As the sun sets on this last day of 2019 – and the last day of the 10’s decade – I thought it was time to take a reflective look back over the year. If you’re curious what my 2019 looked like, here are some highlights for each quarter.

January – March

When January started I hit the ground running on writing a book, and it’s been a major project that I’ve been working on alongside all my client work all year. I am on track to publish “Design to Engage: Practical Strategies for Facilitating Learning” sometime in 2020 with Friesen Press. This book will be a “go to” resource for everyone who has found themselves facilitating workshops in any sector, but was never really trained formally in how to do it. I’m so thankful for the 30 facilitators who agreed to be interviewed, and for all the beta readers who have taken time so far to read drafts. What an experience it has been so far!

In this quarter I also brought on new British Columbia and Ontario-based clients (CNODES, Operation Lifesaver) and began learning design work with repeat clients from the healthcare sector. I was also happy to do some online and face-to-face teaching through Royal Roads University and Leadership Victoria. On the professional development front, I attended Cultural Perspectives Training with the Indigenous Perspectives Society.

Notably, in March I also said goodbye to my wonderful colleagues at the Centre for Teaching and Educational Technologies (CTET) at Royal Roads University when I decided to move on from my casual part-time role as an instructional designer for that team after starting work with them in 2012. It was the ‘anchor job’ that kept me going throughout all the years as my own business grew, and for that I am extremely grateful. I’m happy to be continuing my relationship with RRU as an Associate Faculty member in the Graduate Certificate in Workplace Innovation as well as for several Continuing Studies courses. And I’m extremely thrilled that all aspects of my work are now running through my own business.

April – June

This quarter saw me happily co-facilitating our annual two-day Liberating Structures immersion workshop that Tracy Roberts and I teach for Royal Roads, as well as co-designing and co-facilitating a great workshop on Leading Collaboration for UVic staff with Cara Jones. I also loved working with Leva Lee to design and co-facilitate a short micro-course (just five days online) on Liberating Structures through BCcampus and co-facilitated another Facilitator Development Workshop (the workshop that people take to learn how to teach the Instructional Skills Workshop) with David Stevenson at RRU.

During this time period I also worked on learning design projects with more repeat clients and brought on new clients Sauder School of Business Continuing Studies and Canadian Cancer Society. Professional development activities included taking Gender and Diversity training with the wonderful Corey Keith through Volunteer Victoria as well as finally being a participant in Creative Facilitation offered by Power of Hope. I also attended the Educational Technology User’s Group conference in Kamloops.

July – September

In July I finished the first draft of my book after toiling away on interviews, writing, transcribing and several weekend retreats in the first half of the year. I took a week off of work and sat at my computer, immersing myself in the experience. The hard part was knowing that even though I’d finished the first draft, I was still a long way from the finish line! The “easy” part was doing a little self-congratulatory dance for writing 70,000 words…phew!

In this quarter I enjoyed designing and co-facilitating a workshop on peer group facilitation for Headway – Victoria Epilepsy and Parkinson’s Society and collaborated with a new colleague on a project to review another client’s online course. I loved designing and facilitating two half-days of facilitation for a client within the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia, as well as facilitating a strategic planning session for the Sooke Region Communities Health Network. In addition, I supported the online facilitation of the FLO Design course through BCcampus, and also designed and facilitated a branch planning session for a provincial government ministry. Lastly, I’ve had a great experience working with a local crown corporation to design and develop some exciting e-learning modules which I hope will really engage their staff.

Professional development activities in this quarter included attending a conference at RRU on Universal Design for Learning as well as, on the business side of things, attending the SOHO Summit.

October – December

The last quarter of the year saw me working with two different local organizations to design separate self-study online courses on ethics (just coincidentally!), as well as co-facilitating a two-day course in facilitation skills for the Justice Institute of British Columbia. Several projects I mentioned earlier continued into this quarter (my learning design projects tend to spend several, if not many months) and Tracy and I continued hosting our Victoria Liberating Structures User Group meetings on a monthly basis for local facilitators to practice using these structures.

Happily, I was able to finally attend the Art of Hosting workshop on Bowen Island with wonderful facilitators Chris Corrigan and Caitlin Frost, something that I’d been wanting to do for several years. Even though the fall is always such a hard time to get away and focus on professional development, I love watching and learning from other facilitators and have already signed up for at least one workshop in 2020 to do the same.

All told, I’m thankful that 2019 was a wonderful year full of challenging projects and clients that were great to work with. In addition, I have some pretty amazing subcontractors who supported me in my work (you know who you are – thank you!) If I had to get a little ‘woo woo’ about 2019, I would say that the universe has told me that – after starting my business in 2011 – that it was a great decision to venture this year into being fully self employed because of how this year turned out. I look forward to what new opportunities will be coming my way in 2020. Happy new year to all.

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