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Posts Tagged ‘leadership’


Great Conversation Creates Great Leadership

Posted by: in Central East, Uncategorized

Leadership requires collaboration, teamwork, great interpersonal communications and relationship building skills.  Here at Knowledge Connector we define Relationship Building as one of the 6 competencies that create a well-rounded leader. And within that competency lie 6 other categories. Relationship building, truly is an art and requires many skills. Thankfully, relationship building seems to be a skill the nonprofit/voluntary sector seem to be naturally inclined at-well at least with the hundreds of organizations I have worked with in Alberta’s Central East region. But of course, like anything, there is always room for improvement.

So let’s take a look at what the major skills, attitudes and knowledge are required to be an effective relationship builder. You may want to ask yourself where your skills are strongest and whether you might want to strengthen this very important leadership competency.

In our A.S.K. Leadership Assessment tool, a relationship is defined as a connection between individuals or groups of people based on mutual understanding or a common bond. Relationships are strengthened when there is accountability to each other and a desire to work through difficult situations. Every relationship needs to be fostered and nurtured.

It is broken down into the following components:

Collaboration and Team Development: The ability to teach team members collaboration skills like teamwork, loyalty, accountability, and mutual respect.

Inclusion and Diversity: The ability to consider diverse points of view when making decisions and taking action. The ability to be sensitive to different cultures.

Influencing and Advocacy: The ability to be an advocate for the organization and its members, and influence decisions that will support the organizational values and priorities.

Interpersonal Communication: The ability to encourage and use a broad range of communication skills, such as active listening and effectively giving and receiving feedback.

Dispute Resolution, Facilitation and Negotiation: The ability to understand the causes of conflict in the organization. The ability to suggest alternative solutions to conflict so that everyone wins. The ability to use various facilitation and negotiation skills to solve problems.

Community Engagement: To collaborate with the community to address issues that may affect the organization’s ability to accomplish its goals.

The  Alberta Association of Services for Children & Families knows how complicated good relationship building can be and that is why they are offering a workshop on Fierce Conversations. The course, Fierce Conversations®, teaches attendees how to “ignite productive dialogue that interrogates reality, provokes learning, resolves tough challenges and enriches relationships. It‘s the place to begin, the cornerstone of great leadership, healthy cultures, intelligent strategies and whole-hearted execution.”

It is a 2 day course and will be held May 14, 2012 – May 15, 2012 9:00AM to 4:00PM MST right here in the Central East region. If you would like to register and build your relationship skills simply visit or contact Dawn Papineau, 780.428.3660.

Happy relationship building!

Victoria Poschadel | 780.945.6134 |


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Women In Charge

Posted by: in North West, Uncategorized

Did you know that March 8th is International Women’s Day? This year’s theme is to Empower Women.

This week’s blog is dedicated to four very special women – my RCC colleagues.

These four women are examples of “Women in Charge”, leaders in their communities.

All four encompass the 6 leadership competencies (big picture thinking, self-development, relationship building, management and governance, planning and organizing and strategic thinking). The other qualities that I admire and relate to as being good community leaders are (may include but not limited to):

  • demonstrate a healthy work/ life balance (I am
    still learning how to do that)
  • respect themselves and others
  • willing to learn something new
  • share ideas
  • value others opinions and suggestions
  • lead by example
  • confident
  • inspiring
  • positive role models and mentors for other women
  • community driven (STP’s in their own communities)
  • task oriented
  • willing to take a risk
  • willing to admit when they are wrong
  • proactive
  • independent
  • caring and trust worthy
  • team player
  • well spoken
  • knowledgeable
  • last but not least are great listeners…

The experiences and knowledge that we have shared to date have been rewarding and energizing and not to leave out memorable. I am humbled to have had the opportunity to meet four fabulous “Women in Charge” and I am a better person because of it.

As each of us move onto other chapters in our lives, the challenge will be to stay in contact. It is never good-bye but see you later!

Therefore, I am inviting people to celebrate inspiring women in their lives by sending a free International Women’s Day e-Card or honoring a woman whose efforts make a difference in your community or region; celebrate your “Women in Charge”.

Yvonne Rempel | 780.827.1464 |

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Community Collaboration

Posted by: in North West, Uncategorized

Let me introduce to you one of Grande Prairie’s success stories about community collaboration and building on community capacity – the Community Village. This non-profit/voluntary organization is passionate about their “community”, here is their story.


By creating an empowering environment for Peace Country organizations, the Community Village encourages a culture of
collaborative relationships by housing cooperative social services.


The Community Village is home to an abundance of open-minded organizations who meet the social needs of the community through mentorship, collaboration and leadership.

The Community Village and its tenant agencies have demonstrated that they believe and work within the following guiding principles.


Our organizations provide a welcoming environment of accessible services and programs that promote empowerment and mutual support.


Our organizations make committed and vigorous efforts to listen and learn from each other, to strengthen and enhance the long-term sustainability of our services and programs for the community.


Our organizations make efforts to work collectively for the common good while maintaining the diverse character of our individual agencies.

Lateral Leadership

Our organizations value mutuality and reciprocity in all our work.

Harm Reduction

This community of organizations recognizes the respective missions of the founding partners and strives to support all missions and members within a philosophy of harm reduction. Harm reduction is a respectful approach that values people for who they are and where they are at in their lives.  Although people may be involved in negative or unhealthy behaviours, the individual is never seen to hold less value than a person who may not be engaged in such behaviours.  Relationships are built from a place of non-judgment in order to slowly reduce the harm the person may be causing to himself or herself or the community.  It is from this place of self-worth and empowerment that people can truly make changes in their own lives, develop new skills and expand their learning.

The following agencies are being housed within The Community Village:

  • Alberta Health Services
  • Canadian Mental Health Association
  • Center Point Facilitation
  • Grande Prairie Legal Guidance
  • Healthy Families Program
  • Lesser Slave Lake Indian Regional Council
  • Second Base Originals
  • GP Acting Guild – Ovations Dinner Theatre
  • FASS – Fetal Alcohol Support Society

If you happen to be in Grande Prairie, stop by for a coffee and check them out…

Yvonne Rempel | 780.827-1464 |

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Do You Find Yourself In A Leadership Rut?

Posted by: in North West, Uncategorized

Happy New Year!

As a kid we are often caught saying “I can’t wait to grow up…”. In response to this comment I remember my grandma saying to me “do not rush growing up, life goes by fast – even faster as you get older”. Wow, wasn’t she right… it is 2012, where did last year go?

So how do we slow things down and put priorities for life in place? One may suggest making New Year’s resolutions. We start off with great intentions and enthusiasm, but realistically after two weeks or a month the novelty wears off and we are right back to where we started.

I am a firm believer in not reinventing the “wheel” so when I come across a great piece of advice or what I like to call “an aha moment” I want to pass it on.  What a better time than the beginning of a new year to share some words of wisdom (even if they aren’t mine…).

I just read this great article that suggested 5 tips guaranteed to jump-start your brain and get you off on the right foot for 2012 (Mike Myatt, Leadership advisor to CEOs & Boards, and author of Leadership Matters) Here are some highlights to his article:

The difference between real leaders, and leaders in title only, is what they do when the creative juices begin to dwindle.  For most people, the simple truth is excuses come easier than solutions – but who said leadership was easy?  Leadership is about acclimation and reacclimation, improvising and adapting, learning and unlearning – leadership is about change.

Don’t make excuses – make changes. Saying you don’t have time for “X” is just code for “ X” isn’t important to me. Saying you don’t have the resources needed for change is just an admission you’re not very resourceful. Leadership has little to do with resources, but everything to do with resourcefulness. The funny thing is, those who are the most resourceful often end-up with the greatest amount of resources. If you’re stuck in a leadership rut, the following 5 steps will help you find your path back to real leadership:

  1. Go Break Something:  If you want to drive innovation, lead change, and create growth, stir the pot – go break something. Slaughter a few sacred cows, challenge conventional wisdom, break a paradigm, and inject a little chaos into your ordered world. Old isn’t necessarily wrong, but likewise, it’s not necessarily right either. Look for ways to create new advantages and make needed improvements. Reengineer a best practice into a next practice. Ask yourself this question: Is the most tenured person in a particular position, the best person for the position? If not, make a change. Don’t be bored, just implement a little creative destruction.
  2. Recharge Your Brain:  A brain is like any other energy source – it needs to be nourished in order to evolve. Whether you stimulate your brain through basic learning activities like reading, taking classes or participating in workshops or seminars, or by just giving it some well needed rest, the important thing is to make a concerted effort in this regard.  Vacations, sabbaticals, and service projects are also quite useful for creating new thinking. Carve out new neural pathways by subjecting the brain to new and creative ways of thinking. Change-up your routine and do things differently and more productively – you’ll be glad you did.
  3. Get Some Help:  The best leaders surround themselves with wise counsel, and make a habit of seeking out sound advice. Start close to home – ask your family for their candid opinion of your shortcomings, and then listen. Those who love you the most will also give you the respect of candor. In addition to seeking guidance from your family, seek out professional advice and counsel by joining a peer group, hiring a coach, creating an advisory board, or finding a new mentor. There are abundant resources available to leaders resourceful enough to seek them out. Don’t allow yourself to be held hostage by your pride, ego, arrogance, or ignorance – go get some help.
  4. Have a Vigorous Debate: Few things kindle the creative fires like a challenging debate. By seeking out dissenting views and differing opinions, you open your mind to new ideas and perspectives. A developed mind is the result of a challenged mind. Smart leaders take their business logic and willingly subject it brutal assault. In doing so, they often find what they believed to be close to perfect was in fact flawed. Go find the smartest people you can, and ask them to poke holes in your theories and beliefs. There is value in both validation and invalidation. Don’t be afraid of being proven wrong – be afraid of thinking you’re right when you’re not.
  5. Fire Yourself: In the final analysis, if you can’t or won’t fix yourself, or you can’t or won’t allow yourself to be developed by others, then it’s time to pass the baton. Both you and your organization deserve more than just a leader in title, and if you cannot perform as leader then find someone who can. Whether you transition to a co-CEO role, entrepreneur in residence, Chairman of the Board, consultant, take a sabbatical, or you just resign your position, all concerned parties will be better off by making a move that is likely long overdue.

Simple solutions right? So make 2012 a year of change. Start small, work your way up and become a better leader.

Yvonne Rempel | 780.827-1464 |

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Not Too Early to Set a New Year’s Resolution

Posted by: in North West, Uncategorized

As the Christmas season fastly approaches, I once again dig out the christmas decorations. As I sort through them (6 large Rubbermaid tubs) to see what I will put up this year. Every year I look at the amount of decorations I have collected over the years and once again I resist the temptation to go out and buy some new christmas decorations to add to the collection (because it is always nice to put up a couple of new things each year). The task of decorating falls solely on my shoulders. So, I only pull out a quarter of the decorations, because one; I am the one who has to put them away and two I have to dust “the stuff”.

I find that if I do not decorate in November I run out of time and I am rushed to create a christmas atmosphere. The holiday season seems so rushed every year and still haven’t figured out where time goes. We all get busy and before we know it Christmas is here (with or without homemade Christmas baking). So, the question is how do I slow down? (If I had the magic wand to that question I would be rich woman). We still have to work though until holidays, so we lumber through.

The season is all about giving to others. We shop for the perfect gifts and rush to wrap and send parcels away to friends and family. What do we do for ourselves?

So here is my suggestion; create a learning moment. Invite a couple of  friends over, put on a pot a coffee and serve up some of those Christmas cookies you just baked. Gather around the table and plug-in your wireless laptop or iPad and click on, You can complete an online Assessment that will identify your skills as a leader as well identify the gaps, which at the end will create a “report card” and link you automatically to learning opportunities. It is that easy. It is never too late to plan ahead and create a learning plan for you and some friends that you can do from the comfort of your own home.

Here are just a few learning options that I have pulled from the Knowledge Connector Website that may be of interest to you:

– Leadership Webinars (FREE) from

– Blogs and articles highlighting a variety volunteer and non-profit issues, solutions and suggestions at

– FREE Webinars (check out the archive as well) on Community Development and Community Engagement ideas go to

– How-to articles, volunteer  educational opportunities go to will guide you through the ins and outs of operating a charity organization (and will even come out to you…) listed are a variety of resources for educational opportunities

There is that old saying “do as I do not as I say…” well I am taking my own advice and creating a learning plan that is designed just for me that I can do from the comfort of my own home (or couch). So start your new years resolution today. Follow along on my blog as I track my progress (good or bad) over the next couple of months. I welcome your feedback as well so email me at

Happy Holidays!!



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FREE Leadership Training by ACE Communities – a Learning Provider

Posted by: in North West

Like many of you, volunteering is my passion along with life-long learning. I am driven to make my community a better place to live, play, grow and retire – a community I can be proud of.

I had the pleasure of hosting ACE Communities this past Monday (check out the website and Twitter for the pictures and discussions regarding this event – Thank you Janet for posting…) in Grande Cache at our “Ignite” Celebration. We had the honor of listening to Ian Hill a motivational speaker inspiring change in individuals, neighborhoods and communities. Town council, students and various community members heard his impassioned challenge to rise to the responsibility we all have to build a better community.

It was AWESOME! Ian is a dynamic speaker. His comments were not anything that we do not already know but his words had the motivation to “ignite” an entire community for change. I am revitalized to create a town that I want to live in and I know I am not alone.

Community leadership is about active, creative and engaged communities working together on a “shared vision”. Who better to lead a community towards positive change than VOLUNTEERS!

ACE communities is about building community capacity and community development. Here is just a partial list of learning opportunities for the month of November you as a learner can access by just a click of a mouse:

November 15, 2011 at 10:00AM

Working Effectively and Enthusiastically as a Team

November 16, 2011 at 10:00AM

Service Excellence in Municipal Recreation: What is it and how do we ensure we’re delivering it?

November 18, 2011 at 10:00AM

Creative Ideas for Motivating Seniors Part 1: Tips and Tools

November 21, 2011 at 10:00AM

Creative Strategies for Engaging with Youth

November 24, 2011 at 10:00AM

Energize Your Everyday (AKA Keeping Your Sanity through the Christmas Celebrations!)

November 25, 2011 at 10:00AM

Creative Ideas for Motivating Seniors Part 2: Music and Props

November 28, 2011 at 10:00AM

Inspiring Ideas for Preschool Teachers in School and Extracurricular Activities

November 29, 2011 at 10:00AM

Facilitation Techniques for Community Building: Let’s Meet and Talk in your Community!

If you know of a great learning provider you want to share or want to highlight a learning opportunity, go to If you have any inquiries, staff at KnowledgeConnector will be glad to assist you 1.780.497.4780.

Yvonne Rempel | 780.827-1464 |

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Creating a Culture of Continuous Learning

Posted by: in Central East

Many of us look at great leaders such as Ghandhi or Martin Luther King and wonder how they became to be so great. Were they born that way or did they learn their leadership skills? If they learned their skills, was there a point in their lives when they recognized they were great and thought they didn’t need to learn anymore? Do you think that experts in the field of leadership might need to learn more about leadership?

Many of us might think that people who have great leadership skills simply have a gift. KnowledgeConnector is all about promoting continuous learning and because I believe in this message I would like to share with you why even the most gifted and knowledgeable people can benefit from learning more.

Last week I had a yet another amazing experience co-facilitating a Leadership Assessment Workshop with a group of close to 30 current and emerging leaders. These individuals were all gathered in Camp Kuriakos taking a program put together by the Leadership Centre of Central Alberta to enhance their leadership skills. If you ask me, these great people are already leaders in their fields as is the Executive Director of The Leadership Centre of Central Alberta, Linda Wilson. Yet even the expert of all experts was interested to discover her current leadership strengths and areas for betterment. Linda was fully engaged in the entire workshop and found the process enlightening.

Now if an Executive Director of an organization that helps others develop their leadership skills is interested in taking part in a workshop that assesses current skills and supports the user to develop a learning plan to grow further, then there is room for everyone to learn more. No matter how great you are. Great leaders such a Ghandi and Martin Luther King were so great because they worked hard at what they did and continuously strived to be the best.

So the next time you get comfortable in your shoes remember that everyone… always…has room to grow into a better leader.

If you haven’t taken an A.S.K. Leadership Workshop – book one now!

Victoria Poschadel | 780.945.6134 |

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Posted by: in North West

Our weekly blogs are to be used to identify and share learning and leadership opportunities throughout our regions, keeping rural Albertans connected through the World Wide Web. We are reminded that the focus of our weekly blogs, need to reflect  on KnowledgeConnector’s 6 A.S.K. Leadership Competencies (Big Picture Thinking, Self-Awareness & Development, Strategic Thinking, Planning & Organizing, Management & Governance, Relationship Building).

That being said, I am finding it hard to concentrate working on the computer with the first snow fall (2 inches last night) of the season putting me in the Christmas spirit, wanting to pull out the Christmas lights and outdoor decorations. We barley finish with one holiday – Halloween and Christmas is fast approaching.  But there is one holiday in between that we must not forget – November 11, Remembrance Day…

Remembrance Day is an opportunity to honor and remember those who sacrificed their lives in war and military operations. Remembrance Day is a tradition across Canada where people lay wreaths and observance of two minutes of silence at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

I want to use my blog this week to take this opportunity to highlight one special organization, the Royal Canadian Legion. This dedicated group of community volunteers organize Remembrance Day Celebrations events each year. In addition, leading up to November 11th the Royal Canadian Legion volunteers organize a variety of community celebrations which are held in schools, churches and community halls; including initiating the annual Red Poppy and Wreath Campaign to fundraise in order to support those military families in need each year.

The Royal Canadian Legion is an example of community leadership in action who are continuously working towards building community capacity through dedication, generosity and commitment to their communities, an example of volunteerism at its best and an organization that exemplifies all KnowledgeConnector 6 Competencies.

Remembrance Day is an important holiday not only to remember those who have died and fought for our country but remember those volunteers who are committed to keeping this tradition alive.

I thank you…

Yvonne Rempel | 780.827-1464 |

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The Little Hamlet That Could…

Posted by: in Central East, Uncategorized

I had the opportunity to visit the wonderful hamlet of Torrington last week. If you haven’t been there I highly recommend stopping by and checking out the Gopher Hole Museum that features stuffed gophers posed in a series of 47 anthropomorphic scenes, from a hair dresser; to a preacher; to an RCMP officer. The entire town has a gopher theme that is demonstrated through the largest gofer and fire hydrants painted as gophers. It is all very cute.

Aside from the gophers, Torrington’s other large attraction is the people. There is an incredible sense of community that is demonstrated by how they work together to achieve common goals. For example, individual families have no need to set up and promote their own garage sale. Instead they hold town garage sales that attract people from surrounding communities. The sense of community can also be noted by how groups including the Torrington Wellness Centre, the Lions Club, Lioness Club and the Torrington Enhancement Committee work together out of the Community Hall.

Clearly, the residents of Torrington have built on the skill of Relationship Building from the A.S.K. Leadership Assessment Framework. They not only work together within the hamlet but they work with all of the other communities in Kneehill County to offer and partake of services needed such as learning opportunities offered by the Kneehill Adult Learning Centre in Three Hills.

I liken the community within Torrington to a gopher town. According to, gopher towns can stretch for vast distances through mountainous terrain and often contain thousands of gopher residents. Like gopher towns, the residents within Torrington also stretch out and share their skills and resources with others in surrounding areas.

I am currently in the works of setting up a workshop in Three Hills and hope to see many people in the vast gopher town (AKA Kneehill County). Stay tuned for more details!

Victoria Poschadel | 780.945.6134 |

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Using Coaching to Lead, a Learning Opportunity

Posted by: in North West

I have a tendency to bump Self-Awareness and Development (one of the KnowledgeConnector’s 6 A.S.K. Leadership Competencies) down on the priority list – some may say its procrastination – there is always something more important on the life/work “to-do list”.

This month I am putting myself at the top of the priority list (or at least in the top three…) and making a conscious effort to work towards a better balanced work-life, not sure what the actual vision is or where it might take me but I have given myself permission to create a learning challenge.

I guess what speared me to action was the ACE retreat that I had attended two weeks ago (check out my post on Oct. 14th).

I had an opportunity to participate in a Leadership West Yellowhead cohosted by Grande Cache Community Adult Learning “Coaching to Lead Workshop” facilitated by Loie Unwin. This workshop was a perfect introduction for anyone wanting to learn more about taking the Coach Approach to improve their communication in the workplace, the community and at home. The Coach Approach teaches you two key skills – listening and asking the right questions.
Guaranteed to change your conversation in the community, workplace and at home.

So what did I get out of it or learn you ask? Well it reaffirmed that I need to make or take more to actually listen and slow down and the “coach approach” is not necessarily a new tool for my toolbox but it provided me with a different approach in working and dealing with people in my work and personal life (moments of self-reflection).  Many of us are C.P.A’s when dealing with people (continuous, partial, attention – yet another acronym).  I hate to admit it but I had become one of them and now it us up to me to work on improving that skill and using it

I have caught the “learning bug” and I am curious to see what’s next on my learning plan.

I challenge you to update your learning plan by checking out KnowledgeConnector to view the list of learning opportunities available in your region

Here are some great resources to follow up with for the “Coach Approach”:

  • Coaching that Counts, by Dianna & Merrill Anderson
  • 365 Coaching Questions, by Hendren, Rupert & Richarde
  • Coaching Outside the Box

Also if you currently reside in the West Yellowhead Region, check out Leadership West Yellowhead 2012 Program Guide, they are now accepting registrations for the new program year.

Here is to Life Long Learning…

Yvonne Rempel | 780.827-1464 |

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