by Dr. Anneliese Poetz, Founder & CEO Workplace Nirvana
This past Thursday January 18, 2018 I had the pleasure of attending a three hour meeting in Toronto, Ontario organized and hosted by PREVNet, a Network of Centres of Excellence (NCE) funded by the Federal government of Canada which is dedicated to research and knowledge translation about bullying. PREVNet began as a network dedicated to bullying in schools, but has recently branched out into the realm of workplace bullying.
At the meeting, there were about 10 or 12 people around a big table, with a white screen on one wall connected to a laptop with a projector. The meeting began with everyone introducing themselves and giving a short ‘presentation’ (‘presentation’ in quotes because most of us didn’t have slides), it was pretty informal. My ‘presentation’ was a great opportunity for me to talk about why I founded Workplace Nirvana. Over the past 18 months, inspired by my journey toward healing from my own experiences with workplace bullying, I have been taking business courses (York Entrepreneurship Development Institute‘s not-for-profit stream and York University’s AccelerateUP program) so that I could learn what I needed to know to set up and run a not-for-profit organization. Using my skills as a social scientist and knowledge translation (KT) practitioner (which means I specialize in making research useful to society), I designed Workplace Nirvana‘s first research study and received ethics approval through York University. So far I have completed 54 interviews with diverse stakeholders in Canada, relating to the issue of workplace bullying. I know that in order to create solutions that work, we first have to understand the problem in-depth from many different perspectives.
Next, PREVNet’s Scientific Director, Dr. Debra Pepler provided an overview of their previous work with a slide presentation, including where PREVNet wants to go with the issue of workplace bullying. It was Debra who said “we want to create a movement” across Canada. I loved hearing her say that, because that’s exactly what we want to do with Workplace Nirvana. After all, our tagline is “Creating practical solutions for workplace bullying“. The meeting concluded with Debra asking for our ideas on next steps. There was a lot of synergy in the room. Imagine what we can accomplish together!
I was so happy to hear that there are many companies who are doing the right thing and want to help others do the same. It gives me hope that one day all organizations in Canada may do the same, to do the difficult work of changing their organization’s culture for the better. There was such great energy in the room, everyone was on the same page. Even though I haven’t finished the transcription, coding and analysis of my interview data, listening to the discussion during the meeting provided validation that my research will make a difference. I left feeling even more motivated to continue with this work, especially since everyone there told me after the meeting how excited they were about WN. So am I!
If you are interested in the topic of creating healthy safe workplaces in Canada please follow WN and PREVNet on social media.