Define Passion & Purpose For Me

Really, when you think about it, the words passion and purpose are fairly ambiguous, imprecise, possibly even shadowy terms. As organizers, you’re probably wondering what Stacey and I were even thinking when we coined our tag line:

PURSUE YOUR PASSION | DISCOVER YOUR PURPOSE | LIVE YOUR DREAM

We began with the assumption, based upon our own experiences, and the stories and insights of our friends and family members that most of a person’s big decisions are made within the framework of societal norms, and family expectations. Laura Koch, Suburban Mom to Rockstar, summed it up so eloquently here: “graduate high school, go to university, get a job, climb the ladder, find a spouse, buy a house, have kids, and get a dog.”

That is not to say, of course, that our journeys don’t become personalized by our lived experiences, our likes and dislikes, and our talents and skills; but when life happens it’s also very easy to lose sight of, and eventually give up on the crazy dreams we secretly nurture.

STOP. RIGHT. THERE.

Why are they crazy? Who said your dreams were crazy? Who told you your dream was too impossibly big? Or too different, and nobody would buy it, or visit it, or read it? Who said there was no money in it, or that we don’t do that in this family? Challenging someone’s dream doesn’t even have to happen in words. It can happen through indifference, or through subtle sabotage that undermines a person’s confidence, their self-esteem, their belief in themselves.

Think about this:

  • Mocha Ochoa-Nana grew up in Edmonton, AB. She currently lives in Washington, DC, and is the Founder and CEO of The Oracle Group International, a literary PR firm. Her clients are world-famous authors. Do you think she believed her dream was too impossibly big?
  • Eyoälha Baker is a Vancouver-based artist, photographer, and muralist with an international reputation. She’s currently the Artist-in-Residence at the Palm Springs Cultural Center in the Coachella Valley, CA. Nobody stopped her from believing in herself, and the possibility of making a living from her art.

Start

Pursuing your passion is, quite simply, doing something you love. It’s an interest, or an activity that fills your heart with joy, and it’s the dream most closely connected to your heart. We believe, and our Speakers will tell you through their stories, that when you immerse yourself in your passion, by learning, exploring, and participating, you will find your purpose. It will manifest itself in the way you choose to share your passion with other people.

And, the examples:

  • Angie Quaale has worked her entire life in the food and hospitality industry, and she loves it! Now co-owner of Well Seasoned: A Gourmet Food Store, Angie volunteers extensively with local business organizations, serves on the Langley Township Council, and will see her first book, Eating Local in the Fraser Valley, in bookstores in May.
  • Bryan Gidinski has been an educator for more than 20 years, and is also a writer, which has led to the creation of rich writing experiences for his students. He has a graduate degree in Literacy Instruction, and is the Founder of Lost Boys Consulting, through which he shares his innovative strategies for instruction with other educators.
  • Makenzie Chilton was employed as a counselor in the prison system for 4 years, and loved it. Laid off three times, followed by a deeply unfulfilling stint in administration, she decided it was time to take the best of what she loved about her job, supplement it with specific training, and become a business owner/career coach at Love Your Mondays. Now, through Makenzie’s perfect job, she helps others find their perfect job!

If you’ve discovered that your path is not heading towards happiness and fulfillment – and you don’t know how to change that – then the Speakers at The CREATIVE CHANGE-MAKING Conference may be exactly the people to meet.

~ Debbie MacLeod

Photo via @secrets2success 


The CREATIVE CHANGE-MAKING Conference has been organized to showcase local heroes, individuals from within our own communities, who are creating their own path, leading by example, and following their dreams through purposeful work.

Intrigued? Come listen to the stories. Ask questions. Be inspired to change your life!

Leading by Example: Bryan Gidinski

Leadership is action, not position. – Donald H. McGannon

Being brave enough to take a first step towards anything new is always a challenge. The alternative, though, is to stay on the “path of least resistance,” even though it may be taking you in the wrong direction. If you’ve discovered that your path is not heading towards happiness and fulfillment – and you don’t know how to change that – then the Speakers at The CREATIVE CHANGE-MAKING Conference may be exactly the people to meet.


BRYAN GIDINSKI (Panel Speaker)

Bryan GidinskiBryan is an educator with more than 20 years of teaching experience. He currently teaches grades 6 and 7, but has also worked as a course instructor for post-secondary education students. In his own classroom, Bryan tries to remain sensitive to the issues that surround boys and their learning. To that end, he’s combined his passion for writing with innovative methods of engagement so that both boys, and girls are motivated to achieve to their highest potential.

Lost Boys Consulting was created as the means by which Bryan could, more formally, share his innovative classroom practices with other teaching professionals. Bryan addresses writing instruction, and issues around boys and literacy learning:

  • through speaking engagements at conferences and conventions;
  • with professional development workshops and accompanying resource packages;
  • by creating new workshops on relevant topics;
  • by maintaining an up-to-date website with access to conference materials; and
  • with website content that includes annotated links, and downloads.

My questions: How much time do you spend on your company? Could Lost Boys Consulting become a full-time job? Have school administrations been receptive to your work? Have you thought about writing a book?

These are just a few of the questions I’ll have for Bryan during the afternoon panel session on May 26th. What will yours look like?

~ Debbie MacLeod


The CREATIVE CHANGE-MAKING Conference has been organized to showcase local heroes, individuals from within our own communities, who are creating their own path, leading by example, and following their dreams through purposeful work.

Intrigued? Come listen to the stories. Ask questions. Be inspired to change your life!

Love Your Mondays & #IWD18

International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. March 8, 2018 – International Women’s Day

Makenzie ChiltonUnapologetically HER is a one-day event that’s been organized to celebrate International Women’s Day 2018 by showing the “world the power of HER.” Included in the “unapologetic girl talk portion” of the day is Makenzie Chilton, Founder of Love Your Mondays, and panelist at The CREATIVE CHANGE-MAKING Conference in May. Makenzie will participate in Unapologetically HER‘s Live Coaching Panel along with two other coaches, and will answer audience member questions.

Makenzie Chilton, one of four Panel Speakers, will present WTF should you do with your life?! at The CREATIVE CHANGE-MAKING Conference on Saturday, May 26, 2018 at the Fort Langley Community Hall. Register NOW for Early Bird rates!


The CREATIVE CHANGE-MAKING Conference has been organized to showcase local heroes, individuals from within our own communities, who are creating their own path, leading by example, and following their dreams through purposeful work.

Intrigued? Come listen to the stories. Ask questions. Be inspired to change your life!

Bigger Badder Dreams tours BC

It’s all groovy fun with these guys. If the Barenaked Ladies were a married couple they’d be The Kwerks. — Jeff Bonner, Tractorgrease Multimedia & Cafe

Bigger Badder Dreams by The KwerksIn 2015, Laura Koch ditched her career as a birth doula, put her home-schooled kids in school, and along with husband Ryan, embarked on a journey to become a full-time performing musician. The result has been The Kwerks, a Frazey-nominated touring band all set to launch BIGGER BADDER DREAMS, their third album, on Friday, March 2nd!

Laura and Ryan, and their Kwerk band-mates will follow up Friday’s Album Launch Party at the Swallowfield Barn (info here) with the Album Tour’s Kick-off Performance on March 3rd at Tractorgrease Multimedia & Cafe in Chilliwack (info here).

To check out Laura in her element, follow the BIGGER BADDER DREAMS tour on these platforms: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Laura Koch will present From Suburban Mom to Rockstar – Trading in the Cultural Norms for an Intentional, Passion-Filled Life at The CREATIVE CHANGE-MAKING Conference on Saturday, May 26, 2018 at the Fort Langley Community Hall. Register NOW for Early Bird rates!


The CREATIVE CHANGE-MAKING Conference has been organized to showcase local heroes, individuals from within our own communities, who are creating their own path, leading by example, and following their dreams through purposeful work.

Intrigued? Come listen to the stories. Ask questions. Be inspired to change your life!

Leading by Example: Laura Koch

I hope to inspire others to live more intentionally, connect with other humans more authentically, and give of themselves more honestly. Our passions are our gifts to the world. – Laura Koch

Being brave enough to take a first step towards anything new is always a challenge. The alternative, though, is to stay on the “path of least resistance,” even though it may be taking you in the wrong direction. If you’ve discovered that your path is not heading towards happiness and fulfillment – and you don’t know how to change that – then the Speakers at The CREATIVE CHANGE-MAKING Conference may be exactly the people to meet. These individuals are leading by example with journeys of inspiration that highlight courage, creativity, and passion.


LAURA KOCH (Guest Speaker)

Laura KochLaura had checked all the boxes for the perfect life: graduate high school, go to university, get a job, climb the ladder, find a spouse, buy a house, have kids, and get a dog. Then, in 2012, something changed, and Laura, and husband Ryan, took some time to reflect on their lives, and to consider what they truly valued.

The resulting journey began with a lifestyle change, and ended with them in full pursuit of their passion: music. To date, Laura, with her band The Kwerks, has accomplished the following:

  • become a bandleader, songwriter, and touring performer;
  • written, recorded, and published 3 CDs;
  • reached the top 25 in the 2017 national CBC Searchlight Competition;
  • been featured in a Dominion Lending Centres national commercial campaign;
  • been nominated twice for Fraser Valley Music Awards; and
  • received the Excellence in Performance by a Female Artist Award at the 2017 Fraser Valley Music Awards.

My questions: How did your children react to the change in lifestyle? How did you deal with criticisms from others about your choices? Do you regret anything? What’s the best part of your new life?

These are just a few of the questions I’ll have for Laura during her morning presentation on May 26th. What will yours look like?

~ Debbie MacLeod


The CREATIVE CHANGE-MAKING Conference has been organized to showcase local heroes, individuals from within our own communities, who are creating their own path, leading by example, and following their dreams through purposeful work.

Intrigued? Come listen to the stories. Ask questions. Be inspired to change your life!

Leading by Example: Mocha Ochoa-Nana

When you lead by example, you create a picture of what’s possible. People can look at you and say, “Well, if [she] can do it, I can do it.” When you lead by example, you make it easy for others to follow you. – Bruna Marinuzzi

Being brave enough to take a first step towards anything new is always a challenge. The alternative, though, is to stay on the “path of least resistance,” even though it may be taking you in the wrong direction. If you’ve discovered that your path is not heading towards happiness and fulfillment – and you don’t know how to change that – then the Speakers at The CREATIVE CHANGE-MAKING Conference may be exactly the people to meet. These individuals are leading by example with journeys of inspiration that highlight courage, creativity, and passion.


MOCHA OCHOA-NANA (Panel Speaker)

Mocha Ochoa-NanaMocha is the Founder and CEO of the public relations firm The Oracle Group International in Washington D.C. She is a literary entrepreneur who passionately seeks best-selling author status for her clients by connecting with local, national, and global communities. She is also a literary activist who:

  • co-founded the NAACP Author Pavilion at their Annual Convention;
  • served as Diversity Chair for The National Book Festival;
  • created the International Women’s Book Club Summit, The Silver Spring Book Festival, and The Soul of South Florida Book Festival:
  • consulted on the development of The National Press Club’s Annual Book Fair, and the National Council of Negro Women’s Author Pavilion at the National Family Reunion; and
  • founded the Reading Across Continents initiative, an interactive cross-cultural literary exchange project connecting students, teachers, and authors in international book clubs, and book discussions around the world.

My questions: What kind of education/background/work experience did you have when you started your own company? How do you get a book festival off the ground? How do you create a global initiative with three different stakeholders? How the heck did you find the time for all of this?

These are just a few of the questions I’d love to ask Mocha during the afternoon panel session on May 26th. I bet you’ve got a list of your own!

~ Debbie MacLeod


The CREATIVE CHANGE-MAKING Conference has been organized to showcase local heroes, individuals from within our own communities, who are creating their own path, leading by example, and following their dreams through purposeful work.

Intrigued? Come listen to the stories. Ask questions. Be inspired to change your life!

Love Your Mondays: Vancouver Workshop Session

Makenzie Chilton's WorkshopLove Your MondaysMakenzie Chilton will be one of four Panel Speakers at our Fort Langley Conference in May. She’s a great example of the kind of person for whom this event has been designed. Makenzie went to university, found employment in her field and loved it; then was laid off not once, not twice, but three times! She took a position in a related field, but hated it, and didn’t know what to do next. She thought she was stuck.

This is where creativity stepped in. Makenzie took the best parts of her education and work experience, and crafted herself her perfect job. Today, as a career coach she helps others through the same career-change process. On February 17, Makenzie will hold a Live WTF?! Workshop for a limited number of participants at Vancouver’s The Juice Truck Store. If you’re booked up for The CREATIVE CHANGE-MAKING Conference, check out Makenzie’s session next week.

Makenzie Chilton, one of four Panel Speakers, will present WTF should you do with your life?! at The CREATIVE CHANGE-MAKING Conference on Saturday, May 26, 2018 at the Fort Langley Community Hall. Register NOW for Early Bird rates!


The CREATIVE CHANGE-MAKING Conference has been organized to showcase local heroes, individuals from within our own communities, who are creating their own path, leading by example, and following their dreams through purposeful work.

Intrigued? Come listen to the stories. Ask questions. Be inspired to change your life!

Jumping for Joy in Palm Springs, CA

Eyoalha Baker, Palm Springs CA

Eyoälha Baker, Jump for Joy Photo Project – Palm Springs, CA

On January 20, 2018, the Palm Springs Cultural Center welcomed Eyoälha Baker as the first artist for their new Artist Residency Program. The Camelot Theatre is home to the majority of The Palm Springs Cultural Center activities, which involve film and fine art presentations, theatrical and dance performances, music recitals, and community festivals. An exterior wall of the Camelot Theatre will also be the location for Eyoälha’s completed Jump for Joy photo mural project.

Eyoälha, and her team, will be in Palm Springs, CA for the next three months taking photos throughout the Coachella Valley of people jumping for joy. If you live in the area, or will be visiting while Eyoälha is on location, and would like to take part, she invites you to email: jumpforjoy@psculturalcenter.org. To follow at a distance, check out the Jump for Joy Photo Project on the following platforms: Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Eyoälha Baker will present Joy Ride at The CREATIVE CHANGE-MAKING Conference on Saturday, May 26, 2018 at the Fort Langley Community Hall. Register NOW for Early Bird rates!


The CREATIVE CHANGE-MAKING Conference has been organized to showcase local heroes, individuals from within our own communities, who are creating their own path, leading by example, and following their dreams through purposeful work.

Intrigued? Come listen to the stories. Ask questions. Be inspired to change your life!

The Best-Laid Plans…

“You can’t plan everything.” via @artbanksy

You Can't Plan Everything by Banksy

Our speaker line-up is almost finalized, and it’s been an incredibly exciting process. Six guest speakers from different backgrounds, are prepared to share their journeys from start to finish, and answer any questions you may have about them. As different as these individuals are from each other, some similarities in their stories are beginning to emerge including

  • courage,
  • creativity,
  • humour,
  • flexibility,
  • passion,
  • innovation,
  • vision,
  • joy, and
  • examples of how

The best-laid plans of mice and men

Go oft awry – Robert Burns

Follow our News Blog and/or our social media channels for our Speaker Line-up announcement next week.

~ Debbie MacLeod


The CREATIVE CHANGE-MAKING Conference has been organized to showcase local heroes, individuals from within our own communities, who are creating their own path, leading by example, and following their dreams through purposeful work.

Intrigued? Come listen to the stories. Ask questions. Be inspired to change your life!

Call for Panelists

Fort Langley Community HallSeeking Storytellers, Innovators, and Creative Thinkers

Identifying your passion, and finding a way to use it to do purposeful work is not as easy, or as simple as it sounds – especially if you want your activities to bring in an income, or to mesh with your current lifestyle.

From Passion to Purpose Events is seeking speakers for The CREATIVE CHANGE-MAKING Conference Panel who have successfully transitioned from thinking about a new life, to living it.

We need storytellers whose passion has become the basis of their work, whether by building a business or a social enterprise; through public service, in a not-for-profit setting, or as a volunteer, etc. We need people who can inspire others with their experience, as well as answer audience how-to questions about changing one’s life direction.

All panelists will receive an honorarium and one free Conference Registration. Since this is a passion project, funding is limited, and travel expenses cannot be reimbursed. For complete details, and to submit, please click here.

Deadline to submit: January 3, 2018.

The CREATIVE CHANGE-MAKING Conference has been organized to showcase local heroes, individuals from within our own communities, who are creating their own path, leading by example, and following their dreams through purposeful work.

SATURDAY, MAY 26, 2018

Fort Langley Community Hall | 9167 Glover Road | Fort Langley | BC | V1M 2R9