The Biz Dojo

S2E9 - Developing Culture Through A Merger w/Jeff Dyer

March 16, 2021 Jeff Dyer Season 2 Episode 9
The Biz Dojo
S2E9 - Developing Culture Through A Merger w/Jeff Dyer
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

This week in The Biz Dojo, we have a conversation with Jeff Dyer, CEO of Trellis.

Jeff shares his experience in merging two large non-profit entities, and the cultural impacts of those changes to employees, volunteers and clients. We talk about leadership as parents, and the responsibility of management to enable their teams to do the good work they do every day.

Then on the Podium - brought to you by Beyond a Beaten Path - we're reunited with season 1 guest Rebecca Finley-Schidlowsky and share our the top 3 organizations that inspire us. 
 
So get that cup of Dojo Dark, and get yourself ready to step behind the garden to see the supports that help it grow.

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Seth Anderson:

Welcome to The Biz Dojo with Seth and JP episode nine season to go 902.

JP Gaston:

We're coming up on the close of vblock.

Seth Anderson:

This is flying by what a What a privilege. It was, though to have Jeff Dyer the CEO of trellis.

JP Gaston:

Yeah, that was a fantastic conversation yet again, I use the word fantastic almost every week. But we like, again, we went pretty deep, we talked about a lot more than just leadership.

Seth Anderson:

And for those of you at home who may not know, trellis is the amalgamation of two large, I guess people, service based companies, the Boys and Girls Club, which I'm sure, you know, pretty much everybody in the world is familiar with. And the Aspen community network society. So two large organizations whose primary objective is to help people in need through multiple ways coming together. This last year as one organization,

JP Gaston:

we talked a bit about the merger, but I can't imagine how difficult it is to bring two of the larger nonprofit entities in Calgary, together, like Mount Royal wrote a whole document.

Seth Anderson:

That's just, yeah, that's unprecedented. there's a there's a case study on it, and a framework that's been put together by Mount Royal, you know, to sort of help guide other organizations in the future. So you know, you know, you've done something pretty impactful. when that's the case, I would say,

JP Gaston:

Yeah, when University start doing case studies on your picture, it's probably probably a really good

Seth Anderson:

thing, perhaps one day, there will be a case study on The Biz Dojo, and that'd be something

JP Gaston:

well, maybe, maybe at the end of season, we'll add it to our list, podcast coffee case that his study,

Seth Anderson:

if it's on the list, one, one interesting fact, you know, the two companies combined at a history of 117 years, so not, not only are you bringing together, you know, the here and now but all that history, coming with it is is is an interesting element or dynamic to the whole thing.

JP Gaston:

One, the the thoughts and, you know, process development and all of that, that went into those years of experience, it's your format of new work, it's hard to let go of some of those things that you need to let go of to to advance. But you also have to convince people who, you know, maybe work to work on the other side of the processes and whatnot that you have in place and why they're good. You have to train them on them. And you know, you have you have two very ingrained entities. They have their their own thing going on, and you're just trying to bring those together, there's got to be tough. Yeah,

Seth Anderson:

no, I think what I appreciated, you know, the most out of this conversation was just how candid Jeff was, right? Like, he didn't give the keynote, pie in the sky, everything is great part of it, he was real, like, it's tough, you start mixing cultures together, processes, people in the midst of a global pandemic, no less, where nobody can even get in the same room and, you know, do a whiteboard session, or a meet and greet or anything, you know, a lot of variables at play, and it hasn't necessarily gone entirely smoothly. But I think what I am left with is a feeling that, you know, he's got a vision and a belief, and a great team. And you know, they'll do some exciting things in the years to come. And man isn't ever nice to hear a CEO, someone in that sort of position be as vulnerable as, as Jeff was in our conversation.

JP Gaston:

And at the same time, just so informative, and open to his own growth. We talked a lot about his own development and growth and self reflection. And that's fantastic to see.

Seth Anderson:

It's authentic. And I mean, what's better than authentic leadership? I don't, I don't know that there isn't any other kind of effective leadership, right. So for him to be so open and genuine and authentic is it was special. I think it was a it was a special, you know, hour that we got to spend with Jeff. And, you know, without further ado, let's, let's share it with everybody.

JP Gaston:

All right. Here's the steadies to take us there.

Voiceover:

This week on the pod. We're joined by Jeff Dyer, CEO of trips. We'll talk about merging companies and cultures, supporting team members and clients through change. And a little bit about connecting with our kids. Stay tuned after the show for this week's podium, where we're joined by a special guests from season one to talk about some of the companies that inspire us, brought to you by beyond the beaten path. So welcome to The Biz Dojo. And here they are. Seth Anderson in JP Gaston.

Seth Anderson:

Welcome to the dojos. This week, we're joined by Jeff Dyer, CEO of trellis. Welcome to the dojo. Jeff.

JP Gaston:

Thanks, and thanks, JP, thanks for having me here.

Seth Anderson:

No, it's an absolute pleasure and for those You know, the folks at home who may not know, you know, trellis is a relatively new organization, and amalgamation, if you will of a couple of amazing organizations that are Calgary based both the Boys and Girls Club as well as the Aspen family and community network society, I think we're definitely going to get into how that all came to be and what that was like a massive merger like that. But we were gonna kind of kick it off here with just a little bit about you and your background, you know, you've got a pretty interesting story, starting out in the education space, moving into the nonprofit sector, and just wanted to get a sense of what what inspired you to go down that road and how you got to where you are today,

Jeff Dyer:

in a way I feel a bit like it's an accidental love story. And maybe it's how everybody gets involved in the not for profit space, whether full time or wanting to volunteer or even wanting to give generously. We fall in love with the people whose lives we'd love to make a difference, and support. And for me, that was it was kids. At the outset it was kids, I was working at camp in late teens, early 20s, I was working these incredible hours running into climbing wall and I realized that midway through the summer, probably was working 1617 hours a day getting paid almost no money. And I'd fall in bed at night and feel so rich, rewarded. You know, at that stage in my life, I was thinking what do I want to do when I grow up and I thought I need to do something that lets me get paid to make a difference in the lives of kids. And so I started a Bachelor of Education. And as soon as I would finish every year, I'd head out to camp again and work. And in the end of my third year, I got asked to come and be the director of the camp. And I thought perfect placeholder job. That's super fun. Well, I finished my degree, I'm going to be a teacher. But then I fell in love with the good business of not for profits. I found myself daydreaming about vision and mission about values about culture. But what how do you form a leadership team? How do you transfer vision into action? And how do you invite generosity. And those things started to really roll around in my head. And I realized through the support of a friend that your life Jeff should be in not for profit leadership, it shouldn't be in teaching is nothing good wasted by your degree, and I finished the degree. But I began a journey of supporting organizations to realize their aspirations with sound business principles. Maybe that's a little full pie in the not for profit world to think of those things. But I thought if we could apply good business principles, then we could make a difference. For those that we care most about. It started out with kids, for me journeyed into supporting people experiencing homelessness, that was a broke my heart years later. And and now I'm in an agency that serves both young people and those experiencing homelessness. So it all kind of comes together in this one really cool job. Accidental love story.

Seth Anderson:

That's very inspiring. And you know, JP and I, we've both done quite a bit of volunteering, quite a bit of coaching and working with kids. And I have to say, I mean, you know, we could probably have an entire podcast just talking about our own kids. And I'm sure we'll dive into that a little bit. But I know, you know, for me, some of the most fulfilling work that I ever did was in the junior hockey space and helping 17 1819 year olds start to develop into who they were going to be and build those habits and make those lifelong connections, you get to do that on a day in day out basis. So that must be pretty special to see someone who maybe otherwise had they not come across your organization get an opportunity to foster that growth and become a productive member of society. That's got to be so fulfilling.

Unknown:

Yeah, it is actually, um, you know, I feel really privileged. A lot of people think that some way you take a badge of honor working in the not for profit space. And also at times people say that there's not a lot of meaning in the for profit world. I think both those are mythology, I don't think there's a badge of honor for working in the nonprofit space, were richly rewarded, again, leave home every morning, my life aspirations and dreams and hopes for the better world that I imagined I get to apply myself to every day. And I also think that in the for profit space, you get to do that by caring for your colleagues by being a good steward of the resources in your care by helping people in whatever way but yeah, in our space of trellis we're committed to help people grow to their full potential. And so by nature, that means that folks are limited. They're not getting to aspire to everything that they dream, and we share lots of stories, newcomer kids, kids are readying for elementary school others that would have a hard time really graduating families who are experiencing homelessness, that we help house foster parents who were helping support them their unnumbered stories of meaning and impact. And at the same time, don't confuse me being at the forefront of any of those things. I tend to work in an office I have on calls, zoom calls, and I send emails, it's our frontline staff who get to see it. And they're kind enough to share some of those things with me to remind me why I would go to work in the first place. It's a total privilege.

Seth Anderson:

Is there any stories as to go over the years and just sort of that transformation or the support of someone getting to that next level in their life?

Unknown:

Yeah, there's a lot actually. Like over the past six months call it I've heard stories where we've been Be able to the young person shows up in our emergency shelters. I think you're 16 years old, and you're homeless, and you're homeless, because your parents are finding you pretty troubling. And there's some concerns about your gender, identity and sexuality. And so you find yourself precariously housed or kicked out of your home, and you show up at our shelter, and we get to support they what we used to do is we would just kind of gather that that young person in almost like a parent headlight, and protect them, and now we're saying no, no, how do we restore that family connection? How do we help navigate those relationships so that youth doesn't spend a night shelter, but actually returns back home with a stronger family unit because of the interaction they've had with us. We help newcomer youth just arrived on the scene in the city, with their families, and we help them graduate, we help them find employment, help them understand the culture they find themselves in. And then we also kind of lean into the family to maybe make a difference in the housing stability of that family. And so they'll never know who we are, they'll never remember who trellis was, but they'll have meaningful employment. There'll be full citizens in Canada, in this rich life that they anticipated. And I don't think they would have achieved that without our support, to feel the magic to get to that. There's lots of those kinds of stories, none of them stand out, maybe more than the other. But there'll be another story tomorrow,

JP Gaston:

if I keep doing this, that's awesome. You do talk in your profile a bit about the art of leadership through cultural architecture, I really want to know more about I'm very, I'm very interested in that I know how important culture is in kind of the for profit corporate space. It's a it's been a certainly over the last, you know, five to 10 years, it's been a big buzzword. How do you impact your culture? What is the art of leadership through cultural architecture?

Unknown:

Yeah, and I'll admit, it sounds better in a profile. But here's what it looks like getting lived out every day, there's a lot written about leadership that tends to be over complicated and oversimplified, it's like there's no middle space. For me, leadership is about developing a culture that's healthy, that sets those who are within that culture freeze, so that they can make decisions in real time to unpack that a little bit. It's true strategy, as well, maybe as I think about it, it's not just culture. But strategy also tends to be really measurable. We think in q3 of year two, we're going to do this and that, and then the world happens and things unfold. I view things more organically than that. It both from culture and strategy, not that I'm plan free, we have a plan. But it's more important for me to build a culture that is a well understood vision, and purpose. And what I would say is kind of cultural norms or values that are so well understood that in real time, everybody in the organization gets to make decisions in real time. So for instance, who thought that in q1 of 21, we'd have a pandemic, nobody put their that in their strategy three years ago, but here we are. So we envision a trellis a world where everybody reaches their full potential. So that's the vision and then we say, so we've got to make sure that we're supporting everybody, so that they can grow to their potential. And we say, as long as you're working with courage and empathy, as long as you're committed to learning, and making a difference, and a difference that you can actually measure, then let's be opportunistic, and make decisions in real time. If you're in doubt, you really don't know, who is this trellis? What is this culture? Then ask yourself the question Is this better for those that we serve? If we can get people thinking that way, so they get the vision and the mission and the values, and then set them free? There's no magic that happens from the top of an organization decisions are made mostly at the frontlines, right where people need us. And so those people need to have the architecture, the cultural architecture, that so strong, that they know what to do, and they know who we are. And to me, that's leadership. And it's a really interesting time for us because we are two, maybe even three cultures at once, where the legacy agencies that merge cultures, but now we're this new forming culture called trellis as well. And so there's lots of uncertainty about who we are and what we're doing. And I would say my job over the next two years, really is to make concrete, the architecture around the organization, not worry about what happens in which quarter and what month and let's measure progress through the story of who we are. I hope that makes sense. It might sound really nefarious, it sounds great.

JP Gaston:

To be honest. I imagine that eliminates a lot of those red tape moments for those frontline employees who feel handcuffed by leadership thinking that they're taking those right steps and making sure that they have control over everything, and they can measure everything. I imagine that not just your team, but you feel a little bit more free to go and do the things that you need to do to advance not only the organization, but the people that you're helping

Unknown:

Yeah, JP that's the aspiration. Maybe that's what I'll say because I'll have colleagues and might even listen in on this and hear it and they'll go but that is what it feels like yet. And I think that because we've we've merged together and we're doing so in a pandemic. There's a lot of uncertainty about identity and organizational culture and design. Until Those folks actually and what I would say to them, if we were on a call here together, I'd say, just tell me what you think the culture should be, let's co create it. This is a kind of a really special moment for folks. I don't ever anticipate leading another merger like this and keep telling our team, you get to create this, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. But I think in 18 months, JP, that that sense of certainty and progress and understanding who we are the freedom that comes with it, the lowering of the red tape, that's the aspiration of the day, and we'll get there.

Seth Anderson:

I think that's a very interesting point, in just sort of reading up about the merger, there hasn't really been many mergers, like this one prior to it. There's a case study, I think, that Mr. Hughes put together to really lay the groundwork for other organizations to look at it. So you know, when I was starting to read about read up about it a little bit, I was thinking, Okay, just timing wise, you know, maybe COVID was the burning platform for the merger. But it looks like you guys actually started this Well, before COVID. I'm curious, you're getting into it, you're going down this path for a bunch of reasons, which you can share, if you like, and then boom, global pandemic. How did that impact or change things? As you guys were going through this process?

Unknown:

Yeah. It's changed a lot. And and maybe I'll, I'll start there, and then kind of go back to how this all came to be, because pandemic wasn't a driver. In fact, the pandemic was a moment of pause for all of us, we were so far down the path, we asked ourselves the question, should we put a pause on this idea until this pandemic is over? pandemics real impact on us as we're a human service organization. But what that means is that we serve people, by people. So it's a community of employees and volunteers who come together to make a difference for our community, children, youth and families. That's a fairly trust, heavy kind of work. We've got to know each other care about one another trust and acknowledge the stories we all come from. And I believe that tends to be done more effectively in person. We haven't met in person since the pandemic started, our merger officially was announced in the middle of June, we were already on lockdown for for a few months at that stage, I've got a good third of our employee group that I've never met face to face. And so that whole operation around trust and engagement and reading body language and building friendship and collegiality, that's been slow. So it's had an impact. And it's also I would say, we've troubled folks, like, there's so much administrative stitching together in an organization, that's amalgamating. And people, really, our employees are tired by that, because they, they just, they're trying to do their best to serve people that we serve in a pandemic. And that's all been tossed into the air. But we've got resolved because we know this is the right thing to do. So the original catalyst for the merger itself was the Alberta economy. We were just looking at the horizon and thinking, what's realistic for us to assume over the next four or five years, and we thought it best there'd be kept funding, kept funding in my world, basically, against inflation and population growth is about a 14 or 15% reduction over that period. Then we just said, Well, what could we do with 15% less money? And believe it or not, we'd have to do significantly less. There's no magic and trying to stitch these times together tighter. And so that I reached out to a colleague in the sector at the time, so I was the Boys and Girls Club CEO when I researched the Aspen CEO and said, What if we came together? What if this children and youth based agency could work more closely with a family based agency? Can we find efficiency and, and protect against that inflationary or deflationary pressure? And the answer is yes. And we've worked together. They're bores, but interesting, almost the first meeting that our boards got in the room together, and I was trying to make the fiscal argument. They said, We don't care. If you merge, right, you will save money. We know that. But can you do better by the people that we serve? Will this actually make a difference for children, youth and families? So that set us into multiple conversations about breaking down silos between the parent who drops their kid off at an after school program? who's struggling with income, uncertainty, housing precarity, food scarcity? Can we support that entire family in a much more thoughtful way? And can we make generational change if we do? And so that's been the real story behind it. Early returns? Yeah, that dream is gonna come true. And the pandemic has made the financial argument all the more.

JP Gaston:

Imagine that it also feels pretty good to work in an organization that's making decisions. If the financial bottom line is always there. There's no there's nothing you can do about it. But to go into a meeting where everyone just inherently understands that yes, you know, finances a thing, but let's figure out the right thing to do. That's got to feel pretty good to not just not just helping people but working in that space.

Unknown:

Yes, you're like you're 100% right. And maybe the interesting thing is that we we talk about values and mission and the kinds of people we want to be that's so it's so Easy when things are normal. So to me, that was a moment that our board and then the management team agree that No, no, let's put people right at the very center of this, that it was so natural. What that told me is that the people who are making decisions here in this organization, under duress, and pressure, still keep the focus of the children and the youth and the families, they all have stories they've got, they fall in love with different parts of the organization. So as the guy who has the privilege of serving as the CEO, I feel like there's no better place to serve. And then I get to do that, too. Now can't be willy nilly about finances, we can't make poor decisions, but it's tertiary and best. And I believe that I think if we do right by the people that we serve, people will be more generous to us, they will give us more projects to solve, we will do better by those that we're actually intending to work with. And that there'll be this there'll be a momentum that follows that kind of energy. And so far, that's been the case. And as a huge encouragement,

JP Gaston:

you feel like there's been a shift in that sort of decision making space? Like I certainly know, we've got a lot more stuff on the table these days, when it comes to things like sustainability decisions and and the like, but do you think that there's an actual shift occurring?

Unknown:

I don't know. I think that what we're finding out right now is that this is a little too binary. But there's two types of people. There's those who feel like the sky is falling. This is a pandemic, this is a legend economy, we've got to kind of gather in and protect and deal with these scarce resources. Think of it that way. And then there's other group of people that says, everything is exploding and blowing up in our world right now, maybe this is a time to rethink everything. And those who are on that side, this is a really rich time of disruption. And the possibilities are endless. And and look, if we pause for a moment and just looked at the non for profit space, there's no way we would build it today, the way we have it if we could start fresh. So I have to ask myself, the question is just an agency leader, one single agents here, are we doing right? We've done the things that need to happen. And so that disruption, the noise that's out there in the ether, I think, is allowing for more flexibility and openness to think that way. But there's equally another group who's been quite perfectionistic and concern, and I don't know if they're having those moments of pause and reflection that that are really rich and valuable, right.

Seth Anderson:

One of the things that's rattling around in my head right now, Jeff, and probably because I watched Bob uygurs, masterclass the other night, and he was talking about when they acquired Pixar. And one of the big sticking points for Steve Jobs was that he wanted the culture of Pixar to stay intact, because that was what sort of create, they were able to create the movies that they were because I had this great culture. And obviously, there was a natural inclination that Disney's bigger they would absorb it, and that would be lost. And so when you look at your situation where, you know, the Boys and Girls Club was the larger of the two organizations, how have you guys approached that in terms of culturally maintaining what Aspen was doing, and maybe even learning from them, as you've gone through this process?

Unknown:

Well, on the one hand, I'll admit that I think that we've done it poorly. And I'll get to that. And the other is that I see not to challenge those two, like luminaries, I see culture is more fluid, and always evolving. And so maybe, if I could have a do over, I would tell the Aspen employees and the Boys and Girls Club employees that they need to start to welcome a massive change and shock to the culture. But that that shock, that feeling is actually the formation of a new culture. And we're going to try to take the best of both, but that's even Let's be a little more realistic, we're going to take parts of both of the goods, some of the bad some of the struggles, some weaknesses and strengths. We're going to speak into existence, a new culture, where I think we went wrong and continue to is that we didn't appreciate those that are making the decisions or people that tend to be like me, that change is exciting. Just like oh my goodness, we got a chance to make something new, this is incredible. And, and there's really just gets the juices flowing for folks. But the majority of folks are not the recipients of that. They're actually working on the frontlines making day to day decisions that have nothing to do about organizational design. And I think we underappreciated how much the changing culture would impact them, and how little they had time and energy to speak into this new existence. So I would say right now we have three cultures that exists, we've got a legacy of one agency, a legacy another while another is forming. And maybe in a pandemic, we should have stalled and said, let's just take it a little bit slower. And in the other hand, maybe we should be faster. It's it's a tricky thing. It's a mess. It's a very, very messy thing to form culture. It's so easy to put down words on paper to hold together different things to say, If you value learning, continuous learning, then how does that show up when you make this decision? And so you get called to the carpet on decision after decision and I think that's it. That's the rub we're feeling right now. And I think it's important. Good. And ultimately, I think I'm grateful that culture is organic, more organic than perhaps those two said, there's no way we could have told anybody that it's going to stay the same. I think that's a, that's mythology, to be honest.

JP Gaston:

So setting culture doing a mid merger pandemic was difficult. Yeah. Believe it or not, there's not a lot written about. So I was gonna say that wasn't in your playbook you didn't have?

Unknown:

No, but it was kind of interesting is I think that we've gone, maybe one step back to go two steps forward. Because what we will definitely know as we come out of this, let's say the pandemic returns to some sense semblance of normalcy, within the next six months to a year, we will be able to meet each other off of zoom and Microsoft Teams and walk into rooms and go, I met you, I saw some of the decisions you made. And you made it with a lot of courage and I respected and maybe we forged more of that, that we can quantify at this stage. And then we might be able to hit the ground running, because I think the frame of the architecture is there. But but we've just got a lot to develop over the time in the years ahead. It's amazing how much that that physical connection actually means. And the irony is that that's the, that's the secret sauce of trellis where we essentially say that there's people who are isolated and in precarious positions who need support, just a simple support, might be a group, it might be a club, it might be just a quick pop in between classes. But we've we've taken all of that and pull it away from the organizational design. While we continue to offer no indicators, the very thing that we are the most capable of we're now doing through an altogether new medium for all of us. It's good, it's better than teleconferences if this was 30 years ago, but it's not the same. And in some ways that validates the existence of an organization like trellis human connections, they make the difference.

Seth Anderson:

Is there elements of the we'll call it the digital experience or the digital work experience that you think will remain? Or do you think you guys will primarily go back to an office five days a week and that type of approach?

Unknown:

Yeah, for sure. And this is going to change who we are. And I think for the better, I think it's, it's kind of interesting, If I had my way we'd find middle ground. And unfortunately, the pandemic gave us no middle ground, it just, it's like a switch went on, and then went off. And I think we'll get to a place where we've got a dimmer switch of technology, I think the frequency of meetings, the ability to just set something up, the cost reduction, and connecting with folks, the ability to almost instantaneously say, well, let's just get that person in a room, let's talk to them. That can happen so fast, we can share our stories so much quicker out into the community, we can be supporting way more people at a much more effective and efficient pace, and price. So that's kind of cool, because I think we've been able to show up in a really unique way. But I never get to run into somebody in a hallway and never get to hear a meeting happening. And the noise that's happening behind closed door just knockety you might have had pop in you guys have any questions for me? I do better by you. What do we get like that stuff can't happen at all. Some of the magic around organizational formation isn't happening. And I tend to also think that that folks are feeling a little isolated. Think about a maybe you're one of our staff members who who's helping a family trying to find their housing, and you feel the weight of all that come over this medium. And then you don't have somebody that you could just walk out and say, Can we just go for a walk around the block together, get on packs and things? It tends to be a little more isolating than if you were used to, but I want to forego that. If that dimmer switch just right and then move forward.

JP Gaston:

Yeah, I certainly I miss the in person meetings. I don't miss the request for an in person meeting on the other side of town where I have to Yeah, it's not just my meeting. It's my drive time. It's my closing up what I'm doing and packing up and then leaving and then doing it all again to come home. I think there's a lot that's been enabled by by the pandemic, for sure. But there's, there's a lot of things I miss. Yeah,

Seth Anderson:

agree. We go into the office with a purpose, right? Like if I'm just gonna go to the office and sit there and do what I could do from home all day, and I don't even see anyone. That's a waste for everybody. But for those in person meetings, those whiteboard sessions, those coffees, those that, like you said, Just hearing people talk and being able to sort of inject yourself into that room or that conversation. That's impossible to happen in this environment. So I definitely see the value to some of that stuff. For sure.

Unknown:

I think we overvalue some of the need to get to a meeting and how many people are in meetings. I think there's a lot of wastage in that too. I don't think I need to fly across the country to Toronto for two meetings over two days ever again. I like I don't know why that would ever be necessary now that we've done this. But then yeah, when there's when there's a really necessary relational connection. I want to be in the room with folks as much as possible.

JP Gaston:

The talk, he talked a little bit there about continuous learning. You're also bringing together especially on a board you're bringing together people from All sorts of different industries, all different corporations who already have their own cultures, and you know, their their own experiences, and you need to bring them into a room and now introduce this new culture, which is an amalgamation of two cultures. How do you do like, how do you bring those people together? And how do you get them to continually grow in that space? That's not

Unknown:

easy. Maybe feel free to give me some insights and advice on this, too. So six legacy agency board members from one and six from the other came together to form the new board, those people have never been in a room together since the merger. Kurt, they've never met each other. That's a challenge, no question about it. So you can to draw out an introverted person into the room to invite their voice much trickier in this context. And maybe I'll even say this to that become a little bit more realistically, that work. Even in the not for profit space. Even if you have the most meaningful job on Earth, it's tertiary. At best, you have a family, you have friends, probably have hobbies, and aspirations might look forward to vacations. And then then work exists. And work takes up the bulk of our time. But it's not the most important thing in our heart. And in our head, let's be honest. And then for a board member, add one more layer, because even if the their board participation is just below their work participation, it's still one layer down yet. And you now need to get those people in a room rapidly get them up to speed at a very, very high level of trust management recommendations and challenge those recommendations in the right kinds of ways around values and vision admission, and then make a decision in in rapid succession. That's really what a boardroom is happening. You've got people with tertiary understanding of the role now working with a light, slightly lower understanding, we're making decisions. They're trying to bring their expertise to the table, maybe they're the only lawyer on a board. And so they feel like I have to represent the entire law. They're the only accountants. So I guess all of financial acumen comes through me, that's a lot of pressure. And so what I think is necessary is to flip the whole script. When you go back to the cultural architecture idea where let's just make it simple. Again, we get people to say, is this decision in the best interest of children, youth, families, but they say, Wow, thank goodness, that board decided that. We just get right in on that. And then what do you need? Beyond all of that to make that decision? Not is it fiscally prudent? is one of a long term this or that? Or what is the government gonna do? But then nobody knows any of those things? Can this decision make a meaningful difference for those that we serve? Is that the best we can make today? And then that can then form culture around that? Is that if that's the core value, then what are the other values and aspirations we have around that? And then get that generational view? Like we want to legitimately see everybody reach their full potential? Okay, so is this decision about buying this building, merging with this agency, passing this budget can help us serve those folks, so that they reach their full potential. I don't know if it can get much better, especially when boards also transition and change and boardroom is a whole nother podcast or two. And I've been really lucky to be in a lot of boardrooms. But they remain a mystery to me, to be honest.

Seth Anderson:

What would you say? trellis does trellis have a common definition of what service means? So if I were to go and ask five different people, would they all say the same thing? Or is this a little bit gray? Or what's your thought on that?

Unknown:

Yeah, I would hope that they would say, I think it is gray. The short answer is, it's great. And you would get five distinct answers, but I hope they had the same theme. What we've been telling our team is to look out into the garden, imagine looking into your backyard or out into some welcoming Botanical Garden, all you care about is what you see is the flowers. nobody's looking out there and go, what a trellis. Oh, my goodness, that's beautiful. They're like, that's an amazing sunflower, look at the sweet peas growing to their full potential. I would hope that they would say that support means that service means that, that we're here to help that flower or that vegetable grow to its full potential. And so we do that by showing up in ending homelessness, in helping young people flee sexual exploitation and being advocates for the LGBTQ plus community, to actively working against racism, to helping families and their journey of housing precarity helping kids get ready for elementary school, we run a preschool in this building that I'm in right now. And we're also tonight will provide shelter to 12 or 13 young people who are experiencing homelessness. So if you're a trellis, you're just one of the many trellises scattered in the garden, helping those people reach their full potential. And I hope that they would say that's what service looks like. But because it's such early days, I still think people would talk but programmatically, and that if you asked a distinct program provider, they would say it a little bit differently. I sure hope it's just a background support to people reaching their full potential,

Seth Anderson:

he touched on ending homelessness. And this is a, I think, a very interesting topic. This, this time, this year, Christmas time, I actually took my kids downtown, and we prepared a few backpacks with just some basic supplies. And we just went around and handed them out to people in need. I don't know if there are homeless, I mean, certainly a couple of them were and you know, My son, he's nine, and at the end of that he was just almost in tears, but like, so happy to have been able to do something meaningful and, and beyond what he would have ever done. And I've just been thinking a lot about, you know, the people that are out there and the situations they come from, you know, a lot of you know, mental illness or people in unfortunate situations when they're younger, that never get taken care of, how do we tackle this? Because like, you know that a lot of money gets thrown at this from the government and all over the place. But it seems like it's one of those problems that's never going to go away. So So how do you reach that lofty ambition? What do we start to do?

Unknown:

I think that one, one thing is we've marketed this a little bit wrong. It's caught people's attention as a result that marketing, I mean, Calgary was the first city to have a plan to end homelessness. And what we really define that by was that nobody would ever experience homelessness for more than 14 days, we knew that there'd always be a permanent state of influx into homeless, but that we felt like if we could help make sure that was never longer than two weeks that success, so we wanted a shelter system to be built, that was rapidly transitional, emergency based, dignified, but that the moment you arrive, you're already planning an exit, and you've got the support, you need to exit. So there's scattered housing around the city, there's housing types that are just right. And then ideally, it's less than night, but sometimes as much as 14. So if we said that's ending homelessness, that you'd always have an inflow and folks would never stay longer than 14. I think that success we're getting there. You're right, a lot of money and time and resources has been poured into that. I think the important question to ask now is, Seth is what broke your son's heart, because that's, that's really at the base of this, that there are some systemic issues that impact people so significantly, that they can't possibly retain their own housing. Mental health is one addictions is another. I think some of the systemic racism that you see in our, in our country, it's very easy to look South border and think that we're somehow superior to that, no, we have absolutely been awful to indigenous people in our country, and there will be a permanent state of homelessness. As long as we continue to victimize and marginalize people who are seem different than us, indigenous people be one, LGBTQ two s plus youth in our city are wildly overset, represented in the homeless population, newcomers to our country, are not supported so that they can maintain their housing and independence, that inflow is going to continue. And so the plan to end homelessness deals with the rapid exit out of that. And I think as a society, we've got to start to care for people who are vulnerable again, in a totally different way and double down on that, frankly, and it seems to me at times, that we're becoming even more divisive, and shaming others in our society where that really troubles me. Not that agencies have failed in this plan to end homelessness, we as a society still haven't come to a reckoning about inclusion, and welcome and understanding and empathy.

JP Gaston:

I think you touched on a point there about indigenous that I believe you took the indigenous Canada course, as did I incredible course. And I will pause for a moment to say to all of our listeners who have not taken it or or looked at the opportunity to take it, it is a free course from University of Alberta. We've mentioned it a few times, we will include the link for people to sign up, I think it's really important for people to take that course in it and at least understand the indigenous side, there is a lot of opportunity out there for us to get better. Certainly indigenous relations is one of those but to me that highlights some of your commitment to your own learning and your and your ongoing growth. What are the other sorts of things that you're doing either, you know, as a CEO, or just as, as a human as one would with the indigenous Canada course to continue to develop yourself?

Unknown:

Yeah, good question. And I would put the tires on indigenous Canada again, there, there's not a more accessible, accessible and that it's free. You can do it whenever you want. at a university level course on the story, really the history I was never taught when I was growing up. I'm 45 years old, I assure you the textbooks I was raised on did not talk about the real story of Canada and indigenous Canada does a just a spectacular job. And that was important learning. For me. That was an important signal for me to tell my teammates that I care about this and I've got to do some of my own reflection about how I would continue those practices if I was given the choice and kind of to recognize my own my own privilege as a colonizer, frankly. So anyway, that's a trip of course it was really important. I just finished that up not that long ago. I tend to read as part of my learning and I tend to meet with folks and and the meeting with folks is really died down of late and unfortunately Reading. Maybe as I get older, I tend to lean towards more stories. So of late, I've been trying to look at poor people that I think are really interesting to follow. What do they learn? And could they share those things with me as opposed to how to book. So I just finished Michelle and Barack Obama's separate books. They're more recent books, I found them really interesting. I find that interesting characters, finish Jodie Cantor's book, she said, that book that Chronicles, Harvey Weinstein investigation, and that unfolding of that those are really recent. And really what I'm trying to do there is to tap into what did people do in real time? Who are they? What are the character qualities that drew them forward through whatever challenge they came through. And maybe this may sound terrible, because I know that the dojo is all about learning and development and the pandemic. Black Lives Matters and the merger of all, I would say, been master classes that I'm currently getting crushed. And it's almost like, I'm going to my first ever karate class, and they thought I was a black belt when I didn't even know how to tie the belt. And so my learning, it's school hurts, Hard Knocks right now, trying to set aside time to reflect, what am I seeing? What am I hearing? What am I feeling? What's happening inside of me right now? And what are the skills that I'm going to need if I really want to be a generational leader going forward, as opposed to quickly looking at my Goodreads, like, only, that's the next book I just got to keep, I'm in a real season of self reflection and wanting to do better. And I don't know which course

JP Gaston:

with you, I, I've done a lot of work recently on on bias. Yeah, and that's I've spent a lot of time sitting and thinking about my own biases. And I think a lot of people believe that they're always bad. But a lot of them are just natural, some of them are great, they make you make really good decisions in the spur of the moment that you need to make. Some of them are absolutely horrendous. And they're sending you down the wrong path every single day. And I have quickly realized how important it is to understand your own biases, not even just for your work, but for just everyday life. Yeah, and

Unknown:

you know, and you can do so much uncovering of those biases on your own. And then you also need others to speak truth into you as well. I'm really lucky I work with it was such a good group of folks who are really challenging ourselves right now, what are we doing? How do we show up? How are we contributing to this? Let's stop throwing stones at folks and start realizing we contribute to this every day. How do we do different, also married? Like just the most spectacular woman who can tell me straight how it is. So that work is going to have to continue for me to look at how, what are my hiring practices? Why do I prefer this person over that? What's going on? Again, I think that, you know, Seth, that's that, going back to that story, where what are the systems that your son had his heart broken by? Because I create them that I'm currently the person in power, and the 45 year old, white male, middle to high income earner with a master's level education. So if I don't have the chance, now, if I don't see that this is my role and responsibility to create the world differently, that I'm missing moment that sits right in front of me. That's hard work. I'm not sure.

Seth Anderson:

I think it was extremely admirable. And, you know, just to hear you, you say that you're in that state of reflection, and you don't have all the answers. And, to me, what a great leader is, is someone who's authentic and vulnerable and knows that about themselves, right? Like, if you're sitting across the table and saying, Oh, I know, everything that's gonna happen. And like, I don't know, I just thought that was pretty cool that you, you kind of put yourself out there like that. So So I respect that a lot. And circling back to my son or my daughter, and just parenthood in general, I'm just curious for your take on this. And we kind of talked a little bit beforehand, just about parenting, and kids. And I've gone on a personal transformation, the last couple of years, it's really been centered around getting healthy for myself, so I can be the best role model for my kids. You know, like you said, there's the pandemic, and social movements and all these things that are happening. But I think one of the scariest things that's happening that maybe doesn't get talked about as much as this opioid epidemic. And we saw that, like, we literally saw someone at the train station with a crack pipe. And I mean, they didn't necessarily know what it was, but I did. And it scares the hell out of me as a parent, right? Like, a couple of years. He's nine, it's not going to be long before, you know, they're passing out things that look like gummy vitamins that are who knows what's in it? And I guess, how do you as a parent, kind of take all this knowledge, because if you try to force it on them, and you can have the adverse effect and push them to it, but I guess my goal is to kind of make them feel like drugs and alcohol are not cool, because that's the only way that I can think of where that will be the most powerful for them. But I guess how do you what's your experience and exposure to this, this whole segment? How do you approach it? Oh,

Unknown:

yeah, the drug epidemic that we find ourselves in now is not really different than any generation before, except one thing that the drugs you consume now can kill you really quick. It's not like our parents and grandparents generation. They all have ways of cardian plan numb and pain, what have you, there's a huge difference if you ingest the wrong type or the wrong amount, you can die. And it can be first time use. And it can be the 30th time use. super scary. And parenting is just the scariest thing in the world. I've got a 17 year old and Maddie and a 15 year old named Ian. And it's like having as my wife would say, it's like having your Heart Walk around outside your body all day. All their joys and sadness is all the experiences they have the nasty thing that gets fed to them the poor decision they make. It's just it's so exposing so vulnerable, for Maddie and he and what we're trying to do is to tell them that the conversation is always open. There's nothing they can tell us that's going to concern us or frighten us or that we would back away from, I don't know that we'll ever be able to tell our kids what is and is not cool. Maybe when they're nine. But I think it's 13 1415. They've decided you're not that cool. And so then I don't know what the right way is I certainly no expert on any of this stuff. I'm just we're trying to have a conversation remain open at the table so that they talk to us. We're pretty committed, we're lucky that we get to have meals with our kids most nights of the week, we've got a really good relationship with them for celebrating who they are. They're becoming and then we're trying to help them get their heads above the horizon. Who do you dream of being? And then does that decision help you become who you intend to be? Maybe that mixed with this final point? I'm not raising kids, raising adults, every decision I make. I'm trying to say, does this help Maddie become a cable adult that can leave my home? Not? How do I cottolin protect and save her from this world? Because she's going to live more of it outside of my house she'll ever live in. Let's get ready to be an adult. So how do you make your adult decisions? We've been lucky. I feel like I'm a super privilege guy to be able to talk to you about these things. Because they're 15 and 17. And they're terrific. They're better than Christy and I are they live legitimately are. That's not always the case. You had mental health or chronic illness, or just a few nasty traumas along the way. And those kids turn out differently.

Seth Anderson:

So interesting. Again, this could be a full podcast. I know we've been gone for a little while now. But I had a situation the other day with Lyndon where he was participating in a debate in class. And it was about the oil sands. And I asked him what position he took. And he took the position of being against the oil sands because of the environmental impact and just living in Alberta. And every you know, we I have biases, you know, I worked in the energy industry, I understand the impacts it has to our economy, our dependency on it to live all those things. Like, initially, I just kind of went to a place of I don't disagree with you. But here's all these reasons why you're sort of wrong. And like I was well intended in the moment, but when I took a step back, I was just like, I don't know that feeling of like, needing to tell him he was wrong, or like, suppress his feelings, or and I was just like, you know what, I'm just happy you have an opinion. And I actually just came back to him a little bit later. And I just said, Listen, like, forget everything I said, don't worry about it. Like, I'm just glad you have an opinion. And you just go do you, you know, he went and he gave his position. And it was about the caribou and whatever. And he didn't win the debate. But he kept his opinion. And he didn't, I didn't force anything on him. And it was just an awakening moment. To me, like these moments as children are kind of upbringing. Like, we can totally alter how they go on their life just by like suppressing their opinion or telling them how to think and I don't know, I just was thinking you're using you were saying you're so lucky to have, you know, great kids. And yeah, I just think it can, he can easily go off track if you don't catch yourself with some of this stuff.

Unknown:

And I think as parents, this is by the way therapeutic. I think as parents Our job is to deal with our own stuff, so that our kids have the freedom to become themselves. And that's hard right? Because we you know, we hear them doing things or making decisions that we wouldn't want to do. That's a really good example Seth our opinions about those things. But maybe two they want to fall in love with maybe two they that the kind of career they want their schooling pathway, can we check ourselves well enough that they get to test those things out? And then at the right times, only the rarest times we step in and say this will harm you. And I think drug use that kind of drug use that's that's the harm you stuff. That's where we get to jump in and help the opinions of a nine year old they change over time. Who are we as parents and and who do we inspire these kids to become

JP Gaston:

right now my struggle is Declan is just I mean not just learn to walk but it's now at the stage. He's walking by himself outside and, and in the middle of you know, a giant snowstorm when he's wearing full snow suit and there's a bunch of snow on the side of the road for him to kind of fall into I'm not worried the last few days where everything's slippery and I know at some point he's got to learn fallen downs, okay. It'll get back up and you'll be fine. But I you know, I'm walking an inch away from him with my hand just waiting to grab him and keep him from falling down and that's it's really hard to let go. I am not looking forward to it. Getting to the you know, the nine year old stage or the I feel like we have kind of almost three generations of kids here with, you know, mind being the youngest, and now I know what to do, and I'm frantically taking notes. And listen,

Unknown:

okay, babies born into the world, they're, they're already going to become who they're going to become a series of things, we've just got to protect them. Some of these like big traumatic experiences in life, and those things are real. But they know exactly how to grow from zero to 18. And there's rapid, it's exponential growth happening or that you know, what, three of us were quite stuck, our kids are going to change way faster than we, as parents are able to change. And can we realize that they're going to be more successful growing up than we are parenting them, and then just chill out a little bit. Because they're, they're more suited to their growth. And we are ours, if we can keep up with miracle workers Fact is, they're going to set the pace. And I remember when we left the hospital very first time, I was like, I don't know what we're gonna do. And great advice I got is just do the next thing in front of you. The next day, you go clean a diaper. And once you figure that out, you'll get a chance to do another one very soon. And that's food, like just slow down, chill out, try to keep pace with these magical beings. And you'll do just fine.

Seth Anderson:

So for those of our listeners who may be interested in getting involved and helping out, I know you guys have lots of information on your website, what advice would you give to someone who's maybe looking to make that step in helping out with sheltering your kid or I think you guys have adoption, and you guys have a whole slew of opportunities for people to get involved?

Unknown:

Yeah, I think that goes back to the really the core thing. I mean, anything that if there's something that I said that sparked your imagination, ending sexual exploitation, or homelessness, or supporting a family at a time of need newcomers, getting ready for school, getting through graduation, some of our indigenous cultural work, if one of those things kind of piqued your interest in you that that's the thing I'm interested in, honestly, jump on the website, see what we do about that, does that reflect who you are and what you're kind of jazzed by, and then let's be in touch, let's talk about it. Because there's lots of places to be involved in volunteerism right now, during the pandemic has been really tough. We do high touch work with folks, it's bad to keep our physical distance in a way we don't like. But that's alright, we can have a pool of folks ready as soon as we get to return to normal. And if you're not super jazzed by the human interaction side, we've got places for you to contribute to committees and on the board. And then being a, you know, a philanthropic sponsor generous contributors to the work we do, too. There's lots of ways to be involved. But I'd say follow your heart. If you're jazzed by this, then check out grow with trellis.ca. And let's see if conversations we're having

JP Gaston:

for someone who maybe hasn't been involved with a board before, but is in a kind of a more senior position in their daily life and would like to start getting involved with a board. What sort of advice might you give them?

Unknown:

Yeah, I would say probably the best piece of advice is just to find out the thing that you're kind of moved by interested by What do you care about? What's the thing that you want to spend your voluntary time is so precious. So what do you want to get involved in, and then reach out to an agency and say, I'd love to be a part of the work you do. Here's the skills, I have the maybe you're an accountant, maybe you're a lawyer, maybe you're a teacher, and you think you want to make a difference for kids outside of that world, whatever your story is, and reach out and offer yourself quite humbly. There's a lot of folks who come at these things and say, Well, I guess in my day job, I'm amazing at this or that, so I should probably jump on the board. Well, the board's a specific skill set for folks who can understand governance at a really high level, who are tasked with a really pressured role of holding on to the diverse risks and resources of whole organization. So step back, and then let's just see where it goes. If you legitimately in an organization like trellis, we want to be a part of the governance structure or board, just reach out to us. We're looking for five new members right now that search is ongoing. And what's interesting is our board is so committed to anti racism practices right now and advancing diversity inclusion. They're trying to change the the search process to not require previous board experience to maybe err on the side of lived experience that maybe you've been impacted by this work. And you can become a content expert around that for table, you got to have the leadership chops to be able to become a governor. But your lived experience is going to be worth as much as any legal degree or accounting designation, if you want to step into it now.

Seth Anderson:

mazing. Well, Jeff, it's been a absolute pleasure having you in the dojo today. We wish you the best of luck and and I think both JP and I are inspired to see maybe what we can do to help as well. This is a great cause you got going,

Unknown:

thanks a lot you guys. It's anything that you're offering folks like me the time to reflect and think in a really hectic time where it is kind of unsettling to put your feet on the ground. You just gave me a chance to do that. So thank you very much. Thanks for the work you're doing and thanks for being great dads.

JP Gaston:

Thanks so much.

Voiceover:

Thanks to Jeff Dyer for joining us today. To provide support or connect with trellis visit grow with trellis.ca. Now stay tuned for the podium brought to you by beyond the beaten path where Seth and JP are joined by a special return guest to talk about some of the companies that inspire them.

Seth Anderson:

Wow, that was amazing. JP, another incredible guest doing incredible things. Mr. Jeff Dyer with trellis that was that was awesome.

JP Gaston:

an amalgamation of two giant organizations within the city offering services to people is it's just interesting in general, but he he brought a lot of light to that. So that was great.

Seth Anderson:

No, it was it was very inspiring. And and that has inspired us to really think about what are some companies that inspire us. And joining us this week on the beyond the beaten path podium, returning guests, Rebecca Finley, Rebecca, welcome. Thanks for having me back. I'm so grateful to be here are so excited to see you again. And excited to hear the list of companies that have inspired you. I know you've got some awesome ones to review. But we're going to we're going to jump off with JP JP, what do you got?

JP Gaston:

So I kind of went the route of, I guess, nonprofits. For the most part. I'll start with number three, I'll work my way up the podium. Sometimes there's no rhyme or reason to my top three. But But today there is a little bit. So Movember, I've been pretty involved with Movember, I think most listeners probably know about Movember. You know, driving awareness to health issues, I used to be men's health issues. It's just really health issues. Now, there is certainly a men's slant. But it is a lot more inclusive these days than it was when it started out. And they have done a lot of great work, especially around suicide prevention and mental health. So I definitely want to give a shout out to November number two on my list, one yellow rabbit, they've really brought attention to the arts and theater scene in Calgary, they do a lot of great work, I can only imagine how difficult times are for them right now managing through a pandemic. But they're one of the few theatre companies that I've seen that actually outlines their mission and values on their website. And it's really all about bringing attention to the arts and bringing the arts to Calgary. And I think Rebecca has actually done some, some work with one yellow rabbit in the past, many, many moons ago,

Rebecca Finley:

wasn't me, it was actually my mom, I can't take credit for that strategic planning. But I know she said that they were a phenomenal group of people.

JP Gaston:

And then number one for me, one that not a lot of people know about, from my experience talking to folks, but kids up front. So it's a organization in Calgary who predominantly deal with children who may not have the opportunity to attend events. And you know, again, this year, particularly difficult, but what they usually do is they take sweets that are unused. So corporations that purchase sweets for you know, major events, like flames games, or, you know, stampeders games are concerts, and they they take the unused suites, they're gifted to them. And they give the opportunity to kids who otherwise would not have a chance to attend that event. Often, you know, who they have clients who have disabilities and folks who come from low income families. And it just it's really cool to see the work that they do. And I've I've had the fortune of actually being involved with them and attending a few events with some of those kids that go there. And they are just through the moon excited, not over through the moon excited about being a part of those events. So it's, it's really fun to be a part of that. And they just, they're great hosts. So those are my three. What about you, Rebecca, what are your top three?

Unknown:

Those were really fantastic choices. They're JP and I'm going to start off with my first one, which is next gen men, which is very similar to November, November was actually the first funder of next gen men many ages ago, which is pretty cool. Next Gen men is working in the masculinity space to really engage boys and men in conversations around gender and equity, which I think is a growing conversation that we haven't talked enough about in the mainstream about, there's all these programs helping women but how do we help men at the same time. So I love that organization. It's run by Jake stick as the executive director and I'll definitely put a plug that I'm the board chair. And at the governance level, we recently just launched a board shadowing program to get more people involved in learning about boards and how do you get on to committees and getting more of that diversity at that decision making table I think is incredibly important. My second organization would be immigrants services Calgary, I got to admit that before we started working with that organization, I knew very little about the immigrant sector. And having now gone through my own fiance's journey of being accepted to get his PR in Calgary i think is so phenomenal what this organization is doing to welcome newcomers and their families to Alberta. And what's really amazing is that they're actually piloting a project right now called gateway which is going to standardize how newcomers are assessed when they enter into our province, and then help triage them out into the community to help them along their journey and do more case management. So it's pretty phenomenal that that's starting here in Alberta. And if it goes, Well, they're gonna roll that out across the country. So that's pretty neat. My third organization that I just love to bits is Calgary legal guidance. And this is an amazing organization that's really dedicated to helping vulnerable Albertans navigate the legal system, and give them access to justice, whether they're elderly, they're Aboriginal, they're immigrants, it's really helping them with support through a variety of different programs and making sure that they have a fair chance at whatever their legal issues are.

Seth Anderson:

That was, yeah, that was great, awesome, very, very inspiring, lists you to I don't know, I'm just feeling very inspired. So jumping into to what I came up with, and I tried to really kind of get a personal slant on, on on my list. So the first one I had is actually in a lot of ways, the company that inspired me to do the podcast, which is my wife's business, curvy bridges. And the reason why it inspired me is because it was like genuine, like, the entire premise of the company was that she wanted to help women who maybe didn't have access to or couldn't afford nice clothes to be able to get affordable, reuse, or gently used clothing, and just kind of creating an avenue for people to do that. And all based on her experience of both years back when we were living in Wainwright as an example not having access to nice clothes. Basically, if you couldn't get it at Walmart, you couldn't get it. So kind of creating, creating that opportunity for women. But also for those who have challenges with sizes and different things, just giving them an avenue to to sell those clothes to get some money for what's in their closet. And also to take advantage of other people's use clothes. So anyway, I just was super inspired because it was entirely created out of a want to help. And I think any business when you start from that place is is inspiring the second one. And you know, JP, I'm sure you would concur our day job working for TELUS. Obviously, you know, being here for 10 years, the values of the company would align with mine. Otherwise, why would you know, I'd be here so so there's that element of it. But also just in the amount that we give back. And just to throw a few statistics out there are over 2 million youth are impacted annually through giving that we do through the company, over $1.3 billion has been donated on behalf of team members and retirees to charitable organizations since the year 2000. That's that's billion with a B, and over 1 million hours of volunteered annually by team members and retirees from

JP Gaston:

pellets. So I mean, I used to be pretty involved, I would say in you know, volunteerism, I was brought up to volunteer and I started coaching when I was like 10 years old as a volunteer with y BC, which was youth basketball Canada, which was a YMCA program, and I've worked for a lot of corporations, I have honestly never been so inspired to give back as I am in my day job now.

Seth Anderson:

It's crazy. Awesome. You know, for the most part, though, there's 36,000 employees. Yeah. You know, some pretty, pretty impressive, you know, we're rooted in the Canadian culture and tried to give back. So I think that's pretty awesome. And then lastly, I don't know if I've talked about it on the show a whole bunch, but my brother, I guess you would say he has a disability. He's deaf and he's had a lot of challenges in his life. And we've worked you know, he's he's, he's struggled to maintain meaningful or gainful employment for most of his adult life. And he's got four kids and it's tough. It's tough for him. But he recently within the last year started working with CFB Wainwright, he had a he had a pretty bad accident where he fell off a roof. And lucky to be alive after that incident. So he wasn't able to do his day job anymore, which was roofing so he he ended up getting on with the junior ranks kitchen, doing, you know, meal prep and that kind of stuff. And they have, they've just gone over and above to help him out with his situation. They sponsored his family as part of a Christmas initiative where they give the kids presents and, and that kind of stuff. But also, he doesn't have a driver's license. So they've they've helped facilitate him getting to work. And they've just really gone above and beyond to not only you know, help him with some of the limitations he has, but make him feel like a valued employee, which can mean the world to somebody. So that was my, that was my third one.

JP Gaston:

I think it's easy for especially large corporations or government entities, political entities to look and feel like the bad guy, or like they don't do enough. But there is I mean, at the end of the day, there's people in those organizations doing human things and it's it's awesome to hear that Stories like what they're doing at CFB Wainwright just

Seth Anderson:

awesome. That's a great point because you know those stories can get lost in the big companies. But they are happening and assign a little bit of a light on that. So, Rebecca, thank you so much for joining us. That was awesome.

JP Gaston:

Thank you for having me. It's great to see both of you again. Thanks, Rebecca.

Intro
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