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Community Strategic Planning

March 1 – 4th, 2016 – An extraordinary event! Thanks to those who participated.

The 2016 Ready to Raise Virtual summit was all tips, resources, ideas and new ways of thinking to keep community planning relevant, on task, and resulting in measurable and MEANINGFUL outcomes. If you are involved in planning for your organization or at a community level, connect with us to learn more about how the make the planning process more effective.

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 Our Special Guests included:

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Ready to Raise

People often call us the “dynamic duo,” describing us as enthusiastic, authentic, confident and clear communicators who “walk the collaborative talk.”

Tracy Smyth is a connector that blends facilitation, strategy and innovative thinking to supporting community development.

Tammy Dewar is an active coach and facilitator who loves to hold a space and design processes for reflective conversations and strength-based growth.

What makes us standout is how we blend our unique strengths to empower leadership and creative change in communities. Our journey together started as co-authors of the book Raising the Village: How Individuals and Communities Can Work Together to Give Our Children A Stronger Start in Life.


Find out more about our Strategic Community Planning Approach.

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Vince Gowmon is the founder of Remembering to Play Events. He leads custom designed Keynotes, Playshops and Webinars for organizations, conferences and communities on topics such as Leadership, Communication, Engagement, Inclusion, Intuition, Teambuilding, Creativity and of course, Play. His events are fun and interactive, leaving people inspired and with practical tools for work and life.

Vince is a Certified Professional Life Coach with The Coaches Training Institute, and has also received advanced training in Organization & Relationship Systems Coaching through the Centre for Right Relationship. He also holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Simon Fraser University, concentrating on Human Resources, Marketing and International Business.

Vince is the author of Let the Fire Burn ~ Nurturing the Creative Spirit of Children. This fun and inspiring “Children’s Book for Adults” is a poetic journey in to the creative fire of children, and how to fan its flames.


Photo Line PerronLine Marie Perron is a champion for children, leader and innovator. Previously the Early Childhood Community Development and Mobilization Manager with the Early Child Development Mapping Project at the University of Alberta. This 5 year project applied quantitative and qualitative data to mobilize community coalitions across Alberta to better understand the factors that influenced child development. Line and her team strengthened community capacity to make relevant and effective changes at neighbourhood levels and created the first province-wide baseline of data on child development.

Currently, she is Director and CEO at Early Childhood Development Support Services and received a National Award of Excellence in recognition for outstanding efforts to support young children and families.


Photo Paul_Born_author_7475_high_Res_croppedPaul Born is the cofounder and President of Tamarack—An Institute for Community Engagement, a leader on issues of place, citizenship engagement, collective impact, and community innovation. The author of four books, including two Canadian best sellers, Born is internationally recognized for his community-building activities that have won awards from the United Nations and as a senior fellow of Ashoka, the world’s largest network of social innovators.

Paul Born grew up in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia as the son of Mennonite refugees. This in part is what made him deeply curious about and engaged in ideas that cause people to work together for the common good, work that he describes as collective altruism.


Maggie photo with JL tweaksMaggie Hodge Kwan is a research and information expert with a passion for creative problem-solving and human-centered design. She loves when information, ideas and action come together to create positive change.

With a Master of Library and Information Studies (MLIS) degree from UBC, several years as a children’s librarian under her belt and a Graduate Certificate in Project Management soon to be completed, Maggie devotes her time to working with individuals and groups interested in leveraging strengths, increasing connectedness and designing highly successful project outcomes.

Recent projects include the inaugural Alberni Valley Vital Signs report, a statistics-based check-up that measures the quality of life in the Alberni Valley. Similar reports are generated across Canada, and internationally.


Erica CrawfordErica Crawford is a community and regional planner specializing in resilience and adaptation strategies. A skilled facilitator and process designer, Erica applies a systems perspective on local and regional planning issues to craft effective engagement processes aimed at building capacity and the readiness to take action. She works closely with local governments, agriculture, community organizations and other stakeholder groups to enhance collective capacity for decision-making in contexts characterized by complexity and uncertainty. Erica has played a key role in leading edge initiatives ranging from the first province-wide agricultural adaptation assessment and regional agriculture adaptation plans, to establishing a co-working space for sustainability and creativity professionals (The HIVE) and launching a national yoga magazine.

A serial collaborator, she has extensive practical experience as well as a theoretical background in group process and systems dynamics to support learning, development and change. Her less collaborative pursuits include spending time in the forest and in salty or fresh water, practicing yoga, and dancing with abandon.

Photo TanyaTanya Gadsby helps people connect ideas and “see the big picture” through graphic recording and graphic facilitation. Her area of expertise is health care, visioning and strategic planning. Her work helps people to visualize and process complex topics.

Tanya collaborates with people to integrate the graphic element as a key component in dialogue and planning processes. She also designs presentations, infographics, whiteboard and stop-motion paper animations.


Photo JoanneJoanne Schroeder is the Executive Director of the Comox Valley Child Development Association. Previously she was Deputy Director of the Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP) an interdisciplinary research network at UBC.

She has also been the Provincial Advisor to “Children First,” a project that worked in 45 BC communities to build local capacity and was the National Lead Fellow for the Council for Early Child Development.

Joanne has a passion for community development, making early child development research accessible, practical and relevant to communities.  For the last twenty years, she has presented extensively nationally and internationally, prioritizing the need to build local relationships, share knowledge, and link communities to each other and to the research.

Photo Alison 2Alison Bledsoe consults in the non-profit, philanthropic, private and public sectors.  Her work includes achieving results through organizational development, cross-sectoral stakeholder relations and successful project management, development/implementation/analysis of policy and strategy, effective mobilization and knowledge transfer, as well as collaboration, facilitation and capacity building.

Her clients and colleagues include the City of Surrey, Options Community Services Society, BC Aboriginal Child Care Society, BC Early Years Refugee Programs, United Way of the Lower Mainland, as well as private consulting firms.  She is a proud faculty member of the Douglas College Early Childhood Education department.

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