From Ideas to Action


BrendaMy consulting services are the culmination of my education and diverse experience working in the public, private and non-profit sectors, and at the community, national and international levels.  This story begins with mathematics and poetry, transitions to social change and health, and arrives at empowerment of organizations, groups and individuals.

My intense interest in theoretical mathematics during my undergraduate studies proved to be invaluable training in perseverance and innovative analysis with enduring influence on all of my subsequent endeavours.  To the surprise of my professors, my assignments often included a poem as a way to sustain my love of language and literature amidst my world of numbers.  In fact, writing emerged as the foundation for starting my professional career.

After graduating from York University with a first class Honours BA, I joined the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat in a policy analyst position where I was part of a team researching and writing about social development, health, economic and fairness issues.  The disbanding of the team three years later became an opportunity to pause for several months and contemplate my career direction primarily from the vantage point of paddling across lakes and portaging through forests.  I considered the next step of launching consulting services for small businesses to be a temporary phase, though seven years of assisting with financial and personnel management would pass before I returned to social change and health issues.

Tobacco use was just beginning to be considered a serious health concern when I  became the smoking cessation coordinator with the local Lung Association in Ottawa and had the privilege of helping many people progress to healthier behaviours and lifestyles,  as well as advising workplaces on smoke-free policies.  When a new National Clearinghouse on Tobacco and Health was established a year later, I was given the opportunity to become the founding director.  My experience with the National Clearinghouse was decisive in my professional development, not only in strengthening my leadership, management and practical skills but also in coming to understand that seemingly impossible social change could be achieved.

Six exhilarating years later, I left to join the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport where my progressive roles over a nine-year tenure included responsibility for personnel and administration, ISO quality certification, sport system development, and extensive international work on developing policies, standards and procedures.  The international setting — where different interpretations of an English word could momentarily bring everything to a halt — was a particularly rich experience in developing consensus building and conflict resolution skills.

I became immersed in community and organizational development on a consulting basis and as a volunteer when I moved to Campbell River on Vancouver Island.  Professionally, I managed the implementation of a multi-year community development initiative to give young children in my region the best start in life which included preparing a comprehensive needs assessment and action plan.  At the other end of the age continuum, I was responsible over a five year period for all aspects of Campbell River Family Services Society’s Better at Home program for seniors, including ongoing engagement and management of volunteers and contract service providers.  I also assisted the international sport community with developing strategies and resources to improve quality assurance of anti-doping in sport programs around the world.

My freelance work included research, writing and editing commissions on diverse topics and ranging from discussion papers and fact sheets to policy guidelines and “how to” manuals for a variety of clients.  As a volunteer, I was very active in a number of local coalitions working to improve opportunities and quality of life for the betterment of everyone in the community.

I have consolidated my knowledge and experience to provide customized assistance designed to benefit organizations, groups and individuals as summarized on my Services page.  In my ongoing desire to learn and grow professionally and personally, I recently completed a Master of Arts degree in Community Development at the University of Victoria with focuses on community development, organizational development and leadership studies.  I also continue to value and enjoy contributing to my community through my volunteer work.