February 20, 2012

Whose Your Brian Reid?

Being an interlocutor doesn’t take much.

Being present in someone’s life despite geographical distance is as easy as you mentally make it.

Let me introduce you to Brian Reid. (@number1brian)

In the winter of 1997, Denise and I made the decision to move to Ottawa, Ontario. Our car was packed by June as we headed East from Vancouver so I could pursue additional higher education in my quest to tackle (and combine) the tenets of learning, technology and leadership. Denise, in turn, found employment at the Ottawa-Carlton Separate School Board as a high school teacher.

The one-year intensive program I enrolled in was entitled the Information Technology Professional (ITP) program offered in a pan-Canadian partnership with the Software Human Resource Council, now a part of the Information and Communications Technology Council. Over the course of the 12 months, students in a cohort of 30 would immerse themselves in the running of a fictitious business. In addition to the experiential learning aspect of the business simulation, students were pelted with a torrential downpour of technology, leadership and professional development formal education.

I met Brian on the first day of the ITP program in August of 1997. His role in the program was ‘facilitator’, which was a horrendously undervalued title. He was more than a facilitator; he was the chief motivator, coach, business educator, counsellor and mentor.

The intensity of the program was akin to holding your hands over a 400 degree kelvin fire.

If there was no Brian, you’d very likely have seen a large contingent of Bachelor’s and Master’s degree holding adults withering away to shadows of their former selves.

But that’s not why you need a Brian Reid in your life.

Once the program completed, Denise and I hastily retreated back to the serenity that is a West Coast lifestyle in Vancouver, British Columbia. Since 1998 I’ve only seen Brian (and his lovely wife Luise) once in person, face-to-face.

But what has transpired since 1998 is a deep contributing relationship where Brian does the following:

  • Singing birthday voicemails or quick live phone calls to not only me, but our three goats on our birthdays
  • Retweets on Twitter or additional discussion tweets regarding something I’ve written
  • Likes and comments on my Facebook activities
  • Comments on this blog
  • Comments on my daughter Claire’s blog
  • Accepted requests for telephone chats where I can bounce ideas off of him

I’ve never asked him why he continues to be so kind to me and my family with his feedback, ideas, contribution and, well … love.

He has asked for nothing in return.

I reckon he’s somewhere between 60 and 65 years in age, enjoying retirement and grand-kids.

But, as I continue to write, research and think about our evolving society and workplace, particularly as it relates to becoming more collaborative and a desire to see more interlocutors out there … I had to share with you the story about Brian.

I think the world of him.

Equally important … ask yourself if you have a Brian Reid in your life.

More important? Are you a Brian Reid to anyone?

Thank you Brian. I had to share this story in hopes that others use it as a source of inspiration.

Enjoy those grand-kids of yours.

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