From the beginning the community newspaper, which typically comes out once a week, serves a defined geographic area, in a clearly defined parochial way was the heart of the communities it served. This was the place ideas, issues and possible solutions landed and were then discussed by the wider community. The newspaper's role was to be that connection, the community supporter, champion and the place where systems and people were held accountable to the wider community.
The societal shift and adoption of social media has not just challenged us with the how of what we do, its also called into question the what and the why. This isn't a question of simply adapting to a new way of getting ink of paper. There is no visible path. While this is all very difficult for my company as we try and find a path that finds us a future, it's also been rejuvenating for me on a personal level. I have rekindled my love and commitment to change as a process, to finding a solution for my business and to where I live.
I grew up in Mahone Bay, and both my family and my business have always had a strong sense purpose around having a positive impact on where we live and work. Over the years I have been involved in many volunteer organizations and projects but none more exciting than those I am involved in today.
I am a councillor for the town and in this role I am championing a visioning process to re-imagine what local government could look like. I want all 5 municipal governments to think about the why and the how. If we started from scratch tomorrow, how what would local government look like? What services should it provide? How would citizens interact with this new government and be heard? Unlike my work life where my team can embrace change, if I can clearly make a case for need, in my government life everyone doesn't see a need for change. While trying to build the case for need is challenging alone additionally government systems are rule based and often attract people who thrive in that kind of environment. The people I am trying to influence are working in systems where they often can't directly effect changes. The systems and the rules we operate within are often determined by another level of government. This leads to systemic apathy. My goal is to find a way to imagine what we want and then work to make that happen and in the meantime encourage change by working around or with the rules as they exist but in a better way.
Finally I am also working with a small group of citizens who are championing fundamental change in this area. Just prior to the Back to Basics event we will bring together a diverse group of people to move change forward here. This is an incredibly exciting process but again we are dealing with a large resistant to change and a belief things are okay as they are.
I am excited to be attending Beyond the Basics, I need to become better at change personally and in my ability to help other people. I am hoping to learn from others experience. I need to practice my listening skills and to work on my ability to say what I mean in a clear way that isn't offensive or overbearing but can help me work with other people in a more positive way. I am sometimes too forthright and this honesty sometimes scares people away rather than bringing them in - so I need to work on honest communication. I am really looking forward to understanding how other people are working in some of these areas and to learn what I can and should be doing differently.
Please join me for a drink and something to nibble on immediately after the last session on Thursday May 15, 154 Hawthorn Rd , Mahone Bay
Come wind down, share a story and get to know one another a bit better. Hawthorn Hill is walkable from the Mahone Bay Centre if you're up for some exercise. Takes about 20 minutes - the big hill is on the way so it's all downhill for the walk home.