Page 1

Volume 3 Issue 3 • October 2020

published by ZX Media Corporation


Clean Resources

Agriculture, Forestry & Food

Emerging Technologies

Health Innovation

MAXIMIZING POTENTIAL Innovation is creating the future for Alberta’s energy resources. Alberta Innovates develops and invests in applied research and innovation programs to sustain, grow and diversify the province’s energy and resource sectors, develop clean technology and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Our programs and expertise help create, adapt, and commercialize innovative technologies that maximize the value of Alberta’s natural and renewable resources while protecting the environment.

Learn how albertainnovates.ca


Engage. Inspire. Educate. Together. COMMUNITY BUILDING COMMUNITY PG.4 • Meet Connie Jakabs • Education by Design • Connecting the Global Community • Uncovering the Importance of Sleep • Listening to Young People

BOOK FEATURE!

PG. 21

BUSINESS

PG. 25

• Telling It Like It Is

Krista Malden & Kenzie Webber

publisher@communitynowmagazine.com

CONTENT CONTRIBUTORS VOLUME 3 ISSUE 3 Jade Alberts

Simon House

Alberta Innovates

The Doorway

SheInnovates

Jill Quirk

Margo Purcell

Diane Swiatek

Shawna Curry

Sophia Fairweather

Steven Armstrong

• A Culture of Harassment is a Failure of Leadership

EDUCATION

PG 33

• Learning how to Build an Online • Educational Community • What’s Possible • Empowerment to Self-Empowerment • MCG’s Program Transition • What Peer Support Means To Me • SHEInnovates

Subscribe for your free issue of Community Now! at www.communitynowmagazine.com Copyright 2019 ZX Media Corporation, Calgary Alberta Canada Community Now! Magazine Copyright 2018, published by ZX Media Corporation. Volume 3 Issue 3 | October 2020 All rights reserved. This magazine or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher and writer.


Seize the Drive

Seize the Drive

Seize the 4 // Community Now!


COMMUNITY BUILDING COMMUNITY EDUCATION IS APART OF EVERYTHING WE DO

NOW! \\ 5


“I can’t” replace it with “This is hard, and I can do hard things.”

M

eet Connie Jakab; owner of The Brave Parent Institute, Brave Dreamers, and the Senior Manager of Wellness Innovate. Two companies that are all about changing home and work environments for mental health. She is also the author of Bring Them Closer and two other books. Connie is passionate about rebelling against status quo living and encouraging others to branch out. She is also the Director of National Hope Talks and the Hope Movement combating mental health in Canada. She is a sought out speaker for her raw honesty and humour. Connie drives her passion outward into the arms of those wanting something more radical and meaningful in life. She lives with her husband and two boys in Calgary, Alberta Canada. 6 // Community Now!

“In creating the Brave Parents Institute, Connie has created a really unique place for those of us who are struggling through this journey of parenting. It’s so safe and so supportive that it nearly brings me to tears of relief. It has allowed me to share without feeding my fears that my kids will be judged, that I will be judged or made to feel like a failure. Every week, I have left feeling encouraged, uplifted and with more determination to press on. I am so thankful for Brave Parents. It came along just when I needed it most! It’s one of the very best villages I’ve had the pleasure in being a part of.”- parent participant of The Brave Institute


Q & A with Connie What does it mean to show up for myself: Showing up for myself means staying staying true to who I am. I am courageous, I am compassionate, I am perseverance. These also happen to be my top three values. I need to stay aligned to these things in order to continue to show up for myself with integrity and authenticity. my schedule, my work, and my routine needs to reflect these top three values at all times. What does it mean to show up for your kids?

What is the brave parent institute?

Showing up for my kids means staying true to our family values and continuing to make connection our goal. It means looking underneath their behaviour rather than getting frustrated with what I see on the outside. It means repairing well when there’s a rupture in our home. It means always speaking life and identity over them so that when they face hardships in the world they can remember who they are and be anchored there. It also means to guard my schedule so that I have time for them in time for when they need to interrupt me, which is apparently very often.

The brave parent Institute is a place where people can find access to Counselling, Coaching, and a safe community. One of the things I wish I would’ve had when I was going through our mental health crisis was not only a counsellor that I could access, But a coach who could help me figure out how to apply everything I was learning in counseling. I also found the time of our crisis very lonely. There were not many people I could share what was happening in our home with. Parents who have children who are struggling with mental health issues are often isolated and as much

How can you do both and make sure you are OK and that your kids are getting what they need from you? The secret to life is in the daily routine. I heard the best description of self-care from our health coach with the brave. Institute. She says that there is a difference between selfcare and self indulgence. Self-care is rooted deeply in doing the hard things in order for ourselves and our families to thrive. It doesn’t always mean being able to go get a manicure. It means staying true to my routine in order to create margin for all of us in our home to get what we need.

as their friends want to understand what they are going through, they find their friends are not as supportive as they would need. This is why we have provided a safe place where others who are journeying through similar paths can show support. As far as I know, this is a new model I have not seen. The model of taking Counselling, Coaching, and community and putting them together for the guaranteed resilience of a parent and a family.

(continued on next page) NOW! \\ 7


(continued from page 7...) Why are you so open about your past and current journey? I have chosen to be open about our journey as a family because there are so many parents who are feeling like they are the only ones. The ramifications of mental health struggles Can be scary for some families. For example when our son was suicidal at age 8 it was very frightening for us to go through as a family. Not only that but depression for him showed up as rage and aggression, which means breaking things, Yelling, swearing, and making our family feel at risk. This is not great grocery store conversation. A recent study from the University of Calgary called raising Canada revealed that Canada is only number 25 in the world for child safety. This doesn’t just mean physical or sexual safety, this means mental, emotional, and family safety. This spoke to me deeply. This means that there’s a lot of brokenness that goes on behind closed doors that no one is talking

3 FUN FACTS: •

I am a 46 year old who can breakdance

I won a speaking competition to meet Tony Robbins

I am a Star Wars geek

8 // Community Now!

about. Mental Health Concerns like mine are happening behind doors of those who live in impoverished communities, middle class communities, and affluent communities. And after working with youth at risk for 20 years I realize that if I don’t speak out then families will remain behind the closed doors without getting the help they need. My motto is no parent left behind. What do you recommend to those who don’t want to share their story and who want to just work on improving their current journey? I recommend finding a safe group like ours. I don’t recommend sharing your story on your public Facebook like I have. I am a establish communicator of 20 years and no details to leave out. Our experience of sharing our story has been very positive because of my expertise in communication. I would not want anyone to post vulnerably on social media only to find serious repercussions that could damage their family. This is why I believe in forming small safe communities where people can share with like-minded individuals going through the same thing as well as with evidence-based coaches and counsellors who know how to guide them through it.


Education by Design

“

Humanity

and the planet

are facing significant challenges. They will not be solved by people waiting to be told what to do.

Margo Purcell

We are born curious. What does it look like to foster that? It looks like asking questions, digging in deeply, creating the conditions for people to explore, discover, engage in a way that is purposeful for them. It is meaningful, not mechanical. (continued on next page) NOW! \\ 9


(continued from page 9...) So much of how we have been conditioned to learn involves being told what we need to know. To be able to do that, you need to know this. There are types of tasks where that can be efficient and where knowledge acquisition allows us to make shortcuts to deeper learning. There is a risk though that it does not lead to true understanding. I am about to date myself – when I was in grade 13, I took calculus. I had been a relatively capable math student. I LOVED Algebra/ Geometry. I couldn’t “get” calculus. I asked teachers and friends who were strong in the subject to help me understand why I was 10 // Community Now!

using one formula instead of the other. They would just tell me to just use it. I would say that if I don’t understand why I am using one instead of the other, that as soon as the question looked different, I would simply be guessing. For them, it made such sense that they could not explain how they chose which formula to use. The world is evolving at such speed that we need to Rethink Education. Education is not a separate time in our lives where we learn and then we’re done – go apply it. It is ongoing. We need to build Essential Competencies where people learn how to learn so that no matter what is put in front of them, even if they’ve never seen it before, they know that


they know how to figure it out. We need to build the competencies of Critical Thinking, Creative Thinking, Systems Thinking, Computational Thinking, Communication, Collaboration. We need to foster the mindset of Design. Humanity and the planet are facing significant challenges. They will not be solved by people waiting to be told what to do. They will not be solved by engaging in best practices. They will be solved by doing deep problem setting before we do problem solving. They will be solved by understanding the consequences and implications of possible courses of action BEFORE we take action. They will be solved by anticipating greatly and preventing where

possible. They will be solved by observing, listening, experimenting, iterating and building BEST FIT solutions. They will be solved by actively seeking and integrating ongoing feedback after implementation. They will be solved KNOWING that there are things that will emerge that we could not possibly have anticipated or prevented ahead of time. They will be solved by remaining curious and open. They will be solved through a collective commitment to lifelong learning. We need to reignite the curiosity we were all born with. Let’s get started!

NOW! \\ 11


CONNECTING THE GLOBAL COMMUNITY! The Uncomplicated Group of Companies!

Our vision is to connect communities to inspire hope for the future. We are committed to leading the charge to create a profound, positive social impact for our children, families, and the community at large.

T

heir core values are care, collaborate, connect, courage, and creativity and everyday, every connection, everything they create and do aligns with their core values. Building a virtual online system for care and education is much more than just building a platform for communication. Teleroo is about being available, providing resources and information to families and caregivers! It’s about supporting everyone involved in the process. Their team is full of knowledge, professionals, service providers, educators… An example of the power of communication We all communicate in many different ways. In fact, it is estimated that over 90% of our communication is nonverbal. For children who are nonverbal or have limited verbal communication, this means there are so many other ways they can get their needs met and their messages across to those around them. This could be through voice generating devices, picture communication, gestures, 12 // Community Now!

signs, writing, facial expressions and more! We’d like to share a success from a KU family that highlights the power of finding effective, nonverbal ways to communicate. Over the past couple of months, an 8-year old girl who typically uses visuals and Touch Chat to communicate, has started to answer questions on a chalkboard and has now started to type. It began with her mother asking simple questions such as “How are you feeling today” and she would reply (in writing on the chalkboard) “I feel happy”. Most recently she has been practicing typing to express herself and mom decided to have her fill out an “All About Me” page. One question was “A fun thing to know about is…” and she replied “that just because I can’t talk does not mean I do not know”. Such a powerful message and beautiful reminder for those interacting with individuals who may communicate in different ways. BRINGING COMMUNITY TOGETHER GLOBALLY!


Uncovering the Importance of Sleep and How to Hack It

Shawna Curry

S

ing like we perform better with less sleep, we do not. We are so hopped up on adrenaline that we don’t realize how sleep deprived we are.

I ended up having such poor sleep that at my worst, I was only sleeping two to three hours each night. And not even all at one time. I was so sleep deprived that I thought I was going crazy. I was moody, irrational and not very productive.

We aren’t aware of our own level of cognitive impairment. This makes it hard to assess our own level of functioning. It leads us to believe we are performing better than we are. We adapt to this decrease in sleep but are far from functioning at an optimal level. I can attest to this from my own experience. I thought I was doing far better than I was.

leep is one of those things that many of us don’t appreciate until it’s gone. I never used to value sleep and thought I was functioning well on only four hours of sleep each night. That is until my world fell apart.

I thought I was managing great on such little sleep and used to brag about how little sleep I could get away with. Despite thinking or feel-

(continued on next page) NOW! \\ 13


Once your internal clock gets messed up, you shift your sleep cycles because you aren’t tired.

(continued from page 13...) So how does sleep work? You have two different processes that make sleep happen. The first process is called sleep drive, that internal signal that yells at you, “GO TO SLEEP NOW!” It makes your eyelids droopy, your head bob and causes you to fall asleep in front of the television. Sleep drive gets stronger between each period of sleep. Sleep resets this desire. That’s why the pressure to go to back to sleep is different through the day. 14 // Community Now!

The other process happens in a rhythmic pattern or circadian clock. It responds to sunlight or bright light exposure. This process tells the body, “Hey, it’s bright outside, time to get up,” or “It’s been dark for a while, you should go to sleep.” Unfortunately, we have messed up both of these processes, so our bodies are getting mixed up cues. You spend long hours under


bright lights at work, on a laptop and checking your smart phone. This gives your brain the signal that it’s time to be awake, when it isn’t.

Why it’s Important

Once your internal clock gets messed up, you shift your sleep cycles because you aren’t tired. Instead of your ideal bedtime, you find yourself going to bed later than you’d like. See how easy it is to continue this cycle? When

energy balance. The second function takes

you try to catch up on sleep on weekends

by sleeping in, this messes the cycle up even further. No wonder why there are so many people that have insomnia and other sleep issues. These issues don’t get fixed overnight, or even in a few nights. If your sleep issue is short lived, the treatment will likely be effective in a much shorter period of time. The longer you’ve had sleeping difficulties, the longer it will take to correct them. There is no magic bullet to fix your sleep overnight.

Sleep has three key functions that help keep your body in check. The first one helps to regulate your metabolism and your short-term memories and turns them into long-term memories. The final function of sleep is to suppress eating, sex, aggression and movement. Sleep also has many mental, physiological, emotional, social and work-related effects. Without enough sleep you could end up with some or all of these symptoms: • Alertness: sleepiness, fatigue, tension and poor vigilance/attention/focus • Judgment: confusion and decreased logic/ reasoning • Analysis: inflexible thinking, decrease in complex mathematical tasks • Depression • Anxiety, irritability • Decreased libido

Improving sleep issues takes time and

• Increased perception of pain

consistent patterning. The goal is to repro-

• Increased emotional burden

gram your brain on what it should do. A regular sleep schedule helps to reset those two mechanisms for sleep. The trick to improving sleep is consistency. You will need to stick to your new healthy habits for a few weeks or months to see the benefits, so don’t give up too early. You’ll be glad you put in the time investment when you wake up feeling more refreshed and well rested every day.

• Decreased quality of life That’s a lot of things that you could improve, by addressing your sleep. A study showed that interns made 36% more serious medical errors than ones that worked a modified schedule. I don’t know about you, but if I had the chance to be 36% more effective by sleeping more, I would. You won’t find many other ways to improve your business with returns like that. So how do you sleep better? Read on.

(continued on next page) NOW! \\ 15


(continued from page 15...)

How to Hack it Journal an hour before bedtime This is not the “Dear Diary,” kind of journal. Instead, write down everything that’s rattling around in your brain. Dump out the information so that you don’t need to think about it. It helps to prevent you from waking up with a million thoughts on the go. Keep a notepad by your bed Write down your thoughts so that you can rest easy that you’ll have those ideas in the morning. You can jot down new thoughts before you turn out the lights or if you wake up in the middle of the night. Create a solid routine before bed. Script out 60-90 minutes of your routine to do before bed every night to cue your body that it’s bedtime. For example: 9:00pm- write down your “to do list” for tomorrow (Journaling) 9:15pm- brush teeth, change into PJ’s 9:20pm- stretch 9:40pm- read in chair outside of your bedroom under dim light 10:15pm- climb into bed, lights out and asleep within 20 minutes Turn your room into a dark dungeon Make your room pitch black by hanging blackout blinds and removing electronics like TV’s. Cover that annoying red dot on your alarm clock with electrical tape. Better yet, keep your alarm clock (or more likely your phone) across the room so that you aren’t tempted to peek at the time. If the alarm hasn’t gone off, it’s still time to sleep. 16 // Community Now!

Have a consistent bed/wake time Work backwards from when you need to be up. If you need to be awake at 7am, set your bedtime between 10pm and midnight to get seven to nine hours of sleep. Keep your bedtime the same each night. If you are an early bird- schedule breakfast meetings. If you are a night owl- plan your key business later in the day, so that you aren’t changing your sleep routine. Don’t try to change when you function at your best. Cut the caffeine I know you’re thinking it’s not realistic to cut out caffeine completely. It should be eliminated at least 6 hours before bedtime to allow you to sleep longer and deeper. Even if you can fall sleep right after having an evening coffee, it may interrupt the quality of your sleep. During this time of uncertainty, Covid-19 has us all running on high alert. This makes it harder to fall asleep or to stay asleep. When we don’t sleep well, we don’t perform well. It affects our job, our kids’ ability to learn and our mood. Use the tips mentioned in this article to get a better sleep. Having a consistent routine is one way to provide certainty in an uncertain time. For more information on how to improve your sleep go to www.healthredesigned.com


T H E

D O O R W A Y

-

M A K I N G

C H A N G E

P O S S I B L E

Listening to Young People 4 reasons we should all be listening to young people By the time The Doorway meets a young person they have often fallen through the cracks of several systems.

to have never felt heard. You ask yourself Why? How? What was that like?.

They are living on the streets, feel hopeless and no longer trust others or themselves. This is a place they never

All this said, it shouldn’t only be under these

thought they would be and somewhere society strongly

circumstances that a young person deserves to feel

believes our children and teenagers shouldn't be.

listened to. Young people in our society should not have to fall through the cracks of every system or fingers of

When others begin to learn what we do and who we support they often say "I wouldn't know what to say, how

every adult they encounter to have a reason to be heard.

do you do it?". What we have learned is it is less about

young people and if we start by coming from a place of humility and be intentional with listening to them there is

what you say and more about how you listen.

There are many reasons we should be listening to our

a strong possibility we can prevent our young people from In our 33 years we have witnessed that by listening to a

getting to a place of feeling hopeless and mistrusting of

young person we contribute to rebuilding the trust they

others and themselves.

have lost and in turn foster possibility and opportunity. Surprisingly, we can do this quite quickly.

With more than three decades of experience listening to young people, we've compiled a list of four reasons we

You never forget the first time a young person thanks you for listening. There are lots of moments in this job where

should be listening. Five reasons that can change a young

after you've been told a story, you just sit with it and a

person. Four reasons that can change their outlook on themselves, their outlook on adults, and their outlook on

piece of you weeps. After the initial pain you feel for that

the world. Not to mention how listening can also change

young person surpasses you usually lift your head, take a

our outlook on all the above. Collectively, maybe all that

deep breath, give thanks to someone or something, and

change can start to inspire how we live our lives and treat

then you reflect. In that moment after a young person

everyone with respect, kindness, and a listening ear.

NOW! \\ 17


1 .

L I S T E N , A

Y O U

Y O U N G

W I L L

L E A R N

P E R S O N

H O W

V I E W S

T H E M S E L V E S

When a young person speaks, they are opening the door to their world for us. At The Doorway, we invest in our staff and community volunteers to listen with the intent to hear. Listen to their words but more than that, listen for the person. Listen for the quiet pieces inside of them that they may be too shy to say out loud or those things they do not even know about themselves yet because these skills and attributes haven't been pointed out. This is our opportunity, as the adults in their lives, to shout these things out to support young people in creating a positive self identity, to grow their confidence, selfworth and integrity. While we are listening for their skills and attributes it is important we also listen for the defects they have wrongfully adopted or believe about themselves as they have been told by others. These pieces of how they see themselves are the weeds that need to pulled out for us to water the seeds of a strong identity, just like the weeds we need to get rid of in our garden in order for the beautiful flowers to thrive and be vibrant. We believe in them until they believe in themselves. Listen for their hopes, dreams and worries. They may be telling you about a friend or movie but inside this story is a story about them. What are they really trying to tell you?

Please Hear What I’m Not Saying Written by a 17 year old Don’t be fooled by me Don’t be fooled by the face I wear, For I wear a mask, I wear a thousand masks. Masks that I’m afraid to take off and none of them are me Pretending is an art that’s second nature with me, but don’t be fooled, for God’s sake don’t be fooled. I gave you the impression that I’m in command and that I need no one, But don’t believe me. Complacent Please. My surface may seem smooth, but my surface is a mask, my ever-varying and ever concealing mask, Beneath lies no smugness, no complacence. Beneath dwells the real me in confusion, in fear, in aloneness, But I hate this, I don’t want anyone to know it. I panic at the thought of my weakness and fear being exposed. That’s why I frantically create a mask to hide behind, to shield me from the glance that knows. But such a glance is precisely my salvation, my only salvation. And I know it.

18 // Community Now!

2 .

L I S T E N , Y O U R

Y O U

W I L L

R E L A T I O N S H I P

E N H A N C E A N D

C O N V E R S A T I O N

Often as adults we feel a need to have and give answers to young people. We try to find the right words to provide comfort and show we care. The reality is we do not need all the answers. More often than not a young person already has an answer somewhere inside themselves and is unsure how to discover it. As the cliché goes actions speak louder than words. Being present with a young person and the act of listening from a place of compassion, understanding and kindness, offers more support than having an answer. We have learned from young people when they feel heard they feel respected and they trust you. Not only do they trust you to listen, but they trust you when you have something to say. Young people at The Doorway often define themselves as stubborn, bull-headed and prone to authority issues. However, we consistently see that a strong relationship built on the foundation of respect, listening and humility brings out vulnerability, openness and acceptance in them. As an adult with a young person in your life, you have one of the most important responsibilities. Listen to how you speak to young people as you are shaping who they become.


Every interaction you have with that young person will have an impact on them. These impacts could be subtle and in the moment such as making them smile or offering them a sense of hope, or these impacts can be powerful and life changing such as building their resilience to help overcome future challenges.

Young people at The Doorway sharing words of encouragement with each other through written reflection.

"Don't give up"

Over time young people at The Doorway recognize we have listened; we have remembered stories and details they have told us, and we have listened with the intent to hear who they really are. This contributes to building a strong relationship with them. When we do need to have a hard conversation or see benefit in pointing out a different perspective or alternate solution, they trust we have their best interest in mind.

"Stay Strong"

When we listen, they listen.

"You got this" 3 .

L I S T E N ,

W H A T

T H E Y

Y O U

W I L L

W A N T

M O M E N T S

O F

T O

L E A R N H E A R

I N

N E E D

"Keep doing awesome"

Have you ever read your child's chat history or listened in on a conversation they were having with a friend in need? One of the greatest privilege's we have at The Doorway is hearing how young people speak to each other. It isn’t uncommon for a community volunteer to say, 'I have never met a group of people with more grace for one another than these young people have for each other.' When we listen to what they say to each other in moments of need, we can learn what they need from us. Each month at The Doorway young people have the opportunity to write and share a reflection with our community. Often, they use this platform to encourage and support each other and we are given examples of how we can respond to them.

T O

R E A D

M O R E

4 .

L I S T E N ,

Y O U

W I L L

L E A R N

Since 1988 young people have been submitting written reflections to our archives. A few years ago while reviewing old submissions we noticed the outstanding amount of words wisdom through out our archives. We hope to one day make a coffee table book filled with their Words of Wisdom so we all can learn from them.

F R O M T H E D O O R W A Y & O U R Y O U N G W W W . T H E D O O R W A Y . C A / B L O G

P E O P L E

V I S I T

NOW! \\ 19


W O R D S

O F

W I S D O M

F R O M

Y O U N G

P E O P L E

A T

T H E

D O O R W A Y

Asking dumb questions is easier than correcting dumb mistakes.

Sometimes that’s all we need is someone there telling us that things will work out in the end.

Change is good. But don’t do too much at one time or you’ll lose yourself.

When in doubt, mumble. When in trouble, delegate.

Treat no one better than the next, give help where you can, leave no one behind.

Everyone is different and we have different ways of succeeding.

Smiles are contagious.

B A Y

1 0 ,

2 8 0 8

O G D E N

20 // Community Now!

R O A D

S E

-

4 0 3 - 2 6 9 - 6 6 5 8

- W W W . T H E D O O R W A Y . C A


IT TAKES A VILLAGE A book filled with stories from past Community Now! Magazine issues!

“IT TAKES A VILLAGE�

Celebrating community, exploring innovation, diving into education and Our Mission:

bringing community together! Written by

-- AFRI AFRICAN CAN PROV PROVERB ERB

Promoting curiosity, commu

nication and engagem ent in making better place to live, to be educated, do business, promote innovat ion and community celebrat ion. www.communitynow magazine.com Facebook: @communityno wmagazine Twitter: @communityno wma1

Alberta a stronger and

published by ZX Media

the community for the community. Publisher@Community

NowMagazine.com

Corporation

Corporation

published by ZX Media

www.amazon.ca/Takes-Village-Community-Now/dp/B08HBKQ329/ ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=it+takes+a+village+community+now &qid=1602168779&sr=8-1

AN AUTHOR TO FOLLOW: TONY DEL DEGAN "I see life as an opportunity to become something beyond myself. It's physically impossible for me to follow the crowd, to jump onto trends and become a sheep, so to speak. My perspective: why follow others when you can be your own unique version of you. This comes across in my work." The ideas you will see in both his writing and filmmaking are as unique as they possibly can be. Tony is an ambitious creative force who pushes the limits of what a young teenager is expected to be able to do. His goal is to make artful pieces of storytelling that connect with an audience, but to do it in a unique way that showcases his desire to think outside the box. https://tony.deldegan.ca/

The Plight of Steel:

The Recognition:

The Plight of Steel is a high

A cast of actors strug-

fantasy based in a world of

gles to perform a play,

feuding kingdoms, where

all while vying for a

certain individuals are given

coveted award: The Rec-

one of a certain three magical

ognition. They will go so

gifts. The book focuses on the

far as to conspire with

royal families of each king-

and poison each other

dom, some of whom rose to

in pursuit of it, until the

power with these gifts. It tells

last one left alive receives

about the internal conflicts be-

their prize.

tween members of each family, as well as the conflicts between the

dif-

ferent families, and about the fight for survival against the kings and rulers who have

www.amazon.ca/ dp/B08H5BLF9Z/ ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_ EXIGFb21BK0BM

used their gifts to become almost like gods. www.amazon.ca/dp/1099180058/ref=cm_sw_ em_r_mt_dp_7XIGFbEMN8BFV

(continued on next page)

NOW! \\ 21


(continued from page 22...)

Shawna Curry Shawna Curry shows you the 7 Pillars of Health to build a foundation for wellness. You will love this approachable, easy-to-consume method. Almost every disease or medical condition can be improved with time-tested, easy lifestyle changes and without the use of gimmicky fads or diets. In Healthy by Choice: Your Blueprint for Vital Living, you will: Expose the stumbling blocks that have prevented you from making healthy changes in the past; Pinpoint which pillar of health to focus on to achieve maximum impact on your health; Set achievable goals that result in massive changes over time. You’ll walk away feeling empowered and ready to take charge of your well-being, without needing to rely on others to “fix” you. With Shawna’s easily modifiable blueprint, plus the knowledge and skills to make a health transformation, you can create a solid foundation for better health. Shawna Curry, Founder Health Redesigned cell 403-819-6945 Facebook/Instagram @healthredesigned • Twitter: @healthredesign Bestselling Author Healthy By Choice www.healthredesigned.com/book

Dean Kendall Smart choices are never more important than when your money is involved. In “Stop Paying Hidden Investment Fees! How To Get Unbiased Advice For The Right Fee So You Can Reach Your Financial Goals Years Earlier”, financial organizer Dean Kendall lays out a plan to help you become better informed about the investment industry and to understand the impact of hidden fees on your ability to reach your goals. Hidden fees have a massive impact on your ability to achieve your goals and live your ideal life. Whatever financial goal you wish to achieve, you can reach it years earlier if you know how to reduce the impact of fees on your investments. Kendall also addresses subjects like tax deductibility, active vs. passive investing styles, the comprehensive services you should be getting from your financial advisor and what you should pay for those services. Intended for successful business owners, entrepreneurs and professionals of all types, we will provide a better understanding of the fees you pay, their impact on your goals and your options for pursuing a better course.”

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22 // Community Now!


Tom Morin Whether you’ve worked for decades at the same job or you’re facing important, first-career decisions, you know how important it is to care about your work. But how do you create a deeply meaningful working life in a world that tries to set your career expectations and limit your choices? In this empowering and illuminating book, Tom Morin shows how a brush with death forced him to critically examine his own working life, and compelled him to help others do the same. Using his powerful three-part process, Morin shows you how to find the courage to shake off stereotypes and create a working life that is uniquely right for you and inspire others to do their best work. Consultant · Coach · Author · Speaker Phone: 403-512-3977 Website: WorkFeelsGood.com Follow Tom on LinkedIn & Twitter www.amazon.ca/Your-Best-Work-Create-Working/dp/1989603505/

Steven Armstrong This book was written to give the aspiring, the reluctant, and the information hungry leader a head start in their personal leadership growth. It is packed with leadership tips & tools that you can start doing immediately after finishing each chapter. In the more than 35 years I have been in leadership roles, I have had the privilege to work with, and for, some of the greatest leaders you could ever wish to know. I have also worked for some terrible leaders, but luckily for me, there have only been a handful. There are many leadership styles, which can be boiled down to two distinct categories: the calm and collected and the loud and angry. Both categories have strengths and weaknesses, and both can and do influence their subordinates to act. But without a doubt, the calm, collected leader more often than not prevails over the loud, angry leader. www.amazon.ca/dp/B00SOX6RQ6/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_jQIGFbKR0YJM5

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NOW! \\ 23


An investment in knowledge pays the best interest. -Benjamin Franklin

24 // Community Now!


BUS USINESS INESS

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Helping you find the perfect community. 518 9 Ave SE Calgary T2G 0S1 phone: 403.815.0429 email: dwalker1@remax.net Call today and let us find your dream home in the perfect community.

Business \\ 25


Telling It Like It Is With Jade Alberts This issue of Telling It Like It Is

features Jamie Sale – Olympic Gold Medalist / World Champion Figure Skater / Motivational Coach & Speaker People may remember you as an Olympic Gold medalist and world champion, maybe even recall the judging controversy. Please share how some of your past endeavours prepared you for helping others? I am grateful to have had many different kinds of experiences in my life, some amazing and some not fun at all but I believe that they have made me into the resilient person I am today. I have always chosen to see adversity/challenge as an opportunity for something better and it’s that mindset that helps me as a coach facilitate others with their struggles. Have you always had a passion for giving back and helping others? Yes, I have always loved helping people but I was unaware of what I was really doing HA! I just felt a lot of compassion for people and wanted to see them happy. At a young age I was supporting my Mom and others when they were struggling and I have always wanted to be a part of a charity to give back and I found my passion with Special Olympics. Becoming an Olympic and World Champion is not easy. Who helped you, and what did you learn from them? I have always had a very supportive team of coaches throughout my career and of course my Mom was my biggest supporter. Coaches have included my on ice coaches, off ice conditioning coaches and many different types of therapists who have helped with my mental game. I have great friends and family members who also have been there for me through the tough times and have believed in me when I wasn’t believing in myself. 26 // Community Now!

What is next for you? I’m a transformational coach helping individuals, teams and leaders achieve their true potential and I am currently training in neuroleadership to help individuals understand how their brains work so they can become better leaders. If you had one piece of advice for a small business entrepreneur at start up what would that be? To make sure that you have a CLEAR vision of what you want, to decide for it EVERY DAY, and to learn to shut off your survival brain (your saboteurs) or fears and take action in the absence of knowing all of the answers. We need to give power to the part of us that believes in ourselves and what we are doing and most definitely listen to your gut....it’s always right.

Jade Alberts Peer Guidance - Jade Alberts Consulting 403-771-1301 www.PeerGuidance.ca www.JadeAlbertsConsulting.com www.LinkedIn.com/in/JadeAlberts


A CULTURE OF HARASSMENT IS A FAILURE OF LEADERSHIP Steven Armstrong

I may be too old and cynical, but I don't think humanity will ever eliminate predators from the gene pool. And in my opinion, the person who harasses others in a workplace, or anywhere, is a predator. As a leader, and if your goal is to create a caring, productive, results-driven workforce, you must accept a couple of painful truths: • Predators can exist in all organizations; the larger the group, the more likely you will have one. • It’s the leadership that has allowed a culture where bullying and harassment are possible. I know what you're thinking: "Yes, but this

Leader – Soldier – Humanitarian Making Lives Better by Building Better Leaders

isn't me. Our harassment policy clearly states we have ZERO tolerance for harassment, and there are repercussions for that behaviour.”

Author, Speaker, & Leadership Expert https://stevenarmstrong.ca/

(continued on next page) Business \\ 27


(continued from page 27...) Except here’s the thing: you don’t have to look very far afield to find a well-known organization that prides itself on strong leadership; has binders of anti-harassment policies; and has quietly covered up harassment. Churches, the Armed Forces and police services immediately come to mind. So reconsider your anger and turn it into action.

My Story I was a senior executive in a national organization, and I was keen to “make my mark.” So, I hired a person in a management position against other people's wishes to shake things up and get new results. I wasn’t sure I liked him, he wasn’t kind or diplomatic, but I coached him to alter his style. Within a few months,' there were suggestions that he was misbehaving towards peers and employees. 28 // Community Now!

I tried to find a resolution, but the issues were never entirely resolved, because: 1. I spent too much time focusing on the new manager and not monitoring his team's health. By concentrating my oneon-one energy on his success, others assumed they couldn’t come to me with their concerns. 2. My ego clouded my better judgement, and I was too invested in this new framework's success. Eventually, I was able to see what was going on, and I fired him, but not before he’d diminished more than one of his direct reports. I felt awful: these were some of our longest-serving employees, many I considered friends. It took time to rebuild their confidence and trust. By rebuilding individual relationships with team members and hiring a reliable replacement, I could get things back on track.


2. The victim has no faith; the leadership will believe or support them. A Gallup survey reported that only 20% of employees feel "the system" would protect them if they raised a harassment complaint.

You Have to Lead

You have a legal and moral responsibility to provide employees with a physically and emotionally safe workplace.

Harassment Facts By the time someone comes forward with a charge of harassment or bullying, I can assure you that it's been going on for a long time. Canadian Business Magazine found that most people have been victimized an average of FIVE TIMES before saying something or quitting. Given that, can you be sure harassment isn’t happening in your organization? Predators are persistent, and they're everywhere. You either currently have one, or will, within your organization.

Why Don’t People Speak Up? Victims of workplace harassment don’t say anything because: 1. There is usually a power differential in favour of the predator, leaving the victim feeling like they have nowhere to turn; and

If we assume predators can exist in every organization, what can you as a leader do to protect people, and how do you build a trustworthy process? You have a legal and moral responsibility to provide employees with a physically and emotionally safe workplace. Legally, workplace harassment is on par with any other Occupational Health and Safety matters. This means you're responsible for developing to keep employees safe, investigate incidents, and take appropriate action whenever harassment is reported.

Three Actions You Must Take to Ensure Workplace Safety: 1. Implement the Policy and Procedures Developing policy is the easy part. Google “harassment policy” and you’ll find all you need. Remember that adding one more policy is useless without ongoing education. 2. Evaluate the Risk Form a team to review any history of violence in your workplace: • Ask employees about their experiences and concerns they may have about themselves or someone else • Implement a whistleblower line that is anonymous and safe • Research workplace harassment from your industry association, WCB or the police (continued on next page) Business \\ 29


(continued from page 29...) 3. Get Serious The buck stops with you. You are ultimately responsible for everything that happens on your watch. As the senior person in your organization, you must champion and personally communicate your commitment to a safe workplace. When the boss speaks, people know it is a serious matter. Demonstrate you mean it. Yes, it takes time, but most worthwhile things that make a difference do. When an incident arises – and it will – take it seriously, investigate it and act. Because It is the law, It is the right thing to do, and it is your responsibility.

What a Failure to Lead Looks Like One of the darkest moments for the Canadian army involved an incident made headlines for the sheer horror of what transpired. It was a failure of leadership and an inability to hold the leadership responsible. In 1992 Somalia was suffering from both famine and civil war. As part of a humanitarian effort, Canadian forces deployed to assist in "Operation Hope." In what became known as The Somalia Affair, two Canadian soldiers captured, tortured and killed a Somali civilian. It was a violent crime replete with grisly "trophy photos." In due course, the justice system dealt with the perpetrators. But before the finding of guilt, the system failed twice:

30 // Community Now!

Fail #1: The organization tried to cover up what happened to protect the Unit. As with all cover-ups, eventually, it unravelled, and lies were exposed. An inquiry was launched to "get to the bottom" of the debacle. Fail #2: The second fail happened when leaders weren’t held accountable. Leaders at every level of the organization were complicit in the Somali man's death by omission and commission. It was revealed that many in the camp knew what was happening but did nothing to stop it. Given that the leadership were also key players in the subsequent cover-up, it was clear that the army was without a moral compass. As the Inquiry Report stated, "leaders properly exercising command responsibility must recognize and assert their right, but their duty, to act against improper actions, for failing to do so means that professionalism is lost." The Repercussions One officer was convicted and demoted, slowing, a second officer and two lower-ranked soldiers were also convicted and dishonourably discharged from the army.

How Does This Relate to Harassment in Your Workplace? There is never an excuse to harass, abuse or inflict violence on a co-worker or employee. If it does happen, you are responsible for conducting a fair, transparent and rigorous investigation into the claims. If found to be legitimate, your authority's full weight should fall like a hammer on the perpetrator, up to being fired or formal charges laid by police. It's incumbent upon you to be brave, do the right thing and send a strong message to everyone.


If the perpetrators and every leader were held to account in the Somalia Affair case, the message would have been swift and unmistakably clear: abuse will not be tolerated.

not stop the crime or expose the leadership failures should have been sent to jail with the prison terms longer for each rank: the higher up, the higher the price.

If you try to cover up and protect your company or make excuses for people’s bad behaviour, you’re as guilty of the abuse as those who perpetrate it. Moreover, you have fundamentally lost your moral authority to lead.

As a leader, you are responsible for the lives of the people who work for you; for their physical and emotional safety.

In my opinion, every person who held a leadership position in the Somalia Affair who did

While you can't stop every bad thing from happening, you can create a culture where every manager and supervisor knows their job and personal responsibility to prevent harassment.

Business \\ 31


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32 // Community Now!


EDUCATION EDU CATION In 2020 the globe stopped ...Closing Schools! ......Changing education today and tomorrow Education \\ 33


MUSIC EDUCATION THAT NEVER STOPS! The School of Rock brings community together one song at a time


Learning how to Build an Online Educational Community

Reflections from a Grade 5 Online Classroom Written by Jill Quirk

It’s 8:45 and I log in to my ZOOM session. There are a number of students anxiously waiting to “show” me something awesome in the Zoom waiting room. “Look what I created!”... they take turns showing me their latest creations, from drawings to video clips.

Then we continue on with learning using a theme depending on the day… • Marvel Monday (Marvel Math challenges) • Titanium Tuesday (Science theme)

How lucky am I to greet these 10 year old faces every day!

• What’s in the box Wednesday? (Questioning and exploring our world)

We go through the morning routine,

• Thinking Thursday (A digital locked box challenge)

The dog of the day is… (one of the students shows a dog calendar picture). The cat of the day… (one of the students shows a cat picture). The song of the day… (a student will share a song that they think will inspire the class).

• Funky Art Friday (Finding or creating art and discussing it)

(continued on next page) Education \\ 35


(continued from page 35...) My new education quest: How can we educate online but still foster a community of individuals creating, exploring and learning in authentic and meaningful ways? 3000 students decided to take the online learning option this year in Rocky View Schools. And due to the high number of students online, teachers were asked to volunteer and take the leap to teach online instead of teaching in a classroom this year. And here I am teaching online...AGAIN… grade 5 RVS online… here we go! Researchers at National Louis University in Chicago, are looking into how students perceive teacher online presence. It was found that students view teaching presence through the lens of all interactions they had with their teacher. From emails, announcements, assignments and even the way the course itself was organized. The digital tools that we use become extensions of our teaching, blurring the lines between physical and virtual personae. Online teachers it seems must present the course in a very organized and engaging way. It’s not only the real-time presence that matters, it’s about the clear channels and rules of online communications. Getting back to students reasonably quickly is the key to them feeling like they are part of this community and digital family. 36 // Community Now!

Student’s want to feel heard so I question my practice, “How do we make sure there is a strong student voice in an online course?” On an online forum (discussion), I asked my grade 5 students, How do you feel about online learning? “I think that online schooling is the best :)”. R Students want to be a part of something real. They are all looking for a community and trying to find ways to connect to each other. So I feel like it needs to be more than the educational content provided, but we as online educators are challenged to find ways to build community in authentic and meaningful ways. And I’m learning that often it can even be as spontaneous as in a classroom! For example, one lesson...just like that… I look at my screen and the students are all popping up on the screen as Avengers. Kids teach us adults… all you need to do is have some fun with learning. And Marvel Mondays began. Finding ways for students to express how they feel is important. When students were asked to create an emoji how they felt about online schooling. Many students created emojis that showed they were excited but also a little nervous.


I think online schooling can be tricky for these students as they are navigating all new learning platforms by themselves. One of my students commented, “when we first try something we don't really understand it, but as we keep trying we get better and better and soon we will be masters at it.” B Online learning provides unique opportunities to strengthen important life skills, especially fostering perseverance. Short videos are a great tool to help encourage students to persevere through all the hard parts with online learning. The Award WInning 3D Animated short “Soar” by Alice Tzue is about a young girl who must help a tiny boy pilot fly home before it’s too late. I used this video as a great reminder, we have to help each other to help us through any difficult tasks. “I'm glad they (the boy and girl) never gave up because if they did, then he would have never flown again. And they (the two characters) always tried new creative ideas. I can see how this relates to online learning because we can't just try something once, and if it doesn't work, and we give up, we will never get better at the thing we are trying to accomplish.” (online grade 5 student comment). “I agree........ sometimes not alot of people can do stuff on their own so it's always best to get help with someone you can trust and always count on!” (another online student). SO students, how do you feel about online learning? “IT’S GOOD BECAUSE I AM NOT IN CLASSROOM AND THERE IS LESS NOISE AROUND ME” B. (continued on next page) Education \\ 37


(continued from page 37...) “I'm happy for online schooling because I always get distracted most of the time when I'm in class by helping other kids. Now I'm mostly focussed on my work”. K As we continue on this journey, as an educator I must keep positive and hope that what we are doing is enough to help foster a loving and caring environment for these students. I am trying to find ways to make learning fun, and using online tools (Kahoot, Boom Cards, Breakout EDU, Padlet/JamBoards) to help make the lessons suited to a fun online learning environment. Students love just communicating with each other in the Breakout rooms. Just like group work in a classroom - students are collaborating in small groups together to help each other understand. I’m trying to find ways to ask important questions to help students think differently. RE: how can you represent each number in the place value chart with items found in your home? As one student simply put - “My mom says I have a million dollar smile” and how can you argue with that? 38 // Community Now!

I think finding real life connections to lessons is most important. We are continuing to educate important Canadian traditions and beliefs. Students were encouraged to do their Terry Fox run but in their own neighbourhoods. We had a Terry Fox celebration on Zoom with all the RVS online grade 5 learners celebrating their running for Hope. In Science we are finding ways to learn from real live scientists with the Skype a Scientist program, where scientists will come on our Zoom calls and help us answer our questions about what it is like to be a scientist trying to understand the importance of wonder and curiosity; the essence of why we do science. I hope these small seeds of ideas and thoughts bloom. As we continue on this online teaching journey. The terrain seems rocky and unpredictable ...And ...at times I feel a little impatient ...and I’m wondering if I am doing enough… will these flowers bloom? And then you realize that all you need to do is give it love and be patient, and the flower will bloom.


What’s possible Sophia Fairweather

I

“

t has been awhile since I have described how things have been going and what's been happening! One of the most exciting things for me is school opening, meaning my school opened!! I chose the option of online school instead of going to school school, and a few of my friends chose to go back to in-person school. Me and a few others have definitely seen the differences between in-person and online school, which is what I will start talking about!

Education is

important and is what builds our future, so as long as we fight and try to make it the best it can be.

I go to an Edmonton public school ( epsb ) in grade 7. Around 30% of students have decided to do the same thing as me and do online school! The last time they recorded how many students would be attending online school was Aug 24, and for reference, 30% of students is around 26,000 kids (70% is around 64,000 kids). So that shows quite a bit of kids are doing online school. (continued on next page) Education \\ 39


(continued from page 39...) How online school works is they are splitting the school year into four quarters. For each quarter you can pick if you want to be in person learning or online, so you can see how each is like. For my experience in junior high, I have three teachers and each teacher teaches 2 subjects, which they teach in a 3 day rotation. The first day there's PE\Health and LA\ Social Studies, the second day there's LA\ Social Studies and Math\Science, the third day there's Math\Science and PE\Health, then it returns to the first day with PE\Health and LA\Social Studies. So the new schedule has changed since the emergency schooling in the spring but it only took a week or two to get used to. They also have all the resources right there on what epsb uses google classroom, and other google apps like they did in March which is nice so you don't have to try and find material constantly. Google classroom is the place to put homework, have material, and talk to classmates and the teacher!! Personally for me I have really enjoyed online learning, because I can hang out with my pets and my people!! Also I don't have to wake up at 7 and other crazy hours and go go go!!! I can wake up at 7:30, get up slowly, eat and then log in and do school! With my LA teacher I am able to chat with people for 20 minutes. It's not in person but it's still nice! There are also breaks every so often to go to the washroom, eat, or do something quickly and they vary from 5 to 10 minutes! So in all online learning has not been too bad, I do recommend being pretty self motivating though if you have siblings, and your parents need to work! Also you can do whatever other courses and events out there that are virtual and learn other things!!

There have been some concerns that have popped up that I have looked into though, about online school. Me being in online learning I decided to look into them!! The ones I found were concerns about security, cheating, and mental health problems. But there have also been concerns and things that should be talked and thought about a little more, that I have seen about how EPSB [ edmonton public school board ]! The first one I will explain is one that I thought was cool that happened in March, when we all went to online learning, I thought that materials and subjects given to you in advance was a fantastic idea. I just loved it. Then if you needed help you could just go online and ask for a date for help with a teacher. Then while waiting for the meeting/date you could learn a little of something else!! Which they stopped doing in September, and started doing what I briefly explained above of their new way of teaching for my grade. Then my brother in grade three, has one teacher that is with him all day and asks for his camera to always be on. So material in advance is definitely something I think would be nice to bring back, because the kids that need more help book a date with a teacher, and ones that don't need help can keep going along. Also, cameras don't always have to be on and we can move and go to other places to do our work!! Which brings me to my next concern. I think it would be beneficial if when we finished a semester or task we could keep going instead of having to wait for our other classmates. This time I use to do email and linkedin things, but a lot of kids don't have a lot to do especially with COVID-19 around and quarantine. But there is something they could do if the schools informed us a little more about it. The place (continued on page 42)

40 // Community Now!


Personally for me I have really

enjoyed

online

learning, because I can hang out with my pets and my people!!

Education \\ 41


(continued from page 40...) is called Argyl center. Argyll center is online learning and when you need help you can go to their “school” and get the help you need, or want!! So EPSB already has something in place they just need to blow it up and personally I think it would be better then how they are teaching online right now. Why was school made though?? Well school has been around for a very long time even for thousands of years, but thousands of years ago they weren't like this they were more focused on skills and traditional and religious values. The first schools began in the 13 original colonies in the 17th century, with Boston Latin School, which was founded in 1635. Which was the first public school and the oldest existing school in the country!! The early schools focused only on reading, writing, and mathematics, which the new england colonies focused on making them. After the American Revolution education became more of a prior42 // Community Now!

ity and it was a little messy when they started, but when Horace Mann became the Secretary of Education in Massachusetts in 1837. He set forth his vision for a system of professional teachers who would teach students an organized curriculum of basic content. For this reason, Mann is often called the “Father of the Common School Movement." By 1918, every state required students to complete elementary school. Educational improvements grew by leaps and bounds during the 20th century, leading to the advanced systems we have today. So it is probably time to change our education system, because our world has changed since 1918. Well you have now heard how online learning is good and why it would be nice to see EPSB do a few changes for the best. But how about in person learning? The good things about this is you get to meet new people and hang out with old friends, so there is definitely a networking part of being in-person. As well


as playing certain games like tag and jump rope, for tag it is pretty hard to do on your own. Also you gossip and hang out in private, which is a bit harder with online learning. I find sometimes I’d rather be in person to talk to people, hug each other, give each other things, or high five. As well as another place for support and where kids can go!!

Exercise!! Physical stress is a good way to

In-person school there are also some not so great things, with it being more likely to catch COVID-19 in a school then at home. You're

Certain Nourishment!! Some things

not with pets and family that often, and you can't just turn off a camera or mic so you can do something quick. Also now you have to sit still for most of the day and there's almost no extracurriculars to do. Going back to the COVID-19 being a risk, because a few of my friends are going to in-person school, I have been keeping an eye on how things are doing there. So why not find out how they're doing and how many cases are in Alberta schools!?! Luckily, the Alberta government has a map to show what schools have had cases, making it fairly easy to check!! There are three stages that a school goes through if someone gets COVID: • If there's one case, there's an "Alert" that goes out to everyone in the school, • Two or more cases, an outbreak is put on the map, and • Outbreak is deemed over if there's no new cases after 28 days. With all of that, something that I think could probably help is tips for how to be less stressed!! Because everyone is stressed at least once a day, even if it's small, and 70% of adults in the U.S actually say they are stressed or have anxiety daily!! Here are some tips:

help mental stress, and people who exercise daily are less likely to feel stress or anxiety!! It also helps with confidence and feeling good!! Like when you run it helps with lowering stress hormones, especially running, as it releases endorphins like pain killers!! Even my dog is less stressed when he runs outside.

you drink and eat can help with stress and anxiety!! Like lemon balm, which is quite know for its help with anxiety, and is part of the mint family! Omega-3 fatty acids, which apparently help lower anxiety 20%!! Ashwagandha is a herb that is used in Ayurvedic medicine and has shown to help stress and anxiety. Valerian root is found to help with sleeping, which is related to anxiety, and there are many more ways but I will go on to the next thing that helps with anxiety and stress!!

Candles and Essential oils!! Some scents and smells can help reduce stress and anxiety, like lavender, rose, bergamot, chamomile, frankincense, sandalwood, ylang ylang, orange or orange blossom, and geranium. Personally, lavender gives me a headache and doesn't calm me down at all, so look for scents that you like!!

Having Less Caffeine!!

Caffeine is a stimulant that has been found to increase anxiety. It's good to cut back if it makes you feel jittery - 1 to 5 cups is the recommended amount to have a day, no more. Personally, I find having one or two is enough for me!! Writing it down!! Something that sometimes helps is writing what you might be worried about, to get a sense of what is causing stress! Then see what you can do and get your mind around it!! (continued on next page) Education \\ 43


(continued from page 43...)

Chewing Gum!! Surprisingly, chewing gum helps with stress. The harder you chew, the calmer you are!! One theory is because it gets blood flowing to your brain, also that it makes similar brain waves that calm you down!!

Spending time with friends and family!! Spending time with family when you're going through a hard time helps by building a sense of belonging!! It is found when people spend time with friends and family, especially women, that it releases oxytocin, a natural-stress reliever. Both men and women with less contacts are more likely to be affected by depression, anxiety, and stress!

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.cbc.ca/amp/1.5725116 sept 18 2020 https://www.google.com/amp/s/globalnews.ca/news/7298294/edmonton-public-schools-online-learning-september-2020/amp/ sept 18 2020 https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.cnn.com/cnn/2020/09/16/health/online-class-kids-mental-health-wellness-partner/index.html sept 18 2020 https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/16-ways-relieve-stress-anxiety sept 11 2020

Laughing and Smiling!!

If you're laughing and smiling for real, it's hard to feel stressed. :) Now What's possible?? Whether it's hard or not, it is possible to stay chipper and to help out even if it's hard sometimes!! I find it hard to be stressed or sad when I say ylang ylang [ the root ] out loud! Just like that it is possible to find joy and happiness in small things, even though it only sounds like something from a fairytale! That and looking after yourself and others will keep you happy, healthy, and safe, and others happy, healthy, and safe!! Also education is important and is what builds our future, so as long as we fight and try to make it the best it can be. The more our future can be light, healthy, and strong!! That is What’s Possible!! https://www.alberta.ca/covid-19-alberta-data. aspx?utm_source=google&utm_medium=sem&utm_ campaign=Covid19&utm_term=data&utm_content=v1&gclid=Cj0KCQjwwOz6BRCgARIsAKEG4FWUhqd6kaOsLeapjgt7X9xuu5z-RKpxwyqXBP10EeNEAIBYVnUNeToaAoDgEALw_wcB sept 11 2020 https://open.alberta.ca/publications/covid-19-information-guidance-fordaycare-out-of-school-care-child-care sept 11 2020 https://time.com/5853733/daycare-providers-covid sept 11 2020

https://edmontonjournal.com/news/local-news/alberta-to-publicly-report-covid-19-outbreaks-in-schools-after-two-cases sept 11 2020

https://peaksmedia.com/the-good-the-bad-and-the-ethical-issues-ofonline-education/#:~:text=While%20logistically%20sound%2C%20 taking%20too,the%20lack%20of%20interpersonal%20communication.&text=A%20big%20disadvantage%20to%20middle,one%2Don%2Done%20support. Sept 18 2020

https://globalnews.ca/news/7322421/coronavirus-alberta-schools-covid-19-outbreaks sept 11 2020

https://abetterleader.com/in-person-training-vs-online-learning/ sept 18 2020

https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/2020/03/30/five-concernsabout-mass-rush-online-learning-that-shouldnt-be-ignored/ sept 19 2020

https://wonderopolis.org/wonder/why-was-school-created SEPT 20 2020

https://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/police-calls-for-domestic-violence-mental-crises-rise-during-pandemic-1.5088113 sept 11 2020

44 // Community Now!


Empowerment to Self-Empowerment By Diane Swiatek, Founder and

“

Director of Banbury Crossroads School, Est. 1979

If you give a

hungry man a fish, you feed him for a day, but if you teach him how to fish, you feed him for a lifetime. - Lao Tsu

I

n schools, empowerment is a gift of respect that honors and enables the independent thought and action of others. It is, in itself, an empowered act for school leaders and teachers to choose to arrange their system around respecting student perspectives, choice and decision-making, because it requires confidence and trust within the leadership that such autonomy will ultimately prove not only workable, but indeed, best practice. Empowerment of students to act confidently upon their own authority, and to represent their interests in a self-determined and responsible way, is both the task of schooling, (continued on next page) Education \\ 45


(continued from page 45...) and of the students themselves. The offer of empowerment must be given by adults, with the goal being that children will accept the offer by becoming self-empowered. Intellectually, emotionally and socially, this is the process of growing up. First, empowerment is a compassionate act given to others, so that they may overcome the sense of powerlessness that they inherited at birth, when they were truly small and helpless in every sense of the words. Empowerment is the initial gift of enabling power, given from the powerful ones to the powerless ones. It is given in context of children living with the reality that their locus of control absolutely proceeds from an external source—their parents and teachers, and actually, any community mentor. They know that, although adults may give permission, adults may also withhold permission. Children may be allowed to make decisions, or they may not. It is still not their decision whether they can make decisions. So, children and youth are at the mercy of many things, and they often struggle, on their own, with discovering an acceptable source of power over their own lives. They cannot do it without adult assistance, firstly, because they have no concept of how to take care of themselves in any way, and no experience of doing so. Secondly, they need help to deal with the reality of their physical selves, and to thrive within the margins of their personalities, their intellectual potential, and their entire genetic ancestry. They also find themselves on Earth in their own particular circumstances, with parents, a cultural background, a country of residence, and a community. They are also impacted by their physical and natural environment. None of this they have chosen. In the midst of this convoluted background of 46 // Community Now!

true powerlessness, they must find out how to learn enough, so that they can navigate through their own lives in the best way possible. They need to learn how to thrive within their own skins, with their own skills. Empowerment is a gift of support to children, adolescents and young adults, given by older adults through designing a needs-accommodating environment to allow and facilitate autonomy and self-determination. Adults need to increase the responsibilities of students as they prepare for adult citizenship. Thus, this gift is a matter of permitting them to express their wishes and fears, hopes and plans, interests and needs, both through their words and through their behaviour. Any school that deserves to be loved needs to nurture the autonomy of the individuals within the community, simply out of respect for their right to control their own lives and pursue their own goals—within the bounds of reciprocity. This gift from teachers, and in a parallel fashion from parents, requires attention to children’s physical wellbeing, intellectual growth, emotional development, creative expression and social relationships. Empowerment can only be given by self-empowered adults who have benevolent attitudes and feelings towards their young. It is the equivalent of giving children fish. Empowering children to express themselves and make decisions is vital to their self-respect, because without it, certain children may become meek, from learned helplessness. My own commitment to enabling autonomy in students came from an experience with a child who was 9, in my third year of teaching in a conventional school. On my first walk down the hallway, the principal had told me, “These are the worst kids in the school. I don’t care what you do with them; just make them behave.” This negativity infused the environ-


ment in that school. I remember standing by the window while that girl asked me in a plaintive, tiny voice, “Should I write my name on my test paper?” I felt heart-wrenched. In this seminal moment, I knew that it is neither good for children nor teachers, for the teachers to have to be the brains for 30 children. When children are so insecure that they cannot answer a self-evident question, that is a tremendously pitiful situation for them. In that moment, I knew that schools should purposefully provide an empowering environment for children. I had to start my own school to give children that fish; it was impossible in the one that produced her question.

students discover and use their intrinsic motivation to guide them, they will engage in activities simply because of their inherent interest and enjoyment. Then, they display more effort and care in these projects, and through them, they experience the pride of mastery, greater autonomy, and an expansion of their personal identity. Externally mandated instruction is not ideal for producing passionate engagement. Rather, the human propensity toward naturally interested engagement and

Empowerment is a gift of support

to

children,

ado-

lescents and young adults,

desire to master their environment is likely responsible for the preponderance of human learning across the life span.

given by older adults through

In the pursuit of this designing a needs-accommo- goal to harness and develop intrinsic dating environment to allow The first step in motivation, autongiving children expeomy, and psychoand facilitate autonomy and rience in autonomy, logical wellness, self-determination. or giving them fish, self-determination happens by treating theory (SDT) offers a them as respectable people, and seriously useful framework for understanding the facconsidering their perspectives and feelings, tors that facilitate or undermine them, which their hopes and dreams, their unique chalis knowledge directly relevant to educational lenges and worries. It means giving pointed settings. Edward Deci and Richard Ryan have opportunities for self-expression—soliciting, described the process of enhancing the develand listening to, their spoken words, reading opment of intrinsic motivation—and why we between the lines of their written words, and do what we do. It is very dependent upon encouraging the consequent actions that arise teachers and parents creating an environment out of their meanings. Respect is evident in conducive to the experience of empowerment, teachers’ nurturing and affectionate tones of to that gift of being able to taste fish. voice, their genuine involvement in personal Unlike behavioristic approaches of punishinteractions, their kindness and patience. It ment and reward, which attempt to shape and shines in their ability to encourage students control motivation from the outside, and with to take ownership and initiative with assignall the problems inherent in that approach , ments, and to ask questions. In turn, teachers SDT places its emphasis on people’s inherent need to offer ways to answer those questions, and to give them meaningful choices in ac(continued on page 49) tivities that will engage their interests. When Education \\ 47


Banbury Crossroads Banbury Crossroads School

School

Seeking aschool school like home? For 40 years, a Banbury haslike offered an atmosphere where Seeking home?

children feel safe,Banbury comfortable, and relaxed. an We atmosphere offer For has offered For40 40 years, years, Banbury has offered an atmosphere full Pre-Kchildren to Grade 12. Tosafe, learn more, please schedule where feelsafe, comfortable, and relaxed. where children feel comfortable, and relaxed. an with us to today or call12. Anne the learn office atmore, We offer fullPre-K Pre-K to Grade 12. To Weappointment offer full Grade Toinlearn more, (403) 270-7787. please schedule an withwith us today or please schedule anappointment appointment us today or callAnne Anne in at at (403) 270-7787. call in the theoffice office (403) 270-7787.

www.banburycrossroads.com

Building B1, #201, 2451 Dieppe Ave SW, Calgary, AB T3E 7K1

www.banburycrossroads.com

Building B1, #201, 2451 Dieppe Ave SW, Calgary, AB T3E 7K1


(continued from page 47...) motivational propensities for learning and growing, and how they can be supported. It assumes that children want to learn—indeed, that all people are inherently prone toward psychological growth and integration, and thus toward learning, autonomy, mastery, and connection with others. Across cultures, with varying values and practices, the functional importance of autonomy is universal. This importance even goes beyond cultural and ethnic differences to all the diversities that describe learners: socioeconomic positions, temperaments, interests, religious values, sexual identities, and even different neurological processing styles. Thus, autonomy enhances cultural competency, being able to effectively work with people from diverse backgrounds and value systems. The value of autonomy is undisputed. However, this innate drive does not automatically lead to robust development in youth. Children require supportive conditions to be met, so that basic psychological needs may be fulfilled. Since autonomy is a sense of initiative and ownership in one’s actions, it is supported by participating in experiences of interest and worthwhile value to each person. Competence involves the experience of mastery that comes from doing and gaining expertise, leading to the belief that a person is able to grow and succeed. So, environments that offer optimal challenges, constructive feedback and opportunities for stimulation and growth will satisfy students’ need for competence. Relatedness is the sense of belonging and connection, and this is the realm of relationship building, communication and problem solving with reciprocal expectations of respect and caring. Thwarting of any of these basic needs, through being externally

controlled, whether by rewards or punishments, damages motivation, achievement and wellness. Although schools and universities typically tend to be narrowly focused on achievement, not all students can, or will, be motivated to excel at those cognitive agendas. These educational institutions are, even more importantly, supportive contexts for child, adolescent, and young adult development, so they need to provide conditions that enhance students’ adaptive capacities and mental health. Most importantly, they should do no harm. Doing harm is actually a possibility of schooling, since research has shown that students exposed to a controlling teacher had higher salivary cortisol, indicative of stress, as well as anxiety and depression, than those exposed to neutral teachers, whereas they have the least if they are exposed to autonomy-supportive teaching. Also, when comparing kindergartens versus schools, and voluntary workshops versus regular lessons, children showed higher heart rates and emotional arousal indicative of the more vital engagement and energy mobilization associated with autonomous motivation . So, doing no harm actually requires need-responsive, and empathetic, teaching. One way to ensure this is for students to have more teachers who are autonomy-supportive—who are more responsive to student comments and questions, bring more attention to student interests, make time for independent work, resist giving shallow answers, voice fewer directives, show more support for student initiatives, acknowledge improvement and mastery, encourage effort, and offer progress-enabling hints when students seem stuck. They are able to provide structure, (continued on next page) Education \\ 49


(continued from page 49...) rather than control. The most positive teaching and parenting styles are authoritative, not authoritarian. They foster rationality, rather than either chaos or leniency. Such teachers, when they require something to be done, provide a meaningful rationale. They understand that the best reason should win, and do not take resistance personally, as either disrespect or disobedience. They are able to do this, because they actually do not wish students to be under their power and control. It is easier for them, then, to let go of any desire to over-organize them, or solve their problems for them. Autonomy does not derive from either helicopter parenting or teaching. Teachers who are able to show self-confidence, as well as signs of respect for students’ feelings and needs, enable them to experience more intrinsic motivation, better performance, perceived competence, self-esteem, greater retention for learning activities, as well as lower dropout rates. Conditions that are supportive of 50 // Community Now!

student needs also foster inner resources for academic learning, including greater executive functioning in critical thinking and integrative decision-making. They yield rich educational outcomes. Students experiencing these conditions even demonstrate higher autonomy and entrepreneurism in post-graduation employment. Schooling is multi-dimensional—through their experiences in these institutions, students acquire not only knowledge, but also a sense of industry and an array of identities, both positive and negative. Confidence, self-esteem, and the mental health of students are all deeply affected by what happens to them in school, and whether that experience supports or thwarts basic psychological needs. In education, experience matters: it predicts the critical outcomes, and it is something teachers can, through classroom practices, directly influence. Since schooling and parenting set the stage for children’s future growth, both must meet these basic needs; all of them are needed in order


purposeful move away from a deficit-oriented self-perception, towards a more strength-oriented self-perception. Thus, self-empowerment is the conscious recognition of one’s own ability to stand on one’s own two feet and to take responsibility for oneself. This move from other-dependent empowerment to self-dependent, self-empowerment is a long process that takes self-motivation within children, enabling and urging them to take the challenge to gain learning and psychological well-being, competence, self-responsibility, altruism and social connection. Ultimately, it leads to maturity, and being able and wanting to do things for oneself. It means accepting autonomy and independence, as well as accepting the human need to cooperate with others and respond to their needs. So, maturity, or growing up, means ideally becoming both independent and interdependent. for children to be intrinsically motivated to accept the challenge of autonomy. This is teaching a child to fish—self-empowerment—and it is the ultimate goal. Self-motivated autonomy is a quantum leap from simply receiving permission to make decisions from powerful others. Self-empowerment is an act taken by individuals to establish their autonomy—the ability to make decisions based on rational and emotionally attuned reasons—in order to control their lives and claim their culturally assigned rights. It proceeds from the realization that the source of one’s power is the ability of one’s own mind to think—to analyze, seek options, imagine consequences and solve problems—in order to decide upon actions and carry them out. It is a process gained through experience and mentoring, that requires gradually becoming more confident and courageous, as well as more astute, until individuals learn to recognize and use the resources available to them. It is a

The task of fully understanding the meaning of being autonomous is fulfilled through facing life’s challenges with an internal locus of control. It takes courage and strength of mind for young people to stand up for themselves, to leave behind blame as a modus operandi, and accept their own power to do whatever they do, accepting accountability for both good and bad outcomes. The burning desire youth have for self-respect actually becomes possible when they take responsibility for their own actions and values, and when they cultivate self-awareness. Throughout life, learning is the constant requirement. Using all these factors inherent in self-empowerment gives them the wherewithal to change circumstances, to fix rifts between themselves and others, and to be proactive. They then can accept the honor due to them when they become accepting and tolerant, compassionate, contributive, peaceful and caring. They will know they have learned to eat fish for their lifetime.

Education \\ 51


MCG ‘S PROGRAM TRANSITION When the pandemic and the closures in the province first occurred back in March 2020 we had to find a way to complete the hands-on training for some of our learners. In combination with step by step videos from our fabulous SAIT instructors Dan and Luigi, along with training partnership with one of our industry connections we were able to get the learners to the point of completion. All of our students who were in that intake successfully completed work experience and all managed to get employment within the industry during the pandemic. The problem solving came with our group of learners who were supposed to begin the course in April. Our team at MCG in partnership with SAIT went through many discussions on how we could still deliver the program to the learners making sure that all elements we promised them would be accounted for. The final product being that the students spent the first 10 weeks online learning the essential skills training with our team at MCG through albertacareers.online the online platform that was developed and used for MCG programs, then through zoom meetings

52 // Community Now!

with the SAIT instructors which focused on theory, introductions, drawing and safety training. Thankfully due to the opening of the province and decrease in COVID cases we were able to have a hands-on portion of the program which this current group of learners began on September 14, 2020. Our next intake which will begin on October 5th will be once again entirely different! We will be using a combination of in person and online facilitation to start getting some face-to face client interaction. Our regular group of 17 will be split into two groups and will alternate between being in class and being online. A portion of their SAIT training will still be done virtually with the majority being completed in the workshop. The last 6 months have been full of many transitions, brainstorming sessions and planning on how we can best continue to deliver our programs successfully while still meeting all of our learners needs. We know none of this is ideal but the ability to still be able to offer training and have learners be successful goes to show how innovation and hard times can help improve and strengthen programs that are able to push through.


Almost Home Canine Rescue

Adopt don’t shop RESCUE • CARE • PROTECT

SAVING DOGS IS OUR JOB! Driving to California during the wild fires to save dogs that were abandoned, saving dogs from being euthanized, freezing, needing medical attention, being abused…these are just a few things Almost Home Canine Rescue has done! They rescue dogs from all over Canada and into California. They actively go find dogs at their expense; feed them, get them vet checked and any medical attention they need, and then find the dogs THEIR FOREVER HOMES. Almost Home Canine Rescue places dogs in loving, responsible, and committed permanent homes. We take considerable care in finding good matches and educating prospective adopters about the responsibilities and costs of bringing a dog into their homes and lives. By taking in a homeless dog and giving them a family, you become their entire world - and there is truly no price you can put on a dog's love. For more information on adopting or volunteering go to www.almosthomeyyc.com call us 403 262 4364 visit us on Facebook: @AlmostHomeCanineRescueOrganization


What Peer Support Means To Me I often wonder how my life would have turned out if I continued to isolate myself from the world. Before I decided that I was worth asking for help I was existing in a damp room in my father’s basement surrounded by empty liquor bottles and cans, empty medication packages, and the detritus of an unhealthy fast food diet. I was laying on a mattress in a state of high panic. My body was exhibiting all the signs of alcohol and drug withdrawal; sweating, uncontrollable tremors, nausea and vomiting. My mind was solely functioning on the idea that I was about to die, or worse, live like this forever. My alcohol intake controlled my pervasive panic disorder and my anxiety but now it was lost to me, and my brain couldn’t cope. It never learned how to. I had up until that point believed that I was unworthy of living. I had been taught that I was an abomination, an insult to the typical white Anglo-Saxon society in which I was raised. Being in the process of transitioning sexes, I had faced my share of obstacles. It took me months to change my legal name, and I was refused service by Commissioners of Oaths and RCMP employees. Going back further, I was held in my own home by my roommate, bound with rope, beaten, stabbed, and raped for three days. Going further still into my childhood, my father’s wife physically and emotionally abused me until I convinced my mother to take custody of me. And so, in this damp and dark room I felt no desire to be alive, I felt no hope at all. I was spent.

54 // Community Now!

Yet for some reason, I crawled out of my misery and called Simon House Recovery Centre to see what the process was to get help. That compassionate connection gave me the strength to get into detox and then treatment. Going through treatment gave me the strength to begin working on my mental health. All of the connections I’ve made since that phone call to Simon House have led to an ability to find joy in life, find the resilience to face adversity, and to continue making connections with others who have felt alone and in despair. That early kernel of hope has provided me with the ability to express my confidence in my peers that they can live a life in recovery. For those in recovery and providing peer support, our experience is an example of how making small changes and setting attainable goals can bring about improved wellness. We have felt the stresses, emotions, setbacks and eventual victories that are relatable to those in active addiction or recovery. For many of us, our hope has grown into a commitment and initiative to facilitate change in the lives of people who reach out to us. That hope often results in a change of core values that allows us to act with integrity and responsibility within our community. We now live in service of others. When recovering addicts connect with our peers we honor their dignity by communicating clearly and respecting their boundaries while maintaining our own. We foster a mutual trust by being genuinely interested in and validating their thoughts and feelings. We adapt our style of communication to suit our peers and the


situations they are dealing with. We remind our peers of their successes and attributes. 12 Step fellowship is about the peer seeing themselves through a lens of strength and affirmation, and advocating for each other. We do not judge the pasts of others, because we’ve walked a mile in their shoes. It’s necessary for 12 Step peers to practice self-care. We strive to live a balanced life full of meaningful work and play. We reach out to co-workers, sponsors, the fellowship and family when we feel overwhelmed. We provide a calm and anonymous space when sharing and listening to peers, allowing for freedom to celebrate our achievements and mourn or laugh at our ignorance. Throughout our days we practice self-reflection and acknowledge that our personal beliefs can affect our perception of others. We practice open-mindedness and remain willing to see each situation from a differing point of view. We remain teachable. We ask for help from others in recovery when we are unsure of ourselves and how we can affect the best outcomes for our peers. Through practice we are confident and clear when sharing our recovery story. We describe how we thought, felt and behaved during relevant events and experiences in our lives. Sharing honestly and with an appropriate amount of disclosure allows our recovery peers to trust that we have walked a similar path and that we are there to support them. We are proof that if we can do the work, our peers can too, in their own way and at their own pace. Recovery is for those who work for it every day. Every peer is different, with specific needs and desires and experiences. As 12 Step peers we support everyone’s personal recovery and learn from everyone’s journey. It doesn’t matter what level of intellectual or emotional acuity we are at; each person in recovery must be in

charge of their personal recovery. This is not living on self-will or ego run rampant, this is being accountable. We addicts cannot have meaningful recovery if it is on someone else’s terms. The terms must resonate with us. The 12 Steps, while a specific set of instructions on how to live sober, aren’t so rigid that all newcomers must abandon their core beliefs and faiths. The 12 Steps provide the structure to live according to our beliefs. Any plans or goals related to our health, community, home life or work life are peer driven and supported by these steps and our connection with others. We are allies. Peer Support is connection. It is listening to and validating another person’s thoughts and feelings. Peer support is being of service, is engaging from a place of empathy, and sometimes peer support is holding space with someone who simply wants to feel that they are not alone. Peer support is being resilient while building someone else’s resiliency through care and compassion. We see this philosophy in action amongst ourselves every day. We know what it is like to be full of fear and to still take that first terrifying step to reach out to another human being. Then peer support provided in 12 Step programs has literally brought us from the brink of either death or a meaningless existence. We are now able to be present for others who are on the recovery road. Peer support means that no one need be alone in times of insecurity or doubt or joy or success. We stand together so no one falls, and if one of us does fall, we help them back up. Peer support in the 12 Steps is a privilege and a responsibility, and it’s an honor to be a part of the community of recovery. Michael M 20/07/2020.

To find out more go to: https://simonhouse.com/ To Donate go to: www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/12612 NOW! \\ 55


SHEInnovates PROFILE

Get to know SheInnovators through CN! Magazine over the next few issues!

SHANNON BOWEN-SMED FINDING OPPORTUNITY THROUGH CHALLENGE TO STAFF ALBERTA’S WORKFORCE SHANNON BOWEN-SMED, CEO, BOWEN GROUP Shannon Bowen-Smed isn’t shy to say she was asked to leave university. She truly believes she wouldn’t be where she is today without that happening. “I believe life is not a series of coincidences. If it wasn’t for the invitation to leave university I wouldn’t be here today. I have loved it for 36 years,” says Bowen-Smed, CEO of BOWEN Group. Joining the organization without any intention of having a career, Bowen-Smed learned through doing or shadowing every job that exists at BOWEN. Eventually leading the organization - established by her mother, Laverne Kruger, in 1974 - meant overcoming the perception of being ‘Laverne’s daughter’ as well as not having any experience in running a company. Now 25 years retired, Laverne remains a sounding board for her daughter, just as she was when Bowen-Smed was learning the ropes. Learning how to run a successful organization

56 // Community Now!

“It’s been a combination of making sure I have the right people around me, and trial and error about making good and bad decisions,” Bowen-Smed explains of her success. “It’s capitalizing on the good decisions and not repeating the bad ones.” Bowen-Smed relies on a group of advisors and who have been integral to the direction of the organization, “an extension of our strategic direction.” Respect is most important She also has kept respect front of mind when learning how the business works and looking for opportunities to improve. “Two things were important to me when building the business. One was respecting who was training me in the role and acknowledging their expertise for what they had done and when they had done it,” Bowen-Smed says. “Two, was to not to get too bogged down and being able to see the opportunities to improve, and making sure people were involved in the change.” It’s a fine balance she calls far from perfect, but Bowen-Smed says she does her very best each and every time.


A powerful circle of support in Calgary When Bowen-Smed feels like she hasn’t been her most authentic, she relies on what she calls an “amazing group of women in this city constantly raising each other up.” She argues that this runs beyond her close group who call themselves Women of Power and Passion, but to a whole ecosystem lead by women innovators. With so many women-led initiatives, she sees the next step as consolidating those groups to identify any gaps and see where women can take a role with the most impact. “The economy has been really tough on everyone, not just women alone,” says Bowen-Smed.

“But we have seen a real coming together as a community. Women are exceptional at nurturing and bringing community together. We know we’re going to be okay.” Editor’s Note: When this interview took place, in early March, Covid-19 had not yet become a global pandemic. Since these events, Shannon Bowen-Smed has moved her entire organization to a home office operation. “Our first priority has been and remains that we keep our colleagues and our community safe. In spite of being defined as an essential

(continued on next page) NOW! \\ 57


SHEInnovates PROFILE (continued from page 57...) service we moved everyone home immediately and remain intent on keeping our colleagues there well in to the fall,” Bowen-Smed says. “We have successfully adapted to the new norms of work and frankly we are all enjoying the flexibility and family time it has created.”

She explains that although working from home isn’t the ideal way to do certain aspects of their business (interview applicants, perform sales calls), it has challenged her team to think well outside of the box of possibility. “We are in many ways are far more efficient firm as a result of the pandemic and the cross training and team support has been awe inspiring.”

SHANNON BOWEN-SMED’S ADVICE FOR THOSE LOOKING TO SUCCEED Know why you want to move up. Do you enjoy the added responsibilities and pressure? Do you understand the sacrifices? Life is too short not to understand the choices we make and the jobs we are in.

Genuinely love what you do. It’s rare that our lives stop at 5 pm. We need to bring ourselves to all that we do. Genuine excitement and authentic leadership invites everyone around you to show up and be who they are.

EMILY HICKS CONVERTING AN INNOVATIVE IDEA TO A VIABLE BUSINESS EMILY HICKS, PRESIDENT, FREDSENSE TECHNOLOGIES For many people, life seems uncertain during university years. For some, it’s a time of self-discovery, dreaming of discovering a career that will ignite passion and drive. That hope was fulfilled for Emily Hicks, who started her career with an idea formed at a competition in her undergraduate degree. While a Biomedical Sciences major, Hicks joined the University of Calgary’s team at the International Genetically Engineered Machines (IGEM) competition after her first year. 58 // Community Now!


“I loved the idea of using biology to solve problems and being able to use different genetic elements as building blocks to engineer real-life solutions,” she says. Hicks remained involved with the competition, and by the time she graduated, she and her team had developed an idea in which they used bacteria to measure different compounds found in oil sands tailings ponds, converting them into beneficial compounds.

From idea to viable business Right after graduation, Hicks and her teammates founded FREDsense – a company based on their IGEM idea. Almost immediately, the challenges of transitioning from university to business-ownership made themselves clear. “It was a lot of work just figuring out how to set up our own microbiology lab and how (continued on next page) NOW! \\ 59


SHEInnovates PROFILE (continued from page 59...) to get equipment on a really cheap budget,” Hicks explains of the early days of FREDsense. “We’ve really grown a lot in terms of our lab, what we’re able to accomplish, and our team. We have a product on the market now, which is exciting.” Real-world skills Hicks also realized that entrepreneurship was different from university in other, unexpected ways. “I was a very good student, I worked very hard, and that work ethic has been tremendous at helping me out in the startup world where there’s so much to do. I think I stressed a lot about my grades and how I did in school, and it’s really the skills that I learned not in the classroom, but the IGEM competition where I really got involved in research in a hands-on way,” Hicks says. “It’s those hands-on skills, like learning how to give presentations, that mean so much more than the grades I got.” Overcoming imposter syndrome Hicks tackled starting and growing a business pragmatically and patiently. She and her team didn’t have Business degrees or previous business experience, but she pushed herself to overcome that mindset. “I found it really difficult to just give ourselves permission to just try the thing and just jump in and see what we could do with that,” Hicks says. “One of the obstacles that I encountered was feeling like I needed someone to give me permission do the things I needed to do to 60 // Community Now!

start this company. You kind of just have to jump in and do it.” Hicks explains how it was the little things that made them feel more validated, like ordering their first set of business cards. “It may seem silly, but once you have that card that says that you’re so and so and that you’re a cofounder of a business, that gives you the little validity and the little boost that says ‘Oh yeah, this is a real thing.’” And FREDsense is, undeniably, a real thing. With their first product – a trace arsenic detector – geared mainly toward mid-sized cities in the United States, FREDsense has expanded their services to include custom sensor work for companies requesting their technology for other specific uses. Lots of support for entrepreneurs in Alberta Hicks had help from various mentors as she started and developed FREDsense, but she also found the entrepreneurial community in Alberta to be tremendously supportive. “That’s one of the things that struck me early on, that even as a student with an idea, there were so many people that were willing to meet us for coffee, or drinks, or whatever, that would give free advice and opinions. I was always shocked that people would do that just out of the goodness of their heart, that there were so many people in the community that were willing to be supporters,” says Hicks. “So much of that early advice and mentoring that we got, whether in a formal or informal capacity was critical for us in order to learn the skills that we needed and to get the business started.”


Our Mission: Promoting curiosity, communication and engagement in making Alberta a stronger and better place to live, to be educated, do business, promote innovation and community celebration. www.communitynowmagazine.com Facebook: @communitynowmagazine Twitter: @communitynowma1 Publisher@CommunityNowMagazine.com

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October 2020 Volume 3 Issue 3  

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