Below is a picture of me helping to herd cows on horseback at a ranch in Northern British Columbiawhere I stayed for a few weeks this October. In the early 1970s, the rancher (who later became BC’sminister of Forestry) had quit his job with the Privy Council in Ottawa and lived for more than five yearswith his wife without electricity or running water. He cleared nearly 500 acres of land through horsedrawn logging and built a life for him and his family. Now in his late 60s he continued his farmingoperations and maintained a dozen horses so he could pass one on to each of his grandchildren.For me, as someone who grew up in the suburbs of Toronto I was blown away to have the opportunity toexperience a lifestyle totally alien to my own and learn this man’s story (as well as learn hands on aboutsustainable food systems).
It is this willingness to put myself in unknown situationsas well as the curiosity and persistence for learning thathas shaped my character, both in my personal andprofessional lives. What makes me tick on the deepestlevel is experiences like these that allow me to listen, feel,and observe other peoples’ worldviews and developmyself accordingly.
Whatever the scenario I am drivento listen and understand others’ experience without judgement and seek to understand the roots of theirperspectives(geography, family, culture, etc). I believedoing so helps me to maintain a curiosity about theworld, challenge my own assumptions, and open up myown imagination to what is possible.
I believe this personality is what has enabled my work as a community builder. I naturally find myself able to relate to diverse array of people, driven to help connect them, and to encourage them to take pridein embrace their own uniqueness while appreciating difference. I believe the greater the diversity of acommunity, the more resillient and vibrant it will be. It is this spirit that inspires me to cultivate diversitywithin myself, whether it be learning about international trade as part of an economic trade mission toChina, learning about history and culture by Couchsurfing around Europe, pushing my limits for manuallabour as a treeplanter in the forests of Nova Scotia, or through simple everyday acts such as reading a book or getting to know a next door neighbour. Ultimately I see myself as someone living to promote aworldview that everyone has something to teach and every scenario offers something to learn. In other words, a world where everyone has the potential to be a changemaker.Often I reflect on what has motivated these beliefs and usually this begins with a consideration of myfamily life and childhood. After raising 3 kids my mom went back to university for early childhoodeducation and went on to spend 10 years as a preschool teacher. From her I gained a sense of imaginationthat motivated me to move through the world with a sense of what might be possible. My dad on the other hand was a hard nosed, self taught entrepreneur who used family dinners as a chance to run me and my