Tonight, I received a once in a lifetime honour. I received an award from the Organization Development Network (ODN) for Emerging New Organization Development (OD) Practitioner. This is the first time this award has been granted and it is daunting to think that I might have just made small history in an association that has honored, profiled and continues to be the association home for giants in the applied behavioral & social/human sciences. Tonight for example, I received this award alongside Dr. Robert J. Marshak, Dr. David Cooperider, Dr. Peter Sorensen and 6 other outstanding scholars and practitioners. While I am not new to the field, I am indeed emerging next to the body of work of these and those honoured by this association over the years. I was moved in ways I rarely am as I received this award.
So as I said on the stage, my deepest gratitude goes to the giants on whose shoulders I stand proudly today. There was no time to name anyone on stage so I will name a few of you here.
The first ones who gave me their shoulders to climb on are my parents and family and the husband who refused to let me reject my doctoral acceptance when it was the most inconvenient time in our lives for me to take that on – my heart is so full, I almost lost it at the thought of you all on the stage today.
Dr. Brenda Lautsch and Dr. Gervase R. Bushe from Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business – you introduced me to the field of OD and I knew immediately that is what and who I wanted to be when I grew up. You didn’t know this, but in my post-war state, your appearance in my life was a Godsend. Gervase, you have continued to be my consistent champion, ushering me through doors I didn’t know could open for me. I published my first academic journal article with you and you made me first author! You have since just kept showing up and saying: “wanna do this?!” I was proud to be counted today among the pioneering contributors to Dialogic OD which you and Dr. Marshak have established in our field.
To those leaders I have had in the worlds of Consulting, Executive Education and now in Healthcare – thank you for all those stretch assignments that made my head spin when you handed them to me. Each time I said: “Yes!” in my “fake it till I become it” way, even though you didn’t see my heart pounding and my head exploding simultaneously with the thoughts: How the heck am I going to do this! And I’ll figure it out! It’s a good thing you didn’t see me praying like a mad woman in my car some days on the way to work when I had no idea what I was doing. Thank you for trusting me, helping me grow and preparing me for each new stage Alex Wray, Rick Colbourne, Pat Semenuik, Pam Theriault, Susan Good. Deepest gratitude to all the other professional communities, associations and partnerships where I have learned so much from others. You know who you are.
My We Will Lead Africa Team: una too much oh!! My global African sistas. And to quote you back to yourselves – my fellow crazy dreamers in the world. Your faith, partnership and belief that we can do it together has been everything to me in these past 2 years. Thank you for giving your voices to endorse this award Judith Okonkwo and Sarah Owusu, along with Gervase R. Bushe and Susan Good. Una Tenke.
And to you Cindy Miller, who after our brief encounters at last year’s ODN Conference saw me worthy of being nominated for this award. I am indebted and like we said at dinner – I’m your new friend for life! Thank you for your introductory words, which I include below, and especially for your final personal comments that you are inspired by me – you gave me that gift back in spades today. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
Days like today remind me of the power of faith, possibility and the mysteries of life (like, how did I just serendipitously encounter these particular people along the way?!). So all this, is to my Creator’s Glory. My cup overflows…
Award presented by Cindy Miller
Our first award is a new award that recognizes an Emerging New OD Practitioner.
This award honors emerging new OD Practitioners for their contribution to the field. The contribution may be an innovative use of a new tool, sharing lessons (even “failures”) so others may grow, peer mentorship, challenge and encouragement. The Emerging New OD Practitioner Award is our opportunity to recognize valuable contributions to OD and highlight an individual or individuals who are having an early influence on learning, development, operational practice and impact in OD.
The first ever Emerging OD Practitioner Award is presented to Yabome Gilpin-Jackson.
Dr. Yabome Gilpin-Jackson manages the OD Practice for Fraser Health, the largest health region in British Columbia, Canada renowned for cutting-edge OD practice. She is a scholar-practitioner and contributor to the ground-breaking work on Dialogic Organization Development and other publications in our field. This year she was named International African Woman of the Year for initiating the We Will Lead Africa project and resulting edited volume, which was informed by her work in leadership, OD and social change. Yabome also speaks – most recently at Princeton University – about the dynamics of diversity and identity, represented by the question she’s often asked: Where are you from? She has published a related short story collection, called Identities. Yabome is a role model for all up-and-coming OD practitioners.