Every one of us is endowed with skills and talents and potential
Most of us struggle to understand what this potential is, and how to put it to good use.
Because the truth about being human is that we all want to make a difference. We want our lives to matter.
My story begins with the story of my maternal grandmother.
She was a proud Mohawk woman of humble origins. At a young age, she married my Mohawk grandfather.
Together, they lived on the Six Nations reserve near Toronto.
My grandmother was resilient, smart and dignified.
But like most aboriginal people of her generation—indeed, like most people of the Depression era—she didn’t have a lot of opportunities.
An education was a luxury she could only dream of. Life on the reserve was difficult. She looked around and saw poverty, alcohol abuse, and violence.
My grandmother, Rhoda Johns, knew there was a better life for her family. She knew that we could make more of ourselves, and that we had unrealized potential.
She convinced my reluctant grandfather to leave the reserve and to start a new life in Buffalo, New York.
That’s where my mother and her eight siblings were born. And, years later, it’s where I was born, too.
My grandmother gave me two pieces of advice: stay in school, and don’t get married before you are thirty. These were the guiding principles of my life.
I spent over ten years in university, pursuing the education she so badly wanted, but never attained.
Along the way I worked in many jobs. My first was at the local Native Friendship Centre. Later, while pursuing my Masters, I worked in a hospital, for a program called at Native Patients Services.
Then, after school, I moved to Ottawa to join a ground-breaking national organization called the Aboriginal Healing Foundation.
By this time, my grandmother was with me no more. But I kept with me her conviction that, as aboriginal people, we could make our lives better through our own effort.
We have the potential, and the talent, within us.
In fact, only we have it. No one else can make our lives better for us.
I believe that our purpose is to create community
Maybe it’s a physical community, or a community of like-minded people. Maybe it’s a virtual, online community. Or a Utopia.
That’s up to you.
From what I have seen, wherever people happen to be working, they want the same things: to connect to others, to have a sense of purpose, to do work that is meaningful.
We all want to understand ourselves and to be understood by others.
And that is communications, reduced to its essentials.
This fundamental human need is what guides me in my work. I want to be an active partner with a community of like-minded people—creative, interesting and principled people who want to do meaningful work that makes the world better.
Especially for aboriginal people.
And I’ve been really fortunate, because for decades now I’ve done just that.
I’ve had the good fortune to have worked with some of the smartest, most influential people out there.
I’ve learned a lot, and I want to spread that knowledge as far and wide as I can.
My grandmother was determined, positive and strong. I honor her by seeking out people who are the same.
In this way I can work toward realizing her vision of a better future, while also fulfilling my own purpose—to help my clients craft effective communications solutions for their businesses.
That’s my story. And, yes, I’m sticking to it.
So do you want to get started today on building better business communications?
Great. Let’s talk.
◦ Wayne K. Spear, Founder and President, Spear Communications.