Archive for Workplace Safety Posts

Until We Meet Again Podcast – Elizabeth Fournier Interview with Maryanne Pope

 

“When great souls die,
the air around us becomes
light, rare, sterile.
We breathe, briefly.
Our eyes, briefly,
see with
a hurtful clarity.
Our memory, suddenly sharpened,
examines,
gnaws on kind words
unsaid,
promised walks
never taken.”

– From the poem, When Great Trees Fall, by Maya Angelou

On Thursday April 11th, 2019, I was very honoured to be interviewed by Elizabeth Fournier, host of the KKPZ-AM radio show, “Until We Meet Again,” out of Portland, Oregon.

The show gently opens up conversations about death in a culture where people are often left wondering what to say or do after the loss of a loved one, or when supporting someone who is grieving.

Right before my interview, Elizabeth read Maya Angelou’s poem, When Great Trees Fall, in it’s entirety. It is a beautiful piece of writing…and was a perfect start to our candid and heartfelt chat about death, grief and life after loss.

For this blog post, I chose to use the above image of the ocean, as well as the starfish excerpt from my book, A Widow’s Awakening, because Elizabeth began our interview by asking me about my new home in Parksville on Vancouver Island…and whether I had a view of the ocean. As you’ll hear in the podcast, I told her no, I didn’t have a view of the water but I do have a lovely garden view and am a 5-min drive from the sea.

Now that nearly 19 years (can you imagine?!) have passed since my husband John’s death, I can safely say the tide HAS returned for this starfish…I am happy again 🙂

To listen the 30-minute podcast with our interview, here is the link.

My interview will be played on the radio show in 6 weeks (so late May/early June 2019). In the meantime, if you’re interested in listening to the show, Elizabeth has some really neat guests. The show can be heard every Thursday at 2 pm (PST).

“Maryanne’s book is unlike any widow book I’ve read due to her honest nature of stumbling her way through the relationship with her husband while he was alive, and after his death. Her outlook is pragmatic, courageous, and I believe quite helpful for widows to feel they are not alone in their journey becoming the awakened person they were meant to become. A Widow’s Awakening offers a wonderful balance of practical knowledge and inspiring advice that will give its readers a sense of peace and hope.”

– Elizabeth Fournier, Until We Meet Again radio host

To purchase A Widow’s Awakening, please visit BHC Press for a list of on-line retailers.

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her regular weekly blog, please sign up here. As a thank you, you’ll receive a short but saucy e-book entitled, Dive into this Chicago Deep Dish – Ten Bite-Sized Steps for a Yummier Slice of Life.

 

published in Failure, John Petropoulos Memorial Fund, Public Speaking, Workplace Safety by Maryanne | January 15, 2019 | 14 Comments

The Bigger the Failure the Better the Lesson

 

Last week, I found myself delivering a safety presentation to a gymnasium filled with two hundred Junior High School students. The kids were great. Rambunctious yes…but for the most part, attentive and well-behaved.

The presenter, on the other hand, well…she had a few things to learn. And what better way to teach an old dog a few new tricks than by placing her so far outside her comfort zone that she has no choice but to learn them. For in terms of what I consider to be enjoyable activities, public speaking to teenagers ranks slightly below having a triple root canal.

Admittedly, thanks in part to my current Bohemian writer lifestyle, my public speaking skills are a bit rusty. But I certainly know the story (the circumstances that led to John’s death) and the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund’s (JPMF) workplace safety messages inside out and backwards. I’ve delivered our safety presentation dozens of times to a variety of different audiences over the years…but never to a gym full of 14-year-olds. In the past, other JPMF speakers have done the school presentations.

In other words, I didn’t know my audience and I hadn’t bothered to do the research to tweak my presentation accordingly. But (for a variety of reasons) since it was ME standing in front of those kids, it was me who had to deliver the presentation…so I did the best I could.

And it’s fairly safe to say I was a resounding failure.

But that’s okay because while I was flailing about at the front of the gym, focusing on the wrong elements of the story, failing to make our safety messages relevant to that particular audience, causing the microphone to make that horrific screeching sound (I think I actually heard some boos from the crowd on that…can’t blame them) and struggling with the damn audio/visual system, I was also learning.

I had no choice. My contact person at the school (also responsible for crowd control) just happened to be a very switched-on, take-no-guff Vice Principal who knew how to handle the students AND, I soon learned, how to make our safety messages relevant to them.

Since the kind soul  had to keep coming up to help me with the A/V anyway, at one point she started taking the microphone and explaining to the students the points I (in an ideal world) should have been making.

Here’s a brilliant example of the Vice Principal in action:

She took the mike, looked at the gymnasium full of kids, paused a moment for effect (which really works by the way…the crowd hushed immediately), then pointed at them and said: “YOU have a role to play in helping make sure police officers, firefighters and paramedics make it home safely to their families.”

Then she pointed to the overhead screen behind her where an image from one of the JPMF’s videos was paused on the screen, then resumed addressing the students: “Those first responders come into YOUR school, YOUR homes and YOUR future workplaces to keep YOU safe! They are extremely well-trained but they are coming into an unfamiliar place and cannot possibly know all the hidden dangers…which is why you have to help make wherever you are as safe as possible.”

Then she handed the mike back to me. Wow. A little later, she did the same thing with our traffic safety messages.

Afterwards, I confessed to her that I had gone into the presentation not really convinced that young people – many of whom don’t yet have part-time jobs or their driver’s license – would find the presentation of interest or relevance.

To this she looked at me, crossed her arms (she is a Vice Principal after all) and said: “Do you have any idea how incredibly important the Memorial Fund’s safety messages are for kids this age?”

Obviously not…but I was certainly starting to figure it out.

“They are certainly old enough,” she said, “to understand that what happened to John was not only preventable it was completely unacceptable. The Memorial Fund’s safety messages and videos are powerful and effective…you just have to tweak the presentation so that you make it relevant to their age group.”

We’re not supposed to be good at everything

The very next day, wouldn’t you know it – but I was having coffee with a JPMF Board member. He, too, has delivered many safety presentations over the years but, like me, had been hesitant about the relevance of our safety presentation to Junior High students.

I told him all about the presentation and what the Vice Principal had said, including her specific examples of how to make the safety messages relevant to teens.

After I finished speaking, he leaned back, nodded and said, “Yup…got it. After hearing that feedback, I’ll do those presentations from here on in.”

And there you have it…we aren’t supposed to be good at every single task. If public speaking was where I wanted to direct my energy, then yes, of course I’d learn from my mistakes and tweak accordingly moving forward. But sometimes it’s okay to fail at a task for the purpose of learning and sharing what we’ve learned, so that someone else can pick up the ball and run with it.

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her regular weekly blog, please sign up here. As a thank you, you’ll receive a short but saucy e-book entitled, Dive into this Chicago Deep Dish – Ten Bite-Sized Steps for a Yummier Slice of Life.

published in Animals, Inspiration, Photos, Travel, Workplace Safety by Maryanne | November 1, 2017 | 6 Comments

Pig Pen Happiness – Priscilla, Pippa & Pixie the Piglet

 

Priscilla enjoying breakfast

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”

– Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own

It’s probably a good thing I don’t have a home of my own at the moment. If I did, I may well have brought back a PET PIG from Saskatchewan yesterday!

MA bottle feeding Pixie

My friend, Jackie, has just started breeding “kunekune” pigs on their ranch near Foam Lake.

Jackie with Priscilla & Pippa

The kunekune is a small breed of domestic pig from New Zealand. Kunekune are hairy, with a rotund build and may bear wattles hanging from their lower jaws (Priscilla, Pippa and even baby Pixie all had wattles). Their colour ranges from black and white, to ginger, cream, gold-tip, black, brown and tricoloured. They have a docile, friendly nature, and – like the pot-bellied pig – are now often kept as pets.

I can see why.

MA with Priscilla

Kunekune are suitable for a novice owner, as they are placid, friendly, and love human company. They are easy to train and intelligent.

MA rubbing Pippa’s belly

 

The resultant HUGE smile on Pippa’s face!

The native Māori people of New Zealand adopted kunekune. The word kunekune means “fat and round” in the Māori language…kinda perfect!

If you happen to be interested in learning more about kunekune pigs, you can contact Jackie through Facebook.

Oh and yes, I did take a few photos of humans, too 🙂

L to R: Mac, Lexi, Shade & Jackie

And prior to visiting the Foam Lake homestead, I spent a weekend with my friend, Colleen, and her family in Saskatoon. This is a cute shot of me & Col in the brand new Remai Modern Art Gallery:

I was actually in Saskatoon to deliver a couple of JPMF workplace safety presentations at the Mine Your Potential conference (for women in mining and nuclear), so naturally had to stretch that out into a week of visiting friends!

And I just received this bit of feedback from one of the conference organizers:

“Thank you so much for your participation in our event. I hope you get a lot more requests from Saskatchewan, now that word is spreading about how powerful your talk was. You are such a natural speaker. Your talk will be one of my long lasting memories of this conference. I am so sorry for your tragedy. It is awesome that you are helping to make the work environment safer for so many other first responders.”

– Donna Beneteau, PEng, MASc, University of Saskatchewan

That’s it from this bohogazelle…have a safe & productive week!

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her regular weekly blog, please sign up here. As a thank you, you’ll receive a short but saucy e-book entitled, Dive into this Chicago Deep Dish – Ten Bite-Sized Steps for a Yummier Slice of Life