A force of nature.
Such is the only way to describe Lynne Seagle. An audience was on their feet, cheering, the moment she finished her presentation in Toronto. Lynne spoke as part of a series of speakers that had been brought in to encourage and challenge us to look at ourselves, our services and our relationships with those in care. Believing that an agency is as good as its worst staff, Lynne talked about how to create healthy agencies with happy staff providing holistic care.
I don't think that audience was expecting what it got. Lynne isn't a speaker with charts and graphs, she's a speaker with passion and conviction. She isn't a speaker who talks about what she did ten years ago, she talks about what she does now. Lynne cares about people with disabilities and she shows that as an administrator that cares about her staff.
Though much affected me as I listened to her present, laughed at her stories and marvelled at the quickness of her wit. I was really taken when she challenged us to imagine what an agencies service would look like if every staff understood that they were in charge of their own integrity. I know that we all are, of course, but I for a second imagined it. It was awsome.
At Vita we are thinking of trying a new idea. We want to see what a 'Pledge of Service' would look like. So I sent out an email to all staff asking them to ponder a bit and send me a description of the qualities of a good staff, to tell me about the best they've seen, the best they've been.
The emails have been stunning. Almost all coming from direct care, they varied in form from a list of a few words to long letters. Some of them moved me in their simplicity, all of them moved me in the depth of caring that had been poured into those words.
When I got home from dropping Lynne off, I sat down at the computer and re-read those letters. I shouldn't have. They got me excited. They got me thinking. This isn't the best frame of mind to go to bed with. So, at one o'clock, I got up and spent a few hours now putting together the first proposed draft of a 'pledge of care' and before getting shy with it, I put it into an email and pushed 'send'.
Even if we don't go this route, it's been a good exercise for me. To try and put into words what my personal pledge is to people with disability, to understand what living in integrety in service meant.
A day with Lynne Seagle is like taking a brush to your soul and scraping off the barnacles.
Lynne, I can't thank you enough.