In my world as a drowning prevention advocate, I think that one of my best traits is that I am genuine. I have devoted my whole life to a variety of aspects in the aquatic world. I think this lets me see things through a lease that is not typical of everyone else.
In my work career, I have managed almost every aquatic facility in the City of Ottawa. Over the years, I have gotten to know thousands of people, most of whom I developed great friendships with. Getting to understand where there are such differences in communities, has helped my become very adaptable to different team dynamics and seek and out and try and meet the particular needs of a community.
In my personal life, I have devoted much of my time to drowning prevention. Until the last 10 years, much of my efforts have not been intentional to get me to where I am today. I have moved through different positions within the Lifesaving Society. I have been both an official and an athlete, been Volunteer Chair, Aboriginal Chair, Area Chair for Ottawa and now currently Vice President of Public Education. I don’t think I could have been in this position unless I had accumulated all this other experience.
I think that being seen as genuine has also helped me gain the trust in the public and the media that when I come to speak, it is from the heart and as an expert in my field. I felt that I have a unique ability to connect people and make them feel good. I experienced this yesterday at a media event. We do this from my dentist’s back yard. The brief history here is that she bought a house with a pool and confided in me that she didn’t know how to swim. She, yet so accomplished in her professional life, was embarrassed that she did not know how to swim. She was terrified that she would not bye able to help her children if they got into trouble. I got her into some lessons and she is now a great swimmer. She and her family are now great supporters of the Ottawa Drowning Prevention Coalition and helps us to get our backyard safety messaging out every year.
I also think an attribute of mine that helps, is that I foster and nurture relationships. I’m not afraid to introduce myself to others and I nurture those connections through my Twitter and Facebook accounts. After the event yesterday, I made sure to reach out and personally thank the Deputy Mayor Taylor, Supervising Coroner Dr. Louise McNaughton-Filion, and CEO of Cheo, Alex Munter.
As I continue to develop my social media platforms, I find that I am getting more and more opportunities to speak and share my experiences with others. I have put in an abstract to speak at a conference about using social media to promote aquatics. I am lucky to have a co-speaker who does PR for the society!