Up-Stander: Scott Smith

Posted by on Mar 9, 2014 in Articles, Up-Stander | 3 comments

This month’s Up-Stander decided to stand up to bullying when he was ten years old.  Scott Smith, pictured here with his proud and supportive father Steve had already had some history at changing the world.  At age nine, he formed his own charity and raised $3400 for Somalian relief efforts. Scott’s decision to tackle bullying and abusive behaviours, however, came from personal experience closer to home. By the time he entered Grade 5, says Dad “he had already been punched, kicked, spit on and insulted by abusive names. You get the idea. Yet when he started the (school Anti-Bullying) Club his primary goal was to help other kids from being bullied, not himself.” So Scott decided to team up with others to make a difference, ranging from his classmates to champion golfer, Ernie Els, not only to stop bullying but also to help other kids with autism and Aspergers. Scott’s deeds are all worth reading about and we’ve attached links at the end of this article that will tell you more.  His track record is amazing. Colorado, Kentucky and Saskatchewan are promoting the program he created for his classmates, Ontario’s Minister of Education wrote Scott about the work he has done, his personal story is part of Ernie Els’ website and fund-raising campaign for Autism Canada; the same story is featured on Pacer.org, an anti-bullying organization with helpful material downloaded in 185 countries. Scott deeply inspires me with his sensitivity, compassion, values and commitment to speak his truths in every aspect of his life. So that is what I want to convey to you here, beyond just the facts of Scott’s achievements. His Dad, Steve inspires me as well, with his infinite love and support for his son. He has taken up the cause in his own way too; to stand up for respect in the places in which we live, learn, work, and play. Finally, the honesty and open dialogue between these two has been a great experience for me to witness through correspondence over the past six months. These exchanges have been brief, simple and direct. I want to share some of them with you. I won’t add my own take around the implicit lessons about self-esteem, charity, forgiveness, civility or even the impressions our governments are leaving on young minds. I will simply relate them as they were expressed to me. Scott has written publicly about having Aspergers, but I wanted to be sure he would be okay with me writing about it. Steve spoke to Scott, the answer was yes and this footnote came with it. Steve: “Actually I asked Scott if it ever bothered him having Aspergers. He looked at me like that was the...

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Up-Stander: Robin Kells

Posted by on Feb 9, 2014 in Articles, Up-Stander | 2 comments

  For those who don’t personally know my daughter Robin, it might flash through your mind that by naming her as this edition’s Up-Stander, I be might a little bit tilted toward the proud father side of the spectrum. Well true, I am a proud father, but those of you who do know Robin will understand right away why the shoe fits. For other Up-Standers I have written about, I have described an act or cause or goal they have pursued honorably over time, making a difference to many people as a result. With Robin, what I really want to describe is a value she lives by that has also made a great difference to many people whose lives she has touched. I admire this quality in any person, but rarely have I seen it applied in every single circumstance every single time, at work, home or play, with friends or co-workers or loved ones. No exceptions. I am sure that as Chief of Staff to the Clerk of the House of Commons and in her previous duties there, Robin has heard her fair share of spin around Parliament Hill. But if you want clarity, if you need to know the truth of it, you can 100% rely on Robin to deliver it to you. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it’s a duck and she will say so. There’s no glee in it, no ham-handed force, no insensitivity. Just point blank honesty tempered with a healthy dose of compassion. One of her greatest attributes is her respect for others and the need to be true to herself and to them. There are many stories I know her friends and bosses could tell you about always being able to rely on what they get from her. I have many of my own of course, but I’ll tell you just one that came at a time in my life when I needed it most. She gave me this gift of truth just two days after her brother and my son Sean’s death in a workplace fire and explosion. One of the things I never fully comprehended until years later was how focused people are on the parents of a child who has been lost to them. What I did not realize was the huge cumulative impact on others in the immediate family. Not only are grandparents and siblings suffering their own deep loss, they also have to contend with the overwhelming pain their own children or brothers and sisters are going through. My daughter was not only grieving for herself; she was grieving for parents and her grandpa and grandma. Pain...

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Up-Stander: Elizabeth Witmer

Posted by on Jan 17, 2014 in Articles, Up-Stander | 0 comments

I first met Elizabeth Witmer about a year after my son was killed in a 1994 workplace explosion.  But our paths crossed somewhat earlier than that following the trial of the employer responsible for Sean’s death. I tell this story not because it is the most important of all the positive differences Elizabeth Witmer has made but because it was my first glimpse into the kind of person and politician she is and was: decisive, principled, compassionate, caring and always determined to do the right thing. Elizabeth had been appointed as Ontario’s Minister of Labour, assuming the position some months after Sean passed away. Meanwhile, the Ministry’s lawyers had decided to plea bargain the charges filed under OHS regulations from seven down to two and to levy fines totaling $75,000.  Our family wasn’t happy about the plea bargain and the amount of the fines could in no way fit the loss of life.  Still, the defendants had already agreed to these terms before we found out about it so reluctantly we accepted that we were powerless to do anything about it. We decided to see it through; to attend the sentencing hearing presided over by a Justice of the Peace.  What followed next was simply mind-boggling.  The JP, saying he thought the fines were too high, rejected the plea bargain and cut the amount in half.  Outraged, I walked out of the courtroom, called the MOL’s Assistant Deputy and asked her to pass on my feelings to the Minister, whom I had not yet met.  Less than a half hour later, the Minister announced her intent to file an appeal. Since that time, our paths have intersected many more times.  In the era of drastic Mike Harris cutbacks she prevailed in preserving the number of labour inspectors in the field.  She was invaluable in her support of my founding of the Safe Communities Foundation in Canada. And last year she resigned her seat as a Conservative MPP and was appointed Chair of the Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board. There, I am certain she continues to insure the WSIB does not leave behind its moral duty to support prevention principles in the aftermath of its formal prevention mandate being yanked and shifted to the Ministry of Labour. At a time when many Canadians are distressed about the integrity of some of its political leadership, it lifts my spirits to be able to point to someone who is such a wonderful example of an Up-Stander – a person whose service to her province and country demonstrates the very best of public integrity and purpose.   — Paul Kells Workplace Respect and Safety Champion, Culture Change Expert and Inspiring Speaker Reach...

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Up-Stander: Candace Carnahan

Posted by on Nov 19, 2013 in Articles, Up-Stander | 0 comments

Candace Carnahan uses her unique life lessons to inspire us to dismantle roadblocks while celebrating the attitudes and behaviors that promote success. I have personally witnessed how Candace inspires safer workplace and school cultures. Her fundamental belief is that standing up for others is a transformational concept – “If You See Something; Say Something”. We traveled thousands of miles from Newfoundland to British Columbia to the Yukon and North West Territories to generate support in schools and worker compensation boards for young worker safety awareness and education. We ultimately succeeded in impacting 600,000 Canadian teens who completed the online program Passport to Safety. Candace persevered in every demanding situation she faced, sometimes with great pain and discomfort from her personal injury and the wear and tear of relentless travel. The impetus behind Carnahan’s contagious enthusiasm was a devastating workplace incident in which she lost her lower left leg at the vulnerable age of 21. It was an incident that might also have taken her life, but most important – it was preventable. As she grew aware that “tomorrow” is a guarantee for no one, she adapted quickly – mentally and physically – to mobilize herself from a potentially paralyzing situation. Over the years Candace’s simple but meaningful lessons have been instrumental to her effectiveness as a speaker. She has shared her message with over 100,000 people worldwide and continues to expand her message to audiences across the globe. Candace is featured in awareness campaigns across North America, Australia, and Europe. Her personal story lends a wide range of philosophies, ideas, incentives – and humor – to audiences who are inspired to understand and achieve a better appreciation of the many gifts they already have. To learn more about Candace, please visit her website. — Paul Kells Workplace Respect and Safety Champion, Culture Change Expert and Inspiring Speaker Reach new standards for safe and positive workplace cultures www.paulkells.com...

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Up-Stander: Dr. Kevin Kelloway

Posted by on Oct 22, 2013 in Articles, Up-Stander | 0 comments

Up-Standers are people committed to educating others on how to make positive change in their schools, at work and in the world.  There is a lot of research “at a distance” in the field of occupational health and safety, particularly in behavioural terms. Scientists such as Dr. Kevin Kelloway are a different breed: they possess a strong affinity for people with a gift for common sense, plain language and a focus on outcomes. Dr. Kelloway is the Canada Research Chair in Occupational Health Psychology at St. Mary’s University. He is a scientist and a true professional in the area of workplace health and safety behaviours. He is all those things you would expect of a Canada Research Chair; a respected expert in his field, thoroughly grounded academically and research-focused. As strong as these credentials are, it is his continuous efforts to put research into practice that set him apart and make him an Up-Stander.  Even more unusual within his profession is his enthusiasm for new ideas around workplace culture and behaviours, whatever the source.  Kevin not only sets out to prove his own innovations, but also looks for other practices that work from various sources including laypeople, industry experts, OHS professionals or other academics. He devises ways to get the evidence one way or the other to establish the best among them. If it works, he seeks to leverage the findings into real change in real workplaces.   Official Biography Dr. Kevin Kelloway is the Canada Research Chair in Occupational Health Psychology at Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, Nova Scotia. He received his Ph.D. in Organizational Psychology from Queen’s University in 1991 and began his career in the Department of Psychology at the University of Guelph. In 1999 he joined the Faculty of Commerce at Saint Mary’s University as Professor of Management and Psychology. In 2006 he was appointed as a Senior Research Fellow at the CN Centre for Occupational Health and Safety. Dr. Kelloway was the founding Ph.D. Program Director for the Saint Mary’s Faculty of Commerce (2000 – 2003), the founding, and current, Director of the CN Centre for Occupational Health and Safety and a founding principal of the Centre for Leadership Excellence. In 2009 he was appointed as the Tier I Canada Research Chair in Occupational Health Psychology. Dr. Kelloway is a prolific researcher having published over 100 articles, book chapters, and technical reports in addition to 10 authored/edited books. In 2007, Dr. Kelloway received the SMU President’s Award for Excellence in Research and in 2009 he was named a Fellow of both the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology and the Association for Psychological Science. In 2010, he was named a Fellow of the Canadian Psychological Association. He is...

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Up-Standers: Travis Price and David Sheppard

Posted by on Sep 12, 2013 in Articles, Up-Stander | 0 comments

Back in 2007, Travis Price and David Shepherd, then in Grade 12, rallied hundreds of students at Central Kings Rural High School in Nova Scotia to wear pink t-shirts to school to stand up to bullies who had harassed a younger boy the day before for wearing pink.  The story was picked up by media and since then millions of people in different parts of the world wear pink to show their support for those who are bullied. Click here to read the original CBC news story. The provincial government at the time legislated the second Thursday of every September to be “Pink Shirt Day” and children throughout the province participate. Other provinces started their own anti-bullying days as well. The story of these two boys is a testament to the fact that standing up (vs. taking the position of a bystander) can make a big difference. Today, the Up-Standers group is working with the Canadian Red Cross to create a national anti-bullying day. The intent is to change the mindset around bullying. Previous large scale culture change campaigns have worked before – seat belts, drinking and driving and recycling are a few examples. When you put on your pink shirt, remember how much impact this seemingly small gesture can make. — Paul Kells Workplace Respect and Safety Champion, Culture Change Expert and Inspiring Speaker Reach new standards for safe and positive workplace cultures...

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