One of the most rewarding aspects of last year’s sesquicentennial was its ability to bring Canadians together for meaningful conversations about the future of the nation. Throughout last year, communities and people across the country made important connections that will endure for years to come.
For just one example: Last October, the Community Sector Council of Nova Scotia (CSCNS) hosted the Many Hands, Many Voices: Working Together for Stronger Communities conference. The event assembled more than 200 leaders from that province’s business, community, education and government sectors. Many partners sponsored the effort, from small businesses all the way up to the provincial government.
“We have a predominant narrative in this province that goes like, ‘Let’s talk about what we don’t have and can’t do’—as opposed to what we can do and can accomplish when we work together,” Phil Davison, director of extension at St. Francis Xavier University, explained in a video report filmed at the conference. “It’s great to be around people who share that same sentiment. Over the past couple days, we’ve had an opportunity to get to know one another and start to build stronger relationships. Hopefully going forward, we can continue to foster that.”
Unlike schedule-driven conferences, Many Hands, Many Voices was designed around Theory U principles, based on the book and learning management theory by Otto Scharmer. Theory U is meant to help political and civil leaders disrupt old unproductive patterns of behaviour and empathize with their clients’ perspectives to produce more effective patterns of decision-making. The model, content and flow of the conference clearly resonated with attendees.
“The conference was about pulling together the diverse voices and many hands across Nova Scotia—that concept that it takes a village. We looked at our resources, our expertise, our thought leaders and our innovators, and we tried to pull them together in one space to connect with each other, explore what everyone has to offer, and make room for people to put those resources, and their heart forward, to talk about how we see Nova Scotia looking in the next 150 years,” says Arlene MacDonald, executive director of CSCNS. “I must say the feedback was just fabulous. Many Hands, Many Voices positioned us an organization that is intentionally invested in the strength of the province and is willing to collaborate and partner in an authentic way.”
This year, the CSCNS has turned its attentions toward other events in the region, including acting as an Atlantic host for the Econous 2018 economic conference (September 24–28, Moncton) and supporting both the Antigonish movement and the development of the Coady Institute at St. Francis Xavier University. This comes in addition to CSCNS maintaining a roster of its own community activities.
To add your organization’s voice to the Sector Council and nonprofit sector in Nova Scotia, follow this link and become a CSCNS member today.