‘Stories are the basic unit of human understanding’.
I heard this at TEDxToronto this year, and I have to say that I completely agree. This year has been one of the most remarkable of my life to date, and I have to attribute a lot of it to my 21inc tribe. I’d like to share a bit of this story, and how the stories I heard along this journey influenced my own.
Firstly, I have a huge thanks to all of the members of my 21Leaders NB cohort. I can safely say that this program wouldn’t have been as influential for me without a group of people that I so deeply respect. I feel as though I’ve learned things from everyone in this group, and for that I thank each of you.
In my application, from what now seems like forever ago, I included a quote from one of my favourite guys, Seth Godin – who I had the pleasure of meeting this past October – ‘leaders know where they’d like to go, but understand that they can’t get there without their tribe, without giving those they lead the tools to make something happen… Leaders take responsibility’. (If you’d like to hear more of his thoughts on tribes, you can check out his great TED talk here: http://www.ted.com/talks/seth_godin_on_the_tribes_we_lead.html).
Seth must have been onto something because I heard this message echoed repeatedly by the people we met throughout 21Leaders. Pierre Battah, HR management consultant, reinforced that ‘engaged people stay, strive and do their best work’. Jim Quinn, CEO of the Saint John Port Authority, recognized that ‘you’re only as good as your team’. In my organization – The Gaia Project – one of the things I am working to embrace is to recognize people’s unique strengths and work to give them the opportunities and tools to build on these. Just as someone did for me by nominating me to the 21Leaders program, and the 21inc tribe.
I wouldn’t trade any moment of my 21Leaders experience – especially any moment of travelling across NB with such great people. I was inspired every single day of this program – by the people we met, but also by every member of this tribe. I plan to remain involved with 21inc through helping to build our alumni network, and I know that I will be pulling on all these experiences in ways that I’ve yet to envision.
I can safely say that 21inc changed my life. I’ve met some truly fantastic people from all over the province, who change their world in all kinds of ways, seen things that I would have never thought I would get the chance to see, had fantastic discussions, and built a better toolbox – for myself as a professional, but also personally.
21inc helped show me that our region is filled with possibility and potential – all we have to do is dream it and then build it. Stated another way, by the great Abraham Lincoln: ‘the best way to predict the future is to create it’. We heard this over and over again – whether it was in Saint Quentin, Belledune, Campbellton, Edmunston, Perth-Andover, Fredericton, Moncton, Saint John, and everywhere in between – from people who were creating opportunity and hope in our region with their passion and hard work.
This year, someone told me that ‘the pain of not following their dream became unbearable’, so they started living it. It doesn’t happen overnight – after all, the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time (my new favourite idiom) – but it can happen, and it is happening. 21inc helped show me that our region is filled with people who want to help.
In closing, I extend a huge thank you to everyone who met with us, cooked for us, talked with us, believed in us, organized for us, and invested in us. I’m so honoured to have had 21Leaders as part of my story and to be part of this growing tribe.
I want to pay it forward. Let’s create the best New Brunswick and Atlantic tribe we can.
Because we can. And because we should. In the words of David Ganong to 21Leaders NB, let’s ‘stay loyal, be creative, and not accept the status quo’.