The Idea for SPARK

Seven years ago, I had the opportunity to hear a speech given by Craig Kielburger. In that speech Craig used the equation "Spark + Gift = Better World" and the electricity that idea elicited has stayed with me. In my life, who I am, what I do, and the organizations I work or volunteer with are guided by my SPARK, which is an acronym for Strengths, Passion, Authenticity, Reflection and Knowing My Values. To me, our SPARK is defined by the moments in which we begin to make sense of who we are, the gifts that we have to contribute, what creates meaning in our lives and overall what matters to us most.

Snapshots of My Story

Throughout my life I have always been fascinated by storytelling, and by the moments and experiences that lead us to who we are today. Dad to Angus the Westie, Musical Theatre Tenor, Educator and Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach are just a few parts of my story. Degrees from the University of Winnipeg and Michigan State University and furthering my education and love of learning through certifications in coaching and personality explorations are others. Over the last decade, my story has also included the privilege of collaboratively growing the University of Calgary’s student leadership programs portfolio into a nationally recognized best-practice program.

A Strengths-Based Approach

Since 2013, my work at the university has included using Gallup’s CliftonStrengths in leading the development and implementation of the Strengths-Based Campus program. Through building strengths into academic curriculum, teamwork settings and co-curricular programs, through coaching students, and training staff and faculty more than 12,000 members of the campus community have learned about their talents, and how to put their Strengths into action within different areas of their lives.

My Why/Happiness=Success

My “why” is to wake up every morning motivated to help people and teams collaboratively explore and celebrate their strengths, their stories and what makes them stand out so that they can authentically and fully live out their SPARK. At the core of my work is a focus on helping others realize their own potential, and on what it looks like to live a life and career where happiness=success, and where our strengths, values and passions are in full play.

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