A live online keynote experience
Here's how I intend to continue sharing my passion for safety with you in safe, new and innovative way!
Women are encouraging each other to speak our truth more clearly and loudly than we ever have before. Now, when we see something that we don’t like, or something that doesn’t seem fair or feel right, you better believe we are going to say something!
As I always say, speaking up takes courage; that it takes courage to care, because it does. You know what else takes courage – wading through the endless, muddy waters of a global pandemic! Reinventing what your life looks like on the daily – even when it feels like every day looks the same.
Considering how much courage is required to make it from sunup to sundown these days, I’m happy to report that in addition to being required, courage is also reciprocal! Meaning the more you give to someone else, the more you gain in return!
This International Women’s Day, send a little love to the women who have been helping you get going when the going has gotten tough. I #choosetochallenge you to carve out a little time for your number one gal…. (hint: it’s you) – to do something nice for yourself – I can say with great certainty – YOU DESERVE IT!
Today, I dedicate this post to the strong, beautiful and capable women in my life, with extra love and gratitude towards the ladies who are on my team. The women who are working to manage me, as I maneuver myself through unchartered territory while they simultaneously manage gaggles of kids schooling from home, lockdowns, social distancing, on top of distance from loved ones…and that’s just the beginning.
Thank you for being you. Thank you for all that you do, and for choosing to challenge me to grow, to step outside of my comfort zone, and supporting me every step of the way.
Program Development /Communications
Today is Bell Canada’s “Let’s Talk” Day. So, let’s talk.
I want to talk to you about the injuries we can’t see with the naked eye. I can easily remove my limb to offer you proof that I have suffered pain, and (thankfully) proof I have survived. But all injuries and sources of struggle and suffering are not as easy to identify.
Consider the millions of people who are living their lives with invisible injuries.
Consider that perhaps these invisible injuries don’t have to be so difficult to spot – if only we could make the time to look a little bit closer.
Mental health is equally as important as our physical health – yet oftentimes the PPE required to protect our mental well being isn’t as easily accessible as it needs to be.
So today, I encourage you to “be the PPE”! Offer your personal protection to someone else!
If you are wondering if there are people around you who need your help, or if the help you have to offer could make a difference, I will answer both of those questions for you with great certainty.
Yes, and YES!
That’s it. It’s really not complicated at all.
Canadians have the opportunity to offer help to one another that will inevitably play a role in preventing an invisible injury from becoming more harmful than it may already be – or even leading to a physical injury.
Those of you who know me might have heard that I challenge people to do #onethingsafer
The concept is that if each person makes one small change we can accomplish big things.
Today, I’m throwing my #onethingsafer challenge out to everyone with a suggestion: make your #onethingsafer today to help someone else by doing one small thing. Listen. Ask how someone is doing. Open up about your own experiences.
The mars and scars that live within us may be easier to disguise, however the effort to cover up is harmful in itself. Offering your time and attention to allow someone (who you know or don’t) to speak their truth out loud and share what is troubling them could make a lifetime of difference.
So, Let’s Talk.
Return to Work
When we take a little time to allow ourselves to sit and “miss” anything or anyone – the upside is that we are reminded of just how much we loved what is no longer. I am filled with gratitude that I love my work as much as I do, and I remain optimistic, always, especially during this pandemic that what is now missing will soon return – but, in the meantime? Pivot. Pivot. Pivot.
What has this unprecedented time allowed you to explore or create? I have taken this time to work on the video series I have wanted to develop for years. The book I have always wanted to write is coming along – slowly but very surely, and don’t even get me started on my “starter” – my sourdough game is strong! But, we are humans. We need interaction – to connect. While the abrupt “stop work order” on my travel certainly threw me for a loop, I am doing my best to enjoy the extended time on the ground. Isn’t that what we’re all trying to do right now? Make lemonade – more likely to be spiked, as of late ?
I don’t have children, and I’m not going anywhere anytime soon, yet still I am constantly tuned into the news that is flooded with talk of return to school and return to work. Discussions around safety, trust, and risk have me feeling that I have more to say than ever before about safety and our responsibility to one another – to protect each other. Considering the fact that I feel like I have so much I want to share with you, it’s also painfully obvious to me that I’m going to need to get comfortable with speaking from a different stage.
The world we’re trying to work through and in, is one we’ve never seen before. While the hazards and risks of just simply existing have drastically changed, the message remains the same.
So today, tomorrow and for the foreseeable future, I will work from home with feelings of deep gratitude towards anyone and everyone out there on the front lines working to keep us safe. I will work on staying optimistic, while keeping those who have suffered great loss in my heart and prayers. I will work on practicing patience, knowing how fortunate I am to have a safe place to weather the storm. I will work on trusting the universe, and myself – knowing that this isn’t the first time my life feels like it’s been turned on its side, and it won’t be the last. I will do what it takes to continue to do the work that I love – work that fuels my soul and my spirit. Last, but not least, I will work on figuring out how to make sure you don’t forget that your safety remains my priority… even if my stage has turned into a sofa.
Pivot. Pivot. Pivot.
It’s hard to know what to say, write, and feel about the National Day of Mourning this particular year when it seems like every day has been just that. Since COVID-19, and more recently the massacre here, in my home province of Nova Scotia, the experience of mourning seems constant.
Honestly, as of late, I am waking and choosing the peaceful piano playlist on Spotify over social media, and CBC… at least until noon. I figure the bad news will be there then, whether I’m ready for it or not.
It feels unfamiliar to communicate to you in this tone – one of some sadness and helplessness. The words don’t feel like mine when I write them. My feelings don’t feel like mine as I’m feeling them, but I suspect that when we are living in a world we can barely recognize, foreign emotions are to be expected.
While the magnitude of loss and suffering feel insurmountable in this moment in time – the collective gratitude and goodness continues to conquer. I see it every day. Acts of kindness performed from a distance, making us feel closer. Music being made and funds being raised to support where it’s needed – which is everywhere. Candles being lit, music everywhere, hockey sticks being tapped (a truly Canadian way to show support) and pots being banged each evening – rallying for our front line workers who are tirelessly tackling this pandemic.
Heroes. That’s what they are, these brave people who are leaving their families at home and working tirelessly to protect us, hoping to return safely. The reality is that in these valiant efforts to answer the call of duty to save lives, many are still being lost.
We hear it everyday, “we are all in this together” – and it’s true. We will celebrate with a hug when we are once again allowed to embrace our loved ones.
For today, on this Day of Mourning, I will hold close to my heart those who have not returned home from work. I will pray for those who have been left waiting for the hug that will never happen.
For today, I will leave a candle burning in the window throughout the day and the night in honor of those who aren’t coming home, and to light the way for those who are.
For today, I will bang my pot on the porch at 7 pm for the safe return home of our frontline workers. I don’t know if banging pots on a Day of Mourning is the appropriate thing to do – but I do know that in a time where we may feel at a loss in knowing what feels “right” – we still can do something, and that’s not nothing.
I love going to work from home in Halifax – especially when I get to visit with my friends at Exxon Mobil! Over the past several years I’ve had the opportunity to share my story with them at many of their excellent Safe Starts and other internal Health and Safety events. This is a company that strives for constant improvement. Celebrating what is working well and then building upon it to make it better. Each time I join them and sit and listen in on new safety developments I am always so impressed at their ability to keep their messaging consistent, yet new and exciting.
The last time I worked with Exxon Mobil the push was on to ‘Finish Strong’. Meaning, even when the day is done, or a project is winding down – we don’t let our guard down – we stay the course to ensure that #nobodygetshurt.
While preparing my message this time, I noticed they have added to their powerful message of Finish Strong. Now, it’s “start slow to finish strong” – I love this!
A placard given to me by my late Grammy Mullin hangs on my wall. It reads “the Hurrier I go the Behinder I get”, an ever-present reminder of my very special grandmother, and also to slow down. It was the perfect accompaniment to complement my message for the morning.
I grabbed it off my wall as I walked out the door -and wrapped it up to protect it (which is what we should with things that are precious, dear to us and irreplaceable, right – like ourselves! How’d ya like my PPE metaphor;) and I brought it to share as a reminder that going fast rarely saves time. In fact, rushing often causes stress, dangerous situations and sometimes results in injury.
Safety doesn’t have to be complicated – Grammy Mullin wasn’t – she knew that simply slowing down in life was one of the best ways to stay happy, safe, and focused on what matters most – being present and healthy to spend time with the people you’re really working for – your family!!
The National Day of Mourning was last month. At the time, I shared some reflections.
Over the years I’ve also thought about this, and other, “Days of…”, and how they do a very good job of raising awareness of a particular issue on a particular day. But the real work comes after the Day – and every day.
On the National Day of Mourning, I was flying to Ottawa feeling grateful for the dinner I had planned with Dee, one of my dearest friends from university – the kind of friend that you’re already all caught up with no matter how much time has passed between visits.
We had plans to toast a new baby, new love, and mostly the gratitude that after all of these years, and busy lives, we still manage to make these impromptu dinners happen more often than not.
In the midst of libations and laughs, out of the corner of my eye and my ear I see the bartender standing on the top step of a ladder to reach a bottle high up. The ladder isn’t all that high, and this everyday action may not even have registered had I not heard the co-worker caution her about the safety of being on the top rung. She responded somewhat jokingly, “What are you, the safety police.”
Her co-worker responded “Well yes, I’m on the JOHS committee, but that’s not the point. It’s because I care.”
Because I care…
My mile a minute chatter came to an abrupt halt. Dee, knowing me very well, recognized the significance of this.
I couldn’t really believe what I thought I had seen and heard, so as I sometimes do, I jumped into their conversation. “Did you just ask her to step down from that ladder and cite the reason as caring?”, I asked.
Yes, I had heard right.
One of the questions I am asked most often is how to communicate discomfort about a situation, or to call out plainly unsafe behaviour to a co-worker in a manner that will be well received.
While I struggle with the fact that people still take offence when someone makes the time to reach out in an effort to ensure their safety, I know that it’s still a reality.
The question that I have struggled to respond to confidently for so many years had now been answered. This was an interaction between two people that while very light in tone, held significant weight.
There are (and will) continue to be disagreement about what constitutes appropriate safety measures in the workplace. Personal safety is just that – personal. But while ideas may differ, regulations are in place and they are there for a reason – and when the time comes that someone needs to be reminded, try using “Because I care”.