Karen Smith joining MDB Insight!

23 09 2017

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A private-sector consulting firm with a mission to “improve the world”? Whose values and vision align with your own? Whose team members are passionate, creative innovators? Sounds like the perfect place to work if you’re a community builder – and that’s precisely why Karen will be joining the team at MDB Insight as a Senior Consultant effective October 2nd.

Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, MDB Insight is Canada’s leading economic development consultancy specializing in connecting communities with opportunities. Their core practice areas also include workforce development, community development, cultural development, business development, strategic planning, and research and analytics. The firm has worked with hundreds of cities and towns, rural and urban, large and small, across North America with the aim of helping those communities and the people within them to thrive in the 21st century economy. As a member of the senior team, Karen will add her enthusiasm and experience to the firm’s established roster of accomplished professionals from across the country and will be working from MDB Insight’s Hamilton office.

To connect with Karen in her new role, pop her an email – ksmith@mdbinsight.com. And be sure to check out MDB Insight’s web site, featuring the firm’s blog and This is Not a Newsletter (TINAN) as well as resources and links of interest. You can follow us on Twitter (@MDBInsight) and on our Facebook page (MDB Insight) too!

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A Place to Belong

10 07 2017

The annual report from the Hamilton Community Foundation is always a welcome read, and this year was no exception. Once again, the report’s pages highlight important investments and remarkable impact happening across the Hamilton area. If you haven’t yet had a chance to check it out, find a few moments to read A Place to Belong.

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Cohousing, Innovation & Intentional Living

6 04 2017

One of the projects that has been keeping me busy over this past year+ is a departure from my usual professional pursuits. It is proving not only stimulating but also challenging. More personal than professional, my interest in the cohousing movement began with my own examination of intentional living – trying to envision my later years and match my living arrangements with my aspirations, needs, and interests. I quickly discovered a glaring lack of existing options within my community. Looking for a one-floor plan (no stairs) other than a high rise will get you very little in the way of choices (and often involves paying for a lower level you don’t want and likely won’t use). Recalling many conversations over the years with friends, I knew I wasn’t alone in thinking about the future and seeking options that weren’t readily on offer. Hadn’t we joked about a hippie house full of aging women? Wasn’t there even a serious discussion or two about pooling our money to live comfortably in retirement? With that, I began researching options outside those currently available in my area…and cohousing quickly piqued my interest.

For those interested in cohousing specific to later life, I recommend Innovations in Senior Housing: the Complete Guide to Cohousing. It’s a comprehensive resource (and one of few specific to Canada) full of information and useful links. It was prepared by the Community Social Planning Council of Greater Victoria and Canadian Senior Cohousing Society with funding from the Real Estate Foundation of BC.

For those interested in my cohousing explorations in Hamilton, check out www.sisterssharingspace.wordpress.com where I’m blogging about the journey of a group of local women who have joined me, and sharing information and resources we are finding along the way.

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Wrapping Up 2015

29 12 2015

Despite little activity on this page in 2015, it’s been a busy year. Too busy, it turned out, to devote much time to blogging. But if there had been enough hours in each day, there would have been posts sharing the ups and downs, excitements, challenges, and experiences that made up the last 12 months…

  • the renaissance of Hamilton, my hometown and a city finally sloughing off its industrial overalls in favour of hipper, more confident stylings
  • the launch of a new, aspirational name and branding for the former Community Child Abuse Council – now THRIVE Child and Youth Trauma Services
  • political change, and the promise of federal policy that seeks to return Canada to its peaceful role on the world stage, value women and children, honour Native peoples, and combat social problems with evidence-based initiatives
  • the journeys of refugee families, including those from Syria, who now call Hamilton home
  • a host of small triumphs, minor missteps, celebrations, losses, and all the poignant moments that fill a year and leave lasting impressions

As the year closes, here’s wishing everyone the very best for 2016 – may it be a year of more peace, greater fulfilment, and bigger steps towards the world we want to see for everyone sharing this planet. Remember that unless something is physically impossible, it is indeed possible. That means many if not all of our dreams and hopes are totally within the realm of possibility. So, follow those dreams and take those steps. Each one gets us each a little closer to our vision of the future.

Happy New Year.





PanAm/Para PanAm Games in Hamilton, Ontario

8 07 2015

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Wishing all the athletes competing in Football (soccer) a warm Hamilton welcome, and hoping these Games bring a positive experience of sport, fellowship and community spirit to all who attend and participate. Thank you to the many volunteers who will help make the Games a success. Looking forward to taking in some of the action at the new stadium!





THRIVE Child and Youth Trauma Services

8 03 2015

The Community Child Abuse Council has a new name – THRIVE Child and Youth Trauma Services – and has rebranded to more clearly reflect the agency’s aspirations and services. Find out more at www.thrivechildandyouth.ca

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Planning that creates the future – free vid-cast

3 02 2015

future-vision-On February 10th I will be a guest for Creating the Future’s vid-cast “Planning That Creates The Future”, an online discussion about how our annual planning and strategy work within organizations can help to create the future of our communities. I’ll be joining Gayle Valeriote and Kate Bishop from Guelph, Ontario to talk about doing something different, something more aspiring, than the planning most organizations do. Looking forward to the conversation with these fellow community builders!

To follow or join the conversation (it’s free) register here:

http://blogs.creatingthefuture.org/communityfocus/planning-that-creates-the-future-making-change-vid-cast/