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A Bit More About Me...

I adored my mom, but as is often the case, it took me a while to settle into a grown-up mother-daughter relationship. And that really happened only in the last decade of her life. After my divorce, I gave up my career in radio journalism and moved from Toronto to Ottawa. I knew I needed help with my sons, who were in grades 2 and 3 when we arrived here. And I wanted to give them the stability they’d lacked in the early years of their lives.

We spent the next decade together, my parents helping with after-school care and supporting me as I grew my business – first strategic communications and consulting, then coaching. Mom and Dad took the kids every Sunday so I could return to rowing, a passion of mine that helped me rebuild both my body and my soul. As I look back now, I see those years as such an incredible gift. I only wish I realized that more at the time.

After my mother died unexpectedly in 2015, my family became reconnected to our Indigenous roots in the far northern part of Ontario. I’d always known my mom was partly raised in the James Bay area, but I never really gave it much thought. It turns out that my mom’s family is a mix of Scottish people, and Cree people. In fact, my great grandmother attended Indian Residential School and spoke both Cree (two dialects) and Ojibway. Incredible.

There’s a lot I don’t know about my mother’s family, but these things feel important to me now.

In reconnecting with my mother’s people, the issue of Indigenous Reconciliation has taken root in my heart and I’ve spent a lot of time wondering what reconciliation means to me. After a lot of thought, I developed this Reconciliation Statement as part of my presence here and it guides me in life and in my business.

  • I acknowledge I live on the unceded territory of the Anishnabe people, here in Ottawa, Canada.

  • I resolve to be a good custodian of this place, and honour the land.

  • I do this by my behaviour: appreciating nature; working with honour and integrity through the practice of “grounded kindness" in how I work with my clients; growing food in my garden and harvesting food with honour, and sharing the harvest with people and animals around me. (The rabbits love the lettuce and kale, and the squirrels are always trying to poach the tomatoes and peppers I grow in the back deck.)

  • I also resolve to learn about our collective past, including my own heritage, so it informs me as I live here in Canada on what the Indigenous People call “Turtle Island.”

This is my mom, my sister (in the middle), and me, in 2007.

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