About the Author
Brenda Herchmer is the owner of Grassroots Enterprises, a community development consulting company. Additionally she is the Principal Collaborator of a social enterprise called Campus for Communities where information about her webinars can be found. Brenda Herchmer has a diverse background gained in a variety of government, business, and community settings. Her primary work has involved community building and comprehensive community transformation and the change process and leadership it requires. Technology has always played a significant role in her endeavours. She specializes in community development,strategic planning, and community…
Posted on 01-01-13
Because It’s the Right Thing to Do…
Change is hard. It really is. Most people see it as something they don’t want because it means leaving what they know and stepping into something more likely to be messy and unclear. It may even be that change is hard because we overestimate the value of staying the same, and underestimate the value of what could be gained.
However, In my work, which generally involves supporting change in organizations and communities, we’ve also learned there is a small minority of people for whom change isn’t as hard. Instead they view change as moving forward, learning, growing, and ideally, innovative…
Posted on 11-29-15
Tall, Dark and Charismatic
As he put it, he wanted to meet and develop a relationship. It definitely wasn’t personal, it was simply because in the not-to-distant future, he knew his employer would be in need of the community development training offered by my company.
Our connection over coffee stretched to over an hour and resulted in a deep, rich, and meaningful conversation about community building and its importance.
I was definitely a “Miss Cranky Pants” this week.
In addition to being cranky, I suffered from monkey mind, my body hurt, and I was far more tired than usual. In short, I simply wasn’t firing on all jets.
While there’s no doubt it was due in part to having been on the road for two weeks, I also realized that not exercising regularly was a major factor. Whereas I was still walking as much as I could, I had missed the thrice weekly gym workouts that have become an essential…
Posted on 10-29-15
How I was Reminded About Gratitude
I am grateful for the many good things that are part of my life. And, while I do my best to reflect an attitude of gratitude, I recently heard a story that truly put everything into perspective.
The story came a few weeks ago from a neurosurgeon I only knew as the result of a breakfast conversation at a B & B where we were both staying.
I’m losing patience and respect for the “Old Boys” among us.
While I’ll be the first to admit they bring extensive experience and often great wisdom, there is a disconcerting sameness in their sense of entitlement, and an often masked, yet unmistakable, arrogance.
Yes without a doubt there are exceptions. If you are an Old Boy, you might even think you are different. But trust me, the odds are you aren’t. In fact, you might even be one of the most most dangerous because you are smart enough to…
Posted on 09-25-15
Change Not Chance?
I am blessed to have maintained a precious relationship with three colleagues with whom I worked over a number of years as part of an exciting community development initiative called ACE Communities. Although we are all now self-employed we continue to connect via monthly group Skype calls. Our conversations are a mix of personal and business but always always reflect deep, rich learning, and probably a little too much fun.
In anticipation of an upcoming call this week, one of the group suggested we provide a bit more structure by having each of us address three questions. One question…
Posted on 08-19-15
The Critical Hours
I was reminded this week about an incident with one of our sons that took place when he was about thirteen.
With judgment likely impaired by the bouncing hormones of adolescence, he and a friend found and decided to use a pellet gun to shoot at a gallery of glass canning jars. That in itself wasn’t a brilliant idea but it was compounded by the fact that they decided to do it in the rather confined space of our basement.
In the late 1990’s I got involved in a Canada-wide movement that collected evidence and research to document the benefits or outcomes delivered by recreation and parks.
Little did any of us know the field was ahead of its time in putting into place a precursor to what is now referred to as big data analytics. Let me explain.
The reality is that we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day. What makes it… More Posted on 07-27-15
When Economy Trumps Quality of Life We Pay a Price
Community building is in my heart and likely in my DNA.
While my career path first took me into the corporate world, I was attracted to the field of recreation because of its focus on outcomes—helping people grow and be healthy, building strong families and communities, working with those who were disadvantaged, protecting the environment, and adding to the quality of life in our communities.
I subsequently worked in a variety of settings including a Boys and Girls Club, municipal recreation, Niagara College, then with the Alberta Recreation and Parks Association (ARPA), and now with my own social enterprise…
Posted on 07-26-15
Small Town Advantage
After living in Edmonton for the past eight years (population 877,926), we recently moved back to Welland, Ontario (population 50,631).
In Edmonton I could go anywhere and the odds are I would never run into a single person I knew. In Welland, that’s not the case because, as in other small towns across the country, people know each other. That’s one of the many things I missed.
I must say it’s disconcerting to walk into stores and see clothes that look so much like those I wore in my younger years. Fortunately most of them are pretty unattractive and are clothes I would never wear again even if I could.
On the other hand, they bring back memories of an era and a generation that staged protests and raised their voices in an endeavor to make the world a better place.
I like that I often see that same desire in today’s youth.
A friend recently told me how happy she was to know that all of the students in her young daughter’s class had been tested to determine their strongest forms of intelligence.
As a parent, she had received the full assessment. Interestingly enough, the teacher only received the aggregated results of all students. There was great value in terms of knowing how her teaching could best accommodate the particular ratios in her classroom. However it wasn’t important for her to know the specifics of each child’s test.
Eight years ago my husband and I spread our wings as empty nesters and made what many considered to be an irrational decision to pull up stakes in Welland, Ontario and move to Edmonton, Alberta.
One month before the move, I flew out to find a place to live in a city that at the time had a vacancy rate of less than 1%.
A colleague picked me up at the Edmonton airport and as we exited the parking lot, we looked up to see a stunningly beautiful rainbow. I took it to be an omen that our risky decision…
Posted on 05-22-15
All the World Loves a Maverick — or do they?
Last week someone introduced me as a maverick. While initially I thought of it as a compliment, now I’m not so sure.
The reality is that for many, being a maverick is never something to which they have aspired. Even if there should be, there don’t seem to be a lot of job ads seeking a maverick.
Typically defined as someone who exhibits great independence in thought and action, maverick was in fact the surname of a Texas lawyer named Samuel Maverick who refused to brand his cattle. As it turns…
Posted on 04-23-15
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