Musing with Majumder

On Sunday evening I stood in the stage left wing at Keyano Theatre watching comedian Shaun Majumder bring the sold out house to its knees with laughter.

"OK, what am I going to talk about?" he asked in the green room just moments earlier, realizing that the intermission was rapidly coming to close.  "I never completely plan what I'm gonna say.  I need to go get my head on."

He turned around and went to find a quiet spot to plot the hilarity that would follow.  He has a gift, and he uses it well.

The concert was part of a benefit tour raising money for BSM Manor, a social profit enterprise designed to provide economic stimuli for the Burlington - Smith's Harbour - Middle Arm area of Newfoundland and Labrador.  They had raised about $18,000 at the previous stop in Tumbler Ridge, BC.  As the show started, they were anticipating over $25,000 being raised in Fort McMurray.

We sat at The Pantry the following day reflecting on the event's success, and how it might grow into an annual fundraiser for BSM Manor.  Shaun, Graham, Nigel and I talked about a lot of different ideas, but what resonated loudest for me was the "compelling why".

For Shaun, the "why" is rooted in a deep and profound love of place and people.  He reached into his bag, brought out his iPad and began flipping through pictures from Burlington.  Gorgeous portraits, stunning landscapes, and snaps of local buildings quickly communicated his love for this community and area.  Let me be clear though, it wasn't just the pictures that told the story.  It was his words, body language, and eye contact that combined with the images to communicate his passion, the "compelling why" behind the drive to raise funds for BSM Manor.

"It's all about the narrative," he said.

"I completely agree," I replied, frantically flipping through my notebook to find something.

"Look at what Theresa has done with McMurray Musings," he said.  "It's amazing."

His eyes lit up as I turned the pages of my mind-map-ladened notebook landing on the one with the flower metaphor.

"The flower represents all the great things we do as organizations and as individuals - the colour, texture, fragrance - but the stories are the stem and roots.  Without the stories, the flower will never reach its full potential."

"Looking at it slightly differently, the roots are the compelling why," said Shaun.  "That's where we need to start, not with the details (the flower)."

We discovered that we use a common language, one that leverages everything at our disposal to tell stories that matter.

In a week resplendent with amazing people and conversations, the 45-minutes spent musing with Majumder was as good as it gets.


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