The year 2018 was about amplifying. Amplifying my message, thoughts, ideas, inspiration and passion. My energy and stamina are not what it once was. The journey ahead of me is smaller than the one behind me. I have been purposeful and deliberate about spending my time on things that would help me have a louder voice, align to a collective voice of change and leadership. Unleashing the power of diversity and inclusion to deliver global products in a digitally connected world. I believe this has the potential to create a highly engaged workplace that can keep up with the rate of change of our ever growing fickle customer base. Teaching companies the importance of innovation and the courage to disrupt themselves before someone else does.
It starts and ends with people. You do not change an organization, people change the organization. They are the spark, energy, healthy scepticism, creative, forward-thinking drivers of these organizations. I love people — employees — customers — people. I want to talk with all of them, but only have a finite time to do this. I did not waste time in 2018.
This year Scotiabank and Scrum.org have given me a platform for teaching over 500+ people in Product Ownership, Leadership, and Scrum (a catalyst for change). I cherish spending each moment with them. Hearing their struggles, successes, and learnings. Creating agents of change. When they leave the class — the people they will inspire when they return to their job. I have got to see people change career paths as they got a sense of who they wanted to be in that moment. I thank them for inspiring me. I thank my awesome team of Sandra, Matt, and Aaron.
Scotiabank and Scrum.org enabled me to travel to Boston and work with Joshua Seiden, Erik Weber, and Gary Pedretti to collaborate on a future course designed specifically how to learn customers, opportunities, and validate them in 30 days or less. I thank Scotiabank and Scrum.org.
Early this year I was invited to be on the Digital Advisory Panel for Waterfront Toronto to help voice digital usage, governance, and innovative opportunities to better serve people in communities. The panel is comprised of super smart experts, academia, legal, and business. Fortunately for me, I get to be the dumbest person in the room to be able to learn, challenge, and ensure we are serving a greater cause. I could not ask to work with two more amazing people then Kristina Verner and Alaina Aston. These ladies help inspire, motivate me, to do more to better everyone. I am grateful to all of them.
I was able to achieve a major bucket list item in 2018. I was selected to deliver a Ted Talk in May. After the initial selection, I was super excited, followed by the anxiety of now, what do I talk about?
My parents worked so hard to allow me to have a voice in a world that was not ready to listen. I wanted to talk about agile, leadership, and courage. Courage to be the change. Sep Pashang was a huge champion and supporter of what I had to say. I cannot thank him for his continued campaigning of why I had to be on stage to be he heard. Marisa Tam was an incredible teacher and provided tools for me to be the best speaker I could hope for. Lastly, I cannot thank Aaron Sampson enough for all of the hours we spent before work, after work, and weekends creating a compelling talk that got an audience of 1700 people to stand from a speaker who struggles to stand himself. Aaron is my true example of how a follower can become a leader. I hired and mentored Aaron for the last four years…he is the Leader that I want to report to. The student became the teacher, friend, and brother. My love for you is undaunting and real. Thank you for continuing to remind me that my view of the world and life need to be heard.
I spoke at numerous conferences on topics on Product Ownership, Agile in Marketing, and Agile and Inclusion (Agile is a Catalyst for change, Inclusion is ensuring we bring everyone along with the change).
In 2018 I Had the most thought-provoking, reflective interview I have ever experienced in my life. It did a great job in helping me articulate me. Gregory Boyd was amazing to allow me to realize that the passion of what I do is a reflection of who I am. (Interview broken into several smaller videos here).
This year would not have been possible without my never-ending support of my wife, Kelly, my tribe, family, and all my friends past and present, near and far, and the audience that inspires me to do more.
What do I have planned for 2019? I want to write a book. The book will be everything not included in my Ted Talk and Scotiabank interview. I will also be keynoting the Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Townhall, keynoting the Cerebral Palsy Gala in my hometown in Windsor, and hopefully numerous other speaking engagements that allow me to share my passions and experiences. More teaching classes. More social media, not for vanity, but to share…and hopefully, inspire.
Looking forward to struggling, growing, experiencing, sharing and living in 2019!