Four months ago, I announced that I was taking an indefinite break from this blog and that my Twitter feed would be quieter. I also resigned from all but one of my committees and boards where I contributed my time as a volunteer. The only commitment I maintained was to the Waterloo Region Waste Management Master Plan Stakeholder group assisting the regional government to make decisions on how we’ll deal with the waste collected curbside and put into landfill, recycled or composted.

I said that I wanted to step back and reassess how I was using my time and how I could best achieve my community building goals.

Sure enough being who I am, I appeared before city council on the casino issue and responded to a call for a decentralized region in a letter to the editor. Both appeared here. But I haven’t really written anything specifically for this blog since. My Twitter feed went very quiet initially and has been more active recently but still nothing like it was.

Figuring out how to move forward

Having cleaned my slate, I brainstormed a list of 16 people who I thought it’d be great to have conversations with about my community building and how I’m using my time. I’ve randomly been contacting them and have had 9 great conversations with a range of people including social profit leaders, elected politicians and other volunteer community builders. I’ve also had a number of great conversations with others that were not on the list but have been extremely interesting and helpful.

Since that time, I’ve added to the list so that there are now 32 people I hope to chat with about  my community building both personally and professionally. For the most part, I’m concentrating on talking to people one-on-one who I normally wouldn’t have this type of conversation but who I believe I can get insights into my efforts and our community that I normally wouldn’t get directly.

If you’d like to have one of these chats, contact me and I’ll be happy to add you to the list–if you aren’t on it already. Since I’m contacting people randomly though it may be awhile before our time to chat comes up. But all the conversations that are meant to happen will happen when they are meant to happen.

How I’m starting to move forward

The message I’ve received. Keep doing what you’ve been doing.

If you disagree, the be sure you do contact me because I’d love to get your perspective!

My blog

You’ll start to see blog posts here with original, new content. In general, the topics and style will be similar to what you’ve come to expect.

The biggest change might be the frequency. My intent is to write posts outside of the daytime work hours that I’m dedicating to my business and career. Since that hasn’t always been the case, I’ll likely post less often.


I’ve revamped my personal use of Twitter. I’ve made changes to alerts and how I access it so that the feed of the folks I follow and the alerts for when I’m mentioned are less prominent. So instead of being a seamless part of how I live, I need to more consciously access them.

I’m doing so in part as a time management strategy so that I’ll spend more time during “work hours” on my business and career. It also helps me to better manage the issues that grab my attention there and how I respond.

I’m back to being active but less frequently through the day and response times can be longer than previously. I’m less likely to immediately tweet some of the thoughts I would have previously.

Community commitments

I have decided to join the executive of the Central Frederick neighbourhood association as it’s communications guy. I expect that to be my primary way of being involved in the community for the indefinite future and I’m not seeking any other opportunities.

I look forward to being a part of an active neighbourhood association in my neighbourhood. There are already exciting community building initiatives underway such as the Hohner Porch Party, the annual garage sale, a community garden at Weber Park, the Central Frederick Artwalk, etc. I’ve also met many of those involved and have learned that they are interested in being advocates for our neighbourhood and how it can be better and try to avoid changes for the worse. I believe I have something to contribute to make a great neighbourhood an even better place for everyone to live.

Let me be clear that anything that I share here or on my personal twitter account is my perspective and not that of the Central Frederick neighbourhood. While I’ll be involved in sharing what the neighbourhood association says, I won’t use personal platforms to speak for residents. There may at times though at times there may be overlap. But you should be able to tell when something is coming from me or coming from the association or is a common interest–usually based upon where it appears.

Continuing my review of what my community building

I’m still concerned about why I felt I needed to step back and reassess my activities. I haven’t determined why rather than opening doors for me, they seem to have closed doors. So I’ll keep meeting folks and having conversations how best to build community personally and professionally. And I’ll keep reviewing how best to achieve my objectives and make the decisions necessary to move forward long term.

Thanks for being there and being part of my community–online and in the real world.

6 thoughts on “Ready to start moving forward

  1. Hi James. I’m sitting in the bleachers, where your activities are concerned, just seeing what shows up publicly. However, you are one of a handful of people I trust to have an informed opinion of what is going on in our community. So I would vote for “Keep doing what you’re doing.” It sounds as if you have a more targetted strategy, now, and a sense of where your voice belongs. All the best as you move ahead.

    1. Thanks Sue! I appreciate your thoughts and that you’re paying attention. If you ever disagree with me, please share! I would never expect anyone to always agree. But I hope they respect what I say and how I say it. If I can make people think and ignite discussion, I’m happy.

  2. I would echo what Sue has written. I have found your perspective and commentary to be informed and insightful – and I type this as someone who does not always agree with your position but values your thoughtful approach :).

    I found your comment ” rather than opening doors for me, they seem to have closed doors” poignant. Sometimes, being involved in the community and offering informed opinion means speaking truth to power, and that can come at a cost. If ours was a culture that valued answers over positions, I would like to like that would not be the case. Alas, it is what it is. It sounds like you are close to finding your equilibrium again,which is good. Best of luck as you move forward -Central Frederick is richer for your presence and talents.

    1. Thank you very much Scott. I appreciate your perspectives. My reply to Sue also applies to you. Please be sure to share your thoughts here as I move forward so that there’s a rich discussion even when we don’t agree.

  3. James I always appreciate the position you take on a variety of issues, mostly because I feel like you’re one of those people in this community who actually gets out there and sees things as a member of the community and not some deity from ‘on high’ that has decided to grace the lowly rest of us with his presence. It’s much appreciated and I’ll certainly stay tuned to see where things may go for you (and for the Frederick neighborhood since that’s my stomping grounds!). All my best!

    1. Thanks Caryn! That’s a great compliment. I hope I’ll maintain that perspective as I move forward. Hope to see you around at some Central Frederick events!

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