Leadership Day #1


Leadership Day one at Leadership Vancouver Island was a full day session that took place at the Coast Bastion Hotel in Nanaimo. This year’s cohort of professionals met bright and early on a blustery fall day. We had commuted in the rainy weather from communities across the island, our brains filled with the challenges of professionalism in a COVID world, and our bodies tired from an early start. The winds that whipped around the building created howls of sound that echoed the way some of us were feeling inside the room.

To begin Coach Janet Sheppard lead us through a brief mindfulness practice that became the catalyst for a successful day. This practice in itself reminded us that it is OK to acknowledge the hustle bustle of the morning, before allowing ourselves to let it go. And we did, as a group, we took a moment of silence, a moment for our breath, and a moment to settle into the learning to come.

“Leadership is not for those whose primary driving value is to remain comfortable.” – David Gouthro, CSP (Certified Speaking Professional)

The day followed as such, an Ice Breaker activity created by fellow students. A Guest Speaker who shared with us his career in the School District and the province, and his success in changing British Columbia’s Indigenous education system from within. Ted Callwater was instrumental in using Cowichan teachings to change the school district, and imparted upon us the importance of articulating clearly, to our teams, the goals we are trying to accomplish. “When you do this, what really happens in the hearts of individuals who go to work everyday is that they take small steps in their own way to reach that goal,” he explained.

The profound presentation led us into break time, and the group dispersed to various restaurants around the downtown Nanaimo core. The second half of the day began shortly after lunch when we were introduced to the keynote speaker David Gouthro, a Leadership Coach from Vancouver.

David gave us an acronym that perfectly described the state of our world in 2021, a term that resonated strongly with those around the table. VUCA is an acronym for, Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous. VUCA is a term that was first used in 1987 that describes a state of constant unpredictable change. It was the first step in acknowledging that as leaders, we needed to develop new thinking patterns and solutions to meet the ever changing needs of our workplaces. We then addressed barriers to our own success as leaders in a VUCA world, as well as discussed our adaptive capacity.

The day ended with a scintillating performance on the nose flute and parting gifts of a nose flute for each of us from the keynote speaker. You can enjoy a brief snippet of David’s performance on our social channels, and if you’d like to hear the unforgettable story that goes with it, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Leadership Vancouver Island.

As we continue on our journey as students through this program we already feel bolstered by the learning presented, and the introspection required.  Members of our cohort are networking amongst each other, and working on the projects we have been sent home with. We are reflecting on the need to adopt a growth mindset and we are happily sharing our learning with those who will listen. Stay tuned for a summary of the upcoming Leadership Day, and if you have any interest in the program, we’d love to hear from you!

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