Friday, 23 Feb 2001

OTTAWA, Ontario

I’m feeling thoughtful today. I’m very glad that it’s Friday, actually. It has been a busy week, and having worked most of last weekend, I feel the need for a break. In fact, after next Wednesday, I have a long break — a month in Africa with my good friend, Deidre! At times, I can barely contain my excitement and at others, it seems too surreal to be true. I’ve always wanted to go. We’ll spend a brief time in Cape Town, where we’ll do a shark dive with the great whites (in a cage!), then head into Botswana for two weeks of wildlife experiences, camping most of the time. We’ll also travel to Mozambique for almost a week and hopefully do some more diving there. This, I know, makes me a very lucky girl! It’s probably a good thing that this week has been so busy; otherwise, my mind would have been wandering much more.

Today, I have an important meeting with Robert Hornung, and another with David Pollock, about new strategic directions for Pembina. Many changes in our strategic planning process and organizational restructuring are likely to occur while I’m away, and it is rather difficult to let go of that. But I have confidence that good decisions will be made. And letting go of responsibilities is what a holiday is all about, isn’t it?

This is also the time that we have to start making decisions about hiring summer students and developing potential job descriptions. As is often the case at nonprofit organizations, resources are limited, but the work is not. Allocating resources becomes a matter of juggling priorities. I am hopeful that, under the new organizational structure, this process will become more refined.

Yesterday, Janet Sumner (manager of Climatechangesolutions.com) and Tracy Patterson (education director) were up from Toronto. They have many years of experience in public education, so it was a wonderful opportunity to share ideas. Tracy and Heidi are working on a Pembina Institute “fund-raising package” to assist us in approaching foundations. We talked about how to obtain funding for the EcoAction website, as Pembina piloted it last fall without any outside funding. It’s a little trickier to fund this particular project because it is so political, which means government sources would not be interested and only some foundations might be.

We also discussed strategies for delivering Pembina’s complementary educational resources, which include EcoAction and Climatechangesolutions.com, a climate change action and awareness kit for high school curricula, and a soon-to-be-released renewable energy curriculum kit for elementary schools. Each one offers a different way to get people involved in climate change, energy, and environment issues. They are great resources for teachers. I have some reviewing and writing to do for Climatechangesolutions.com before I leave for my holiday, but I don’t have any more speaking engagements planned. With the hectic pace of the past few weeks, I’ve managed to develop a backlog of information to sort through, and I will try to get through it all before I go. What I do know is that if I don’t, it will still be waiting for me when I return.

However, my mind is already turning to the weekend. Sunday, Pembina’s Ottawa staff will get together for a baby shower for Robert and his wife, Ellen, who are expecting their first child. Pembina folk work very hard, but at the same time, we’re quite close-knit. Though we are spread across this wide country in various Pembina outposts and home offices, people are united by a common cause and seem to have a lot in common. We get together once a year for a big meeting, which is always characterized by high energy.

Tonight is my friend Jen’s birthday, and I will also be seeing my longtime friend Christina, who I know from our undergraduate years. Today, we got more snow, so I hope to go snowboarding tomorrow in the Gatineaux. I would also like to get in some guitar practice. I started playing only a couple of months ago and had a friend over last night to teach me a little. We’ll see. I try not t
o plan every minute of my life, especially outside of work hours!