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Published by Jamie Arron
Centered around four pictures taken from four different periods of my life I've tried to tell my story and give a sense of what makes me tick.
Centered around four pictures taken from four different periods of my life I've tried to tell my story and give a sense of what makes me tick.

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Published by: Jamie Arron on Oct 25, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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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
 brothers through sales 101 roleplays. From him I gained a sense of tenacity, perseverance, and sense of accountability which ingrained a commitment to go to the ends of the earth to follow through on myword.Combined with the support of two mentoring older brothers, a network of lifelong friends, and teachersthat always told me I was destined to do great things, I was born into an environment that gave me theconfidence, creativity, and resourcefulness to exercise my own sense of agency and pursue my dreams. Istill wake up everyday feeling incredibly grateful for this upbringing and find much of my life motivationstems from a desire to pay forward this type of supportive environment.Indeed for as long as I can remember I've been possessed by the entrepreneurial urge to make my mark inthe world. For instance, in the summer before grade 7 I quit my paper route and tried starting a small scaleweb design and lawn care businesses. In grade 9, I translated my love for basketball into an online sportsapparel and memorabilia business that provided my pocket money throughout high school and helpedfund my university education. (Below is my grade 7 class picture when I attempted my firstentrepreneurial venture, I am in the far left in the middle row).
This sense of agency also took the form of  political engagement. I entered high school just after 9-11, and this provoked a strong interest in politicaleconomy, global governance, and grassroots organizing. It also compelled me to participate in my first political action; the historic protests against the American invasion of Iraq.Being a “go-getter” from an early agefostered in me a sense of extremeindependence (and at times also borderlinemegalomia). As time moved on though, Ifound this highly individualistic approachto be ill suited to true leadership. I had amajor wake up call while serving as anexecutive of my high school studentcouncil where I struggled to trust theefforts of others and instead workedmyself ragged while working solo on theinitiatives I took on. This was a challenge Iwould later confront head on.In grade 12, empowered by learning the countless stories of youth-led organizations via the internet, aswell as feeling limited by the structures of school, I decided to start an initiative called Mavericks of Social Change. My intention was to help other youth with creative and entrepreneurial urges findmentorship and early stage support. I was especially motivated to support those who didn't grow up withas supportive of an environment as I did. By my 3rd year of university this organization had grownsignificantly, with a strong community of volunteers, as well as a base of funding. The success of the

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