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… More Posted on 06-13-19

Why Are We Applying Rational Strategies to Irrational Situations?

While my intention is never to annoy others, I know I sometimes do.

When I was working in bureaucratic settings, I’d go to meetings and say something that would inevitably draw puzzled looks from others. It was almost as if I were speaking in a foreign language. After shaking their heads, the other participants would continue their previous line of conversation – typically one that involved a lot of detail.  After being ignored for the rest of the meeting I’d beat myself up thinking, “Why on earth couldn’t I just learn to keep my… More Posted on 08-23-23

Complexity Stalls Action

I recently overheard a sales clerk ask a young customer about her plans for school. She replied that she was majoring in arts until she could get a handle on what she wants to do with her life.

With a deep sigh the young woman went on to say, “There are just so many options”.

While school isn’t on my agenda this year, I too often flounder when the decisions, options, and tasks become overwhelming. Even though I know it is somewhat irrational, I sometimes put things on the list even though I’ve already done… More Posted on 07-28-23

Enough with the Alphabet Soup


Words matter – the simpler the better - especially now when we’re overwhelmed by data and living in a world that is changing at a blistering pace.

Not only are changes resulting in complex issues and opportunities, they have also prompted new, often complex language, taxonomies, and lexicons. Taxonomies being how we classify the information, and the lexicon being the list of terms and their definitions.

So here’s the problem. We rarely seem to begin our responses to these issues and opportunities by agreeing on, and using consistent… More Posted on 07-19-23

Running on the Right Road?

Hard to believe but there really are 102 candidates running for mayor in the upcoming Toronto municipal election.

It is the highest number of candidates ever, surpassing the previous record of 65 candidates in the 2014 municipal election. This month’s by-election was called after the former mayor John Tory resigned in February 2023 after admitting to a relationship with a former employee in his office.

On some level, it is comforting to know so many are willing to throw their hat in the ring and invest their time and energy in running in a… More Posted on 06-16-23

7 Good Things About Tough Times


I drove by a flea market last weekend and cars were spilling out of the parking lot. It struck me that there might just be an upside to today’s post pandemic reboot. Flea markets, second-hand, and consignment stores seem to be doing well. It means we’re buying less, recycling more, and contributing to a greener environment. Good news, right?

So, because I’m a glass half full kind of person, I decided to spend some time mining the silver lining in what some might see as stormy clouds. Here’s… More Posted on 05-30-23

They Ran to Help

While not especially earth-shattering, two recent incidents got me thinking about trust and its importance. 

The first incident took place as my husband and I were running an errand and got stuck two cars behind a stalled pickup truck on a one-way bridge with no way to maneuver around.

As my husband and I watched, an adult male slowly struggled to get out of the passenger seat. We soon realized he was moving to the rear of the truck to try to push it out of traffic. It also became apparent… More Posted on 05-04-23

When Change Feels Too Hard….

Sigh. Change is hard, especially now. Transformative, innovative change is harder. Change is overwhelmingly hard when we’re not quite sure what to do and/or are pressed for time and resources. There are many in that same boat, paddling like mad, simply to stay afloat.

The result is often a tendency to stick with what we know and stay the course. Problem is we can’t always be sure that all our paddling is sending us in the right direction. Consequently, staying the course may end up being the greatest risk of all.

More Posted on 04-22-23

Finally I have a Category

Over the years family and friends have often asked me, “Exactly what is it you do?”

For most people, it’s a relatively straightforward question. For me, not so much.

Although it took me far too long to figure out, I am an inherent systems-thinker who needs the picture on the top of the puzzle box in order to put the pieces together.

Being wired to view the big picture I assumed other people saw it as well. Unfortunately, most of them did not.

Typically, their emphasis instead was placed on just one or… More Posted on 03-28-23

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… More 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.… More 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… More 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… 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

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