McLennan's snapshot of rjb

Robert J. Ballantyne

Curriculum Vitae

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Career Objective
Career Highlights
Major Projects, Employment
Product Development
Media Experience
Community Involvement (Leadership Positions)
About Robert's squinty right eye


Career Objective

  • Employing my creativity and experience to bring together the forces of the community to produce value, excellence and achievement.
  • My main focus is working with not-for-profit (NFP) boards and management to achieve real and quantifiable results. (As governments withdraw funding we are requiring our NFPs to provide the quality of life we value. Culturally, our NFP boards are often not functional and do not know their role. I have the tools and processes to address this.)
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    Career Highlights

  • 12 years senior management of major public attractions
  • 20 years producing, delivering, promoting public and school planetarium shows
  • Successful marketing of cultural / educational experiences to a wide audience
  • Trained by Miriam and John Carver to teach Policy Governance®
  • Skilled in Facility Development and Project Management (including use of PERT/CPM)
  • Track record of working productively with the cultural, educational, entertainment, environmental, and scientific communities
  • Record of effective government relations
  • Strong public presence as columnist and broadcaster
  • Experience in labour negotiations for management
  • Experience facilitating and implementing strategic planning
  • Responsible fiscal management of a public institution
  • Practical experience in developing and marketing consumer products
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    Major Projects, Employment

    Consultant July 1988 to Present

    Clients include: Women's Enterprise Centre, Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan Inc., New York Society of Security Analysts, Pacific Spirit Park Society, N. Van. Museum & Archives, Pacific Music Industry Association, Gatehouse Montessori, Ian C. McLennan Consulting, Friends of the [Griffith] Observatory, York University, Wondertree Educational Foundation, BC Environmental Network, Science Council of British Columbia, B.C. Hydro, Whistler Resort Association, Canadian Museum of Flight and Transportation, Vancouver Museum, Canada Manitoba ERDA Agreement, Burns Bog Conservation Society.

    Marmot Recovery Foundation

    Interim CEO September 1999 to September 2000

    Vancouver Hotel Association

    Executive Director (Part-time), 1991 to 1995

    Manitoba Museum of Man Nature

    Director of Community Relations October1986 to June 1988
  • Re-organized division into three interlinked departments: Marketing (including Public Relations, Advertising and Promotion, and Gift Shop), Visitor Services (including Security, the 170-member volunteer corps, and attendants), and Fund-raising and Membership.
  • Implemented a new Security System. Installed an electronic surveillance system. Security became tighter, and the public was better served. This was achieved with a 10% reduction in the overall cost of the service, including the capital cost of the equipment.
  • Manitoba Planetarium

    Planetarium Director November 1976 to October 1986
  • Improved programming so that 1978-79 saw the best attendance since the planetarium opened in 1968.
  • Managed crisis during the Total Solar Eclipse. Medical Association announced that there was no way to observe the eclipse except on television. My decision that a well-informed public was best protection against injury. Produced a special Planetarium show which was regularly sold out. Published and distributed information pamphlets, and made public appearances. Co-hosted a live television program, the highest-rated program in Canada the week of eclipse. Proposed Eclipse Visors as a fund raiser. All 50,000 Visors were sold within two weeks of release. No one in Manitoba had any permanent eye damage, according to a study conducted by the Optometric Society.
  • Conceived and developed a new Science Gallery patterned along the lines of science centres which provide hands-on learning experiences. Insured positive results with innovative use of formative evaluation. Gallery produced new revenue, with excellent repeat business and extremely positive public perception.
  • Marketing tie-in with Comet Halley. Produced special shows. Proposed a high ticket fund raising tour to see the comet. Wrote a weekly column in the Weekend edition of the Winnipeg Free Press to provide information and insight into the coming of the comet. Shows well attended, tour sold out in 3 days, and after Comet Halley I was invited to continue newspaper column.
  • McLaughlin Planetarium, Royal Ontario Museum

    Planetarium Producer-Curatorial July 1968 to October 1976
  • Introduced technological innovations to improve entertainment value of shows. Implemented first use of automation at this planetarium. Produced the first fully scripted and recorded shows (This initiated a major change in our programming philosophy). Supervised design of the finest sound studio in any planetarium; and operated it for three years.
  • Appointed the public spokesperson for the planetarium. In this capacity, I achieved a high profile with the Toronto media.
  • Contracted for the first laser show to appear in any Canadian Planetarium. Although these shows faced tremendous resistance from many planetarium professionals, they were a hit with the public, and brought a new audience and substantial new revenues to the Star Theatre. The laser shows became a permanent feature of the McLaughlin Planetarium's programming, as well as in all Canadian Planetaria.
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    Product Development

    Developed, with my wife, a consumer product: THE PLANTING BOARD, a system for planning a vegetable garden using Intensive Gardening principles. We sold the license to manufacture and distribute it to McKenzie Seeds of Brandon, Manitoba. In terms of the numbers sold, and the excellent reviews, it is a Canadian Best Seller.

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    Media Experience

  • In Toronto, and for 12 years in Winnipeg, appeared as a regular visitor on every local TV and radio talk show, and was interviewed frequently for press and magazine articles. This has been due primarily to my Museum / Planetarium connections, but also related to other high-profile community activities. Narrated planetarium shows and a/v presentations.
  • Sky Watch, Winnipeg Free Press September 1985 to December 1987, Coverage: Manitoba, 229,000 copies, Format: Weekly column, in Saturday paper, then Sunday.
  • CBC Information Radio April 1980 to July 1981, weekly, Coverage: Manitoba, Host: Bill Guest, Format: 10 minute interview on a prepared astronomical subject; total of 58 episodes.
  • Eclipse Magic, CBC TV February 1979, 1-hour live coverage of the total eclipse, Coverage: Canada, Hosts: R. Ballantyne, Bill Guest (tape available) Highest rated show in Canada that week.
  • CBC Radio Summer 1976, Nightly at 23:15 during Olympics, Coverage: Ontario, Format: 10 minute radio interview with the studio, live from atop First Canadian Place, describing the night sky.
  • CBC, Radio Noon May 1975 to January 1976, weekly Coverage: Ontario, Hosts: John O'Leary, then David Shatsky, Format: 10 minute interview on a prepared astronomical subject; total of 40 episodes
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    Community Involvement (Leadership Positions)

  • 1995- 2007 Elected President of the BC Spaces for Nature -- Formerly Tatshenshini Wild.
  • 19982000 Elected Chair of the Environmental Mining Council of British Columbia.
  • 1993-1996 Elected President of the Canadian Nature Federation (now renamed Nature Canada) -- the voice of naturalists from coast to coast to coast to coast, representing 145 affiliated clubs, societies, provincial federations and 40,000 individual members and supporters. Completed 9-year board term in 1998.
  • 1985-1988 Honorary Chair, Canada Wide Science Fair. As a high-profile head of a science/cultural organization, I was asked to lend my support to this worthy endeavour which brings together almost a thousand winners and teachers of local science competitions.
  • 1987 Elected Chair, Steering Committee for a provincial Conference on Culture & Tourism. The conference was outstanding because of the number of recommended initiatives which saw action in the following year. A report is available.
  • 1987 Elected President, Winnipeg Convention & Visitors Bureau. Re-elected for a second term for 1988. Deliberately precipitated a crisis to draw attention to the fact that Winnipeg had the worst-funded Bureau in Canada. This initiative came to fruition when we re-organized the Bureau into the City's new marketing agency, Tourism Winnipeg, and the member-based Tourism Industry Association of Winnipeg. Funding for Marketing the City was tripled.
  • 1980 Elected President, Winnipeg AM. So successful was AM through its public presentations and entertaining media stunts, that it is now popular to boast of being a Winnipegger.
  • 1979 Elected Chairman, Winnipeg Winter Conference. Its purpose was to explore ways to turn winter into something positive. Many of the dreams and ideas put forward have become fulfilled concepts.
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