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  • Writer's pictureLeadership Victoria

Finding Your Way With Kimberley Nemrava

In this week's session of the Resilient Leadership Program, with signature sponsor Coast Capital Savings, we stared into the lion's mouth and discussed the very thing that brought us together: navigating the crisis moments of a global pandemic.

The Resilient Leadership Program is an initiative to support the leadership teams of our community-serving organizations through the COVID-19 pandemic. Our knowledgable facilitator Kimberley Nemrava guided a pragmatic and insightful inquiry into how we can pivot our organizations to meet the needs of our current reality.

Kimberley Nemrava has been involved in emergency management since her teens, starting out in first aid, water safety and lifeguarding. She was the first female hired by Canadian Coast Guard search and rescue, advancing to lead several units. She held many leadership roles in the Red Cross and has been involved in the management of hundreds of emergencies, from house fires to the Asian tsunami to forest fires in BC and Alberta. Kimberley retired from the Red Cross just over a year ago where she was the Vice President responsible for British Columbia and the Yukon and is now consulting in management and leadership. Kimberley is a graduate of Lester B Pearson College, has a B.Sc. in Biology (UVic) and an M.A. in Leadership and Training (Royal Roads).


The goal of the session was to provide a roadmap for navigating the disaster pandemic context. We identified different stages of a disaster, acknowledging the role of a pre-existing capacity for resilience, the adrenaline-fuelled crisis management, and the slow moving transition to a renewed normalcy. The pandemic has determined a new reality for us all, however, we can draw upon the skills we have used in previous crises to exercise resiliency and find our way amongst uncertainty.

So, what can we do when disaster strikes?

Slow down. Sometimes, slower can be faster. Then, clarify the issue- we can't find solutions if we don't know our problem. Be aware of the thinking strategies needed for the type of challenge, and use this to recognize the strengths within your team. Share this model, so working as a team also means improving as a team.

We got specific on the social, economic, and organizational impacts of the pandemic; through identifying assumptions, we were able to assess our scope and values. The organizational teams were put in break-out rooms to ground themselves at their starting point, share their core principles, and manifest outcomes.

Kimberley emphasized the importance of moving forward with a strength-based approach. This involved utilizing a cohesive strategy that is both reactive and proactive in the face of major change. How can we survive, and also thrive?

In summary, today's session taught us that in order to move forward in this crisis moment, we must 1. utilize the tools, 2. check in with our values, and 3. take care of one another. The scope of the pandemic is so profound that we must recognize the vulnerability of both our sector, and ourselves. Many of us left today's session with confidence in our capacity to cultivate resilience during this time.

We extend our gratitude to Kimberley Nemrava for this inspiring learning session, and to our signature sponsor Coast Capital Savings and the support from the City of Victoria in making the Resilient Leadership Program a reality. This program will continue to run for 4 more weeks- and it is not too late to join!

Learn more about the program by clicking here.

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