A holiday message from our CEO, Danielle Rocheleau

When I first began reflecting on 2020, gratitude wasn’t the feeling that initially came to mind.

After all, we’re still in the midst of an international health crisis. Moreover, the health crisis has triggered an economic crisis, impacting organizations and businesses that have had to limit services or shut their doors permanently.  This, as we know, has disproportionately impacted the most vulnerable: small business owners, marginalized communities, service workers, and those who lack the financial security and supports to weather the storm.

It has also prompted social and psychological crises, as many individuals – who are also working to slow the spread – have faced the challenge of isolation, as in-person interactions with friends and family remain few and far between.

Wow. With a year like this, what do we have to be thankful for?

And yet, the heart, heroism, and humanity displayed in our collective response to these crises provides a reminder of the human potential for compassion and resilience – and ample reason for gratitude.

Thank you to you, our clients and partners

So many of our clients and partners are on the frontlines of these crises, with missions to assist our communities via health services, social services, and economic supports.

Thank you for the strength and kindness you have shown as you continue to serve our communities under such challenging circumstances. It’s never been harder to help, and yet the help has never been more necessary.

We at Laridae have been fortunate enough to spend the year working with exceptionally dynamic individuals and organizations who have persevered through these hardships, found the patience to adapt to new challenges, and remained focused on their missions of supporting the people and communities who need them most.

You’re the reason we get up every morning, put a shirt on, brush our hair, log in to Zoom, and get to work.

Speaking of Zoom…

Thank you also for the patience and support you shown us, as we found our “Zoom legs”.

In a collective trial by fire this Spring, we all took each others’ hands and leapt into the somewhat unfamiliar realm of fully-remote operations. Broadcasting out from our respective home offices (or living rooms, dining rooms, and bedrooms, as the case may be), we were heartened to see your encouraging faces looking back at us. Your patience reassured us as we learned to crawl, then walk, and eventually run, in these new ways of remote consulting, facilitating, and learning.

As of December 2020, more than 100 individuals have joined us for our now fully-virtual training. And we have discovered that things we used to think would be impossible, were in fact doable, and actually, just fine (I’m looking at you, full-day-remotely-facilitated-strategic-planning-retreats).

Thank you to the Laridae team

You have probably met at least one of the great people who make up the Laridae team.

So, you can probably appreciate how thankful I am that they have chosen to commit themselves to our company, our purpose, and our values. Even as our children run into and out of our videoconference calls, our pets jump on and off our keyboards, and we navigate the individual and collective stresses of our daily lives, everyone has remained steadfast and supportive.

I think it’s fair to say that a silver lining of 2020 is that the pandemic has, somewhat ironically, brought our team closer than ever. We have all been virtually transported into each others’ homes, sharing our hardships, anxieties, and celebrations – large and small. It hasn’t been an easy year by any means, but we’ve tackled it together every step of the way.

Opportunities to give back

We don’t need to step back very far to realize that the challenges we have faced pale in comparison to the challenges faced by others, whose lives are made vulnerable by systems and circumstance, and whose security is more precarious. In fact, relatively speaking, we have been extremely lucky.

If you have been similarly fortunate during this time, and you have the means, please consider giving back to your community via a charitable donation. You can find a large list of Ontario charities on the Canada Helps website. There are many, many fantastic charities out there – we work with a lot of them – so you should be able to find one that resonates with you.

I hope you have a warm, socially-connected-if-physically-distant holiday. We’ll see you in 2021, ready to meet new surprises, and celebrate new successes, together.

Danielle Rocheleau, CEO