Every month, we ask different participants of our Leadership Winnipeg class to blog about their experience.
Yet again, our Leadership Winnipeg class had the privilege of getting a behind-the-scenes look into Winnipeg’s arts and culture sector. The organizations we had the pleasure of hearing from are long-standing pillars in our community, and do a fabulous job supporting Winnipeg’s international reputation for creativity.
Our day began at the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre (RMTC). Talent, hard work and creativity was present everywhere – even in the building itself, which is brutalist architecture at its finest.
We were able to live many actors’ dreams when we engaged in an intimate discussion with long-time RMTC Artistic Director Steven Schipper, who recently announced his upcoming retirement. Steven spoke of his climb to the top of the Canadian theatre world and described how his leadership style has evolved throughout his career.
We were taken into what felt like a different world as we entered RMTC’s prop room. It was intriguing to hear about creative-problem solving required to build props and sets for theatre. These issues would likely never arise in other types of construction, which speaks to the specialty skills the RMTC staff have honed.
Next, we heard from a performing, visual arts and culture panel, which consisted of local leaders from Manitoba Museum, Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and RMTC. These organizations are each in the midst of transformation, working to maintain the cultural gems Winnipeggers know and love, and simultaneously evolve with society and technology. It was very exciting to hear about visionary projects that will raise Winnipeg’s profile even further.
We finished with a panel of leaders in the music, film and television industries. It was eye-opening to hear their views on Winnipeg’s potential to rival other major Canadian cities, and learn what brought them here in the first place – and what keeps them here.
To summarize, the day was enlightening. As some forms of art become more accessible via technology, it can be easy to take for granted what truly connects us as a society.
Every month, we ask different participants of our Leadership Winnipeg class to blog about their experience.
Leadership Winnipeg dedicated its most recent session to exploring arts and culture in our city. The class was hosted at the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, and we were lucky to get a behind-the-scenes tour of the building.
Elaborate set pieces are made on site, with unexpected materials used to make furniture lighter and easier to move. The prop room is filled with unique finds that can be reused for future shows. We even got to go below the stage and see the magic of how their trapdoors work!
The day began with a talk from Steven Schipper, Artistic Director of the Royal MTC. He is a down-to-earth leader who gave some exceptional advice. Steven recognizes there are many types of leaders and it is an evolving process. In his definition a leader is “someone who doesn’t sleep until all the people they are responsible for can sleep securely.”
A panel of local arts leaders filled us in on the current civic culture affairs and the importance of these organizations to our city. I spent a lot of time at the Manitoba Museum growing up, so I was excited to hear from Heather Laser, Director of Philanthropy, how they will be upgrading the exhibits to be more interactive and will include a new Winnipeg exhibit to reflect our city’s diversity. Similarly, the Winnipeg Art Gallery will be working on a new project in time for Manitoba’s 150th anniversary in 2020 with the opening of the Inuit Art Gallery. The arts and culture institutions work in partnership with each other with a common goal of elevating our society.
The day ended with a panel of participants in the music, film and TV sector in Winnipeg. It was exciting to hear all the talent that resides in Winnipeg. Leslea Mair of Zoot Pictures chose to relocate her company here from Saskatchewan, which I think speaks to the desirability of this city.
The theme of the day was that arts and culture is important to the well-being of a society. We are lucky to be living in a city that has so much to offer and continues to challenge itself to grow.
On behalf of the Disabilities Issues Office
The Manitoba Government invites non-profit community organizations to submit project proposals to improve physical accessibility to Community Places Program (CPP) by May 28, 2018.
The Province of Manitoba will grant up to $50,000 in funding (must be matched with other sources) and planning assistance for facility or green space construction, upgrading, expansion or acquisition projects, including accessibility improvements. Projects should target sustainable recreation and wellness benefits to communities. The projects must be completed by March 31, 2019.
Community Places Program will be hosting an “Application / Project Planning Webinar” on Wednesday, May 16, 2018 at 1:00 p.m. for groups who are considering applying for assistance under CPP. This webinar will provide an overview of the program, eligibility criteria, Technical Services available and instruction on filling out the grant application.
Please register in advance. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. If you have require assistance, please call Municipal Relations at 204-726-6352.
We're always interested in our members' assessments of Winnipeg's business scene, so when marketing firm Deschenes Regnier wrote several short articles on sponsorship, we bookmarked the posts for future reading.
Check out the series through the links below. What do you think?
Part 1 | What's wrong with sponsorship in Manitoba?
Part 2 | Sponsorship - how can this be good?
Part 3 | It's not bad manners to leverage sponsorship!
“We’re looking to create careers, not jobs.” – Minister Pedersen.
Recognizing the economy’s health is tied to the health of our communities, The Winnipeg Chamber has been an outspoken advocate for a comprehensive provincial strategy to support Manitoba business. We’re deeply pleased with the province’s recent work to build that plan (including a summit co-hosted with The Chamber for private business owners) as we look for action that leverages our strengths, addresses modern opportunities and shares prosperity with all Manitobans.
That dialogue and relationship with Minister Blaine Pedersen and the team at Growth, Enterprise and Trade continues. Today we hosted the Minister, Deputy Minister Dave Dyson and a number of our members for a wide ranging discussion, including
Online submissions to shape Manitoba economic strategy are open until May 18. You can share your insights, priorities and feedback here.
This piece first appeared in the Canadian Chamber of Commerce's Five Minutes for Business May 10, 2018.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or perhaps within a rolled steel coil), you have no doubt seen all the news these days about the looming threat of steel and aluminum tariffs being imposed by the United States.
Last year, the U.S. Department of Commerce initiated an investigation into whether steel and aluminum imports were impairing America’s national security. These investigations occurred under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. The investigation’s recommendations were released in February and proposed a number of measures, including a mix of tariffs and quotas on steel and aluminum exports from around the globe.
President Trump opted to impose global tariffs of 25 per cent on steel products and 10 per cent on aluminum products that are entering the U.S. To be exempted from the tariff stick, Washington seems to be offering the quota carrot to countries. South Korea has already negotiated its package, which focuses on quotas, and agreements in principle have been reached with Brazil, Argentina and Australia on yet to be specified measures. Although, as recent news from Brazil indicates, some of these agreements in principle may have a ways to go.
But looking closer to the home, the threat of tariffs continues to loom large for Canada. We received a temporary exemption — along with the European Union and Mexico — until June 1. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s position continues to be that Canada should be fully and permanently exempted from any tariffs, quotas or other measures designed to reduce the cross-border flow of steel and aluminum products. Canadian imports to the U.S. do not pose a national security threat. In fact, Canadian aluminum is integrated into the U.S. defence industry to allow America to build its military hardware. In the case of steel, Canada is the top export destination for U.S. steel products, with trade roughly balanced between our countries.
The Chamber applauds the federal government for its firm stance on this issue in opposing U.S. pressure for Canada to accept export restrictions. We also fully support the government’s position to oppose any links between these tariffs and the NAFTA negotiations. Such a connection would only be an unhelpful distraction from what should be our main focus.
There are certainly wider systemic issues that affect the industry; U.S. tariffs will divert third-country steel and aluminum products onto already saturated global markets. Additionally, there is the issue of trans-shipment, where companies could attempt to use Canada as a backdoor to circumvent U.S. tariffs. It is vital the government be watchful of these issues. The government’s recent announcement of additional funding for the Canada Border Services Agency is a good first step, meeting a request from the Chamber and our members. At the end of the day, it is about providing certainty for business. This means no arbitrary implementation of tariffs or quotas and ensuring the rules are consistently enforced.
The Winnipeg Chamber: Are you hopeful?
Scott Vaughan. Yes, and here’s why. Markets are seeing stronger returns in greener, cleaner investments. One example: in 2017, global investments in renewable energy added up to more than US$2 trillion. This market pull is combined with a regulator push, from market regulators and investors counting up their climate risk in the same way as other material risks. And, of course, governments are sending clearer signals that climate change needs to be addressed. There are ongoing debates about how best to do this, but we’ve moved from “if” climate change ought to be addressed to “how.”
WC: There are so many subjects to focus on – sustainable infrastructure, agricultural adaptation, renewables, etc. – how do you and IISD set priorities?
SV: Like any business, IISD adjusts its priorities and chooses its partners based on a clear strategic plan. Some things are harder to predict, like what the White House will do on NAFTA or the World Trade Organization. But other things we can be more certain about.
For example, we do know that U.S.-Canada relations transcend the daily grind of politics. We know that China will remain focused on its current five-year plan, that big investors are looking at longer-term climate risk, that science is clear about the fact that freshwater challenges are magnifying, and that a younger generation sees clear links between values, public policy expectations and consumer loyalty.
WC: A University of Montreal study (2015) shows that while a significant portion of Canadians believe human activity is mostly or partly contributing to climate change, 39 per cent do not. What’s your reaction to holdouts?
SV: To be honest, I’m not sure why we keep taking surveys on an issue as complex as climate change. I’m an economist, but if I’m asked what I think about monetary policy and new Basel loan loss provisions, I’d say, ‘thank goodness for experts.’
Without a doubt there is a divide along political lines. This is magnified in the U.S., where - for instance - 70 per cent of Democrats trust scientists to describe climate change fully, compared to 15 percent of Republicans. Climate change has clearly been a focus of fake news.
The good news in Canada is the gap is narrowing. While the University of Montreal survey showed 39 percent do not believe in climate change, an April 2018 survey shows this number has dropped to around 33 percent of Canadians. Still, the clear majority do. There are strong debates about how to tackle climate change, but that’s the case for other important public policy issues in Canada too, from health care to reconciliation.
WC: Any thoughts on how Canada and the provinces are approaching carbon pricing?
SV: There’s a lot of interest in how Canada is addressing climate change, given our economic mix – from oil and gas, to agriculture, to the Arctic. Given the nature of our confederation, Canada naturally must try different tools – the federal government has roughly 26 different climate mitigation measures in play right now – but also action from provinces and territories, cities and business.
Carbon pricing is textbook ‘first best’ economics. But the real question isn’t the measure, but the level of ambition, and how these different measures stitch together.
There’s an interesting group that has formed in the U.S called the Climate Leadership Council. Their founding board includes notable Republicans – James A. Baker, George P. Shultz, as well as Lawrence Summers, Michael Bloomberg, the late Stephen Hawking, and others. Their approach to climate change is four-fold:
WC: Can you share some of your favourite examples of companies embracing SDGs and profiting?
SV: There are lots. The mining company Vale has mapped its global operations to the Sustainable Development Goals and set out targets most relevant to their goals and corporate values. These range from supporting a new generation of impact benefit agreements with local communities, setting in place clear freshwater management targets, promoting biodiversity and protected areas, installing renewable energy and supporting human rights. Anglo-American is another example.
Big players in global supply chains – think of Apple – have clear targets for renewable energy throughout their supply chain, and a commitment to be carbon-neutral. Ikea has committed to ensuring 100 per cent of its cotton supply is sustainably sourced, and 50 per cent of its wood supplies. Unilever remains a leader in making the SDGs tangible to their operations.
WC: What’s occupying your time and energy these days?
SV: I’m just back from a trip Disney, so I’m recovering from hugging my daughter’s favorite characters and surviving the rides!
IISD is preparing for its next strategic plan. This coincides with marking our 30th anniversary in 2020. One thing that hasn’t changed in three decades is our strong sense of belonging to the Winnipeg community. But like any business, you can only rest on your past accomplishments for about five minutes before you need to look ahead and start planning. So I’m spending time thinking about how IISD can work with U.S. partners in the stunning absence of leadership from the U.S. federal government, how we are and will work in China, how IISD can leverage its current partnerships to show progress is happening and that we can work together.
That’s outside. Inside, making sure younger, talented colleagues have a place that lets them thrive is really important. Today, when we recruit young leaders, they are interviewing old guys like me to test if we can meet their values and expectations.
WC: What can attendees at your May 18 keynote expect to take away from your talk?
SV: Sustainability and low-carbon pathways aren’t a fringe issue any longer; they are now mainstream finance and business realities.
When Lisa Hirayama was a child, she watched her grandmother sit in isolation from the rest of her family, cut off from conversation by hearing loss. When she visited her home for Christmas dinners, the only moments of clear connection were found sneaking into a bedroom away from family noise.
“There she would be with her big headphones on, jacked into her TV,” says Lisa. “She was stuck there.”
The pain of seeing her grandmother disconnected from her family planted the seed that developed into a career in audiology. In 2002, she opened Lisa Reid Audiology in Winnipeg with her husband, Brennan Hirayama.
From the front desk staff who greet guests to the clinicians who assess them, Lisa says her team works hard to keep the atmosphere in the hearing centre relaxed.
“We want our family to look after your family,” Lisa says.
When a new patient visits the clinic, Lisa gathers their health history then proceeds to a series of hearing tests. A wand is inserted into the ear that sends vibrations into the canal and to the ear drum. There is also an in-depth hearing test that involves Lisa reading words to the patient while they sit in a sound-proof booth.
Results can point to anything from mild damage to life-threatening illness. One very memorable patient was a gentleman who wasn’t able to hear evenly through both of his ears.
“The brain likes balance,” Lisa explains, “usually our hearing is the same on both sides.”
The patient was experiencing asymmetrical hearing loss, and to get to the bottom of why it was happening to him, she sent him for further testing – tests that uncovered a brain tumor growing on the same side he was having trouble hearing. He was able to get it removed.
“That was great to be able to help him medically that way,” says Lisa, who says hearing problems can stem from health issues throughout our body.
This is the kind of personal experience Lisa sets out to give to all of the centre’s guests by providing “an alternative to cookie-cutter medical care” one might receive at a big-box store.
“Communication is a gift,” says Lisa, “and we like to keep people connected.”
Prepared for The Winnipeg Chamber by Jess Seburn a Creative Communications student at Red River College
The Winnipeg Chamber: What’s your story? Why did you both found Montessori?
Kristen Shipman: Megan Turner and I were both hard working mothers who were in need of quality early childhood education for our children. Much research was conducted and we were certain we wanted our children to have an authentic Montessori experience, in order to give then the best foot forward for their academic future.
Megan Turner: We found this was not something easily accessible. It was then we decided to build our own authentic Montessori preschool centre, creating 32 new childcare spaces for families in Winnipeg. We knew in our hearts there were other families who shared the same desire and only wanted the best for their children
WC: Manitoba struggles with early childhood literacy and numeracy. What should parents look for in a childcare centre when it comes to daily learning? What’s your approach?
KS: Parents should research the educational curriculum that is followed by the school. Traditional childcare centres follow a play based emergent curriculum, focusing on free play, with less of an emphasis on academics.
At Making Roots Montessori Centre we follow an authentic Montessori curriculum designed specifically for our preschool, exposing children to Practical Life, Sensorial, Math, Language, Culture, music and yoga. We offer an Art program featuring artists and composers of the month, a French immersion Montessori curriculum and a French Immersion Kindergarten. All custom designed for our preschool and the needs of our students.
Manitoba currently has the lowest school readiness in the nation. We foster individual growth in each child, in order to best prepare them for school and foster their natural drive for learning. The Montessori method lays the foundations for literacy and numeracy, as well as promotes brain development, builds confidence, independence, and attention span.
WC: As a location relatively close to downtown, most of your parents must work in the core. How do you stay flexible to business people’s schedules?
MT: Making Roots Montessori Centre operates year round, with minimal closures. We are open from 7:30am-5:30pm in order to accommodate working families. Parents are provided with an annual calendar, so they are aware of any closures far in advance.
We service a variety of areas, such as Sage Creek, Southdale, South Transcona, Island Lakes, St.Boniface, and Windsor Park. We also have students from as far as Wolseley and River Park South, as their parents felt Making Roots was the best fit for their family.
WC: What’s the best feedback you’ve ever received from a parent?
KS: We truly love hearing parents feel 100 per cent comfortable knowing that their children are happy, safe, engaged, and learning while they are with us. We often hear from parents that Making Roots feels like a family.
MT: Many childcare centres appear to be focussed on “care," which is critical for all children. However, at Making Roots Montessori we are a pre-school offering not only quality care, but an environment of learning. Many families continue to realize the readiness of their children once they commence grade school, having the Making Roots Montessori foundation prepares them for a head start in early grades.
WC: If you could ask for one change to how childcare works in Manitoba, what would it be?
KS: It would be for the Province to allow Inclusion workers for children with disabilities to work in private child care settings. Currently, Manitoba will only fund Inclusion workers in non-profit centres. This is taking the choice away from families. Montessori was initially designed for children with disabilities; the Montessori environment would allow these children to flourish.
Every month, we ask different participants of our Leadership Winnipeg class to blog about their experience.
However this past class, and in particular hearing Yahya Samatar’s personal journey made me realize just how lucky I have been.
I studied political science in university so I am familiar with a lot of the terminology and trends associated with refugees, and you see the occasional media story on it. Beyond that though, I’ve never heard a refugee’s story until I heard Yahya’s.
Yahya is a Leadership Winnipeg alumnus, and he shared his story with our class while we were at Welcome Place. I had heard of Welcome Place, but had never been. I’ve never needed to use the services they provide, so I’ve never felt the need to go.
Yahya came to Welcome Place shortly after crossing the border into Canada. His multi-year journey to get out of his home country was simply awe inspiring to me. I would support a GoFundMe page to make his story into a movie or book, it is that incredible. There were certainly more struggles than successes along the way in coming to Canada, and he is doing great now.
I’m sure everyone who has stayed at Welcome Place has a personal journey similar to Yahya’s. I can’t for a second comprehend what they went through to come to this great country of ours. I know Leadership Winnipeg is supposed to be focused on our great city, but this past session gave me a much greater appreciation for how lucky we are to call Winnipeg home, but I’m also lucky as I get to call Canada home as well.