Kris Obertas is alive and well...

and very busy with life and work including...

Freelance Copywriting

I write sales copy for people selling products and services to people. (Note the emphasis on people, no matter how big the business, the power of communication works best to build connections between people. After all, people build products for, provide service to, and sell to...other people.) My goal is to express what a business does as clearly as possible.

My job is helping you present clear, frictionless, and conversational communications to your target markets. What does that mean, you may be thinking. Here's my view. You want to make the word expressing your key messages simple and compelling without losing key information. Newspapers and businesses who've tested endlessly find a Grade 8 reading level works for most people. So let go of the need to write sentences that show your command of English and embrace what works to get your point across in a world where competition for attention is fierce, and writing that creates more questions than it answers is ignored.

I write web site copy, emails, promotional collateral (including brochures, sell sheets, and flyers), whitepapers, Google ads, presentations, and sales letters. Over the past year I've worked on flyers, training manuals, executive summaries, business proposals, and web copy.

If you know someone who needs help with writing in their business, I'd appreciate the referral. I write new promotional pieces from scratch or bring fresh eyes to existing copy and content to make sure the right message is getting to the right people. Email me and let's talk about the project!

I offer a no-obligation conversation over a beverage (hot or cold!) to discuss what people want from their marketing efforts. Here's my guarantee--if a prospective client shows me what they are doing on the marketing fronts and I don't come up with new ideas for their marketing, the beverages are on me!

Photography

I'm shooting loads of photos and taking steps to get my work out in the world. If 1% of the photos are excellent, then I have a few hundred worth seeing! People have told me "You should put those images in galleries and sell them." My winter 2016 will include new work on that and an expanded physical portfolio. The internet makes showing work easy, but nothing beats a real print for people to imagine what a photo would look like hanging on a wall.

I met two co-owners of Fidelis , a local custom print maker several years ago. They do amazing work on paper and canvas and I want to get back on the path of printing and selling more photos using their fine art expertise.

And hasn't been bored for years.

Life is a candy store. I feel like a lucky kid with a pocket full of change most days.

When I wake up, the challenge is choosing what to do from all the options. Of course there are constraints and commitments, currently featuring the...

Healthlink B.C. website at: www.healthlinkbc.ca

I'm Web Office and taking responsibility for web analytics, links, and SEO along with general site maintenance for a 5,000+ page site. I work on the Health Information Design and Delivery team in Navigation Services which also runs the 811 health information line. On the web and by phone, you can find information on a wide array of health topics. The website is aimed at both citizens and healthchare professionals including the nurses, dietitians, and now doctors who staff the 8-1-1 telehealth line.

Community Healthcare and Resource Directory (aka CHARD)

The team built CHARD, an online resource directory of public and private organizations, services, and practitioners for use by family doctors in B.C. The basic idea was that general practitioners with current and accurate information on how patients can access assessment and treatment for what ails them will save the healthcare system and taxpayers money.

Our team won an Innovation award from the B.C. Ministry of Health in Spring 2011, so our hard work was recognized!

I researched and wrote about a huge range of services related to issues and conditions treated by doctors, chiropractors, physical therapists, kinesiologists, massage therapists, acupuncturists, psychologists, clinical counsellors, psychiatrists, social workers, occupational therapists, dentists, and business owners providing products and services to people. CHARD shut down in August, 2013. The staff cost of maintaining the directory was high relative to the amount of usage by doctors so I imagine a manager looking for an easy item to cut from a budget would recognize the cost vs. value outlier in a list of expenses.

People I worked with on CHARD have moved on to roles in the public service, non-profits and the private sector. And at least one retired!

Datawitness

Before joining CHARD, I was one of a small team that brought Datawitness.com to market. Starting from scratch, we built a base of repeat customers. However, while the business continues operating, it didn't take off like the team and investors hoped, so staff was reduced to a level that keeps it running but not growing. I'm proud of the work I did in sales, marketing, and training. I learned a lot about the time and money challenges of a technology startup and am better prepared to take on work that puts achieving business goals centre stage.

I find many ways to have fun.

I mentioned photography above, and that's my main creative outlet and a good source of exercise too. Try creeping stealthily through the underbrush following a snake or grasshopper, then holding a steady pose for the camera, then shifting to get diferent angles and as close as possible. It's part slow-motion dance, part yoga! For a tall guy, I scrunch up into a ball to present an unthreatening profile quite well.

Sportswise, I paddle on a stand-up board, swim and inline skate. When the weather gets wetter during Vancouver's cooler months, I run hills (no excuses, just have to step out my front door and go) and go the gym. I live in a neighbourhood with a lot of shopping and services within easy cycling distance so I try to ride rather than drive when it makes sense. I'm finishing a great 2016 SUP season using a variety of boards at Windsure at the Jericho Sailing Centre. I've fallen for the SUP sport and see no end to the challenges it offers.

I have a dream to learn how to surf and don't know when that will happen. Meanwhile I'll keep pushing my SUPing to train my brain and body!

Music

I can't play a lick of anything. Relaxation for me includes listening to vinyl and cd's while scouring online blogs and sites and my shelf of music guides to discover or track down music I haven't heard yet. Services like Emusic make it easy. I'm finding and downloading music I gave up tracking down on vinyl years ago and discovering great new stuff. I salute the myriad new artists who create and put their music out there in hope of finding a supportive audience. I have a lot of fun putting together mixes to share with friends.

Reading and writing

I'm a bookworm and always have been. When I can't learn something through direct experience, books fill the gap. At least until we have mind-sharing clones to send off in different directions to experience the many wonders available out there. If the library had a platinum card, I'd own it.

There's a book in my head but I haven't figured out the structure of the story yet. I need to just sit down, start writing, and see where it takes me. I've hung out with published novelists and know that sometimes that's what you have to do until a story and characters take on lives of their own. Although one of my writing heroes, Steven Pressfield would disagree. But even his one page plan for a project (literary or other) leaves room for creative discovery as you take an idea and flesh it out. I write, and won't stop writing through different avenues, work and fun. May not ever get to a book, but we'll see!

Organizations I support

Animal Rescue

We had a much-loved budgie growing up. My brother's macaw Pepe got me intrigued by birds again. I've volunteered hundreds of hours with Greyhaven for years.

I've also adopted several abandoned birds. My ragtag flock currently numbers three crazy lovebirds hens who've all laid eggs. My life is richer for the experience. People who have pets get it. And if you know birds, I don't have to explain. If you haven't lived with them, I'd be happy to talk to you about what you can expect from sharing space with amazingly clever and emotionally rich critters. They bond with people just like dogs and are just as excited when you get home from work!

If you're thinking about a new pet, and open to a bird, check out the birds for adoption on Greyhaven's web site. You can also join as a member. Whether or not you plan to adopt, the funds go to maintain Greyhaven programs and the fund for a permanent home for the sanctuary.

They also have fundraiser events like the gigantic Garage Sale my partner and I organized in Spring 2009. We raised over $2,000. Check the Greyhaven web site for their event and community calendar.

Canadian Blood Services

I've donated whole blood 60 times. And will continue as long as "it's in me to give."

I went to a donor recognition event in 2009 when I hit the fifty donation mark. I've always felt giving blood was a good thing to do. But it's been abstract. My blood helps somebody, somewhere. At the event I got to meet and hear first hand from people who have directly benefited from donated blood. The stories they told tend to be not needing a top up pint but long, difficult battles and recoveries from illness or injury where they need a lot of blood, over and over, to get them through it.

It's a simple equation. Give blood. Save lives. Help give young children a chance to grow up. It's easy to start and doesn't take long. Try one or more of the different ways to give. You may end up doing it for years and helping many people and families through difficult times.

Take a Hike Foundation

The Take a Hike Foundation runs an outdoor-centered program for at-risk high school students.

Take a Hike gives city kids in trouble a rich outdoor experience and steers them onto a new life path by keeping them in school and teaching them new skills through adventure-based learning.

I was lucky enough to spend a lot of time in the woods growing up—locally in the UBC Endowment Lands (Pacific Spirit Regional Park) and at my great uncles' fly-in fishing lodge in Manitoba. Those times are among the best in my life. Out in the bush, you feel alive in ways that are easy to forget in urban settings. I live in the city now, but time outdoors and off pavement are part of my routine as an antidote to artificial indoor living. Carrying a camera everywhere is a big help for appreciating the urban nature we all have access to (see Flickr for examples.)

Interesting friends help

My circle of long-time friends lives in the 'burbs or away from Vancouver so our paths cross less as people rightly focus on families and careers and their own unique and diverse interests. But we do have fun when we gather. A highlight is my End of Summer picnics at Jericho Beach (12th annual coming up in September 2016! Will it be the last? Stay tuned…).

Life keeps bringing new people into the flow. I've been lucky enough to find acquaintances and friends through day-job work, freelancing, the neighbourhood, and dating. Social life only gets dull if you let it.

If you are an old friend who lost touch, this should catch you up on the basics. Email or call if you want to reach me.

If you're thinking about hiring me to write and help you sell, this gives you an idea of what I can do beyond what I can portray with a resume, introduction letters, track record, and samples. There's information here about my writing skill, personality, and character.

If it helps you decide whether I am a person you could work with when the pressure is on, then hang out with later to celebrate what we accomplished, great!

Whatever the case, you can reach me at (604) 730-8478.

Other places to reach me or see what I'm up to: