About the Author
A passionate community builder, Brenda Herchmer has a diverse background gained in a variety of government, education, business, and community sector settings. A writer, educator, consultant, coach and project manager, she has focused on enhancing the ability of seasoned and aspiring leaders to work collectively to address complex community issues with transformative change. She has specialized in community leadership, adaptive planning, community development, and organizational capacity building. She is the owner of Grassroots Enterprises and the Campus for Communities of the Future (a social enterprise/micro college) where…
Posted on 06-13-19
Are You Ready for 2020?
Planning for the future never used to be so complicated.
Whether you were planning to improve your personal life, an organization, business, or even an entire community, it was simply a matter of figuring out where you currently were, where you wanted to go, and then developing action steps to address the gap in between.
Today, we live in far more complex and fast changing times.
Truth be told, there has been some kicking and screaming over the years in getting me to spend as much time as I do these days in thinking and talking to others about outcomes and measurement.
Mostly, it is the result of my fervent belief that we’re not doing enough to measure what matters most in our communities because we’re so singularly fixated on economic growth rather than our quality of life.
I can’t remember how we were first introduced, but I can tell you that when we sat down over coffee, I learned Yvonne is an intelligent, energetic woman who is passionate about supporting entrepreneurs.
At our first meeting she handed me a strangely titled book called Ripples from the Zambezi and suggested I read it if I wanted to know more about the work she was doing with others to support business enterprise.
Alberta’s newly elected provincial government recently tabled its first budget.
It generated an overwhelmingly negative response from the tech sector who viewed it as being short-sighted and reflective of a lack of regard for the importance of creating jobs for the knowledge economy.
The budget reflected significant funding cuts reducing support and incentive for economic diversification, the tech sector, entrepreneurs, artificial intelligence, and innovation in general. This article via @betakit perhaps explains it best.
Monday was somewhat surreal for me.
I’ve been teaching online for over ten years but despite the fact that I was sitting in front of a computer in Ontario, Canada, the audience shifted in a very big way.
This time round, my online community leadership course had participation not only from Canada - including NWT, New Brunswick, Ontario, and Saskatchewan - but also from South Africa, Brazil, New Zealand, Mexico, England, and the United…
Posted on 10-02-19
Channel Your Inner Tap Dancer or Work Middle Out?
There is nothing more rewarding than teaching a group of motivated adult learners.
They are quite different from the students I used to teach in a face-to-face college setting where it was sometimes necessary to channel my inner tap dancer to get and keep their attention. Instead, these adult learners are generally much more motivated and eager to learn.
Perhaps more importantly, they have much to contribute to the classroom in terms of information, knowledge, and wisdom.
As I sat down to write this blog, I didn’t have a starting point. I wasn’t even sure about the topic. But, being good at procrastinating as well as being ready to be distracted, I did a quick scan of some old blogs on the topic that I wanted to address - trust. And, wouldn’t you know, I found a blog I had written some time ago. Although it was 7 years ago, it seemed to hold up and migth even more relevant today.
Partnerships are somewhat on my mind these days as the Campus for Communities continues to morph and grow. With proof of concept regarding the impact of our training, after many years, we’re poised to scale. In large part, it is the result of paying attention to, and learning from those at the grassroots of our communities who have been successful in ensuring active, creative, and engaged communities.
My work as the Founder and Principal Collaborator of Campus for Communities of the Future involves delivering a lot of training sessions focused on the how-to’s of strengthening community building. As a result, I’m gaining traction in terms of becoming more comfortable and confident with both the content and delivery. However, I wobbled a bit recently when I started to prepare for a session for economic developers.
While it really isn’t anything I can explain, every once in a while I stumble across a transformative concept that simply feels right. Sometimes I try to push the concept to the back of my mind because I know implementing that change is going to result in disruption, not to mention a significant amount of work. Ultimately though the concept keeps surfacing and draws me in like a moth to a flame.
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.
Author’s Note: This week a good friend told me that I would always have struggles being understood because I was always ten years ahead of my tiime. Thought I’d test that theory by going back into my archives to a blog I wrote almost exactly ten years ago. Found this one written in 2009….hmmm….I’m kind of thinking it might still be relevant?
Last week American Gene Simmons, best known as the demonic, blood spitting bassist with a creepy waggling tongue in the 1970’s hard rock band called…
Posted on 02-07-19
Monkey Mind Musings About Community
As the holidays become a distant memory and we get back to the reality of more typical regimes, I’ve been reflecting about the upcoming year.
Rather than making resolutions which my monkey mind doesn’t always allow me to keep, I thought it might be an idea to focus on the community building work that continues to absorb so much of my energy. Here are…
Posted on 01-05-19
Where the Sweetness Happens
I do believe that community leadership is ultimately about having the courage to step forward. But, on that particular day, I wasn’t feeling it at all.
I had just reviewed the content of a presentation I was about to deliver at a national forum and was beginning to second guess myself.
On an intellectual level I understood the community leadership learnings I planned to share were solid, innovative, and grounded by boots-on-the-ground experience. However my personal insecurities, (perhaps a subject for another blog?) in combination with working…
Posted on 05-14-18
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