Contributed by Rebecca Sovdi, First Nations Health Authority. Rebecca’s pledge was “to honour the vast knowledge around her and to learn something new every day.” We found her pledge inspiring and think you’ll agree.
Can you tell us how you chose your pledge ?
First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) is undergoing a significant transformation process, and has grown substantially over the past couple of years. It’s really neat to realize as we grow and expand that every single person—whether they worked with FNHA as a small and growing organization, came from the government, worked at the community level, or came from a different organization or province—each of them has so many different experiences that lend themselves to a really valuable and fruitful knowledge base for the organization.
So my pledge was about the respect that I have for all of my colleagues. The more brains that we have, and the more engagement that we do with one another, then the more we are able to accomplish.
What are some of the things you’ve learned from your pledge?
That BC First Nations are really diverse and it’s important that our work creates space for this diversity. There are many of the same values, but in terms of cultural traditions and practices between communities, there are many differences When you actually start to learn about those differences, it really strengthens the work we’re doing.
As an example, we’ve been doing some work in the area of tobacco cessation, and our approach to that is a bit unique as we want to make sure we’re creating space for the respectful use of traditional tobacco. In starting to reach out to the elders and community leaders throughout the province, we learned that tobacco wasn’t a cultural practice for every region. Because of this, we learned that our approach would be different depending on if, and how they are using tobacco in ceremony or culture, or whether it was even something that they incorporated as a part of their traditions. It’s neat to learn from different people across the province because we couldn’t possibly represent or reflect one single picture for the way things are for BC First Nations people.
Who are some of the people you have learned from with your pledge?
I’m trying to learn from everyone, I guess. It’s about trying to engage in conversations, especially with the quiet ones who often have a lot to offer but don’t speak up as much as others.
There were a lot of pledges from FNHA. Was that planned?
Our leadership really drove the process, which was exciting. A lot of it was part of the momentum we’re creating in terms of a strong vision as an organization, and trying to all work toward that same vision.
I think the message [of Change Day] itself spoke really well to our leadership, because we’re always talking about our process, making pledges to change as well as thinking about a wellness approach—moving away from the sickness system to the wellness system. So it was a good fit together.
I made my pledge on the day that we had a celebration for the two-year anniversary of Transfer Day. We celebrated the transfer anniversary and Change Day together. A member of the Change Day team came and presented, our CEO and COO spoke, and everyone was encouraged to make a pledge. That’s why there were so many pledges from us around October 1st, because we were really encouraged to do that.
It was great to see that FNHA had pledges from staff who are all over the province.
Yeah, that would also speak to the strength of how our leadership promoted Change Day, and how our communications channels helped those who are in regional offices and throughout the province to feel connected to what’s going on. We have a great communications team.
And your pledge is posted up on your cubicle- have people asked you about it?
Not as much lately, but definitely around Change Day!
Did you find it was helpful to have it up publicly and be asked about it?
For sure, it’s definitely a reminder! Because it’s easy when you make a pledge to just get caught up in the old ways of doing things. It is really easy to get stuck in the day to day business that everyone has, without thinking about who else is around. There are some days when I’m feeling alone, and I feel like I’m trying to tackle this all by myself, but I’m definitely not alone. I have to remind myself to connect with others, see what they have to say, learn from one another, and try to all work towards the same thing.
Do you feel that Change Day was good for your team culture?
I definitely think so. It’s really good to take a step back and take the opportunity to celebrate. I think combining Transfer Day and Change Day helped to create a lot of momentum and excitement.