Who Speaks for Canada’s Rural Regions?
Almost one third of Canada’s population - approximately nine million people - live in rural regions and yet, the Government of Canada took the final steps to eliminate the Rural Secretariat on May 9, 2013. All Rural Secretariat staff have received lay-off notices. Responsibility for non-financial co-operatives was transferred to Industry Canada on March 4th, 2013.
It is especially ironic given that much of the resources that contribute to Canada’s wealth (oil, agricultural, water, forests) are located in rural Canada.More Posted on 06-07-13
Do the Right Thing Even When No One is Looking
Most Canadians would agree that ethical behaviour is pretty simple — do the right thing even when no one is looking.
And, if you’re not sure what the right thing is, it has been suggested one could apply the “Front Page of the Newspaper” test.
In other words, simply ask yourself if you would be comfortable seeing your act described on the front page of the newspaper and being read by your family, friends, and associates.
Regardless of one’s interests or field, it is extraordinarily challenging these days to stay on top of the onslaught of information and change that is the result of today’s hyper-connectivity.
But, as I was recently reminded by a very smart colleague, we are moving from an Industrial Age based on the principles of physics (cause and effect, linear thinking, etc) to a Connect Age based on biological principles (use of complexity theory, and/both thinking, emergence and evolution, etc.).
Our youngest son wasn’t quite three years old at the time when his older brother unexpectedly gave him one of his coveted GI Joes.
As the result of being the recipient of such unexpected generosity, he turned to me, grinned, and said, “Mommy, that’s cooperation”.
While I was sure a child with that kind of a vocabulary was a genius, upon questioning, I soon realized that he had simply absorbed cooperation as the word of the day from Sesame Street.
My mother planned to name me Wendy.
But, when her Ukrainian mother-in- law came to visit her in the hospital shortly after my birth, she misheard the name as Windy. Her response was not positive.
My Baba said somewhat scornfully — and you’ll need to read this with a thick Ukrainian accent — “Windy? Who ever heard of a baby named Windy?”
As a result, my mother decided to name me after her younger sister and I became Brenda.
While I get that “Google is not a synonym for research”, I’m definitely not a research wonk either.
So, while I blame my being right-brained for my tendency to be driven by intuition rather than facts, I have also learned that the balance between spidey senses and hard data is a critical one.
That being said, I think every Canadian should be worried about the lack of emphasis our federal government appears to be placing on research and hard data, as well as their seeming propensity for ignoring it once they have it.
This month the federal government…
Posted on 04-28-13
Why We Need More Co-ops, Credit Unions, and Worker-Owned Businesses
I guess it’s because I’ve always rooted for the underdog, but right or wrong, I have always been drawn to the quality of life side of the community ledger rather that the economic side.
Regardless, I’ve accepted the reality that the majority of people believe money and jobs are more important than community building so I’m always trying to expand my knowledge and understanding of economic development.
So, to make a long story short, I’ve somehow ended up being part of a crowdsourcing team that is helping to develop a new course at Graceland University in Iowa called Leadership…
Posted on 04-22-13
Stepping Up and Stepping In To Challenges
It wasn’t an easy workshop to design and one that in some ways I had been dreading.
Even though I don’t wear a cape or Wonder Woman bracelets, the client was anticipating I would be able to address a long list of needs identified in their stakeholder survey.
In a mere two hours, they were looking to me to provide participants with solutions and tools to help engage more citizens and to address a declining volunteer base.
And, have some fun while they were doing it.
Not that long ago while doing some consulting work in a small town in rural Alberta, a colleague and I watched curiously as all traffic stopped and pulled over for what we initially thought was some kind of small parade or celebration.
As it turns out, it was a celebration, albeit a funeral procession celebrating the life of a cowboy.
It was a tip of the hat to funerals of the Old West that were often simple and fitting tributes to cowboys who owned little but died with their boots on.
While many, myself included, often wondered why I chose to leave a secure teaching position at Niagara College a number of years ago, the truth is I really didn’t have an answer.
While part of it was fueled by a desire for new challenges, it was still somewhat perplexing, particularly as after leaving, I continued to be drawn to anything that provided an opportunity to teach, train, or transfer knowledge in some way.
While I’m now delivering conference sessions, workshops, and keynotes, much of my training has moved online in the form of interactive webinars.
Without a doubt he was a smart man who cared deeply about his community. He was an active participant involved in many organizations serving in a helping role and as an advocate for many good causes.
She was cut from the same cloth, serving as an engaged, responsible citizen who bubbled with energy and ideas.
With their sound core values, good hearts, and the very best of intentions, both should have been considered stellar community leaders.
“Volunteering is on the decline.”
“Young people are disengaged.”
“People are abandoning community.”
I heard versions of these same concerns while delivering workshops this week in three very different communities.
While on the surface many would believe these are valid issues, personally I’m not buying it.
I’m not buying it because everywhere I go, in addition to these concerns, I’m also hearing that people are hungry for a sense of community and for being connected to one another. And, despite not always being involved, they very much do want to give back to their…
Posted on 03-10-13
Healthier Lifestyle is Paying Dividends
While the sturdy “baba” genes I’ve inherited from my Ukrainian grandmother may mean I’m never going to be svelte, my workout regime and focus on making healthier food choices just might be paying off.
I’ve recently done a fair bit of work-related travel — Whitehorse, London, and Winnipeg alone within the past two weeks. Despite the reality of hauling hefty luggage, sleeping in uncomfortable beds, and hoofing my way through airports and parking lots, I realized I was holding up pretty well.
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. After all, when was the last time you saw a job ad actively 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 out, it wasn’t so much about not wanting to inflict…
Posted on 02-24-13
What is it that allows one to flourish?
Like many seniors these days, my mother-in-law is in a difficult place.
No longer able to live safely on her own, she has recently moved into a retirement home leaving behind her beloved house where she had raised her family and lived for over 60 years.
While she is now safe and well-cared for, the truth is that her emotional well-being and happiness is very much at-risk.
I was thinking of her this week as I participated in a workshop that shared the concept of PERMA from a book called “Flourish” by esteemed psychologist Martin Seligman — the father of…
Posted on 02-21-13
Page 1 of 20 pages 1 2 3 > Last ›