59 episodes

Frustrated it's so hard to get people to buy into your big idea? Join award-winning storyteller & strategist Denise Withers as she interviews global change agents to discover how they overcome barriers to create breakthrough change, for good. If you need a new way to move your big idea forward, then tune in, because she has a story just for you.

Q.west for good: Change leadership stories with Denise Withers Denise Withers

    • Business
    • 4.9 • 10 Ratings

Frustrated it's so hard to get people to buy into your big idea? Join award-winning storyteller & strategist Denise Withers as she interviews global change agents to discover how they overcome barriers to create breakthrough change, for good. If you need a new way to move your big idea forward, then tune in, because she has a story just for you.

    Autumn Peltier: Indigenous water & rights activism

    Autumn Peltier: Indigenous water & rights activism

    It's become crystal clear that we need to change our approach to tackling the climate crisis, to work in collaboration with Indigenous Peoples, Nations and knowledge keepers. As historic stewards of nature, they have rich insights, expertise, and perspectives to share about how we might move forward.
    But that doesn't just mean collaborating with Indigenous elders or scientists. We also need to listen to and learn from Indigenous youth who will be the stewards of the future. That's why I'm so excited to have Autumn Peltier join me on the show. She's the Chief Water Commissioner for the Anishinabek Nation and an Indigenous rights and water activist who's been using her voice to pursue justice since she was eight years old.
    In the last 10 years, she's addressed Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, spoken at the UN General Assembly and World Economic Forum, been shortlisted for the International Children's Peace Prize four times and featured in Maclean's top 50 Canadian power list. She's also received multiple honours and awards and recently released her first documentary, The Water Walker, produced by Seeing Red Six Nations on HBO Canada.
    In this episode, she shares her experience growing up learning to care for the water and the land, connects justice issues like water rights and violence against Indigenous women and inspires hope for new and better collaboration in the future.  


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    • 27 min
    Abid Saifee: Leading climate action while doing good business

    Abid Saifee: Leading climate action while doing good business

    Climate action leadership isn't limited to governments and scientists. We need all hands on deck if we want to avoid the catastrophic effects of climate change today and in the future.

    But what does climate action look like for people not on the frontlines, like those who work in areas as diverse as finance, health care or software as a service? That's what we're going to find out today in my conversation with Abid Saifee.

    He's the Senior Director of Product Management for ecomedes, a climate tech company that's making it easier to source sustainable commercial building products. A veteran product developer, Abid spent years working at giants like Microsoft and Nordstrom before moving into climate tech. This gives him a unique ability to see what's needed to run a business that can make money and tackle climate change. 

    In this episode, Abid shares his journey into climate action, reveals hidden benefits for businesses that tackle climate change and highlights how we need to change the way we work to resolve these kinds of wicked problems in the future. 
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    • 28 min
    Tamsin Lyle: Leading new approaches to engineering for climate adaptation

    Tamsin Lyle: Leading new approaches to engineering for climate adaptation

    We often think of engineers as simply technical experts when it comes to tackling issues like flood management from climate change. But early in her career, Tamsin Lyle realized that she'd have to grow her leadership skillset and change the way she approached her engineering work if she wanted to have a real impact.

    That inspired her to start her own consulting company, ebbwater, and build a new kind of approach to climate action leadership that blends technical skills with so-called "soft skills" like communication, facilitation, envisioning and engagement. Along the way, she discovered that we desperately need to change the way we work to become more collaborative, creative and multi-disciplinary if we want to develop and scale climate solutions that make a difference. 

    In this conversation, Tamsin shares the story of how she built a leading engineering consulting practice, explores the challenges of creating effective adaptation solutions and unpacks how she's been able to build multidisciplinary teams and communities that inform and inspire climate action.
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    • 33 min
    Norm Connolly: Leadership strategies from the front lines of climate change

    Norm Connolly: Leadership strategies from the front lines of climate change

    Municipalities are ground zero for tackling climate change, especially when it comes to adaptation. They're well positioned to take direct action to do things like build infrastructure and create new policies. However, they're also the level of government typically operating with the tightest fiscal constraints and most demands in terms of serving a diverse constituency. 

    So what does it take to be able to lead the kind of transformative change we need in such a challenging environment? That's what we're going to find out in this conversation with Norm Connolly.

    Trained as a planner, Norm's worked for several municipalities across the Lower Mainland of British Columbia on files from development to community energy. These days, he's the Sustainability Manager for the City of Richmond, a largely island-based municipality. Home to critical infrastructure like the Vancouver International Airport, Richmond is under threat from sea level rise, as well as events like heat domes and extreme storms. 

    In this episode, Norm shares several stories about how he's been able to lead innovation and generate engagement for climate action, despite fiscal and political constraints. He also highlights the need for interdisciplinary collaboration, and offers insights about the kind of climate action leadership we need going forward. 


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    • 29 min
    Margot Hurlbert: Exploring the power of interdisciplinary climate leadership

    Margot Hurlbert: Exploring the power of interdisciplinary climate leadership

    Most leaders know by now that a "business as usual" approach won't work if we want to avoid the worst effects of climate change. We need expertise from across sectors, cultures, continents and disciplines to be able to resolve the kinds of wicked problems we now face.

    But figuring out how to do that kind of interdisciplinary, intersectional work, particularly in a Western, largely patriarchal society, grounded in somewhat risk-averse institutions, requires a major shift in our processes, systems and beliefs. And we don't have the luxury of waiting a few decades while we figure it out. That's where Margot Hurlbert comes in.

    As the Canada Research Chair in Climate Change, Energy and Sustainability Policy and a Professor of the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy at the University of Regina, she's studying interdisciplinary approaches to these kinds of wicked problems through research on real-world projects about issues like water and clean energy. She's also been a Coordinating Lead Author, Contributing Author and Review Editor for the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change or IPCC


    Through that work and her decades of research, Margot has developed deep expertise that allows her to bring a unique perspective to this challenge. In this episode, she unpacks key concepts about inter- and trans-disciplinary work, explores the very real barriers that still prevent us from doing it and shine a light on promising new approaches for current and future climate leaders. 




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    • 30 min
    Sowmya Balendiran: A seaweed solution to climate change

    Sowmya Balendiran: A seaweed solution to climate change

    When it comes to climate innovation, North Americans are often guilty of assuming that we do it best. But we forget that the most powerful innovation is driven by need, creativity and constraints. These are some of the key contributors to the success of Sea6 Energy, an Indian company co-founded and led by Sowmya Balendiran to develop breakthrough solutions to key global problems.

    Over the last decade, Sea6 has revolutionized tropical seaweed farming on the ocean through its patented solutions across the value chain, from the cultivation of seaweeds to the end products, paving the way for a sustainable tropical blue economy. Earlier this year, the World Economic Forum recognized them as a top innovator, inviting Sowmya to Davos to share their work.
    But building a global biotech business from scratch that transforms the way we think about, grow and use sea plants hasn't been easy. As a Ph.D. student turned entrepreneur, Sowmya's had to develop a collaborative leadership style that enables her to not only build strong teams but also thrive in a male-dominated economy. 

    In this episode, she shares insights from her journey over the last ten years, along with what she's learned about leading climate action, specifically embracing a multi-disciplinary approach powered by curiosity and collaboration.


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    • 20 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
10 Ratings

10 Ratings

NakNakGNJ ,

Episode 5 with Tracy Bacenas

Loved this episode! It really emphasizes to me how important story design is in everyday life!

mrtangoo ,

Storytelling to change the world

Denise proves through her guests and great questions that storytelling can be used in a broader sense and in all kinds of amazing business models and causes.

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