About the Author
Brenda Herchmer is a passionate community builder who is committed to promoting and supporting the value of a collaborative culture and future-readiness. She is the founder and CEO of a social enterprise called Campus for Communities of the Future and Co-Chair of Catalyst 2030 Canada. A speaker, trainer, coach, and strategist across Canada, she is a former Professor and Director at Niagara College, Director of ACE Communities (Alberta) and worked for the City of Niagara Falls. Brenda is the author of three books, has been honoured as…
Posted on 06-13-19
Maybe Bigger Isn’t Better?
One of the best parts of getting older is that most of us do get to know ourselves better and find what we are passionate about. When we do figure it out, some of those disjointed, dancing dots do get connected. For me, this has resulted in knowing I find joy in learning more about community leadership and how we can better nurture the development of our communities as strong, healthy, and vibrant places to live, work and play.
Recently my work seems to have focused on the…
Posted on 03-06-23
IQ. EQ. Now XQ?
Don’t tell anyone, but as a community futurist, I might just have an advantage over others.
That advantage comes as the result of having worked with more rural than urban communities over the past 15 years and learning there is a great deal of strategic foresight to be gained by paying attention to what’s happening at the grassroots of Canada.
One of the most interesting ‘edge’ or ‘weak’ signals we’re sensing in small, rural and remote communities is the increasing number of ‘empty-nest’ females who have chosen to become involved in local politics.…
Posted on 02-13-23
Legacy Lessons from a Wanna-be Tap Dancer
My Mom passed away a year ago. One would think I would have been clear about the exact date of such a significant anniversary, but the truth is I was caught up in the stress of delivering two workshops and a keynote at a conference and hadn’t kept track of the exact date.
After-dinner musical entertainment was part of the final evening at the conference and a very talented father and daughter duo played one of the daughter’s favourite songs. Turns out it was also one of…
Posted on 02-09-23
More than One Feather
It began, as many success stories do, with a small group of determined individuals sitting around a table.
As someone once told me, when you hit bottom, the best thing to do is stick out your legs and push. And push they did.
When a community is in trouble, the pushing off often begins with a small group of individuals coming together to talk. These conversations are the beginning of change and ultimately the solutions for a stronger, healthier, more vibrant community.
In this case, the…
Posted on 01-13-23
It’s About More Than Lettuce
No time to read? Here’s the link to the recording.
Not sure about others, but in our home we typically attempt to offset the impact of holiday indulgences by eating more salads than usual.
This year eating lighter and healthier has been tempered somewhat by the cost of produce. When a bag of three puny heads of tired California romaine lettuce hit $9.00, I kept walking and instead reached for a locally…
Posted on 01-03-23
What I Wanted for Christmas
I got exactly what I wanted for Christmas – collective joy.
Like many others, by the beginning of December I was tapped out. As a result, I was much too susceptible to the magpie syndrome and easily distracted by anything bright and shiny. Even more disturbing is that I found myself at risk for being drawn into what some are calling collective inertia.
To be fair, it wasn’t just Covid, work pressures, and interactions with a few too many rude people. It was also the first Christmas…
Posted on 12-28-22
What’s a Third Place and Why Pianos?
This week I heard a great CBC interview about the concept of ‘Third Places’. It twigged a memory so I went digging and found a newspaper column I had written in July 2009. Maybe a concept a little ahead of its time but today, some 13 years later, it seems even more relevant. You might be interested in knowing some of the pianos still exist and the street piano movement spread to communities around the world.
A couple of weeks ago, 30 somewhat funky looking pianos were placed… More Posted on 12-15-22
Kindness Has Its Own Rewards
I’m the first to admit I’m a big fan of retail therapy. On the other hand, I don’t consider shopping for groceries to be fun at all. For me grocery shopping is definitely a chore.
However, as I was buying groceries today, it seemed the clerk at my checkout was even less of a fan.
She just looked so miserable I felt compelled to find something positive to say.
Glancing at her I smiled and said, “You’re definitely a good…
Posted on 11-29-22
Ocean Freighter or Canoe?
While there are some who might envy those who are self-employed as social entrepreneurs, the reality is that it often comes with long hours and sleepless nights. On the flip side, it comes with many advantages.
For sure working for larger institutions or businesses comes with more security and a pension, but as I recently explained to a colleague, it’s akin to the difference between trying to steer a highly loaded ocean freighter and a nimble, flexible canoe.
The canoe is far easier to manage and better able to…
Posted on 11-21-22
It’s So Tempting To Play Ostrich
Curiosity velocity is a positive attribute, but sometimes we may not like what we find.
I recently stumbled across a 2022 study by Lancet Planetary Health that surveyed 10,000 people between the ages of 16 to 25 from 10 different countries.
Here’s the sad part.
Three-quarters of those surveyed said, “the future is frightening” with more than half believing that “humanity is doomed.” Nearly 4 in 10 said that they were hesitant about having children.
Some 58 percent of those surveyed said their…
Posted on 11-15-22
The Soft Side of Innovation
I have a brain that is constantly leapfrogging.
So while my thought processes may not be typical, I’ve learned over the years to roll with it and explore whenever I can. While it often makes for chaotic conversations in my head, it typically leads to learnings that are deep, meaningful, and informative.
As a result, when my brain recently landed on the topic of focus groups, it seemed important to pay attention.
Not as random as it might sound, the subject was…
Posted on 11-11-22
Are You a Positive Deviant?
I was recently described by a colleague as being a positive deviant. When she saw me flinch, she instead suggested I was a maverick. While she clearly thought both terms were complimentary, I’m not sure everyone would agree.
After all, does anyone say, ‘I want to be a positive deviant when I grow up?’ Is it even a conscious choice? More likely, colouring outside the lines is something one is wired to do.
Regardless, research does indicate that Positive Deviance (PD) is based on the…
Posted on 11-06-22
The Tattoo That Made Me Want One
While I like to consider myself as one who loves change and embraces trends, tattoos are something I’ve personally never been able to get behind.
In part its because when I was growing up tattoos weren’t especially mainstream. Unless of course you considered sailors, bikers, and criminals to be mainstream.
Mostly though, I’m not a fan because I’m easily bored and tattoos are just so darned permanent. Heck, I get tired of wearing the same sweater after… More Posted on 10-25-22
The Invention that Sidetracked Education
Some people, including myself, have asked why I chose to leave a secure position at a college a number of years ago. The truth is I really didn’t have a definitive answer.
Part of it was fueled by a desire for new challenges, however, it was still somewhat perplexing, particularly as after leaving, I continued to be drawn to anything that provided an opportunity to teach, facilitate, train, or provide an environment for transferring knowledge in some way.
My teaching direction is gradually moving away…
Posted on 10-18-22
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