dam lines in the Arabian horse world today. Sire lines such as Bairactar which produced Amurath Sahib a stallion noted for passing on great beauty and strong toplines, whose most recent famous progenitor is the dynamic Polish, United States and Canadian National Champion (halter and ridden) Emanor; Ilderim, who through Aquinor produced many modern day greats like Penitent, Eldon and Piaff. Aquinor was also the first Polish bred stallion to sire a US National Champion Stallion and Mare, i.e. *Elkin and *Elkana. The sire line of Ibrahim gave us Skowronek, who became a pillar of the Crabbet Stud in England founding a dynasty of horses, including his famous son Naseem, which were sought after all over the world and in Poland the renowned Negatiw, sire of Bandos and his sons Pepton and the immortal Eukaliptus. The line of Kuhailan Haifi produced the stallions Witez, Witez II, and Wielki Szlem and his son Czort. Witez produced the legendary Bask and his descendants Negatraz, Monogramm and Ganges, as well as Celebes and the previously mentioned Bandola. Mare lines were and continue to be the taproot strength of Polish breeding and over the centuries there were approximately 55 family lines established. Some of the most prolific and extensively used were the families of Gazella, Mlecha, Milordka, Ukrainka, Szweykowska and the progenitor of the exquisite beauty of one of the most noted E line of mares, Woloszka. This was and continues to be recognized by countries where the Polish influence can readily be found – countries like the USA, Egypt, England, Russia, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Holland, Belgium, Iran, Turkey, Brazil, the UAE, Canada and Australia.

Unlike many of the other countries mentioned who imported and used Polish Arabians to a greater advantage, Australia has been relatively limited in the acquisition and application of Polish imports. From the 1960′s through to 2001, I found a total of 20 horses recognized as being pure Polish that were brought into the country. Of these 13 were stallions and 7 were mares. But in spite of the relatively low numbers compared to horses of other bloodlines, these horses have impacted and entrenched their influence on breeders across the country. The very first Polish horse to arrive was the bay 1963 stallion Cyrasa [Comet x Barcelona] S496 imported from the United Kingdom of Great Britain by the NSW Department of Agriculture. He was a son of the immortal Comet, a stallion who singularly crossed well with every Polish line established over their centuries of breeding. Before his subsequent exportation to New Zealand, Cyrasa sired a total of 138 studbook purebreds, including 62 mares, 45 stallions and 31 geldings. The following is a list of the remainder of the pure Polish imports from this time frame which I was able to compile and access from the Stud book of the AHSA and the extensive research archives of Heather Knowles, Newerah Arabians. I have listed these horses in order of their assigned AHSA registration numbers rather than the actual year of importation. Included with each horse is the recorded number of purebred progeny that I could ascertain through being currently listed in the Stud Book