Five lessons from SVI Vancouver

In January 2012 I said goodbye to corporate life and began a new life with the launch of my first business. Within two months of my new career path, I lost my dad to cancer. The calm and understanding person in me wants to tell you it was a time of transition. But really, it was a time of heartache like none I’d felt. Raw, lost, afraid, grieving. Deep deep sadness. My foundations in all directions had fractured.

That same year I discovered a community of people who got me. Broken or whole, the saw me for me – and more. They are formally known as the Social Venture Institute, but to me, they are family. I went to my first Social Venture Institute conference 6 weeks after my dad passed away. I was a wreck but that didn’t seem to matter to anyone but me. This was the first clue that these people were special.

The Social Venture Institute (SVI) is a purpose-driven collective of people who want to change the world for the better, each in our own unique way. On paper we are a group of business people, coaches, entrepreneurs, non-profit leaders, venture capitalists, creatives and change makers. But we are more than that. SVI is made up of people who care deeply. About legacy, purpose, and connection. The individual and collective conscious impact of your choices on the world, your family, and yourself. I found SVI when I needed to most.


I spent last week at the SVI Vancouver conference. There’s so much I can say about the powerful learning and connections that happened there. I’ll share with you five messages from five amazing people I deeply respect. Here’s what stuck with me and what I took away from them (psst, these are the teachings of mindful leadership).

Five lessons from SVI Vancouver 2016:

1) “Give people freedom to choose, form and innovate.”

Bernie Lee, Pure Energies Group

People are the heartbeat. Give them – and yourself – space to be as they need to be. Then witness their possibility.

2) “All of us have a legacy of hardship.”

Vanessa Richards, Woodwards Community Singers

I immediately think of compassion what I hear this. We each come with our “stuff” – good, bad, and everything in between. Let us see each other with the same depth of care. Let us be present for all we are and all we bring.

3) “What is it time for now?”

Chloe Gow-Jarret, 3 Fold Patners

When I ask myself this question, I get clear. A reframe occurs on what’s important and why. From here, the next step is visible and more important, intentional. Clarity comes from pausing and seeing what is.

4) “How do I grow as a person?”

Keith Ippel, Spring U

When you’re focused on growing your business or career, remember to grow yourself. Without your growth the rest is not possible. Make space for you.

5) “Relationships are a dialogue.”

~ Angie Flemming, Humanizing Data

For connection to exist we must speak and act with integrity. We need to be present for the conversation to be in relationship. Dialogue exists when we listen and speak our truth with openness. Two-way street.

Thanks for reading. For more info on SVI or to apply to attend, visit Social Venture Institute.