Delaney Team Insights from 2020

Welcome, to the (almost) end of 2020. To say that this has truly been a year unlike any other (in recent history) would be an understatement. It is also a time of reflection and here at Delaney, we wanted to share some insights we have gleaned from our experiences during this challenging, unrelenting, and remarkable year.

Without further ado, here are the insights, from our team, to you.

Valerie Delaney, Principal, Learning + Development

My biggest learning from 2020

I keep re-learning old lessons – things I should know and do but need to come back to time and time again. Like practising gratitude.

I like to think I am intentionally grateful most of the time. I am grateful. I know how blessed I am, but this year was hard. There was so much information to process, decisions to make, stresses to handle – not just for me, but for our family and our colleagues. And, the world kept shrinking.  I live in a small town – a three-way stop sign, a coffee shop, a paddle board rental hut – I mean small, but it got smaller and the challenge of remaining grateful got bigger.

I was looking at a Christmas snow globe the other day and thought, “Wow, that’s about the size of our bubble.” It was a whine; however, I did realize something. We turn snow globes upside down and shake things up so we can see the shiny, twinkling snow pieces fall to the scene below, and the result is beautiful and magical. So, my lesson is to shake up my snow globe whenever I am feeling worn down and worried, to rediscover the beauty and magic in the shiny, twinkling pieces of my life – our little family, cosy home, walks along the beach – so that I can be the grateful person I want to be.

Richard Delaney, President

In 2020, I learned to love lemonade. I heard someone say once that if life keeps giving you lemons, then just drink up the lemonade. It’s true. COVID started me off thinking about what was lost and now I’ve learned how much I take for granted and how lucky I am – from health to the fantastic relationships I have with family, friends, colleagues, clients and the list goes on. When we do our engagement training, we teach when decisions are made it creates outcomes (changes) and outputs (things) and although critically important in the corporate world, I’ve decided the “things” are much less important in my personal life. My only hope is that I can carry that through to when and if we get back to the old normal. The new normal for me will be to be mindful of each and every social interaction, to value it and learn from it.

Jessica Delaney, Principal, Strategic Communications + Engagement

“We are all in this together.”

It’s something we’ve heard a lot. As I reflect on that saying and 2020, it makes me think that while we might be “in something together” how we experience something is still very unique to us and our experience. Each of us is experiencing this pandemic in our own unique ways. Some of us with some children, might be craving alone time or quiet, whereas others who live alone might be experiencing loneliness and craving connection. 2020 has reconfirmed that all experiences are unique, and how we perceive and receive information is also unique. As public participation professionals, we need to facilitate and hold spaces that recognize we are all coming into that space with a unique experience, even within a shared context.

Kristi Merilees, Director, Engagement + Communications

While this past year has brought its share of darkness, there was always light close by.

I recall the movie by Will Smith called Collateral Beauty. The premise of this movie was that even when it was darkest, there were always moments of light and of beauty that could only be created and seen, because of the darkness. It is in reflection that I see the collateral beauty and the light that wove so brightly throughout my life this past year. The light showed through family, dear friends, opportunities and experience. It is my hope that I don’t lose the lessons this year has taught me and that I don’t forget the many moments of collateral beauty that I experienced.  My wish for 2021 for myself and all others is that we are able to see first what is good in our days, in people and in the world.

Brenda Kortekaas, Specialist, Learning + Development

2020 has been a learning journey of a deeper knowledge of who I am and who I would like to become. There have been so many changes in all aspects of life that gaining strength in patience has been an arm wrestle with myself. The times I want to be agitated and frustrated have sometimes given way to patience and the understanding that most of us are in the same boat. The term “giving the benefit of the doubt” has come to mind many times. My hope in 2021 is that all the good things that I and the world have gained continue to grow.

Brittany Mason, Specialist, Engagement + Communications

While this year has had a definite void in terms of time spent with my loved ones, I’m thankful for the chance to get to spend more time with me. I’ve been getting to know myself better: my strengths, my flaws, my dreams, and the things that fulfill me and bring me joy. So often we’re so caught up in the bustle of life that we don’t stop and just reflect on where we are at and who we are. While I’m eager to see friends and family and travel again, I’m learning to enjoy this season of reflection and being truly in myself and with myself.

Naomi Devine, Senior Designer + Digital Engagement Specialist

This year has really brought home to me the importance of trusting in your own abilities in the moment. It is always tempting to me to try to plan out as much as possible, but I’m coming to realize how that is only half of the equation. I have been reminded of how my ability to think on my feet has been helpful to me in such a year of upheaval and uncertainty. That ability only comes from experience and a belief in one’s own skills – something that I’m attempting to build in myself. I am lucky that I can also trust our team to be there with their stellar skills and experience and that tells me that we can handle anything that comes our way. Our team’s ability to pivot with grace under pressure and determination has made me proud. I just hope that 2021 is less of a “proving ground” year, for everyone.

Kristina Gordon, Administrative Coordinator

2020 has been a very difficult year; it has filled us all with a roller coaster of emotions. It is amazing to think how much I have changed this year gaining a better understanding of who I am and how strong I can be. Even through every one of us is in a different situation, 2020 has somehow brought us all closer together in new and different ways. My hope for 2021 is that everyone has gained more perspective, patience and kindness towards themselves and everyone around them.