I used to say, ‘You know, they've taken my voice away’, but it's not that, I gave it away. And someone had pointed that out to me and I went, oh, you're right.
- Betty Lepps
In this episode
Betty Lepps has felt the impact of using her voice and speaking up for herself and encourages others to do the same.
In our final episode of the season, Betty, the new director of urban relationships at the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation, discusses how her confidence and resiliency have been challenged throughout her career, and shares her advice for young women about how powerful their voices are.
Carol Shier, a learning practitioner, later joins us to talk about strategies for building and projecting confidence and resiliency, including being vulnerable and having gratitude. .
Elizabeth (Betty) Lepps, Dip SW, MA Leadership, joins us from BC Housing as the regional director of supportive housing/shelters where she was instrumental in co-leading the housing of over 280 folks from Strathcona Park in partnership with Parks and Recreation and ACCS staff.
Effectively working with over 100 programs and 50+ non-profits that provide services to the most vulnerable, equity denied folks in the Vancouver Coastal area, Betty was sought out for a keynote presentation on “Human Rights and Encampments” at the BC Non-Profit Housing Association. Her work on various committees towards systemic change with vulnerable populations is highly lauded at the municipal, ministerial, community, and national levels and we are excited for her to bring this lens to our already contemplative assessment of our systems at the Park Board. Betty worked with many Indigenous communities across Canada and the USA to provide family/community-based training in collaboration with Elders, Knowledge Keepers, and key community members to ensure that traditions were upheld and their families protected. She was also instrumental in developing the first restorative justice court in Calgary.
Betty earned her Master of Arts in Leadership from Royal Roads University and has formal education in childcare leadership (Mount Royal University), social work (Mount Royal College) and early childhood education (Mount Royal College). Further to her impressive formal education, Betty is a published author “Diversifying Diversity”, Part 2, Foundation Magazine and participated in the “Critical Thinking and Academic Writing” program at Royal Roads University. Betty was hand-selected by research professor, lecturer, author, and podcast host Brené Brown as one of only 320 people globally accepted to her facilitator-training program. Betty has developed, delivered and facilitated hundreds of training programs throughout her career with a solid understanding and base of harm reduction, trauma-informed approaches in her work. She has experience working on the ground and in the boardroom. Betty brings a plethora of experience in policy development, and leadership to our team, combined with a compassionate approach to working with community.
Betty enjoys time walking with her wife and dog, playing games, and gathering with family and friends when not travelling around the world! She loves music and attends music festivals and has begun to learn to play the Djembe and the Cajon drums. Always up for a drumming circle!
Carol Shier, a learning practitioner on the Learning and Strategic Initiatives team within Human Resource Services, has worked for the City of Vancouver since 2002. During this time, she has enjoyed various roles including the temporary agency coordinator; Human Resource consultant for Corporate Projects; and Human Resource consultant for Financial Services. Prior to working for the City, Carol worked for General Motors Acceptance Corporation of Canada, Limited for 14 years in various roles.
Carol holds a Bachelor of General Studies degree from Open University and a Certificate in Human Resource Management, with distinction, from British Columbia Institute of Technology. Carol has been an Insights accredited facilitator since 2011.
Besides learning, Carol’s other passions include: reading, music, cooking, eating, knitting, gardening, backpacking, hiking, and spending quality time connecting with family and friends.
At the City, Carol facilitates/co-facilitates these workshops:
- Building Resilience
- Exploring Becoming a City Supervisor: Expectations, Conversations and Planning
- Hosting Virtual Meetings 101
- Hosting Virtual Meetings 201
- Insights Discovery
- Insights Team Connections
- New Employee Orientation
- Supervisory Skills: Fundamental Tools and Technique
- Thriving in Times of Change
Carla Grimann: This season, we've talked about self-advocacy, setting boundaries, micro aggressions, sexism, caregiving and parenting while all trying to navigate the workplace and reach for leadership. On today's show, we're going to be chatting about confidence and resiliency, strategies that we can use to build our confidence and keep filling our resiliency cup.
This is Talk It Forward, brought to you by the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation with support from the City of Vancouver and I'm your host, Carla Grimann. On today's show, we'll be chatting with Carol Shier from the City Learning Centre and we'll also be talking with Betty Lepps. They'll both be sharing with us how they've had challenges with confidence and resiliency in their work careers. And our first guest today is Betty Lepps. Betty is the Director of Urban Relationships for the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation. Betty has more than 35 years of working in community development and she developed the first restorative justice court in Calgary. Betty, thank you so much for coming to the show and as I know it, you are very new to the Vancouver Park Board and also in a new position. Can you tell us a little bit more about your position? And I think you've been here for less than two weeks now.
Betty Lepps: Today marks the end of two weeks.
Carla Grimann: Well done. You survived.
Betty Lepps: Yes, I did. Oh, what to say about this unique position. I think, first of all, you know, Donnie in the Park Board had been creative in how we respond to people sheltering in the parks, but also how to make all the parks and outdoor spaces available for everyone, so there's no one left out. And so, as this area is going to be developing, one of the key things that we're going to be looking at is how do we do this as a full community? How do we make this everyone's business, not just one systems business, because everyone needs to be enjoying the outdoor space and feeling safe and having access, no matter how old you are, how young you are, what demographic you fit in, and being in Vancouver, especially urban areas, is that a lot of people see this as an extension of their home.
Carla Grimann: Yeah, it sounds like a big job with a lot of challenges, and I'm wondering if are you concerned about as you navigate through this new challenging role and having to work with all of these different people in the organization, but also across the communities are you worried about confidence or resiliency as you navigate through this?
Betty Lepps: Always because there's always going to be someone who's going to challenge you on something, and that's usually based out of fear. We see, and we experience our lives through our lived experiences. So sometimes, the reaction is out of fear. So how do we switch that to have people trust us and to help people understand that we're working with them to provide the best space possible? But confidence and resiliency, absolutely, because I've been, confidence, has taken me a long time, and it's still in play with all my intersectionality’s, it's important that people recognize that my lived experience has not been a whole lot about trust as well. So confidence in myself was quite reduced, particularly in, you know, when I first started my career, but resiliency is really about learning and understanding myself. And so I continue to do that daily, like continue to challenge myself daily and as I do that, I see my resilience and confidence growing.
Carla Grimann: But how do we, how have you filled up your confidence cup throughout your career?
Betty Lepps: Oh, my, by having great leaders, great people around me that give me that feedback, that also provides me with authentic observations that I'm sometimes not able to sit and listen to at the moment. But then come back and say, Hey, let's have this conversation again. One of the first things when I became a leader in Calgary, one of the first things that happened is one of my team members called the Manager as well as the Director and said that I wasn't being supportive at all. And I never even knew if I wanted to be a leader, I just like I'm just happy to be in community development and hanging out with the youth and the families, and but the universe put me in that direction, so that's where I went. But my first experience was not a good one. This individual accused me of not listening to her, not being compassionate, and not being sensitive. And it goes against all those values that I want to be, and that I was hoping that I was doing. So it hit me really hard and I actually was very upset in my office and, and having tears, and the CEO came by, and he said, You can do this, this feels tough right now. But one thing you'll learn as people go through their own things, and as a leader, it's how do you best support them and not take it personally?
Carla Grimann: Do you have any recommendations for, say, someone who, or an employee who is having a low confident moment but they don't have that great leader supporting them? Because that, unfortunately, happens sometimes, where an employee has received feedback, it isn't very positive and they don't have that support from a leader; how can that individual, how can that employee fill up their confidence cup after having, you know, this low self-esteem moment?
Betty Lepps: I think they have to take it back and sit with it for a while and figure out for themselves what their next steps are. And that may be building that confident enough to go to your leader and say, Whoa, when you said that, this is what made me feel like this. And I always say, practice, practice, practice, practice with those that you love, those that you trust, and say, What is this sound like? You know, I felt this way but it's, I don't know, maybe it wasn't, you know, intentional. So connecting with those that you're close to and that you trust, and then talk about it, and then approach the situation. And really be authentic about it. Because one of the things, you know, Brene Brown speaks about a lot is boundaries, but also the stories we make up in our heads. So sometimes, we're reacting to something that really is a story we've made up and what we need to do is clarify that story. And once we get the clarification, we go, Oh, okay. It was totally not what I thought but I took it that way. As I said before, Carla, it's really because of our own lived experiences.
Carla Grimann: Speaking of lived experiences, you mentioned Brene. Brown, I hear that you actually got chosen to take her training. Can you tell me more about that training? Can you share it with us?
Betty Lepps: Oh, I can share with you it was nerve-wracking. It was like writing my master's thesis all over again. Because everybody, she was only doing four training for her Dare to Lead book when it first came out and she was the one conducting the training. And she said I'm only going to do four, she doesn't know if she would train other trainers or what's going to happen from there. But this was her start so you had to fill out an application and we talked about confidence and resilience. I was like, No, there's no way that I'm going to be accepted to this because everyone around the world will want to go. Everyone's going to want to be trained by Brene and see her and meet her and watch her style.
Carla Grimann: A lot of competition to get into that course.
Betty Lepps: A lot of competition from all over the world. So I wrote the application, which was pages and pages. And I got, you to go ahead and do it from my partner, yes, this is going to be really good. And it doesn't matter what the outcome is. We were talking about failure before; it doesn't mean it's a failure. It means ‘Okay, so what do you want to do next?’ And so I put in the application and then, about a month later, I got the acceptance letter, and I got to choose which time I was going to go to Texas. And I was excited to go to Texas but more excited to meet Brene and hear from her directly about how she creates safe spaces for people to learn boundaries. And she's a great boundary setter herself. And then I chose November so I went. I was the last cohort that went through. And it was amazing. There were about 100 people per cohort. And I met people from Poland and Australia and the US and Canada all over the world. It was amazing to be surrounded by people learning the same language.
Carla Grimann: Nice. You mentioned learning in there, and kind of we met very briefly a few days ago when I did a presentation to the senior leadership team. And most of the people that I have interviewed on this podcast I've met them throughout my career. So I have to admit I did a little bit of snooping before before this interview and is it okay if I read to you a little snippet about what one of your previous colleagues said about you?
Betty Lepps: Yes, absolutely.
Carla Grimann: Okay. So it says, ‘Betty is the epitome of strength, resilience and perseverance. I have seen her work through, and overcome extraordinary challenges with calm and grace. It was a joy to work with and learn from Betty.’ So I'm looking forward to learning from you and I'm wondering, what do you think the rest of the senior leadership team and the Park Board and the City of Vancouver can learn from you throughout your career here?
Betty Lepps: Oh, that brought up emotions. Carla. I know who that is. That's wonderful. What my hope is, is that with my community development lens, and the humanity of how we treat people, the diversity, the inclusion, the colonialism, looking at all of that, my hope is to bring that how we look at people, how we address people, how we are part of that system, because everybody we touch touches us back. So you walk into a park, or you walk into a rec center. If you're going to work out, if you're doing a walk, someone walks by you, you're going to impact their day. We're all connected at some level and so, my hope is to be able to share what I've experienced in the last 35 years. Sorry, I was when I was doing a resume; someone said don't put 35 plus years in age.
Carla Grimann: Why do you think they said that?
Betty Lepps: I think they figured people think you're too old to start anything.
Carla Grimann: Oh no, that brings experience to the table.
Betty Lepps: And that's exactly what I hope to bring the experience. But I also hope to learn and I'm doing that already in two weeks; what I'm learning from everyone is remarkable, and how that is going to be connected to the work that I do.
Carla Grimann: And so this, this 35 years of experience, I'm sure you have a lot of tools in your toolkit; how do you think we can support and give more resilience to people of marginalized communities?
Betty Lepps: Listen, listen to them, listen to what they have to say. Because their story is important to where they are today. And if we don't listen, and if they don't feel heard, we don't build the trust, where we can share with them, opportunities for them, if they wish those opportunities for their well being. But we can't come in with our own preconceived notions of what each individual wants, it's going to be different for everyone. So the systems in play in the last years, I mean, I've seen them change and grow, which is fantastic. But it's still built around a group, it's still built around, you have to have this you have to have that all the same sort of characteristics, and we're not the same. So before we implement different ideas or systems on to someone else, we really need to listen to their story first.
Carla Grimann: Yeah. I understand you have two nieces. They're quite young. What advice have you given to them as they start developing their careers and what advice would you give to other young women that are starting to develop in their careers when they are feeling, you know, lacking confidence and resiliency?
Betty Lepps: Wow. They're amazing young women. For me, it's about listening to them again but also sharing with them my reality and what's happened. So they understand that, and they're able to know how important their voices are. That, what I've learned in the last probably 10-15 years; I used to say they've taken my voice away. But it's not that, I gave it away. And someone had pointed that out to me, and I went, Oh, you're right. Because of who I am and what my life experience has been. I gave it away. So I said, you know, I tell them, don't give it away. Use your voice because it's going to impact more than you think.
Carla Grimann: You mentioned your reality. What is your reality?
Betty Lepps: What is my reality?
Carla Grimann: And you said that at one point, you had your voice taken away? How did it get taken away? And how did that make you feel?
Betty Lepps: Well, I think that's what I learned from that, that it wasn't taken away. I gave it away. Being a black woman, a lesbian black woman with all the intersectionality’s, I was afraid, I was afraid to speak up because maybe I wouldn't be heard. Maybe they won't take my ideas. Maybe it'll be silly. So really, how I got through those times once I kept saying, they're taking my voice away, but when I was talking to someone, they had said to me, or are you giving it away? And that's what I mean about communication and getting resilience and confidence. It takes those people to say those things. And then I went introspectively and went, Oh, my god, yeah, I am based on my reality at the time, I didn't think my voice was important. So what do I have to give? Today? It's very different.
Carla Grimann: Yeah. Was there a shift when sort of a light bulb went off and said, hey, you know what, my voice is important? What changed?
Betty Lepps: I think the first time that I said something and decided to, okay, I'm sitting in a boardroom, and everyone in the boardroom was white and I had a thought, and I put it out on the table, and people said, Oh, that's great. How do you see us moving that forward? And I was, like, stuck, because I was like, Oh, my God, I don't even know. I didn't think that far. I just wanted to put it out there and see what reaction and not that we always need that positive reaction. But just being able to ground myself, and one of the things I do is put my feet solid on the ground if I don't feel grounded. And then I asked my question, and I made a statement, and it was received really well. And again, that's where I thought; this is the stories I make up in my head, which I never clarified. So it's, it's again, you know, we need to clarify those stories before we start saying my life, you know, I don't have the confidence to do any of this.
Carla Grimann: You have just put out those ideas and know that even if your idea isn't accepted, it might spur someone else to have an idea to grow upon that original idea. And at that board table, you can have that conversation and grow from there.
Betty Lepps: Absolutely.
Carla Grimann: So Betty I was wondering, what advice would you have for someone? Or what do you do to stay positive as we're going through this pandemic? And, you know, this heavy workload and all of this change?
Betty Lepps: Wow, it's been tough and I think it's been tough for many people and I know people around me, mental health has decreased, just the ability to stay positive. And think, what's next has been difficult for many, including myself. I moved from Calgary to Vancouver in the middle of the pandemic; I think the third wave and so it really is about building that support system that you need and ensuring that you continue, and I know this, I've said this so many times, but the conversation is so critical. Whether you're feeling great, whether you're not feeling great and so, for me, it's really to surround myself with people and good food that fill me up.
Carla Grimann: What's your food?
Betty Lepps: Oh, my goodness. Well, I was born in Guyana, and my brother lives in Poco. And he had a food truck for a while. And he does these wings that are made out of Casreep that are just to die for. So that's my favorite food.
Carla Grimann: Nice. And so Okay, so you're at work, and there are no food trucks around. Let's get back to the work thing. What do you do to stay positive?
Betty Lepps: I get to step outside; I get to walk around, and I get to go sit on a bench. I get to call my wife and say how's your day? And maybe say, mine is going like, the day is just flying by, and I have so much to do and hear her voice say, Okay, do what you can. And I got Okay, that's the permission needed. But doing all those things and looking at the birds, you know, just spending time with bringing my blood pressure down. And my, you know, the anxiety that may be coming because of something that's due or I'm right now I'm in the learning mode, right? And it feels like there's so much learning. So it's about taking a step back and going okay; what do I need to do now? What do I need to do for today?
Carla Grimann: Have you ever been vulnerable at work? And I'm asking this because quite often, when women are in a leadership position, there's been this assumption that to be a leader, you have to be strong and you have to put on this tough face, and you can't cry at work and I think that’s shifting; I hope that is shifting and showing vulnerability at work is okay now. Have you ever had one of those moments and how did that make you feel? And how did those around you react?
Betty Lepps: Yes, I've had several of those moments. Because when you talk about confidence, and I'd say it's probably the last ten years, I really stepped into my confidence. You know, in the story I shared earlier, I cried because those weren’t my values and I couldn't believe someone was saying that. And I went, I was sitting with the Director of sitting with the Manager, and myself and it just took me over emotionally and I didn't know what to do; I couldn't even speak and everybody responded; I calmed down, then I just listened and then I went back to my office. And that's when the CEO came and said, You did great; this is not about you. This is what can happen and when you lead, this is what, you know, sometimes it comes on top of you. And it's their experience. And so, yes, and I've been vulnerable after that as well. But it's been tough because I didn't always have the confidence and I always felt that you mentioned women, and I felt that black women for sure couldn't be vulnerable. And there was a stereotype that black women get crazed when they are vulnerable. And so just really not wanting to be that and really not wanting to show people to so they can say you see, it's all right. That is true. And so I did for years hold back that vulnerability and realized no, being vulnerable is good. It's a part of your authentic self; it's a part of who you are. And sometimes you're gonna be emotional, happy or sad or mad; there's going to be emotions; we all have emotions in life but, it's our surroundings that also build that. So the culture around your work, the culture around your team, if you are supportive of that vulnerability, it will breed vulnerability.
Carla Grimann: I'm so glad that you had that support and you were in a safe place where you could do that. What if a young woman isn't in a safe place where they can express that vulnerability?
Betty Lepps: She needs to leave and go to a safe place. She needs to know where her safe place is, if it's a place at work if it's a place outside, she just needs to take care of herself. And if your leader is an authentic leader, they'll understand that you were in a situation, whether it was a meeting, whether it was, you know, a conversation where you just had to say I need to leave or you just had to leave to take care of yourself, because I think that's one thing that women can tend to not do. We're compassionate to so many other people but we're less compassionate to ourselves and let it just be without thinking that there's going to be a consequence.
Carla Grimann: I think that it's so important for women to recognize in themselves. Did you have any final thoughts or strategies that you have used in your career on how to build confidence and resiliency that you would like to share with our listeners before we say goodbye?
Betty Lepps: I think to continue to challenge yourself, continue to be curious about your and how you respond to things and know who you are authentically, and be able to address that for yourself. Not for anybody else but for yourself. Know what your values are, know where you stand, but also be open to hearing others, hearing what they're doing, hearing their story, all of those pieces. Because with that, confidence doesn't come with just success, success, success. It comes with that failure and introspection, and feedback, and then moving on and being able to say, this is it. This is who I am, and being able to stand for that but also being able to listen and be flexible to hear others' opinions.
Carla Grimann: Thank you for sharing your thoughts on values and confidence, and resiliency with us, Betty. I'm really looking forward to working with you more here at the Vancouver Park Board.
Betty Lepps: Thank you, Carla. It was brilliant. It just filled up my cup.
Carla Grimann: I'm glad. This is Talk It Forward, brought to you by the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation with support from the City of Vancouver, and I'm your host Carla Grimann. On today's show we're talking about confidence and resiliency. Next, we'll be talking with Carol Shier, about how to build confidence about limiting beliefs and being vulnerable at work. Carol leads workshops on building resiliency at the City Learning Center here at the City of Vancouver. She has lots to say about being vulnerable at work, building confidence and different strategies on how to build resiliency. Thank you, everyone. Thank you for joining us to Talk It forward and I'm really excited to welcome our guest, Carol Shier from City Learn. Carol, why don't you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about what you do in the City of Vancouver?
Carol Shier: Oh, thank you for having me, Carla. My name is Carol Shier. I'm a quote-unquote Learning Practitioner at the City of Vancouver and I work in the City Learn Center, which is found in the sub-ground of our heritage building at City Hall and what I do here is a host of things; I do training. So I do courses; I also kind of oversee the center and the running of the center and I also do a lot of providing advice to folks about what training they should take in order to meet their own development needs. And I'm kind of the point person for a lot of folks within the organization when they just have general kind of training and learning development type questions. So I'm kind of the go-to person.
Carla Grimann: It sounds like a really fulfilling job that you have and I remember many, many years ago, it is way before the pandemic, we were doing in-person learning. And I can't remember the name of the course. I think it was surrounded around going for a job interview or building confidence in interviews, something along those lines. And I remember you had told the class, you know, before you go into the interview, pretend you have won a race, or you've played a sport, and your team won, and you know how they raise their arms, you know, when they're the champions, or they're victorious, and they put their arms up, and they're like, Yeah, I won. And you said to do that before going into an interview? Can you tell me why?
Carol Shier: Okay, so that’s based on some research that had been done; this was probably dating back to around 2017. Carla, there's a woman by the name of Amy Cuddy, and she's a psychologist, and she had done some research around Power Poses. And basically that if we did certain things like if you think about the Wonder Woman pose, where you're actually standing with your feet slightly apart, your hands on your hips, or if you have run a race, or you feel like you've made a victory, like when you put your arms over your head, that's kind of the victory pose. And those are all things that are kind of positions of power. So if we do those things, prior to going into a situation, just quietly, before we go into a room where you might be having to do a bit of a presentation, it can kind of infuse you with that feeling of confidence. It's kind of interesting because she actually did research and then what happened was that those results couldn't be replicated by another party. So there has been a bit of dispute about whether or not it is a true phenomenon based on science. But I do find that it's not dissimilar to, I use the metaphor of if you're going out for a hike, and you happen to encounter a bear, one of the worst things for you to do is to run away from a bear because they'll go Oh, my goodness. But if you make yourself large, what happens is the bear realizes that you're not afraid, that you're not a threat. And then you're supposed to basically make yourself large, make noise, and then back away slowly so that you're not giving the feeling that you're not confident in their presence. And often, that will be enough so that you don't encounter a bad encounter with a bear. So it's not dissimilar using a BC type bear metaphor, is that we can actually, Power Poses actually can make you feel more confident.
Carla Grimann: Have you ever run into a bear and tried this out yourself?
Carol Shier: You know, it's interesting, we have run into bears. We had an encounter with a grizzly and three cubs when we were in Assiniboine Provincial Park many, many years ago. What we did was it was my daughter who was the first to encounter it, we were in a line she stopped, and she said there's a bear. And my husband said okay, and my son wanted to take a picture. I said no bloody way. And then what we did was we sang the bear song to the bear. ‘The other day, I met a bear, a great big bear away out there.’ Mom saw that we weren't a threat. She very nicely led her cubs off into the off-the trail and up into the woods. My husband said to take the kids and go. And I said I love you. Because I wasn't sure if that was the last time I would see my husband again. And we had it; it was actually an okay encounter. But this was a bear who was actually accustomed to seeing quite a few people in that setting because it was a provincial park. So, she behaved nicely, and we were okay.
Carla Grimann: I'm glad everything turned out. Could to tell me more about limiting beliefs; what are they? And how can we combat them?
Carol Shier: Limiting beliefs sound like I'm not good enough. I can't, I won't, rather than I am. Or I can do that. There's the metaphor you can also use of almost like an anchor that can be holding you down or holding you back. So what is it that's holding you back, and often it's your own thoughts? So it's noticing those and turning them around, and actually leaning into the discomfort of what can be a limiting belief, allowing yourself to try it and be okay with whatever it is that could be new. And one of the most powerful ways that we can grow is by making a mistake and learning from it. And it's being comfortable with making a mistake, and actually saying, Oh, I've made an error, being accountable and saying, Okay, I've done that, and then kind of assessing it saying, Okay, what have I learned from that? And what can I do so I don't make that same mistake again and move forward. None of us are perfect. And that's the other thing is if we can let go of that and accept ourselves as we are, that we're whole and complete, because we are enough, and really believing that, I think that can help people move forward.
Carla Grimann: Yeah, I've read, and I've heard quite often that when there's a job posting, a man will have, say, only 60% of the qualifications, but they'll still apply for the job. A woman will not apply for the position until they have like 100% of the qualifications listed on that job posting. And they say that it is somewhat centered around confidence and self-esteem. I'm wondering, what would you recommend to the woman out there that you know who sees these job postings? Or have low self-esteem? How can they fill up that cup so that they don't have these limiting beliefs?
Carol Shier: And I would also say it's probably fear as well that would prevent a person from applying. So that's interesting. I'm just thinking about that. So I would have a hesitation applying for a job in which I didn't have all the qualifications. If I only had 60% of the qualifications, I would look at the other 40% and say, Okay, how quickly would I be able to, are those qualifications that are hard and fast, are the ones that I could quickly learn on the job, or are ones that I can bring that are transferable in some other way from something else that I've done, and then I would still put myself forward. And the only thing is that unless you put yourself out there, and unless you take the chance, you don't even know. So you could be passing up on an opportunity that could be perfect for you without even realizing it because you haven't actually stepped beyond that place of saying, well, if I'm not 100% qualified, I'm not the right person for the job.
Carla Grimann: I have a friend who does a lot of journal writing, and she's made the recommendation to write a brag sheet. This individual went through a lot of like going through job interviews, and constantly being turned down can lower your self-esteem. And you know, you get into that cycle of failure, right and then it turns into fear and lack of confidence. So her recommendation was to create a brag sheet. There's nothing wrong with creating a brag sheet and whenever you get into those moments of feeling down on yourself, your self-esteem, lowering, you know, pull out that brag sheet and be proud of your accomplishments, celebrate it.
Carol Shier: I actually have a file folder, Carla, of emails and things that people have sent to me when I've done a really good job and they've given me that feedback. And if I have moments where I'm feeling maybe a little bit low, I actually just opened my drawer, and I pulled it out, and I grabbed my file.
Carla Grimann: That's awesome, very thick, well done!
Carol Shier: And then I just pull one sheet out, and I read it, and I go, Okay, so that's a great idea. The other thing is from a resilience standpoint, if you actually take time each day, to think about gratitude, or three, three things you're grateful for, and one positive experience what it actually helps us to do is to condition ourselves because, in human beings, we have this thing called a negativity bias. But what it helps us do is to overcome that negativity bias, and then we start to scan the landscape for all these things that are positive. So then, if we are feeling a bit low, or we feel that we've maybe not done something as well, we see all of the stuff around us. That is so good and what we can be grateful for. And also really important now in light of what's going on in the world; such a complex, chaotic time, but there are so many simple things like the magnolia tree outside of the City Learn right now. You know, I look at that, and there is beauty amongst the chaos and amongst all of the stuff that is not so bright these days.
Carla Grimann: Carol, do you have any examples of being vulnerable at work? I think some people interpret showing vulnerability at work as weak or lack of confidence. And I'm wondering if you could talk more about that, like, have you ever cried at work or seen a colleague cry at work?
Carol Shier: I have cried at work and I have seen colleagues cry at work. But I'm gonna take you back to an example that came, I was doing a Supervisory Skills class, and we had 20 folks in the classroom and we were talking about having difficult conversations and kind of a framework around how to have those conversations. And a person, one of the supervisors, they're brought up, well, what do you do if somebody cries during one of these conversations? How do you handle it? And one of the folks piped up and said, Oh, kind of hate it. When somebody cries in a meeting, I just, I can't stand it. And another person said, Oh, my goodness, but crying is magical. And it's what, and we had this incredible conversation and it was interesting because the person who brought up the fact that they were uncomfortable with tears was a man, yet there were other men in the room who did pipe up and talked about how they felt honoured if somebody felt safe enough to be able to be vulnerable. And have a conversation that could have led to tears, and how they could actually build trust if somebody was able to show that type of vulnerability. The other thing, too is that I actually believe we're all human beings, regardless of , and tears aren't meant for just kids. And for all of us, there will be times when we will be moved to tears, or whether it gets an experience where we hear somebody else's story or we are impacted at such an emotional level, it is better to let those tears out than to suppress them. Because if we suppress something, it becomes a possibility of leading to things like depression, it is better to let it out. So I definitely, I mean, I work in a team where we're vulnerable enough that that can happen. And I also, in this quarter, we're down here at City Learn. There's another team where all people here, I'm sure at some point or other; we have shared tears, life events, people, people die, people that are close to you. And it's not one of those things that and they care. So they'll bring that up. And of course, you're gonna have tears around that and we're okay with that. It's only human, don't you think?
Carla Grimann: It is only human. And I am so thankful that you shared that story, and how that it was, you know, a man that brought that up and that the other men in the room were able to be thankful for that.
Carol Shier: Yes. And I think it gave the person who was uncomfortable the opportunity to sit in that discomfort and become more comfortable with that's a possibility. I mean, how can we not, as we move through life, not experience tears?
Carla Grimann: Yeah. Have you noticed a shift between the genders with that vulnerability in your career?
Carol Shier: I mean, Brene Brown has done so much work around that as well. And it's become much more of a conversation that I do think that men are more comfortable being more vulnerable. But I think it all depends on especially about as you get to know someone. But I was really surprised in that workshop, which was quite a few years ago now, that the men were able to speak up and say, it's totally okay. So I think, yes, I think I have seen a shift, especially in the world that we're living in. And the fact that people have always been experiencing the pandemic in a different way. People are much more open to talking about that. Because we all want to know what our experiences are, we compare them, and we're looking for coping mechanisms if we can get them from someone else. So I do find, I've had some pretty open conversations over the course of the last six months since I've actively been at work with people that I would have never had before prior to the pandemic. I think the pandemic has done a lot for vulnerability.
Carla Grimann: It definitely has. I think you're right.
Carol Shier: Not so much gender. I think it's the pandemic.
Carla Grimann: Yeah. And truth. I, I've cried twice this week while at work. And one was a presentation I did to the park board, senior leadership team. I was talking about my journey to creating this podcast, and I shared a moment with them where I was very low, and I thought that this podcast would not come to fruition. And it was a really emotional point in the story for me,and I started crying. And the response from the senior leadership team was amazing and it made me feel very safe. And yes, it allowed me to be my authentic self when telling the story, and I was not ashamed to share my tears with them.
Carol Shier: Well, you know, something that's interesting, because I think that says a lot for that senior leadership team too, as well, because you probably have had that sense of a safe place. So if we can all create that for the people that were around, and I would hope that people would do that with me, but I guess it comes around, it's around trust and knowing that you can be vulnerable.
Carla Grimann: Yeah. Thank you so much for, you know, popping on and chatting with us about confidence and real resiliency and sharing with us your bear story. I'm glad you all survived.
Carol Shier: Me, too. We've had a nice little life since then.
Carla Grimann: Yes. Thank you so much, and have a great day.
Carol Shier: Thank you, Carla.
Carla Grimann: This has been Talk It Forward, brought to you by the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation, with support from the City of Vancouver. Thank you for joining us on Season One of the show. I hope you learned a lot by listening through all the episodes. If you liked what you heard, please share it and please give us a review. It has been an amazing experience and an amazing journey. Sharing these podcasts with you and sharing with you what women in leadership is all about, the barriers we face and how we're overcoming them and the support that we are receiving. If you'd like to hear more about what the City of Vancouver is doing to support women in the workplace and women in leadership, please visit vancouver.ca/womensequity. Thank you so much for joining us on this journey, and we hope to chat with you again soon.