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Lessons in Leadership



I have been in formal and non-formal leadership roles for most of my life. I have had amazing role models and mentors guiding me through life. I have also become both a role model and mentor to many over my career and personal life.

The term “Leadership” is often described as a role, and yet I see it more as a verb. I see examples of leadership in every context, from community activism, to activities within formal roles and I have come to learn that leadership is a set of activities or behaviors that demonstrate courage and integrity. In other words the alignment of what we say, measured against what we do (our behaviours).

Leaders “do things”.

It is about being the person you need to be, unapologetically; the world will test true leaders by constantly telling you what you’re not, in order to have you conform to the status quo. Over the years, I have had many up and coming young leaders ask me what makes someone a successful leader. I am not wiser than anyone else, however, I do have some generational wisdom based on my life experience I have shared.

Most recently, I was coaching a young leader at work who asked if there were specific words of wisdom to share to be successful in their work and private life. Here is what I came up with and actions that have guided me in my leadership journey:

Words of Experience

1. Your actions define your character, not your words

2. Treat people as they want to be treated (it means you have ask them)

3. Commitment is your strongest currency

4. Your next big break will be a result of how kindly you treated the dishwasher, maid and janitor

5. Be nice to everyone on the way up the ladder as they are the same people on the way down

6. Using email or text to convey a sensitive message is like a gazelle prancing past a pack of hyenas to avoid the longer route and hoping to get to the watering hole sooner (it won’t end well).

7. Love is a verb

8. When people talk about you (good, bad and other) it means you are relevant.

9. Expectations are premeditated resentments

10. Be kind to yourself, and compassionate to others

11. You are not listening unless you are willing to change your mind ~ Joe Nasmyth

This entry was posted in: Leadership


I was born in Prince Rupert, BC and I grew up in Port Coquitlam, BC within metro Vancouver. I was a non-conventional boy winning awards for choreography, dance, and led many school performance numbers before grade 6. I also competed as a figure skater and was notorious for doing cart wheels on the ice. I was bullied all through my school years and ended up going to 3 different High Schools and didn't graduate as a result. This was the era of no Gay Rights in Canada. I struggled with visibility, identity and self-esteem. I am one of the lucky survivors as most of my friends died of AIDS or committed suicide. I graduated as a Registered Nurse in 1993 and it was the proudest achievement in my life. It taught me that despite hardships, I could overcome insurmountable challenges. I am committed to making the world more compassionate and doing my part by celebrating LGBTQ contributions to the world. In 2014 I responded to a call to sponsor two Syrian Gay refugees to come to Canada. This launched the beginning of a national Charity called the Rainbow Foundation of Hope. I was the founding President. n my professional life, I am a Registered Nurse and a Healthcare Executive. I live with my husband and our dog Rocky in Penticton BC

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