I remember that moment I realized I was meant to teach and develop people. I actually fell backward into teaching – talk about serendipity! I graduated university during a major recession and with no experience and jobs scarce I took a job substitute teaching high school. My old high school in fact! I actually recognized some students that were there when I was in high school, I was that fresh out of university. Challenging yet inspiring.
My business career start was in corporate industry (textbook publishing to be specific) and I am proud to say that I have eight years of experience working in various industries. I learned a lot about people and power in those days! I noted how power was used effectively as well as ineffectively, even abused. Those that shared power proved it is not finite – the more you share it the more you will have.
My career has taught me a lot about the value of human capital, and how it is very often short changed in favour of profits. I am forever emphasizing the importance of investing in people. And fortunately, because it underpins everything, there are plenty of opportunities to promote the investment in people development.
My highlight career role has been facilitating the CPA/CMA Strategic Leadership Programs for 27 years. Before some program changes, I had the students for six sessions over two years – what a bonus! Less transactional than one-term teaching, I got to be part of the student development journey. Instead of teaching technical and accounting skills, we put those skills to work by developing and sharpening enabling competencies such as strategic thinking, professional speaking , and teamwork.
I thrived in that that role because it suited me so well in so many ways:
- A focus on strategy first;
- An emphasis on human capital as a key contributor;
- Focus on strategic leadership, group dynamics, and communication in various forms;
- Use of structured yet flexible critical thinking and problem-solving frameworks; and,
- Contained the right blend of technical skills application and human touch (like a real leaders does).
Whether formally or informally, I love to help people and teams take a loose idea (maybe even a far-reaching one!) and nurture it into amazing possibilities.
A great day would find me scuba diving, playing hockey, practising hot yoga, and spending quality time with family and friends.
I continue to have a keen interest in the people portion of business and stay well-informed of the latest trends in employee development and the evolving dynamics of the workplace in an increasingly complex world. My understanding of and appreciation for the critical human capital element of business success make extremely valuable in helping organizations build teams that consistently meet and often exceed established goals.
There’s important work to be done, and I am always looking to converse on collaborations. Great ideas welcome!
- Please read my latest blog contribution, this one for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI):
- Please read my October 6 blog contribution, this one for the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC):