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
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
A Tattoo That Made Me Think?
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 the same outfit after six months, so why would I… More Posted on 04-14-18
Did I Walk Out to Walk On?
A while back I received an email from my alma mater advising me that I had been nominated for a Distinguished Alumni Award.
While I know it was an incredible honour and I should have been excited, the truth was that I didn’t feel it was something I deserved.
I am aware that I work really hard, have taken risks, and have had some success. However, my track record with employers and sometimes painful climb up the corporate ladder left much to be desired.…
Posted on 02-01-18
You Didn’t Step Up Ridley Scott
I used to be a fan of English movie director and producer Ridley Scott.
Famous for films like Alien, Blade Runner, and Gladiator, I loved that at the age of 80 he was still actively pursuing his passion. After a recent CBC interview I’m having second thoughts.
In the interview, Scott discussed his latest movie, All the Money in the World, and what it took to recast Kevin Spacey with Christopher Plummer and then substitute all his scenes within…
Posted on 12-29-17
Maturity and Moxy?
I don’t know much about building cars or how to fix them if something goes wrong, but I would say I’m a pretty good driver.
Driving a car is also how I think about information technology. And, even though I don’t speak geek, know very little about coding, and struggle to fix anything when it goes wrong, I use technology better than most people my age.
For me technology is simply an extraordinary gift providing previously unfathomable opportunities to communicate, share ideas, learn, grow, challenge, collaborate, advocate, engage, and make…
Posted on 11-24-17
If a Three Year Old Can Understand Cooperation…
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.