Poems to the world


Challenge: Take on 7 acts of self-expression (7 of 7)

Date: December 15, 2014.

Location: Orlando, Florida

Earlier in the year I had generated a ton of ideas for this category – self-expression. I had debated getting a tattoo, visiting a nude beach, trying to make a viral youtube video, etc. So the liklehood of me doing at least 2 of 3 of the aforementioned items over the next week (travel sabbatical year) are pretty darn likely.

So for my final ‘self-expression’ challenge for this year, I’ve decided to submit some poetry into contests. I’ve had a lot of emotions arising over the past few weeks…..so I got it out through poetry and now I’ve submitted some of the poems to different contests:

-Blue Mountain Arts poetry contest


If you’ve got some creativity or some thoughts floating around in your head, maybe poetry is an avenue you’d like to try (or return to) if you want to get it out.




Sunrise in the south


Challenge: Experience 10 sunrises (10 of 10)

Date: December 14, 2014.

Location: Isle of Hope (just outside Savannah), Georgia

We’ve been on this US road trip for nearly a month now and I wanted to wait until I was some place lovely before I did my last sunrise. Savannah, Georgia is it! This place is a marvel. Kind people, gorgeous historic district and parks, and a pretty coast. I’d like to keep up the tradition of doing a sunrise on each of my trips. It’s a great way to take a quiet moment to appreciate my experience, maybe notice something new and slow down the spinning off the earth. Yes, that’s how powerful a sunrise is.




Non-office hair


Challenge: Take on 7 acts of self-expression (6 of 7)

Date: November 14, 2014.

Location: Fredericton, New Brunswick

So I’ve kept a pretty tame hairstyle for the last number of years partly because it was easy and partly because I worked in an office environment where I felt I should look professional. Well, those days are gone (or on hold for now) and I decided to go bold with a new haircut.


Here is me before the cut with long locks


The hair was piling up on the floor as we went


And this is the finished product – super short on one side, lots of style, hopefully van-friendly (given we’re leaving on our big road trip in a few days)



Voila! Straitened version above and wavy, natural version below. Jackson (my husband) likes to joke that I got up and walked out half way through my haircut 🙂


Starting the day in London


Challenge: Experience 10 sunrises (9 of 10)

Date: November 5, 2014.

Location: London, UK

I forgot to include this one a couple days ago but I arrived in London just as the sun was coming up. It was so symbolic to have the light gradually illuminate London as I was ready to embark on a little vacation there. I packed light so it was no trouble to board the tube and take my time getting to my hostel.

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After I got refreshed and dropped off my stuff, I leisurely wandered around the city, stopped in parks to read and watched people pass by. It was a wonderful day of slowness, pacing down from any type of schedule and just doing things moment by moment as the idea occurred to me. It helped that I had a solid 6+ hours of sleep on the plane.


Elevating leaders


Challenge: Take on 7 acts of self-expression (5 of 7)

Date: November 1-2, 2014.

Location: Maseru, Lesotho


I have been so lucky to be a trainer for the governance training program three times running for the African Confederation of Co-operative Savings and Credit Associations (community banks). Even though I recently left my job, I was still invited back as one of the trainers. I absolutely love talking about co-operatives and I love the opportunity to not just share some best practices that I’ve been lucky to explore over my still young career, but I love the opportunity to showcase different facilitation methods and learning tools.

SACCA 2014 CCA Staff (18) SACCA 2014 CCA Staff (9)

I worked with one of my friends (and early mentors) Sheelagh on preparing the 2 day program. We had a rule in the back of our minds – change up the learning medium every 12 minutes max. This meant we never did more than 10 powerpoint slides of information before we broke into small groups, watched a video, did some individual exercises or had a large group discussion.

SACCA 2014 CCA Staff (16)

Whenever I get to work with a group like that, I feel just so in my element.

SACCA 2014 CCA Staff (17)

We had a few teachers in the group and when we asked for feedback on the training, a couple of the teachers acknowledged our teaching methods, how interactive it was and how we kept engagement from all participants throughout. We were honored to receive this feedback.

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Sunrise in the kingdom in the sky


Challenge: Experience 10 sunrises (8 of 10)

Date: October 31, 2014.

Location: Maseru, Lesotho (southern Africa)

Lesotho is a beautiful kingdom landlocked within South Africa. It is mountainous and known by the tagline “kingdom in the sky”. When I was flying in, the view of the landscape just captured me.

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I’m here for a credit union conference. My friend Sheelagh and I are providing a board governance training program. She’s as energetic and wacky as I am so she quickly agreed when I suggested we would get up before 5am to watch the sunrise in the mountains.




Watching the city from our mountain perch gradually illuminate and seeing the blush peak from behind the mountains was really nice. It was a chilly morning. We dipped our feet in the pool, but never took the full plunge. It was worth waking up for.

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Women at the top


Challenge: Engage in 16 acts of pure joy (16 of 16)

Date: October 29, 2014.

Location: Maseru, Lesotho

I have been blessed to have the opportunity to be a trainer for board governance workshops for 3 years running with the African Confederation of Co-operative Savings and Credit Associations (ACCOSCA). Two years ago, I was asked to address gender, the business case for women on boards, etc. That year, when a few participants first took one look at me (a young woman), they went to the organizers to complain that I was one of their selected trainers and they questioned what I would have to offer them. The conversation around gender was tough too, but encouraging in some ways as well. After all, I wasn’t there to change any minds, just illuminate some things and bring some topics into conversation. The skeptics were turned around by the end of the training and they accepted me as someone who could make a contribution to their knowledge. I received the most honest and touching letter from the chairperson, a gentleman who also questioned my abilities upon first meeting me. He said that I turned them all around and he was grateful for what he learned.

When I returned to do training last year, things had dramatically changed. Attitudes about gender and youth were changing, these conversations were commonplace and people’s commitment was clear. I was heartened by this.

This week, I was a guest at the annual meeting for ACCOSCA. My mind was totally blown when Josephine Nabuyungo from Uganda took the floor to stand for both a board position and for the chairperson role. She is a leader through and through and gender is not the issue (of course, for some – it is). She commanded people’s attention, let them know things were changing and she was right for the role. People exploded in applause and cheering during and following her speech. She said “the sky is the floor, not the ceiling”. When the vote came back that she would be chairperson for this pan-African, financial association, people jumped to their feet to congratulate her. Tears came to my eyes. Even writing this, the tears return. Wow, that was something.