Up-and-comers thrive in Kanata North Blackwood Centre: Meeting the Office Needs of Modern Business
4 financial questions to Only life, death and ask your aging parent a glimpse of the future: Wrapping up Making Scalable TEDxKanata: Breaking Virtual Testing Real Barriers ...and more!
CONTENTS What’s New / What’s Next ................................................... 1 Up-and-comers thrive in Kanata North ......................... 3 TCC Canada’s Blackwood Centre Meets the Office Needs of Modern Business .......................................................... 6 Serious Tech Lives Here. Over the course of this year we have been working hard to ensure everyone knows this. I hope you’ve noticed the increased media coverage and buzz about our business community and the success stories we have been sharing. Please continue to share your good news with our office. We are always happy to help celebrate your success. This month we were very happy with the Mayor’s announcement that the City will move forward with an environmental assessment for LRT to Kanata. This is an issue that we have been pushing forward and the announcement marks a big step ahead for Kanata. Although no funding has been secured, and we are still talking decades away, it is a necessary step in the right direction and we commend the City for taking it.
Beyond ESL: Áccent Language Services for Professionals works with employers to overcome communication, cultural challenges of top talent...................................... 7 4 financial questions to ask your aging parent.............. 8 Making Scalable Virtual Testing Real.............................. 11 Perspectives Restaurant offers Kanata North diners imaginative menu, superb local ingredients.................. 12 Only life, death and a glimpse of the future: Wrapping up TEDxKanata: Breaking Barriers......................................... 13
Over the next few months, we hope you will take the opportunity to join us for the various activities we have planned at The Community Hub. The Hub is located on Legget Drive behind 400 March Road, across from QNX. You will see a pergola and picnic tables. This is our space for summer fun. Hope to see you there Tuesdays for yoga and Wednesdays for our Lunch Parties. As always, thank you for your interest and I hope you enjoy this month’s issue. Please never hesitate to reach out if we can be of assistance.
Jenna Sudds EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, KANATA NORTH BIA
C Design and layout by Communicarium
WHAT’S NEW WHAT’S NEXT Missed our Speed Dating with Kanata Rockstars event?
It was an exciting evening of business networking, knowledge sharing and insights from some of Kanata North’s leading Rockstars.
stories, and find out why Kanata North is fertile ground for growing successful companies by visiting www.serioustechliveshere.com. For more news stories check out our News section for all the latest articles and features appearing in the Ottawa Business Jo u r na l, O t t a w a C i t i ze n, a n d MetroNews.
LRT expansion to Kanata
Local business leaders, CEOs and entrepreneurs participated in speed dating round table discussions and Q&As. Check out the highlights video.
French-speaking Toastmasters Club Are you looking to improve your French? Or maybe just gain more confidence in public speaking? The French-speaking Toastmasters Club meets every Tuesday evening in Kanata North. This Toastmasters Club is targeting both native Francophones and people seeking to improve their French. It is a great resource for members of the business community who are looking to brush up on their public speaking skills. New members are always welcome. For more information on the Toastmasters Kanata Francophone Club visit their website at www.toastmasters.org
L-Spark Celebrates the ‘Best in SaaS of 2016’
“Kanata North is rapidly becoming a leader in SaaS, and part of the reason for that is the entrepreneurial environment that’s been fostered here. The area has been a great source for talented professionals, and provides the flexibility we needed to accommodate new staf f and greater manufacturing capabilities.” Read more about our homegrown success
The city has announced its plans to extend the LRT out to Kanata. Preparation for the first stage of the Environmental Assessment for Bayshore Station to Palladium Drive will be done over the summer, so that the Statement of Work will be ready for Transportation Committee this September. Accessibility to public transportation is critical to attracting and retaining a talented workforce, and equally important in attracting new businesses to the area. We are always working hard to advocate for the best interests of our member companies and thank those who supported our efforts and signed our letter.
L-SPARK’s Incubator and Accelerator startups will be showcasing their progress to the community in a giant graduation celebration! Join L-SPARK’s Enterprise SaaS community of mentors, advisors, investors and corporate partners at the Great Canadian Theatre Company as they celebrate the second annual ‘Best in SaaS’ cohort. All proceeds from the event are going to Technovation, a worldwide program with an Ottawa chapter that encourages female students to get into tech. For tickets and details click here.
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LOCAL COMMUNITY EVENTS & ACTIVITIES:
BIG BIKE teams warm our hearts
Wednesday Lunch Parties, Food Truck Thursdays and Free Yoga at the HUB Sunshine, food trucks, live music and outdoor games are all the rage at our lunch parties from June to the end of September. Come join us for some delicious lunch choices, outdoor games and fun networking opportunities. We will be scheduling special visits from local businesses and sports facilities such as the canoe club, Bushtukah and Eyedocs, in addition to hosting a Bike Maintenance workshop. Keep checking our events calendar for updates and details.
To see the camaraderie and the teamwork of the corporate teams from Kanata North come together for this special event warms our hearts! BIG Congratulations to all the hardworking Kanata North business teams who came together to ride the Big Bike and raise funds for the Heart and Stroke Foundation, and the organizer Big Bike Ottawa. Over $40,000 was raised by our business community and all the teams had a really great time - toting mascots, costumes and outrageous head gear. Nice work everyone!
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Brookstreet BBQ n’ Jazz Patio Party! Brookstreet will be hosting their annual Patio party on June 16 from 4:00pm 7:00pm. Just walk on over after work. No Reservations Required. Enjoy some complimentary samplings of their new BBQ menu, wine, beer, live jazz and a chance to win some great prizes!
Kanata Festival of Beer
Food Truck Thursdays runs from the beginning of June to the end of September. There will be one truck at each location, 40 Hines Road and 362 Terry Fox. Check our food truck schedule for food choices and locations. Free YOGA at the Hub is back and popular as ever! On June 7th our friends at Inner Revolution held their first FREE Yoga classes during lunch hour in the grass at the Community Hub from 12 - 12:45pm. Several people turned up and took advantage of this great opportunity. Mark your calendar for every Tuesday throughout the summer, of course weather permitting.
The Kanata Festival of Beer has teamed up with the Canada Day in Kanata Association to launch a new event at Kanata’s Annual Canada Day Celebration. On June 30th 4pm to 11pm at the Walter Baker Park adjacent to the Kanata Recreation Centre (KRC). Over 50 different beers will be served and sampled from many local Breweries. For more info see www. kanatafestivalofbeer.com
UP-AND-COMERS THRIVE IN KANATA NORTH written by Stephen J. Thorne Kanata North is home to 500 companies and some 21,000 employees, from start-ups to industry giants. Here are stories about three of its up-and-comers.
Fisher says Gigataur its network is a goldmine of talent. The company did virtually all of its recruiting in Kanata North, with all but three of 30 staff who worked on Star Wars recruited locally.
Eight years ago, the company started out building apps for mobile devices, gradually gaining big name clients like Sony and Canon. In 2013, it expanded into television.
Fisher adds that the company regularly taps into Kanata North’s network and knowledge pool, making its job easier.
“Our vision is really about owning the glass,” he says. “The world is so fragmented, there are so many operating systems, and everybody wants to get on all of them. We’re offering this way to get to all of them.”
“Because they’re there, they attract other people to be there. And in a lot of cases it’s customers,” he says. “Those customers are often coming through Kanata anyway, whether it’s Ericsson or Mitel, and you can sometimes get at least attached to a business meeting because you happen to be there.”
With so much more on the horizon, Flick finds there’s room to grow
Gigataur creates interactive games for mobile devices on behalf of companies like Mattel, Marvel, and the crown jewel, Disney. But the development of interactive content goes way beyond mere games. Consumer brands want engagement, says company CEO Andrew Fisher. “They’re using interactive media to get engagement, and games provide one of the longest narratives — the ability to communicate the brand’s values, interact with the user on a day-to-day basis,” says Fisher. “Because of the long session times, in terms of dollars per minute, it’s a very cost-effective way to reach a wide segment of users.” It started with Mattel’s He-Man, which went No. 1 worldwide and earned Gigataur attention. Mar vel soon followed, with Gigataur producing an X-Men product that launched with the movie in May 2014. Then Gigataur paired up with Disney’s Lucasfilm to develop Star Wars Rebels.
The next steps for You.i TV are news, sports, and advertising. You.i TV is part of a recently announced 28-member Turner Ad Lab Advisory Advisory Board. It will recommend linear and digital video innovations in light of the changing TV landscape.
in Kanata North, and people to grow with. “There’s such a massive talent pool,” he says. “The companies here have world-class software developers, and we’re able to access almost an unlimited number of them.” The television industry is undergoing its biggest transition since the advent of cable. People demand their shows where and how they want them. So providers want to know how to build applications for all the platforms that are out there. You.i TV has the answer. The firm has developed a product that allows companies to build a single app that runs identically wherever it appears. “It saves an enormous amount of effort and gets it to the market faster,” says You.i TV co-founder and chief executive officer Jason Flick.
“Our vision is really about owning the glass,” he says. “The world is so fragmented, there are so many operating systems, and everybody wants to get on all of them. We’re offering this way to get to all of them.” MARTELLO TECHNOLOGIES Not so long ago, companies spent fortunes on telephone technologies and expensive hardware to run them. The Internet arrived, and it could do all the hardware’s work — voicemail, call recording, call-centre management, video conferencing — for a fraction of the cost. THE KANATA NETWORKER
Based on a subscription model, online services had the added advantage of no-risk investment. If the technologies changed, customers, weren’t stuck with costly, obsolete hardware.
Martello Technologies develops and manages those online services, ensuring they work well. If they don’t, they fix them. The services are so reliable that clients like banks, and their customers, trust them. “Our skill set is aligned with making highly reliable, very robust services in voice, which is what Kanata North did for phone and data communications companies around the globe,” says Martello CEO Bruce Linton. “This sector’s taken off.” Kanata North remains a magnet for tech firms, says Linton. The area contributes $7.8 billion to Canada’s GDP, double that of Canada’s 26 other research and technology parks combined. And its Top 20 companies generated $3.3 billion in revenues in 2015. “There’s a really good base of people when you think about how many layers of technology companies have started, evolved and moved up; that helps,” says Linton. “It’s not inexpensive, but it is highly productive.” For more information, visit www.serioustechliveshere.com.
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experience brookstreet 276 four-diamond guestrooms Modern conference & business meeting facilities Inspired cuisine at Perspectives Restaurant Options Jazz Lounge with live jazz every evening Au Natural Spa Flex Fitness Studio Indoor and outdoor saltwater pools Zone 525 interactive games room B CafĂŠ serving Starbucks coffee
Five Twenty Five Legget Drive | Ottawa Ontario K2K 2W2 613.271.1800 | brookstreet.com
experience the marshes The Marshes 18-hole championship golf course designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr. & Sr. European PGA approved 9-hole short course, Marchwood Modern meeting facilities Eclectic dining at Ironstone Grill Jones Lounge for social gatherings Enjoy Thirsty Thursdays with the Dueling Pianos
Three Twenty Terry Fox Drive | Ottawa Ontario K2K 3L1 613.271.3370 | themarshesgolfclub.com /MarshesGolfClub @MarshesGolfClubt
TCC CANADAâ€™S BLACKWOOD CENTRE MEETS THE OFFICE NEEDS OF MODERN BUSINESS
TCC Canada recognizes that the business world is going through incredible changes in how companies manage business. They have managed to stay in the game by continuously offering new technologies and trends while continuing to strive to meet the demands of c u s tome r s and businesses. Ten years ago, companies needed a dedicated office space to work at full capacity. Nowadays, large and small companies still require space, but perhaps not full-time dedicated office space. A printer and Wi-Fi is usually the norm now for a business to operate successfully.
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TCC Canada offers access to full suites of office and management resources, including executive office space, meetings and board rooms as well as shared workspaces. They also offer reception services, utilities and amenities for any size company. This means that your company or business has all the services and social needs with a low overhead and no long term commitmentsâ€”all while maintaining a competitive level of professionalism.
Located in Katana North, Blackwood Centre is at the epicentre of the technology scene. It puts your company in the heart of the innovation and advancement that Kanata North can offer. By utilizing Blackwood Centre, your company will have access to industry leaders, world class technology and dynamic individuals within close proximity of the technology park.
Their newest program, Virtual Identity Program (VIP) allows for a virtual office space to be established, perfect for the modern entrepreneur. This program includes a corporate address, personalized phone answering, reception and access to furnished meeting rooms. This program is putting TCC Canada ahead of other companies in the way they do business.
BEYOND ESL: ÁCCENT LANGUAGE SERVICES FOR PROFESSIONALS
Working with employers to overcome communication and cultural challenges of top talent often the case. But smart HR managers and recruiters know it too, and they see an opportunity to get the most out of talent other companies miss out on by helping them improve their language skills.”
Bernadette Hendrickx, Áccent Language Services Founder
Lungs, lips, palate, teeth, tongue. Without even taking into account the nuances of grammar and arbitrariness of idioms, the delicate array of musculature required to work in tandem to produce the spoken word is daunting. And yet, most humans are capable of mastering the fundamentals of their native language before they’ve acquired the coordination to ride a bicycle without training wheels. The early development of speech is highly specific to the characteristics of the language being spoken. This means that those who have learned English as a second language, even to a high degree of proficiency, often face difficulty making themselves understood thanks to “fossilized” accents embedded in the very muscles of their mouths. Inability to express oneself clearly and quickly in English can be a critical professional disadvantage, particularly in the agile, team-based corporate cultures common to Kanata North’s high tech sector. “Heavily accented professionals are at a disadvantage because they lack what is called ‘comfortable intelligibility,’” says Áccent Language Services for Professionals founder Bernadette Hendrickx. “First- and second-generation Canadians often feel discriminated against in the workplace due to their accents, and the sad truth is, that’s
Áccent provides a unique service to employers seeking to unlock the true potential of team members struggling with communication issues. Hendrickx, an expert in the accent modification field with over 20 years’ experience as a language and performance teacher, designs an individualized curriculum for each client based on their needs. As Áccent’s website emphasizes, “Pronunciation is a physical skill.” Hendrickx addresses clients’ issues with the physical production of the English language through specialized exercises and routines. “Changing the muscle memory of your speech apparatus is similar to taking tennis lessons after you’ve already ‘taught yourself’ how to play: you need to gain muscle awareness and then repeat the technique until it becomes automatic,” explains Hendrickx. Áccent also focuses on the social and cultural roadblocks that impede effective communication and presentation skills in a westernized, high tech workplace (see sidebar) through techniques derived from Hendrickx’s background in professional theatre, such as roleplay. “I work with highly skilled professionals such as engineers and scientists, some of whom actually did their PhDs in English,” says Hendrickx, “and I’m proud that I can boast a 100% success rate.” A young company founded in 2014, Áccent has already made a positive impact on many, reducing clients’ first language “interference” within a matter of weeks, until speaking English becomes second nature.
ISSUES ACCENT MODIFICATION EXPERTS HEAR FROM PROFESSIONALS ON A REGULAR BASIS:
1. “My English is good, but I don’t feel confident enough to contribute my ideas to our team.” 2. “I’m tired of repeating myself.” 3. “I haven’t received a promotion in years, and I know it’s because of my strong accent.” 4. “I work by myself because people don’t understand me.” 5. “I struggle with simply ordering a meal.” 6. “My English sounds so bad on the phone so I do everything by email.” 7. “I think people judge me to be unintelligent as soon as I start speaking, so I just don’t say anything.” 8. “I only speak to people from my own country because nobody else understands me.” and, sadly... 9. “I will never reach my true potential.” Bernadette Hendrickx, from her blog post “Comfortable Intelligibility”
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4 FINANCIAL QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR AGING PARENT It’s important to consider finances when planning for retirement, and determining one’s financial situation sooner rather than later helps support confident and secure retirement planning while reducing potential stress down the road. If your aging parent has reached out to you looking for some support in managing their finances or planning for a retirement living lifestyle, consider asking them these four questions.
1. Where are your financial documents stored? It’s important for both you and your parent to know where their financial documents are stored to mitigate having to dig around the house later should an issue arise. Money Sense recommends asking where documents like life insurance policies and investment statements are stored, along with a list of all bank accounts, PINs and contact information for the advisors that handle your parent’s finances. If your parent is hesitant
about sharing their financial information with you, assure them that should they choose to, you will ensure it is kept confidential, stored somewhere safe and will not be used without their permission. You can also discuss the importance of sharing such information with someone they trust, should they ever experience a health incident and need someone to help manage their finances in a hurry. “Explain that if something were to happen to your parent, knowing where the important papers are will help
Getting to know my residents is a privilege. My job is their happiness. PETER, ADMINISTRATOR WORKING AT CHARTWELL SINCE 2013. CHARTWELL.COM
Make us part of your story. 20 Shirley’s Brook Dr., Kanata 613-663-2967
Conditions may apply.
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lunch & learns at your offices
family to step in and act as quickly and easily as possible,” said Lise Andreana, author of “Financial Care for Your Aging Parent,” in an interview with Money Sense.
“if something were to happen to your parent, knowing where the important papers are will help family to ...act as quickly and easily as possible” 2. Does your retirement plan make room for unexpected expenses? When planning for the future, it is important to consider unexpected expenses, such as health care services. Ask your parent if their financial plan includes extra savings for contingencies, advises Newport Private Wealth. Once you factor in these additional expenses, talk with your parent about how they would like to map out their finances and check in about whether enough money will be allocated to support an active and healthy lifestyle.
3. Do you have an up-to-date will? Discussing wills is never an ideal situation, but it’s an important component of your parent’s financial situation that should be addressed. If your parent already has a will, ask how old it is; Money Sense notes that a will should never be more than five years old. And as The Globe and Mail mentions, this conversation is also a good opportunity to discuss your parent’s advanced directive wishes.
4. Have your investments been reviewed?
If you and your parent are trying to determine if they can afford a retirement community, use Chartwell’s Budget Assistant Tool to help calculate their current expenses and projected income from the sale of their home. It can be found on our website at chartwell.com Margaret Dennis, Sales Consultant Telephone: 613-663-2967 CHARTWELL KANATA retirement residence 20 Shirley’s Brook Drive, Kanata, ON K2K 2W8 www.chartwell.com
Your parent may have a portfolio of investments with terms that suited their working lifestyle, however, if they haven’t yet done so, recommend reviewing these terms together when planning for their retirement, noted Newport Private Wealth. Talk to your parent about any investments they currently hold and if the terms may need to be updated.
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THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2016 An evening of Live Jazz, Outstanding Cuisine, Exceptional Wine & Fireworks
buy tickets at
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MAKING SCALABLE VIRTUAL TESTING REAL CENGN Event with Ixia and Empowered - A Great Kick-Off into Spring On April 14th, Canadaâ€™s Centre of Excellence in Next Generation Networks (CENGN), along with its partners IXIA and Empowered Networks, welcomed more than 75 attendees to a technical networking event at its headquarters in Kanata. This event offered an opportunity to showcase how virtual technologies like OpenStack, SDN, NFV and EPC are fundamentally changing the way leading-edge companies develop and test their NGN products. Along with receiving updates on CENGN initiatives for 2016, participants had the chance to gain key insights from NGN testing professionals across the region through
networking with peers and participating in live demonstrations of virtualized solutions for testing functionality, interoperability and security. This is just one of many exciting events that CENGN will be offering to the NGN community during 2016. Stay tuned for upcoming training and networking opportunities! For more information on how to scale up your network testing capabilities on any scale, from a few virtual hosts in your lab to hundreds of gigabits in CENGNâ€™s facilities, please contact Ron Watt at email@example.com.
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PERSPECTIVES RESTAURANT OFFERS KANATA NORTH DINERS IMAGINATIVE MENU, SUPERB LOCAL INGREDIENTS Written by Peter Savage Perspectives Restaurant offers a unique casual dining experience, serving ‘Contemporary Canadian Cuisine.’ The restaurant is located in the four diamond Brookstreet Hotel in Kanata North. Their spacious patio overlooks The Marshes golf course and the Gatineau Hills. The menu showcases cuisine inspired by the experience and diversity of their creative Executive Chef Clifford Lyness and his culinary brigade. Perspectives’ emphasis is on natural, simple and fresh ingredients combined with creative, imaginative cooking techniques, which allows the flavor of the food to shine through. Perspectives only sources the best organic and biodynamic ingredients, as well as purchasing quality produce from local distributers. Paired with their extensive wine list, they offer a unique casual contemporary dining experience. The menu at Perspectives Restaurant changes seasonally and offers a variety of new dishes, as well as some of their signature dishes
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which guests request frequently; the ones to watch for are the chowder, linguini & lobster pasta, confit pork belly and dry aged AAA beef tenderloin. Sundays are particularly popular, with their renowned Sunday Brunch often selling out. Check out the full menu online at brookstreethotel. com/perspectives. Both inside and outside of the restaurant is a perfect space for any occasion or meeting throughout the week. Perspectives also has a 14-person private dining room for those who are looking for a more sequestered space. At lunchtime they currently offer their regular menu, as well as a two course $23 Business Lunch (available Monday to Friday and designed so you can be in and out in an hour). Starting in June, the restaurant will be offering a BBQ lunch on Tuesdays and Thursdays ($21.95 provides limitless BBQ and salad). Perspectives also offers special menus for key dates throughout the year such as Christmas, Valentine’s
Day, Mother’s Day and New Year’s, along with other specials running throughout the year. Check out their current promotion online at brookstreethotel.com/date. The restaurant offers catering services, providing sandwiches, salads and more to surrounding offices. They also offer a Takeaway Turkey dinner for up to 10 people on Thanksgiving and Christmas. With the restaurants location in Kanata North, they benefit from an expanding tech community filled with growing businesses. Whether for lunch or dinner, locals from the business community, in addition to visiting international guests can enjoy an excellent culinary experience at Perspectives. With the restaurants close proximity to the Canadian Tire Centre, it offers a popular spot for visitors during the stadium’s various events. If you haven’t had a chance to try the menu at Perspectives, plan a visit for your next lunch meeting.
ONLY LIFE, DEATH AND A GLIMPSE OF THE FUTURE: WRAPPING UP TEDxKANATA: BREAKING BARRIERS Kanata
Welcome to part three of our TEDxKanata: Breaking Barriers recap. The sold out event, which took place March 31st at the Brookstreet Hotel, featured eight inspired and inspiring speakers, plenty of networking in the great Kanata North tradition and delicious food courtesy of the hotel. While we can’t bring the chats that took place or the food to those who missed it, happily the Talks at least have recently been posted to YouTube! Last year’s Talks have already reached over 50,000 viewers, a figure which will only increase as more people discover the incredible array of thinkers and leaders who call Kanata home. Read part 1 and part 2 in our April and May issues! This month we’ll look at the event’s final session, featuring three PhDs: Sheema Khan, Kathy Kortes Miller and Andrew Pelling.
Sheema Khan – “I choose to write my own story with the pen of my conscience.”
Harvard PhD, R&D scientist and Globe & Mail columnist Sheema Khan brings perspective to cultural differences. Photo by Alexandra Lee
Must the intellect and the spirit always collide? Author and scientist Sheema Khan knows better than most about the barriers society erects between people of different races, cultures and professions. But she also knows that such barriers are permeable when a person refuses to accept the story that has been written upon them. As a toddler, Khan emigrated from India to Montreal, where she immersed herself in Quebecois culture and quickly became fluent in French. Currently a patent agent in Ottawa, she is also a soccer player, hockey mom and author of books such as Of Hockey and Hijab: Reflections of a Canadian Muslim Woman. In her wide-ranging Talk, titled “Write Your Own Story” (video), Khan interrogates “official stories,” be they from marketers, politicians or larger organizations like corporations and governments. To accept an official story without question, especially at it applies to one’s fellow humans, is in a sense to surrender one’s human agency: the ability to empathize with another’s reality outside of the framework of the narrative, to find one’s own place within the larger society, to act against injustices. In Khan’s case, as a woman, an immigrant and a Muslim, the essentializing categories into which she has been grouped pose a significant threat to her ability to express her own individual experience of being. Consider, she asks, the prevailing cultural attitudes that allowed for the (ongoing) cultural genocides against Native peoples perpetrated under the auspices of colonialism. Consider also the “[astonishing] harmony and beauty of the natural world.”
By drawing upon the resources of her Muslim culture, which historically spawned a civilization in which science and art flourished like none other of its time, and upon the education she received in her adopted home, Khan’s perspective finds harmonies between disparate stories: the pilgrimage to Mecca, for example, and “the movement towards Canada” 1995 Quebec Referendum. Not despite her advanced learning, but because of it, Khan takes inspiration from the traditional Muslim prayer pose which positions “the heart physically above the head.” In a night filled with powerful speakers and ideas, it was Khan’s nuanced empathy that brought the crowd to its feet.
Kathy Kortes-Miller – “From the moment we are born, our cells are dying. Death is part of our living.”
Death educator Kathy Kortes-Miller’s Talk was a mere matter of life and death. Photo by Alexandra Lee.
Dr. Kathy Kortes-Miller, MSW, PhD thinks about dying and death a lot. She knows thinking about it—and teaching and researching about it— helps her to embrace life full on. THE KANATA NETWORKER
An unconventional death educator with a passion for palliative care and improving end of life care for all, Kortes-Miller has inspired and challenged a generation of healthcare providers to be prepared to care for individuals who are dying, as well as their families, regardless of the setting. Her Talk, wryly titled “Talking About Death Won’t Kill You” (video), was a good example of form reflecting content. The central thesis of KortesMiller’s work is that death is a natural and inalienable part of life; thus, she uses her own biography and gradual accumulation of knowledge to form a narrative arc, introducing the audience to a widening spectrum of concepts just as she had once learned them herself. From being her university’s inaugural placement student in a palliative care unit to becoming a leading expert in the field, she has had the opportunity to work closely with the (imminently) dying as well as the (ostensibly) healthy, and the experience has led her to zero in on the importance of how we conceptualize death. As Alanna Mitchell recently claimed in her book Malignant Metaphor (ECW Press, 2016), the language we use to describe our experience of illness can disrupt our ability to deal with it as a natural process: to call cancer a ‘battle’ is by definition to describe those who die from it as ‘losers.’ But illness is not a measure of merit, and survival is often a matter of luck and privilege, and always of delay. “Denial of death as a means of conciliation is unhealthy psychologically,” says Kortes-Miller. “It is a social process.” As we enter a time in which we struggle less with the ethics of assisted dying than with the practicalities of its implementation, Kortes-Miller cautions us that we must pay attention to whom is leading these conversations.
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“When what ails us is not fixable, our health care system says there’s nothing more we can do—wrong.” Having herself survived a cancer diagnosis at age 37, she has lived within the sphere of these questions. “What is important to you in life? And in death?” It is a delicate balance of quality of living versus the mere quantity of life.
Andrew Pelling – “I’m always only a moment from epic failure and embarrassment… and you learn from failure.”
TED Fellow and “biohacker” Andrew Pelling argues the way forward is in capitalizing on a diversity of knowledge.
What happens when an academic research lab allows pure curiosity to guide its investigations? What happens when that lab opens its doors and invites the community to come in and play? Ottawa-based experimental scientist Andrew Pelling uses low-cost, open source materials to discover new biology and create novel living technologies of the future. He runs an interdisciplinary lab at the University of Ottawa where he researches non-genetic ways to create artificial tissues and organs. He has, for instance, grown human cells in apples and living skins on LEGOs – innovations with the potential to replace prohibitively expensive commercial biomaterials. While unconventional, much of his other experimental work has led to new insights in cancer pathology,
muscle degeneration and stem cell development. Pelling’s Talk, “The Science of Craft, Serendipity and Curiosity” (video), was more than anything else a chance to see how the mind of a technical innovator works. “I really like taking calculated risks,” said Pelling with a wry smile, as he described the series of seemingly off-the-cuff decisions that put him in the position to shake up his field. There is something loose, almost boyish, about Pelling, and it’s clear that above all he has fun doing what he does. His labs are staffed with collaborators he’s genuinely interested in working with, including artists, engineers and designers. By throwing out the outmoded idea that knowledge can be compartmentalized, he opens his research to new perspectives. The Talk was also, one suspects, a chance for Pelling to pitch to the Kanata North audience a bold new idea he calls “pHacktory.” He hopes create a street-level research lab that amplifies ideas through a potent mixture of (as alluded to in the title of his presentation) craft, serendipity and curiosity. The lab would be centrally-located and open to the public to walk through and engage with science as it happens. What would happen if we provided our communities with accessibility and resources to explore audacious ideas? Can we accomplish even greater feats if we all work together? “Put a group of creative people in a room where you can risk and fail, and they will create amazing things,” says Andrew Pelling. So, in answer to the previous questions, let the last word of our TEDxKanata: Breaking Barriers coverage be “Yes.”
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The Kanata Networker is an electronic publication which highlights news from the Kanata business community.