Neil Squire Society: Award-winning not-for-profit celebrates 30 years

The Neil Squire Society is a Canadian not-for-profit organisation that helps people with significant physical disabilities achieve greater independence through the development, adaptation, and use of innovative services and technology for the home and workplace.

Neil Squire Society celebrates today 30 years of service. Go see the infographic on what has happened in those 3 decades, not the least of which is 30,000 people helped. You can also see the historical timeline and the fascinating photos of how technology was put to good use.

It’s fantastic to be able to focus on celebrations, as I am convinced that the news today would have been all about shortages of funding, had it not been for the extraordinary efforts of Rob Attwell, my business partner and myBestHelper co-founder COO.

Rob has been served for years on the Board of the Neil Squire Society, first as a member then as Chair of the Board. Along with many able volunteers and team members at the Neil Squire Society, the funding cuts over the last few years were dealt with and more resources were deployed to help so many Canadians whose quality of life truly depends on the work Neil Squire Society does.

I have seen him first hand spend hours of his time, demonstrate resourcefulness, creativity and sheer will power to keep the organisation on the right track in today’s difficult funding climate. Jim Collins of “Good to Great” fame describes the key success factor of organisations that show sustained superlative success is the presence of “a Level 5 leader, a paradoxical and rare blend of genuine personal humility and intense professional will”.

Rob is definitely a level 5 leader, usually happy to do the heavy lifting behind the scenes – and although he might not like me writing about his contribution to the success of Neil Squire Society – someone just HAS to publicly recognize his hard work and incredible abilities. At myBestHelper, we all know how lucky we are to have someone of his capabilities – and are thrilled to support and encourage his commitment to community causes he is passionate about.

Incidentally the Neil Squire Society annual report has on its cover page that they use “technology, knowledge and passion” to accomplish their mission – and technology, knowledge and passion are also core to how we approach our company too.

Rob Attwell is seeing standing far right at the City of Vancouver ceremony recognizing Neil Squire CEO Gary Bearg - with Mayor Gregor Robertson

Rob Attwell standing far right – here in 2012 at the City of Vancouver ceremony recognizing Neil Squire Society with the city’s Access and Inclusion Award (Gary Birch, Executive Director of the Neil Squire Society is in front holding the plaque with Mayor Gregor Robertson)

On behalf of us all, we are so proud of your accomplishments, Rob – and of course, live long and prosper to Neil Squire Society!

Alexandra T. Greenhill, CEO cofounder myBestHelper

PS. Of course, ongoing funding and success totally depends on people like us – so donate, contribute, advocate and vote in support of worthy causes like this one!

Matthew Clarke (Dad, Superhero and Youtube Star) Answers our Father’s Day Questions!

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Matthew Clarke, Coco & family with Kraig Docherty from Invoke Labs.

I hope everyone had an amazing Father’s Day! I was lucky enough to catch up with Matthew Clarke, creator of one of our favourite webinar series here at myBestHelper called convos with my 2-year oldto ask him a few questions about what it’s like to be a Dad. I’ll let his answers speak for themselves…

Q: What is a change you’ve noticed in yourself after becoming a Dad, something you didn’t expect?

Matt: I’m not really sure to tell you the truth. I feel in a way like I’m so in the midst of it all still, I haven’t the perspective yet to sit back and pin point such things. And yet, ironically, I think my answer is probably that I’m more self aware. It’s so glaringly obvious to me how much an effect I have on my kids. My emotional state, my outlook, my patience level, how I handle all sorts of different things. I clearly see a correlation between my mental state/behaviour and my kid’s mental state/behaviour. So I’m constantly trying to check in with myself and see where I’m at. What am I feeling? What am I really feeling beneath that feeling? And so on and so forth until I reach some sort of existential crisis and bounce back up to the surface just in time to clean tomato sauce off the roof, or stop an entire shelf of groceries from falling. Now that I say that, maybe I’ve actually become a super hero of sorts. Yes, let’s go with that. I am now a superhero. Didn’t expect that.

Q: What’s a new “family tradition” in your household? Anything for Father’s Day?

Matt: I’ve been trying to start a Father’s Day tradition where I get waited on hand and foot all day while I sip a beer on the couch, watching golf in complete serenity. I’ve got a long way to go on that one.
I feel like our most consistent family tradition is being late.

Q: Do you have a “parenting hack” or shortcut to share? A favourite app? A ridiculous strategy?

Matt: I’m always asking this question, never answering it. I don’t know. One thing I’ve been consciously trying lately and seems to be making my life easier is trying not to micromanage so much. Let them go a bit more and just guide vs control. It’s amazing how letting her find her own longer, more complicated way to put on her shoes as opposed to me just grabbing them and putting them on saves me what feels like hours in argument time. If only we could put that into an App. We’d be rich!!

A big thank you to Matt – I sincerely hope you got your Father’s Day wish.

Are you a Dad? What did you wish for on Father’s day? Did you get it? And are you a super hero too?

 

Stephanie Phillips, User Experience Lead at myBestHelper, maker of many Father’s Day Breakfasts-in-bed that went a little awry….

 

 

 

 

Does Happiness Matter?

 

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Love this poster by Lykki.com – an amazing (and happy) company

A fascinating overview in the last Atlantic Monthly seems to say – not so much… After over a thousand books (yes 1,000 books) on the topic of how being happy is what matters the most, there is new and unsettling evidence that this may not be true. A new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that people who say they are happy, but don’t have much of a sense of meaning in their lives have the same gene expression patterns as people who are enduring chronic adversity.

The key is of course in how we define happiness. Is it momentary joy or is it satisfaction from one’s accomplishments and successes? Do you need both?

While the experts debate the fine points, I just recommend a “daily dose of happiness” which may be as simple as listening to Pharrell’s “Happy” at least once a day! And if it does NOT make you happy – email me asap!!!

Alexandra T. Greenhill, MD, CEO founder of myBestHelper (who is generally happy even when the skies are gray)

1000 High Fives for You!

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Today we’re celebrating our 1000th job posted! That’s like 1000 cheesecakes, 1000 singing swallows, 1000 landings on the moon!… At least to us. And we hope you found joy as well on this adventure with us.
Because it has been an adventure. We’ve come a long way from our first job post, one incidentally that our CEO created herself as she urgently needed a great helper for her family. Since then we’ve added new questions, new features, new views! And that’s all thanks to you, so we want to take this moment to say 1000 THANKS for your feedback, THANKS for your support and THANK YOU for taking a chance on us! I hope we’ll see you again along this journey as we head toward our 2000th trip into awesome.
Finally, keep an eye on us in the next few weeks…. our job wizard may be getting a makeover very soon….

What Freakonomics author Steven Levitt thinks is important for parents to do

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I read with great interest an interview of Steven Levitt by Christopher Kompanek published in the Financial Times. I have loved each edition in the Freakonomics franchise not necessarily because I agree with all the conclusions, but because it’s a great way to be reminded to think differently, to tackle an issue from an unexpected angle, to question assumptions and commonly held beliefs…

His views on parenting in particular caught my attention. His belief is that passion and curiosity are two most important qualities he hopes to instill in his own children, currently ages from 10 to 14. He is quoted to say:

“A lot of parents emphasize achievement, but I think that’s the wrong approach. Almost every kid knows how to read and do math, but when I look at my students, what separates the truly exceptional ones is a combination of creativity and excitement for life. Very early on I made my goal not to have my kids be really good readers or really good at math but instead to try to instill in them this idea of thinking and excitement of pursuing what they love.”

This closely aligns with my own perspective on what is important to get our kids to understand, now that there is more and more evidence that EQ is a stronger predictor of success than IQ.

Would love to get more perspectives on this, and other things you consider as the most important things to teach our children.

Alexandra T. Greenhill, CEO cofounder myBestHelper, raising three kids that we hope will be at least passionate and curious

Summer = farmer’s markets!

 

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We wrote recently about helping kids develop their taste buds: Karen LeBillon’s 2nd book “Getting to Yum: Curing and preventing picky eating”, endorsed by a Harvard Medical School pediatrician, helps with taste training for kids.

The other things that help is to see where food comes from. Showing this to kids directly works amazingly, as UK celebrity chef Jamie Oliver demonstrated through his work with schools. Here is a video showing school kids who could not identify a potato from a tomato!

Farmer’s markets can help with that. Summer is a great time to visit one – and here are the listings for VancouverCalgary and Toronto. The best is when your kids can actually speak with the vendors and ask what they are passionate about – markets are full of creative people who are driven by their love of what they do, and it’s so interesting to discover the people behind the produce and the products.

If you can’t make it to a farmer’s market, there are some great online resources on “farm to table” food. Enjoy!

Alexandra T. Greenhill, MD, CEO cofounder myBestHelper

Two People Who Made a Difference: Dr. Maya Angelou and Dr. Christine Simard

We all have our personal heros and – I need to stop today an acknowledge two people that made me a better person and a better leader.

The better known one – Dr. Maya Angelou passed away this week. The other – passed away four years ago this week – Dr. Christine Simard and was just acknowledged in this week’s Globe and Mail.

I never got to see in person Dr. Angelou, but her writing shaped much of how I see the world. My favorite quote from her is a core concept of the way I try to live my life.

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I did get a chance to meet Dr.  Christine Simard in person and her real life courage inspired in a way that only real encounters can. People often talk about leadership and humility, but rarely is it something that you actually get to see. Dr. Simard was a general surgeon who completed six tours of duty outside of Canada, including four to Afghanistan – often as the sole surgeon present, on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. She saved countless lives by being unassumingly amazing at her craft, and doing complicated procedures requiring advanced sub-specialty training. She did them because there was no other choice – truly a matter of life and death. I really think Dr. Simard lived her life by the Maya Angelou quote above.

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Dr. Christine Simard

They were both forces that made the world a better place and their light will shine on.

Alexandra T. Greenhill, MD, CEO cofounder myBestHelper