Our Most Engaging Moments of 2017

Richard Delaney – President: I have always believed that involving those most impacted makes for better decision making. This belief was totally confirmed for me when I recently received word from a client for whom we were trying to locate a substance-abuse recovery facility that a better-than-imagined solution was reached – and achieved only through engaging stakeholders. The client was in a challenging situation and running out of time. A patient-family-partner advisory committee was formed, and several other techniques deployed. After three months of seeking solutions through engagement, the approach that solved the problem was conceived, pursued and endorsed by patients.

I couldn’t have been happier for our client and the community they serve. Nor could I have been more proud to be doing the work we do with such an incredible team of skilled and dedicated engagement professionals.

Emina Dervisevic – Director, Engagement + Communications: The most memorable engagement moment for me in 2017 was working on an engagement with Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing British Columbians. This work has taught me the beauty and importance of Sign language, the richness of Deaf culture, and the complexities around successfully engaging persons who are Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing. What is my key take-away from this inspiring work? The need to study and learn Sign.

Jessica Delaney – Principal, Strategic Communications + Engagement: The most memorable engagement moment for me in 2017 was hearing from patients with chronic pain and chronic conditions, because I realized that I often have no idea what it takes for someone to show up. Realizing the depth of sacrifice some people go to, in order to be heard, I feel strongly that I must be the advocate for their voice in the process. Their message must not be managed or massaged – they put themselves out there and so will I, to make sure decision makers hear and learn from them.

Matthew Lindsey – Specialist, Engagement + Communications: The most memorable engagement moment for me in 2017 was having the opportunity to conduct focus groups with clients of addictions services programs and their families. I learned about the magnitude of addictions and how they impact the lives of many Canadians and their loved ones. This experience helped me realize and understand the unique and complex journey faced by clients and their families, and the importance of “going where stakeholders are” and adequately capturing their experiences to help shape and improve the programs and services that have a direct impact on their recovery journey.

Brenda Kortekaas – Community of Practice Coordinator: The most memorable engagement moment for me in 2017 was seeing the training team read the course evaluation survey summaries and take the comments seriously, so that they can continually grow and learn from our participants.

I have learned not to be comfortable in what I already know, and that I have much more to learn about training and engagement. I am proud to work with such a great group of people.

Jennifer Miller – Director, Engagement + Communications: My most meaningful professional moment of 2017 was having the opportunity to conduct a focus group with a small group of Indigenous healthcare staff members. I felt both honoured and humbled that the participants chose to share their powerful experiences, thoughts and expertise with me. The session prompted me to explore the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action and consider my own personal role in reconciliation.

This experience also challenged me to consider and reflect on how to respectfully approach engagement with Indigenous people (and all participants, really) and how I can improve as an engagement practitioner in co-design for engagement processes, engaging early, actively sharing power, and being open to other approaches / methodologies.