Big decision, new discoveries

After careful thought and consideration, inspired by a crystal clear light bulb moment, I have decided to set a date for my retirement from The United Way of Fort McMurray. I will begin my next chapter in about six months, at the end of the 2017 Community Campaign.  I'm calling it a "retirement"because I'm not leaving to go and work somewhere else.  Instead, I've decided to embark on a yearlong experiment - a creative sabbatical if you will - to explore my creative and philanthropic pursuits full-time.

The evolution of my painting has played a big part in this decision.  I have a long list of clients waiting for commissions to be done.  Being able to paint every day will allow me to put a big dent in that pile.  It will also give me the flexibility to do certain creative pursuits that I've had to put aside because all of my free time is currently being absorbed by painting.  For example, I might be in a position to do theatre again after a three year hiatus. That realization was the light bulb moment that moved me forward to this decision.

My time with United Way has changed my life.  Days after I started to work with this amazing group of people, I found myself in an inspired place to begin painting.  My passion for philanthropy and helping the community also emerged out of my time with United Way.  The hardest part of this decision is facing the reality that in six months I won't see my colleagues on a daily basis.  I will also need to let go of my daily routine of opening up The Redpoll Centre and engaging with the various folks who work alongside us in that transformative space.  That will be hard.

I will look back with fondness at this chapter of my life and trust that my connection to, and support of, United Way will continue long into the future.

On top of our list as we begin this year of exploration in November is a potential humanitarian trip to Cambodia.  New friends Kent Lissack and Lee Chandler reached out some time ago to explore the possibility of getting us engaged with their work in building homes for the homeless in the Siem Reap area.  They are also interested in what this kind of work would inspire in terms of my painting and my writing.  I won't presuppose what that might look like, but I trust that it will be an enriching adventure.


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