Lena Almeida, a wife and mother of two feisty little boys, is a writer,
social media enthusiast and authentic shopaholic. In fact, if it’s on sale –
she’s already bought it. Before starting a family, Almeida worked as a corporate trainer and employee satisfaction specialist for a Fortune 100
company. As much as she loved her career, she also yearned to explore her
creative side. Almeida started her blog Listen to Lena as a way of communicating
the best parenting finds to friends and family, but as she continued to post,
it was not long before an old passion was reignited – writing. Her site
evolved to focus on her love of creative writing and includes product reviews
and features, humorous takes on parenthood and her famous random rants. In
Almeida was named Best Blog and Best Family Blog at the Canadian Blog Awards
and is consistently ranked as one of the highest trafficked blogs in Toronto.
In 2011, she was once again named Best Family Blog and recognized as Motorola
Canada’s Social BLAZR. Today, she is the Official Shopaholic for SHOP.ca
considered one of Canada’s top digital women. She enthusiastically uses her
skills and knowledge to help elevate women’s presence and influence in social
you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the
I’ve always wanted to be a writer, so naturally I studied Human Resources and
became a Corporate Trainer. 🙂 Seriously, though – I kind of fell into media
while on maternity leave. I was looking for a way to channel my creative
energy, so I set up a little blog and began to talk about the things I love.
Before I knew it, the blog had become my business. Quite happy to be in this space!
Where would you like to be five years from now?
Five years from now I would like to be as healthy, happy and fulfilled as I am
advice for people getting started in your industry?
There is no such thing as an overnight success. Don’t start a blog with the
sole purpose of gaining popularity or quitting your day job. Post often,
frequently engage with your readers (I respond to every comment left on by
blog), and if desired, position your blog to brands in a respectful and
are your favourite media outlets, not including your own?
I spend an inordinate amount of time watching/listening to the news, so CP24
and 680 News are constantly streaming in the background. The only television
show I’ve bothered to PVR in the last six months was The Vampire Diaries. SUCH
interview you’ve ever had?
While I wouldn’t call it the “best”, interviewing four women – all in hiding –
at a battered women’s shelter was certainly one of the most memorable.
I’m too polite to say.
advice you’ve ever been given?
Fear = absence of faith.
rule(s) do you live your life by?
It’s quite corny, but my high school motto (Father Michael Goetz, Mississauga) was “Take a risk, get involved, be committed.” Although I rarely subscribed
to it in high school, I live by those words today in everything I do.
the most important tip you can give PR pros?
Tailor your pitches and know the blogger (and her/his audience). Most established
bloggers have little time, but a lot of influence. Be brief and to the point;
let the blogger know in the first paragraph how you’d like to work together
(even if it’s simply to communicate a press release). Within 30 seconds of
opening your email I want to know what’s in it for my readers, what’s in it
for me, and what your expectations are.
experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.
Since I often review products, many times PR folk will ask if I’d like to
coordinate a reader giveaway as well. Recently, I had the chance to experience
Arlene Dickinson’s Persuasion line. In lieu of a reader giveaway, I asked if
rock-it promotions would mind donating the prize to a silent auction
benefitting Perinatal Bereavement Services Ontario. Y’all agreed without
hesitation – knowing that you’d be trading further press and reader engagement in order to help support something that I believed in. That, to me, is a HUGE
Anything with more than four legs.
In no particular order: Shopping at Wal-Mart early on a Sunday morning, finding
a Joe Fresh dupe for an OPI nail colour, writing with a 0.7mm retractable lead
pencil, watching my boys play with cars, enjoying a ripe mango out of season, the smell of crisp, clean sheets hanging on a clothesline, laughing so hard I
cry, watching TELUS commercials, realizing my husband already cleaned the
kitchen, having someone else wash my hair and this quote: “Success is getting what
you want. Happiness is wanting what you get.” – D. Carnegie
Ugh. Don’t make me admit it! I just finished the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy.
place on earth?
Niagara-on-the-Lake. I was married there five years ago this July. Yes, I was one
of those 07-07-07 bridezillas.
John Cleese. But only if he came as Basil Fawlty, and stayed in character all
My two sons. They’ve taught me that unconditional love is not simply a song
app (or whatever you are downloading these days)?
Epicurious. It always tells me what to do with bok choy.