Power To Be With Tim Cormode

A registered non-profit based in Victoria, Power To Be creates nature-based activities for vulnerable populations, focusing on children, youth, and families living with cognitive, physical, financial, and social barriers. Joining Douglas Nelson on the show today is Tim Cormode, the CEO of Power To Be. Tim has been involved in youth work and the non-profit sector for nearly 30 years. He shares the story of how their charity began and grew into a community. He also talks about their programs and how they’re created to use nature as a vehicle to see what’s possible and to inspire others to think beyond their barriers and be great citizens in the community.

Listen to the podcast here:

Power To Be With Tim Cormode

 

Our guest is Tim Cormode. He’s the CEO of the Power To Be Adventure Therapy Society based in Victoria, British Columbia. Welcome, Tim.

Douglas, thanks for having me. I appreciate it.

We often asked colleagues and clients, “Who is it that you want to be on the show? Who would be a good guest?” Your name has come up from 3 or 4 different people. I’m pleased to have you here to share your learning and your experience. You’re an example of an organization that is doing well in the sector and doing well for the sector. For those who don’t know, tell us a little bit about what Power To Be is.

Power To Be is a registered charity based in Victoria. We’ve been in operation now for over 22 years. We provide adventure-based, nature-based activities for vulnerable populations both young, old and middle age. Our focus is generally children, youth and families. We try to use our programs as we exist to inspire what’s possible and use nature as our vehicle to see what’s possible in our lives and to inspire others to think beyond their barriers and to be great citizens in our community.

When you looked back at starting this many years ago, how has it grown? How has the community changed and how is the support you need to provide change?

I’ll speak on it from two angles. First of all, what’s changed is the rights of people with disabilities. It’s not great. It’s not perfect, but it’s getting better. Back in the day when we first started out, it was only ten years, prior to that I was working in a hospital setting that was very much a cage room with 30 people walking around in circles with little support to support their life. The healthy lifestyle or the healthy living that was promoted for people with disabilities was very much isolated in these residential facilities.

We’ve come a long way in ensuring that individuals with disabilities have the opportunity to live a more viable lifestyle and be more included in their community. Inclusion has come a long way in a short period of time. It doesn’t seem a long time. There’s still lots of work to be done. Secondly, when we first started out, the outdoors and nature has always been a powerful vehicle for me and for others who participate in the outdoors, whether it’s adventure activities, etc. That has always been something that’s driven me as a human being and helped driven my leadership skills. That’s where I do my best thinking.

Nature has always been a powerful vehicle to participate in the outdoors and adventure activities. Click To Tweet

I would argue that many of our staff and the people that relate to our organization feel the same way. It started based on not knowing where it would go, on my own personal experience as a child youth care worker, at the time working at a hospital here for children, as well as I was working in a community group home for young adults living with brain injuries. I was very passionate about the outdoors. I was coming out of the university and trying to figure out where life was going to go for me. At that time at work, I grew up in a household where my dad was a doctor and my mom was a physiotherapist. I’d say they had a huge influence on me about the importance of giving back.

That’s always something that’s resonated with me. When I took my first job as a teenager that I liked, it was working with young people with disabilities. That work carries through university and then into what’s more to now. I’m not going to say it’s a gift, but I realized I love working with other people. I did enjoy working with people with disabilities at a young age. What brought Power To Be together was working in these two different places of work. I’ll admit that I loved the work, what I didn’t like was the culture in which I worked in. I felt there was a lot of mistrust between the frontline workers and the management team, part of it was unionized and I understand why unions exist.

I’m not here to discredit them. One of the tough things that comes out of those types of environments is the mistrust between employees and management. I found people were complaining more about their jobs than they did about what was there in the first place to do, which was to help people. I was very discouraged by this. I was starting to question my life, “Is this the right path for me at 27?” I took a leave of absence. I left work. I was on EI. I was doing some research in the early days of the internet and I found this cool mountaineering school program in Canmore, Alberta called Yamnuska Mountaineering School. I decided to go embark on this three-month Outdoor Leadership Initiative, which was teaching you the skills of various outdoor sports that you could then potentially take to be a guide in any various industries from rock climbing, ice climbing to paddle sports.

I didn’t go for that reason. I went because I needed change in my life and I needed something that I hoped to inspire some change. There was a group, twelve of us. We embarked on a variety of initiatives together in the outdoors. The catalyst was one day we were climbing up in the Kootenays. We had come to this beautiful hut where we were staying the night. The team went on to climb a peak and I’d asked my guide if I could stay behind for the day. I wanted a day to reflect. I was sitting on top of this beautiful glacier and it was quiet as it can be. It’s silence and the beauty was something I still resonate with to this day.

It was there at that moment where I had this a-ha moment like how cool would it be to bring this type of experience to the types of populations of people that I was inspired working with. The idea was born. I left that outdoor school. I did some research and came across this incredibly cool outdoor education program in Colorado. It was focused on working with vulnerable populations. They’ve been in service for quite a few years. It was an outdoor center. I cashed in the rest of my credit card. I went down there. I spent two weeks volunteering. At that point, I was like, “This is what I want to do.” I want to build a program and initiative that does exactly what this group was doing in Colorado called the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center.

I wanted to do the same thing in Victoria or on the island where I was living at the time. I was on EI when I came back and through EI, I was able to apply for a start your own business initiative. I don’t have a business plan. I could guarantee it’s very different to what it is today. I probably didn’t even think I would be sitting in this chair talking to you to be honest. The whole idea was I was funded to provide some funding for myself to get this thing off the ground. From there, I’ve read one book called Good to Great. Some of the business cases in there probably are not so good as far as the corporate brands, but what resonated with me is I want to surround myself with smart people and people that were better than, me smarter than me, and knew where my strengths were.

That philosophy took us to where we are now. Our first experience was we got an opportunity to work with BC Children’s Hospital, with their oncology unit, helping kids from across British Columbia who was recovering from cancer, go on a kayaking expedition out in the Broken Islands. That was the first taste of our services. After that trip, I was like, “We’re onto something here.” This feeling that this could go somewhere. Here we are, I’m now going to jump 23 years. We’re about a $4 million a year privately sector funded organization. We serve about 1,400 participants a year, that’s pre-COVID. We have 43, 44 full-time employees and about 300 volunteers in our organization.

DSP 8 | Power To Be
Power To Be: The rights for people with disabilities has changed. It’s not great and it’s not perfect, but it’s getting better.

 

We’ve evolved. We serve a multiple of populations living with various barriers from children living with autism to, I’m going to call it more hidden barriers like mental health that you don’t see, physical barriers, physical disabilities. Children and adults living with Down syndrome would be an example of a variety of different user groups in our organization. They’re quite often done in partnership. The idea is we want to bring value back to the community. We want to bring these nature-based activities to these organizations that maybe have not had funding to do that themselves. We say, “This is what we’re good at. We’ll come in at value to your organization, to the people that you work with.” It’s quite often done in collaborative partnerships and that’s what got us here now.

I imagine sitting on the top of that glacier and that silence except for the wind and thinking, “I figured out what I want to do.” That’s powerful. That’s what a lot of people are looking for, particularly during this COVID time.

We have a variety of values we live by in how we operate as an organization. The big one for me is gratitude. Every day I’m thankful that I get to go to work and do what I love to do. There’s a lot of people that don’t have that. There’s this ongoing gratitude to be in the seat that I sit in and the opportunities that I have in front of me and behind me and for the organization, that’d be nothing. It’s truly a grateful experience in the number of funders, staff and volunteers over the years. For the future of support have come with open hearts and it’s a nice place to be. There’s no doubt about it.

Many, if not all of the great leaders in the sector that I’ve had the privilege to meet and talk to, they all say, “I get to do this work. I don’t have to go to work on Monday, I get to go to work on Monday.” It does make the sector different than a lot of private-sector jobs, not all of them.

I can’t even distinguish between Monday and Friday. I didn’t even know what is Monday to Friday for me. There’s work on Saturday, Sunday. Sometimes, it’s ingrained in my life. That’s what creates the quality of life. It’s part of something greater, more purposeful. There’s something every day. There’s something new, something different, something inspiring.

You’re at the top of the glacier. You skip ahead to leading the experience at the Broken Islands with the kids from the BC Children’s Hospital. You’re an organization. You’ve got people. You’ve got a finance committee. You’ve got books. At what point in this process of building this organization did it feel real? Did it feel like, “I’m not doing what I love doing, I’m leading this organization?”

First of all, I’m reminded of this because I believe I’ve established some very long-term relationships with staff who are no longer with the organization, who are with us in our infancy stages. I’m reminded by the conversations and the run-ins I have with past staff. Many individuals are like, “I can’t believe where you got where you are now.” I’m not a reflective person. Call it a weakness, call it a strength, whatever. I’m very much driven by what’s ahead of me. I’m trying to find more time to reflect. When I realized about the work that I do, the love and the opportunities that I have is constantly reminding me of where we were and where we’ve come. I don’t think about it often, but it’s my staff and the relationships which I have in the community that reminds me of that. It helped answer that question. Otherwise, I don’t think about it.

Surround yourself with really smart people and people that are better than you. Click To Tweet

The number of founders that I speak to as part of this series, there’s no business plan, there’s no strap plan at the beginning. You start, put your head down and do what to be done or what you love to do and then you find yourself in a place where that complexity is unavoidable. You figure it out and keep going from there.

To your point, it stops creating ideas off the top of your mind. We have to part putting systems and structures in place. We have our strategic plan. We have our business plans. We set clear goals and criteria that we measure, monitor, change and pivot when we need to. That does speak to success. To add value to what you said, there’s this shift where you realize, I appreciate you using the word social profit at the beginning. You’re calling this a social profit business. These organizations, in this sector, you need to make money to do the work that you need to do. Nonprofit instantly discredits organizations for the work that they’re doing. You’re rewarded for doing more with less when it’s almost impossible to do that. We have to be innovative and creative, but we also need overhead. We also need to take risks in the work that we do.

That word doesn’t look at where social profit like any business. It’s about taking healthy risks. It’s about investing in your people. It’s about investing in your overhead to be an effective organization, not an efficient organization. To me, that shift and that business mind was when I got it. I was like, “We’re a business and we need to be a business. We’re going to be a business to do good and that’s where we need to go moving forward.” Hopefully, bring people along, educate and inspire some minds in the sector of philanthropy to change and be different. Make it less about paper and burning paper. Free up the time for these wonderful people to go and deliver the results that they’re super capable of.

I enjoy your description there of why we shouldn’t use nonprofit or not for profit. I do think that social profit is an appropriate way to describe the work of the entire sector and encourage people to use it. Let’s both take that as our side missions out of this conversation. In that messy middle, as you’re growing and it’s becoming real, were there individuals, mentors that you worked with that helped figure out the way forward?

People would say that I over collaborate at times. It’s both a strength and a bit of a crutch. This organization has been built on the advice and the support of many people. Many mentors over the years that either are no longer with me or still in some space where we’ve lost contact due to family reasons, etc. I’ve been blessed and super fortunate to work with some incredibly gifted people over the years that have advised and helped me think differently critically. Asked me hard questions that make me think the way I feel I need to think in the work in which we do. It’s been built on the back of many advisors.

I’m a reader. My wife would joke with me and it’s true. She reads a book in two days that takes me six months to read a book. There are some books that I’ve read over the years. It’s these little ones that get but when I get it, I sink my teeth in there. There’s a book, Deep Work, about finding that time for that critical strategic thinking has been a real blessing to me. Ironically, it always comes at the right time. What I mean about the right time, I’m not expecting it, but something’s going on in the organization or myself that all of a sudden this magical moment happens either a piece of advice or book lands in front of me that speaks to the exact issue that I’m dealing with at the time. We call it serendipity, but I think that’s part of the gratitude that good things happen sometimes when you’re in challenging situations.

It’s every leading organization should read because it helps tell the difference between what is urgent and what is important in a structured way.

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Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World

There are two other ones. One’s a mentor of mine. I’ve got to know personally Dan Pallotta, his work in Charity Case, Uncharitable and The Everyday Philanthropist. He’s someone that’s trying to change the way philanthropy needs to be. It does need to shake up. We need to be freed up to do the work. We shouldn’t be rewarded for inefficiencies. We need to be rewarded for effectiveness. Dan is someone I’ve always looked up to in his work. A great book that landed on my plate about a few years ago called Forces for Good. It’s written by Leslie Crutchfield and Heather Grant. It’s all about that next century of what the sector needs to look like and how you measure success and how you frame your performance measurements.

It’s all about the idea that good organizations, the more they share, the more they’re going to move forward. In our role, it’s in the business sector you sometimes operate in silos. You’re very protective about what you do. You’re protective of your stocks. You’re protective about your funders. I’m a big believer that if you get to that place, you will not survive the long-term. The more we share our resources with others to help us all scale-up effectively, we will be a much stronger sector. We’ll start to achieve real change that I don’t think exists because these interferences get in the way.

What are those interferences that are getting in the way?

The interferences for me would be the questions that get asked around charity. The first question always comes as, “How much money you have on overhead?” I understand that question. It’s an important question, but it’s not the first question. The first question should be, “Tell me about the impact you make in your community. Tell me about how you got started. Tell me your biggest challenges.” Overhead is quite often rewarded as a charity to have low overhead. Low overhead to me means a very inefficient organization. It could be high turnover rates because you’re not paying your employees the inappropriate way. The interference is some of the questions that are getting asked in the state of priority. Overhead’s important but it’s not the most important thing. That would be one.

Grantmaking in this world is a lot of paper. It’s a lot of work to sometimes receive a grant. It requires sometimes 10 to 20 hours, if not more of people’s time and particularly if you’re applying for government funding and how do you remove some of that red-tape to still get the results that you need, but get the money out the door quicker? It’s trust-based philanthropy. The more you trust and get money out the door, the more effective we’re going to be. We use all of this paperwork to collect all of this information because of the trust that we’re trying to achieve, but the paperwork group isn’t the way to do things. There are other ways to simplify it. Maybe before there’s another one around interference.

The other one I mentioned is you need to pay people well for the work that they do. It’s never going to be perfect. We’re worth more than we’re paid, not all, but I would say in our sector, probably certain people in the business sector too. The reality is people deserve an appropriate livelihood in this sector where their time and their talent matter most. This idea that “We work ten hours more and we paid ten hours less.” I’ve heard that quote and it’s wrong. Any entrepreneur needs to work hard at the work they do and you will not be rewarded by finances. At the end of the day, I think you need to earn a reasonable income that you can have a worthy life in the sense of financial security like anyone else.

Those are some of the interferences that I see. In philanthropy, there’s a good intention. When people give, there’s always a good intention, but sometimes those who give think they have the answers to the problems. They’re giving only in the sense of, “I’m going to give, but I’m also going to get involved and give you advice.” You have to trust the leaders in those organizations. You were investing in leadership and you’re investing in people. If you invest in leadership, people and back out of the way and let them go do their work, they’re going to shine, which means taking risks. In our society, we don’t encourage not-for-profits. If you take a risk and fail, you lose funding. That’s wrong. If you take the risk and you fail the first time, I guarantee if you kept funding it, by the second or third time, they’re going to have a brilliant idea. They’re going to be on to something special. Don’t kibosh failure simply because someone took a risk to do good. The only way we learned to be better is by making mistakes.

Good things sometimes happen when you're in challenging situations. Click To Tweet

It’s difficult for a lot of organizations in the sector to articulate what the risk is, what’s the payoff if this works, but also what’s the downside if it doesn’t. That inability for organizations to say what they stand for, what their mission is, what they believe they’re going to be able to deliver makes it harder for funders and donors to have that initial trust at the outset. How do you work with your board on setting up that environment of trust within Power To Be?

We worked hard at having these conversations. We’re having these conversations about how and why it’s important to think and be different. We do our very best to recruit board members that understand good governance and understand the idea that it’s nose in, fingers out, ask good questions, but let the team do the work that needs to be done and trust that team in doing the work. If you’re looking for a more hands-on board, then maybe it’s more of a working board. It’s a startup organization that requires a bit more of that talent. Part of that is the recruitment. That’s the culture that we try to instill. We haven’t been perfect by any means, but we have a great group of board of directors. It’s important that any chair of the board has a very strong relationship with the CEO. They’re constantly in touch with each other and sharing information.

Some of this stuff could be for information. It’s not for anything, but to keep you up to date. Part of the governance for us is we try to be as transparent as we possibly can, even though it’s the board’s decision to make. In this world moving forward, the more transparent you are in the decisions you’re making, people don’t have to agree with the why. You have to be able to explain the why. People that want to be on boards resonate with that want to do good work and want good businesses in this sector that we work with.

Looking at your board and knowing the community, it seems you’ve had a deliberate strategy to engage that next generation of up-and-coming leaders in the community. How did you arrive at that? How has that played out over the last few years?

For the upcoming generation, there is a desire to see a greater change in the world. You see it in social media, that the younger generation, it’s important to them. There’s a desire to do good. You have a bit more of intention there. It’s word of mouth. I never asked for this, but I do know that people, “I was talking to someone. Tim, can you give him some time to have a conversation?” Part of it too, it’s important to have an intention of sharing what you’ve learned. I’m not perfect by any means, but I make myself available to that next generation of leaders. I’m happy to share ideas and take what you want with it. I think being available to mentor and support and provide advice when asked is important. We’ve done a good job of that. Not just me, we have other great people in our organization that are wonderful leaders that share their resources and their talent with others. The more we go back to the sharing idea, the more we’re going to attract that next generation.

The other thing I would say is I’ve been very fortunate through my work. I now do some work on the philanthropy side, the giving backside. I support a private foundation in which I’m asked to vet proposals and work with those leaders. We’ve helped structure a foundation model that is challenging the norms. I’m seeing positive results. We’re seeing more getting done. Part of that is having the opportunity to go and meet with impressive people doing impressive things. I built this little support network of incredibly gifted social entrepreneurs that are doing cool things in the world. You start to build those relationships. Word-of-mouth starts to happen from there, one person says one thing to the next and they become the spokespeople for you. That’s something I’ve seen and experience in how we attracted or had the opportunity to meet some of those up-and-coming entrepreneurs in this sector that we work in.

A lot of the organizations that we work with here, one of the questions the board asks themselves when it comes to succession planning or recruitment of new directors is, how do we find people who were in that next generation who are willing to come up and come onto the board? Acting on their own sometimes they’re stumped, but it sounds like you’ve cracked that code.

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A little bit, but funny you bring up succession and transition. We’re at that stage to look at what is the organization. Every board needs to address the hit by the bus scenario with their CEO. If something happens to the CEO or someone in the critical of the center of the leadership team, where is that intellectual property or the work being cut? If something gets lost, where is it in someone else’s mind, institutional knowledge, where’s that share? Ask me this several years ago, hit by the bus, we probably wouldn’t be in such a great position. I believe that the team that we have recruited is very capable of doing the work that’s required without me here.

When you can address the hit by the bus scenario, you start asking yourself, “What does succession look like?” My job as the founder if you asked me this years ago, I would have said, “It’s not my job.” My job now is to work myself out of a job. If I can do that well, that’s a great sign of leadership. Great leaders are those that work themselves out of a job so whoever comes in can take over. One of my board members said this to me and it was a great advice. I got to get to a place where I have one question to ask my team and that is, “How can I help you?”

When I can get to that place and that’s the culture that I’m helping wherever I’m needed, that’s a pretty good sign that the founder syndrome is gone. I’m here to support wherever necessary and this next generation or the next group of people are taken to the next level. That’s what I’m working on right now. It’s tricky. It’s not perfect by any means. Going back to advice, someone’s introduced me to someone who does good work and transition. What does a good transition look like? Give me good examples of good transition versus things that didn’t work out. As my leadership team said to me, I’m in a fortunate place that when that time comes, that I will be able to do it gracefully.

I’d like to believe that it’s a passing of the torch to someone who’s going to do it better or a team that’s going to do it better, but they’re also going to embrace this transition together. It’s like we’re walking this journey together versus it being an isolation and we’re not talking about it. A lot of organizations are afraid to talk about succession and transition. I get it. The more you talk about it, the more you arrive at the best ideas and how the best moving forward.

I was struck by your listing of who your board committees. You have an executive review compensation and succession committee of the board. You’re focused on that building that next level of leadership, but also looking forward to the organization sometime in the indeterminate future when you won’t be there.

It’s interesting in that structure that I’ve found helpful for our organization may not work for all organizations. People crave information. We have pretty large board packages that go out to the board to read. It’s the hope they’re going to read all of that, but they may or not. The point being is a lot of it’s for information purposes. Where the information gets shared more is with my executive compensation group from the board. That’s a smaller group that’s more in the loop of what’s happening in the organization and my chair. There are certain people that are more in the loop than others, which creates a bit of trust knowing that at least someone’s monitoring that.

There’s going to be any surprises that come up and within the next three months of the next board meeting, they’re like, “I never saw that coming.” They’ll see it coming because we have these smaller-scale community meetings in between that keep people up to date. Even COVID, we struck up a business continuity plan and it was great. We agreed as a board that we would get on a call every two weeks. We would update on what’s going on, sharing some of the concerns that we had. They came when needed and it’s useful that we decided to do that for a period of time. Everybody was on the same page or everyone was either not the same for addressing questions that would support getting on the same page. The reputation and the integrity of the organization were getting through this because that’s where a board has to shine. It’s in these difficult times where strategic shifts might happen unanticipated. That was a pretty interesting and cool experience that we had with our board.

The only way we learned to be better is by making mistakes. Click To Tweet

You brought up something that I wanted to make sure we touched on, which is a lot of the programs that you offer. The Adaptive Recreation and Wilderness School, are hands-on type programs, which if they’re even possible to operate during the pandemic. How as an organization have you pivoted to support that group of people that you exist to serve in these crazy times?

As soon as this started to rear its ugly head per se, there’s been some blessings. For every good challenge, there’s a good opportunity. I’m looking at the opportunities under the rocks while others are dealing with the threats to the organization, that’s what we hire certain people to do. The first thing is we know large-scale fundraising events, which most organizations do rely as part of the income was gone. We lost $1 million of revenue overnight. How did we address that need? We came up with some very creative ways to address and work with our funders over that period of time.

Going back to trust-based philanthropy, and I say the sector as a whole, I saw a lot of corporations and foundations come to the front to support and removed all of the barriers, realizing that money had to get out into the community now. I saw a real impact there. I hope that continues. As far as our participants are concerned, what remains a struggle for both our participants and our team is the isolation that took place and still does take place. Our programs are meant to be this space where people feel part of the community. Quite often their own lives are isolated at home or they’re isolated in schools. They are treated differently. No matter how hard we try it, there is this isolation factor that does take place.

That only was further emphasized by the fact that we couldn’t run our programs the way we did. First of all, we created a lot more virtual programs, but a lot of outreach. A lot of phone calls to families, a lot of checking in like, “How are you doing?” We did that with our funders too. “Let’s phone them and ask and see how they’re doing.” One of the magical things that I think kept us connected was the phone calls and touching base with people. It wasn’t asking for anything. We simply were asking how they were doing. I thought that was cool. We were looking at what was happening in the community.

A few things that were happening, food scarcity, as you saw firsthand was quite evident. How do you get food out to these vulnerable populations? There was another organization called Backpack Buddies that we’ve done some work with over the years. They provide food and lunches for more vulnerable kids in schools, but realizing schools were even out. They have a huge demand. They have a massive community that they’re serving both Vancouver and the island. Now even in some indigenous communities up north. We said, “You guys are lacking vehicles and some staffing, we will pay our staff and provide our vehicles to help move some of the food and deliver some of the food on your behalf.”

We came part of the food delivery business, to be honest with you. We found ways to support communities and organizations that needed resources that we had that we could provide and help them scale up during those significant times of need. That worked well. The last thing is going back to the division of Power To Be and my experience in Colorado was we wanted to build a center. A few years ago, we received a piece of property, an old nine-hole golf course from a lovely family here. It’s a long-term lease that we have with them. We were given the opportunity to build a center of excellence around inclusion, nature, social philanthropy and how do we make the sector better?

It’s not a place of doing programs, but we want it to be a place that people come and we inspire some of the best thinking in the world to make the world a better place. We raised almost $14 million prior to COVID. We started the construction now. Even though we’re going through some challenging times, we get to see the site being built. At the end of the day, it inspires hope that we’re going to get through this together and we’re going to have this place that people are going to come to.

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Power To Be: If you invest in leadership and people and back out of the way and let them do their work, they’re going to shine.

 

When COVID is somewhat in a new norm, people are getting outside more. Because of that, the parks are more full, which means less opportunities for vulnerable populations who might be susceptible to a disease like COVID. I hope this place also creates this safe and controlled environment where people can come from across British Columbia, to enjoy a place in nature where they feel part of something where their needs are being taken care of. That COVID experience has created that case for support for us that I hopefully build on and also support other community organizations that need a space like this to do the work they need to do.

What have you been doing to look after yourself as the CEO, the leader of the team, holder of the mission, driver of change? How have you been looking after yourself during the pandemic?

I have three values that I live by. My value is my family. I’m very close to my extended family as well as my own family and my wife. I have a two and a half year old, almost three. I cannot believe how much time flies. I value my health. I’m an avid mountain biker among other things. I would say I value financial security, the opportunities to ensure that I can make sure that my family’s taken care of. My balance takes place within that. I have a set routine. I’m up at 5:00 usually in the morning. I’ll do my emails from 5:00 to 7:00. That’s my deep work time. I get more work done in those two hours than I probably do the rest of the day because I’m undistracted. My daughter wakes up, take the dog for a walk, go to the office.

Usually, if I get up early and get my work done, I’ll treat myself to a mountain bike at around 3:00 before I get home and being home for dinner. What’s great about COVID is I’m not traveling as much. I don’t plan on traveling as much post-COVID. It’s time to share those responsibilities with others. You start seeing the impact of being around your family and that has on your life. You start looking at life differently. The way I’ve set my routine up has helped me take care of myself. I know that when I mountain bike, particularly, I love mountain biking. I go home relieving stress for the most part.

I don’t stress out that much. I would argue that Power To Be is largely built on a lot of my mountain bike rides. The thoughts and the ideas that come to me when I’m riding happened in this place where I’m in the outdoors. Those are the things that I do to stay balanced. Having good conversations with my wife and then making sure that I’m seeing where I can improve and be better. I’m not perfect by any means and never will be. Making sure I’m having those conversations and not forgetting the importance of the people in my life is important when I have all of these other things going on in my mind, which is quite often inspiring thoughts and how do I actually implement them?

Tim, thank you for sharing. That’s great advice to leaders and anyone in the social profit sector to be aware of what is most important to them and then take action to live those values on a daily basis. Thank you for being a guest on the show.

It’s my pleasure. Words of encouragement here, I appreciate these organizations, companies and businesses like you that are creating shows and an opportunity for people in the social sector to have a voice, especially the leaders in this world that have as much purpose and innovative ideas as the business sector. Thanks for bridging that gap. I wish you all the best in your future shows. I hope that you continue to still greater change in the world for leaders that need it. Now’s the time more than ever.

I appreciate that. Thanks, Tim.

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About Tim Cormode

DSP 8 | Power To BeTim has been involved in youth work and the non-profit sector for nearly 30 years. Initially supporting young adults with disabilities at a summer camp as a teenager, Tim’s passion for the outdoors and supporting others led to a leadership program at Yamnuska Mountaineering School in Canmore, Alberta. This is where the inspiration came to help youth and families living with barriers climb their own mountains. With the help of a small government grant in 1998, the Power To Be adventure began and has grown to reach more than 8,000 youth and families to date. Maintaining an avid love of the outdoors, adventure and humanitarian work, Tim’s recent highlights include climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro and travelling to support Haiti relief. His greatest accolade, among many in recent years, came in 2011 when he received the British Columbia Community Achievement Award from the lieutenant-governor of B.C.

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