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  • December 04, 2020 11:55 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    As I write this, we have just finished up the final Pecha Kucha presentations for the first cohort of the Values Based Leadership certificate program. Each student presented 20 slides of 20 seconds per slide. In these presentations, our task was to use what we learned to identify a challenge at work, create a plan for tackling it, and a strategy to evaluate our plan. After their presentation, we discussed the challenge as a group and shared ideas and experiences. The whole experience was brilliant! 

    A few of us had never created a PowerPoint before, some had never presented virtually, and all of us learned new ways to apply our learning now to real-life situations. I was impressed by the course, the cohort, and Dr. Roberta Borgen (Neault) and Cassie Taylor of Life Strategies Ltd. As the last presentation finished, it seemed like none of us wanted the learning to end and we resolved to create an alumni group to keep the learning going.

    A screenshot from Yvonne Russell's presentation about effective communication with team members.

    Congratulations to the graduates of the 2020 Values Based Leadership program:

    Angela Balkwill - Horton Ventures Inc., Chetwynd
    Shelley Burge - Inclusion Powell River Society, Powell River
    Andrea Cherchas - Terrace and District Community Services Society, Terrace
    Deanna Cormano - Terrace and District Community Services Society, Terrace
    Chantel Dempsey - Horton Ventures Inc., Dawson Creek
    Jason Evans - Terrace and District Community Services Society, Terrace
    Jennifer Feissli - Horton Ventures Inc., 100 Mile House
    Angie Fisher - Community Futures North Okanagan, Vernon
    Lori Forgeron - Workforce Development Consulting of Northern BC Ltd., Prince George
    Heather Gordon - NIEFS, Campbell River
    Ann-Marie Gray - Inclusion Powell River Society, Powell River
    Kazia Mullin - Community Futures North Okanagan, Vernon
    Carmen Phillips - Community Futures North Okanagan, Vernon
    Yvonne Russell - Inclusion Powell River Society, Powell River
    Julie San Juan - Terrace and District Community Services Society, Terrace
    Lindsey Shewchuk- WorkBC / Horton Ventures, Williams Lake
    Dave Stam - Terrace and District Community Services Society, Terrace
    Steph Torrance - Horton Ventures Inc, Bella Coola

    Certificates will be sent out to graduates once final assignments are marked and program requirements are met. 

    Again, thank you to Dr. Borgen and Cassie Tayor at Life Strategies for partnering with ASPECT to offer this high-quality leadership training program, something that is much needed in our sector. 

    The next cohort will begin on January 11th. If you have questions, please contact me.

    Janet Morris-Reade
  • November 27, 2020 11:52 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    It is interesting to me how the pandemic has increased access. Two recent examples of this are how people who would not normally attend the ASPECT Conference were able to this year and how, this past summer, I was able to chat with the Premier about how employment service providers are helping the economy throughout the pandemic. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to "attend" the swearing-in of the new provincial cabinet and it was a first for me as well as a fascinating experience. I was interested to see the faces of the new cabinet ministers and watch the process unfold.

    In our advocacy work, there are three provincial ministries with whom I spend the bulk of my time working: Social Development and Poverty Reduction, Advanced Education and Skills Training, and Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation (formerly called Ministry of Jobs, Trade & Technology). All three have new ministers and what is of particular note, there is a new Parliamentary Secretary position for Skills Training. Also, there are Parliamentary Secretaries for Technology and Innovation, for Accessibility, and for Community Development and Non-Profits. To be clear, these Parliamentary Secretary positions could have existed before, but they were not on my advocacy radar so I may be mistaken in my assertion that they are new.

    With a new group of Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries to whom to introduce ASPECT members, it feels very much like the excitement I have on the first day of school. So many opportunities before us to tell the story of the work our members are doing in communities throughout the province. It's an exciting time!

    The following is the information from the BC Government website with the links to mandate letters. On behalf of ASPECT members, I will be introducing ourselves in the coming weeks.

    Honourable Anne Kang: Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training

    Honourable Nicholas Simons: Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction  
    Honourable Ravi Kahlon: Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation
    Andrew Mercier, MLA: Parliamentary Secretary for Skills Training  
    Brenda Bailey, MLA: Parliamentary Secretary for Technology and Innovation  
    Dan Coulter, MLA: Parliamentary Secretary for Accessibility
    Niki Sharma, MLA: Parliamentary Secretary for Community Development and Non-Profits

    Janet Morris-Reade
  • November 20, 2020 2:01 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    I heard a new-to-me term this week that explains so much: compassion fatigue. It doesn't really need much explanation because those who have it will be able to identify it right away. Now with the latest public health directive, it's important that we take care of ourselves by ensuring we stay connected to others.

    Yesterday, I launched a new LinkedIn Group as a result of one of our facilitated discussions we had during the ASPECT Virtual Conference. The group wanted to continue the conversation.  It is for career development practitioners, counsellors, and facilitators and is intended to be a virtual place to share good ideas, group-hack tricky problems, and create a community away from clients to share. Look for ASPECTS of Employment group in LinkedIn to join.  As I write this, the group already has 58 members! I'm looking forward to seeing the information shared and the discussions ahead.

    Perhaps with groups like these, we can all inspire each other with new ideas and find an empathetic place at a time when many of us are experiencing fatigue. 

    Janet Morris-Reade
  • November 06, 2020 2:03 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Thank you to everyone who was able to attend the conference live. The feedback has been exceptionally positive and the sessions engaging. If you missed registering, not to worry, we will open up post-conference registration on Monday, giving you access to all of the conference recordings until December 31st.  

    As I quickly write this, I'm waiting for the 10:30 breakout sessions to start. I can't wait to hear what the presenters have to say and love the attendee interaction through the chat box. I'm also really looking forward to the recordings of the sessions I cannot attend live. That has been one of the best attributes of a virtual conference to an in-person conference -- I can attend all the sessions!

    Here are a couple of links from this morning's keynote and chatbox discussion that might interest you:

    Regarding AI:
    Conversation Guide Link:

    Bill Gates on the AI tax:

    Gotta fly, but thanks to everyone, the speakers, the attendees, the exhibitors and of course, the lead sponsor for your support of the ASPECT Virtual Conference.

    Janet Morris-Reade
  • October 30, 2020 10:59 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    We are delighted to confirm that we will have a Ministry Update at the ASPECT Conference on Friday, November 6 at noon. Joining us virtually will be Chris Brown, Assistant Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, and Bindi Sawchuck, Assistant Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training. Please note that this session will not be recorded. If you would like to hear what they have to say, you will have to attend the virtual session live. 

    Also, against my personal comfort, we have created a short welcome video for the ASPECT Conference next week.

    Finally, at next week's members' meeting, we will take a moment to show the conference platform and answer any questions you might have. I've spent some time on the platform and it is very easy to navigate.

    This is a challenging time, but like the sector we represent, here at ASPECT we are working hard to pivot and adjust. I think that the quality of presenters and topics offered at this year's Conference are outstanding. I hope you'll agree.

    Janet Morris-Reade

  • October 23, 2020 12:39 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Last night I watched the newest Dragons Den episode because I wanted to see how business development would pivot to the pandemic. In it the show featured that businesses pivoted and thrived in the pandemic, and one company launched successfully just two months ago. The innovation and ingenuity was surprising.

    It reminded me how our members have been pivoting to support their clients through self-employment programs  and by helping those who are displaced or re-visioning their future careers. Even though service providers are generally not meeting their outcome goals, the opportunities and innovation being demonstrated by all has been inspiring! Perhaps we should host a session to feature pandemic employment stories to spread so of the success stories.

    Conference Pivot

    The ASPECT Conference will look very different this year, but already, I am seeing some huge advantages of attending a virtual event versus an in-person event.
    • I can attend all the sessions! Although I'm still limited to what session I can attend live, I can now expand my learning by "attending" all the sessions through the session recordings. We will keep the recordings available for conference delegates to access until until December 31st. That's 28 professional development sessions for the price of one webinar series. Conference delegates are  eligible for CDP learning credits, too. An exceptional value!
    • More cross-Canada, American, and international speakers: No one needs to travel to attend the conference, which means there are fewer barriers to participate. Conference delegates will be able to attend without barriers, both physical and financial. You can sleep in your own bed and kiss your kids goodnight.
    • New ways to network: We have seen through our webinars, weekly member meetings, and the Values Based Leadership series how more meaningful our relationship development can be. To this end, we have created facilitated discussions to create communities within our ASPECT community to share ideas and make acquaintances. We will also have a zoom room where people can meet up with their friends and message each other using the conference app. The idea is to create a group of people who you can share ideas with after the conference.

    Conference Facilitators Needed

    During the last block of the conference we will host some facilitated discussions. If you are interested in facilitating one of the TBD spot, please let me know. It is best if you are currently working within the group meeting.

    Janet Morris-Reade
  • October 16, 2020 12:34 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Just in case you were wondering...

  • October 16, 2020 12:28 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This past week I had the opportunity to meet with the advisory committee for the Social Services Sector Roundtable to discuss election strategies.  I'm embarrassed to admit that here at ASPECT, we've been focused on launching our Values Based Leadership series and preparing for our first-ever Virtual Conference. Our organization is not alone as others on the call referred to their budget consultation proposals and the work they have been doing to address the glaring cracks in our social safety nets.  

    One thing that became apparent during the meeting was the need to get as many people out to vote as possible. Regardless of who you vote for, the election engagement numbers send messages to those who are elected to office and help form their mandates moving forward. 

    There is still time to vote by mail if you request a voting package by October 17. Of course, you can always vote in person using advance polls or on election day of October 24.  

    I have two daughters who will be voting in the provincial election for the first time. My husband and I have been dragging them to polling stations since they were babies and now they are looking forward to casting their vote. This year we'll all be walking to the mailbox together, taking selfies to mark the occasion, and celebrating with a pizza for dinner. Perhaps this might seem a little overly enthusiastic but now more than ever it's important for our collective voices to be heard. I hope you'll join me in this endeavour and celebrate the opportunity with your friends and family.

    Janet Morris-Reade

    Correction: In last week's blog, I incorrectly identified Cheryl Dill's organization. She's actually at Work BC Parksville/Port Alberni. My apologies to Cheryl.
  • October 09, 2020 10:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    At last week's member meeting, as with every session, there's always some useful information to take away. 

    We were talking about "pandefatigue" and the feeling of losing time and ability to remember things. Nate Toevs, from Neil Squire Society and WorkBC Assistive Technology Services, told us there are apps and assistive technologies to help us remember and directed us to the Job Accommodation Network website.  On the site, you'll find accommodations and assistive technology information for all types of challenges. If you are looking for your clients, for yourself, your staff, or just interested, I encourage you to check this out. Also, contact Nate if you need information about assistive tech.

    Another tip came from Cheryl Dill at the Career Centre in Parksville (a.k.a. WorkBC Comox Valley-Powell River). We were discussing how service providers were managing their client appointments for resource rooms and in-person services. Cheryl and others recommended Active Agenda. It is Ministry approved and was created by Adrien Gilmore, who has a history of working in employment services. The app can be tailored to your needs.  ASPECT has not used this app, but because it came up as a solution to a problem that our members are having, I'm sharing the information with you here. 

    Finally, after speaking to members and receiving responses to last week's CEO report, the line between work and home life is becoming blurred, and people are feeling the long-term stress of our pandemic world. This weekend I am challenging you to take the weekend off from all things related to work (if you can).

    On Tuesday, I'll send out a poll to find out how many of you rose to the challenge. Taking the challenge means disconnecting to anything related to work, living in the moment, and focusing on your self-care. Let's see how many of our Aspectives readers will take the weekend off from work. Happy wishes for a relaxing weekend!

    Janet Morris-Reade

  • October 02, 2020 10:01 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Are you suffering from Pandefatigue? It's the feeling you get when you are tired of making accommodations in your work and home life for pandemic-related issues. With the second wave already starting to hit Quebec and Ontario, we are given insight into what will happen for BC. I think that Pandefatigue is also responsible for my inability to mark time and a general distrust in my internal clock. Something that happened two weeks ago, can feel like it happened Monday and vice versa.

    From our weekly member meetings and the meetings I have with sector stakeholders, I know that I not alone!  Many are struggling with meeting deadlines and sometimes things take longer to accomplish than when we are not Pandefatigued.

    To this end, I have extended the early bird registration rate for the ASPECT Conference for another week. The new early-bird deadline will be extended through Thanksgiving weekend to midnight on October 13.  

    There are a few registration options available to you and your organization for the two-day virtual conference, which are as follows:

    We've had some good questions about the cost of this year's conference, which I have addressed below. Our events manager, Lya Iglasias, has just finished the Canadian Association of Supported Employment (CASE) virtual conference this week and I am astounded at how much more work is involved in presenting a virtual conference than an in-person one. I attended the CASE conference and it was excellent!  Well done to Annette Borrows and her team at CASE. The CASE conference also showed me first-hand what is possible and how exciting the ASPECT conference will be. I encourage you to invest in yourself and your organization by attending our event. Attend live to participate in the discussions or watch recorded sessions at your leisure.
    Janet Morris-Reade

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Telephone: 250-382-9675


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