About the Author

CAREER OVERVIEW

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… More Posted on 06-13-19

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… More 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… More 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… More 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.
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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… More 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… More 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… More 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… More 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… More 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… More Posted on 10-18-22

Are You Ready for What’s Next?

                                   

Not sure about you, but I’m a tad dizzy from all the spinning going on as we struggle to prioritize our personal lives, our organizations and businesses, networks, and communities.

It used to be much simpler….you could figure out where you currently were, where you wanted to go, and then develop action steps to address the gap in between. That I understood. 

The reality today is that we live in far more… More Posted on 10-08-22

Paddling on One Side of the Canoe?

     

We all have our tried and true, especially when we’re stressed. There’s a tendency to fall back on what we know has worked in the past. It’s not unlike cooking. When I’m busy or rushed, it’s the tried and true recipes I fall back on.

Yet, if we want to go in a different direction, relying on our old recipes is the equivalent of only paddling on one side of the canoe. Not only will we have difficulty getting to a new place, it sometimes results in us travelling in circles.

More Posted on 09-30-22

Can Simplicity Make the Complex Possible?

   

Not sure exactly why but I recently signed up for a podcasting course.  Although I’ve previously taken a one day workshop and had the basics, I’ve never actually but them into play. This time I’m hoping it sticks.

So far, I’ve been pleasantly surprised because the course has been interesting, engaging, and ultimately, quite promising. In large part it’s because the course has been broken down into simple bite-sized assignments.  The first assignment was to give our podcast a name, the second list to 10 people we would interview, the third was… More Posted on 09-25-22

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