Give back, stand up, have courage. Thanks Mom.

A question was posed to a team member network at work about the woman who inspires you. There are so many women I'm honoured to have in my life today but there was one woman who started it all: my mom. My mom was a single mom who raised my sister and me from when I was 4 to when I was almost 13 (it was around then when she met my step-dad). As I look ahead towards Christmas, one thing really sticks out is that we always had food, presents, and family at Christmas time. Growing up I never had this sense that we went without; my mom found a way to keep us from ever having to worry about that. Now, with a family of my own, I…
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You inspire others more than you know

A story was run recently in the Sherwood Park News about Hal Souster, the athletics director of Bev Facey High School, who is retiring after more than 30 years of teaching. I had the privilege of being in Mr. Souster’s phys ed class in grade 10. Up to that point I hated gym: I wasn’t as good at sports as other kids, I had no confidence, and I’d pretty much written off phys ed (electing to only take the mandatory minimum 3-credit class for my high school diploma). Then Mr. Souster showed me that sports and phys ed aren’t just about ability, they’re about team work, attitude, and heart. And he made sure our grades reflected that (I got my first 80% ever in gym in his class). I doubt…
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How cool are your jeans?

How cool your jeans were is one of the ridiculous things - amongst many - that I remember from my teenage years. I think everyone growing up in the '90s remembers the pursuit of brand-name jeans: Guess, Levi's, B.U.M. Equipment, and Bugle Boy are a handful of brands I can remember. You could easily tell who had Guess jeans by the red-outlined, white triangle on the back-right pocket. Wearing Guess jeans was probably the biggest deal among the girls, especially red ones (why red mattered, I'll never know). Among the boys, I vividly remember the great debate about the colour of the tab on a person's Levi's jeans. Yes, a folded piece of coloured ribbon was the make or break for a person's social standing. If a kid at school…
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Levels, Roles, and Leadership Throughout

Something I've been chewing on recently is the notion that hierarchy and titles are antiquated concepts, especially for organizations looking to keep pace in (as Thomas L. Friedman has termed it) the age of accelerations. From my perspective, structuring a work force according to a hierarchy impedes the movement of people. A hierarchy implies that you work in one area for someone on certain things and need to take a new job in a different area for someone else to work on other things. When it comes to title, they tend to be narrow or skill-oriented (like "project manager, "customer service representative," or "accountant") and rarely reflect the reality of what a person really brings to the table. These sorts of titles lead to assumptions about a person's ability to contribute…
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The result in front of us

One of my leaders shared what a former leader of his told him: if you’re happy with the result in front of you, then it must be the one you’re willing to accept. This statement cuts right through all the bluster and BS we tell ourselves as to why something didn’t land or turn out. You know the truth when you look in the mirror and ask, in your heart of hearts, if this is your best. Those who are always striving for better will know it’s time to head back to work; the rest will shrug and move on. I read the article, Mediocrity Is A Virus, by Benjamin P. Hardy and it reminded me of how easy it can be to shrug and move on. Take these statements from the…
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Greatness cannot be undone by one person

My heart and prayers go to the families affected by the events of last night in Edmonton. As more of the story unfolds and I read comments and reactions, I’m reminded how great our city is and know this cannot be undone by any one person. Life continues and our communities thrive because we refuse to succumb to fear and hatred. We will always be stronger together.
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National Volunteer Week

It’s National Volunteer Week and I’m going to plug the organization I give my time to: Junior Achievement Northern Alberta. JA’s mission is “to inspire and educate young Canadians to experience free enterprise, understand business and economics, and develop entrepreneurial and leadership skills.” This speaks to me because it’s relevant, it’s something I wish I had available to me growing up, and it helps set kids up for success starting at Grade 3 and lasting through Grade 12. The experience I’ve had in my career is the perfect background when talking to students about any number of topics. I’ve taught classes about tools and technology, general business concepts, the importance of communication and leadership skills, and why personal financial management matters. And it’s easy for anyone to do: the lesson…
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