On the Radar Volume 8 Number 1

20 January 2012

“On the Radar" is an electronic news bulletin for members of the Association of Administrative and Professional Staff at UBC.  It is published under the guidance of AAPS and the AAPS Communications Committee. We publish 4-5 issues per year. Submissions should be sent to aaps.pd@ubc.ca

In This Issue

AAPS Announcements

AAPS Professional Development

Featured Articles

Community Announcements


AAPS Announcements

Bargaining 2012: Highlights of Roundtables

By Michael Conlon

As part of the consultation process for the upcoming round of collective bargaining, a series of roundtables were conducted at UBC’s Point Grey and Okanagan campuses and at VGH. The roundtables were well attended and provided the opportunity for a robust exchange of ideas among members.

Despite a wide variation of work locations and experiences, several core themes emerged from the dialogue: job security, compensation, professional development funding, and hours of work.

In the area of job security members expressed a growing concern about the use of Article 9 to terminate employees without cause. Since a decisive arbitration decision in 2008, which confirmed the University’s almost unfettered right to terminate without cause, there has been a marked increase in terminations without cause. In some cases these dismissals are the product of financial exigency but a substantial number are as a result of “fit” or “suitability”. It is this latter class of termination that generated the most discussion among the membership. There was a fairly strong consensus that this option should only be employed in the most extreme situation where the employment relationship has completely broken down. A significant number of members spoke of both the fear and vulnerability generated by the use of Article 9 as well as an absence of any clear process for when Article 9 is invoked.

In the area of compensation there was understandable frustration about the prospect of another 0 and 0 mandate. Four years without a wage increase would constitute a real compensation loss of close to 10%. Though there was substantial discussion about the degree to which PSEC circumscribes the bargaining process in BC, there was also some optimism that the recent throne speech opened the door to allowing institutions to consider wage increases in line with their budgetary capacity. At this juncture there has been no word from PSEC about what the actual mandate for this round will be. However, the government has been consistent that no new money would be forthcoming to fund wage increases and that any increases would have to be internally funded.

In the area of professional development there was unanimity that the current model of $750 on a first come first serve basis was inadequate. Members voiced frustration at how quickly the fund runs out and the fact that activities undertaken in the latter half of the fiscal year are unlikely to be funded. While we have been in discussions with the University to find a more equitable way of distributing the funds, it was quite clear that the current investment of $450,000 is not sufficient to meet member demand for professional development.

Finally, in the area of hours of work there was substantial discussion about the inconsistent application of Article 10. Many members reported good working relationships with their managers in which time off was adequately recognized through flex time or honoraria for excessive hours worked. However, other members reported feeling that the University was not sufficiently recognizing the extra hours they work. Article 10 is quite clear that members are not expected to work excessive hours without some form of compensation, either in the form of time off in lieu or via honoraria. It was also noted that, from time to time, management and professional staff are called upon to work more than the mandated 35 hour work week. While the Article itself is quite clear, the feedback from the member was equally clear that Article 10 should be applied equitably and transparently.

Now that the bargaining roundtables are complete we will begin to research and writing bargaining proposal in preparation for bargaining this spring. The bargaining committee will begin to meet in earnest by late March to work through the final package of materials to be presented in bargaining.

We welcome your input through the process and will keep you apprised of developments via the bargaining section of our website.

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M&P PD Fund Update

2011-2012 Funding Status

As of this writing, the fund still has a positive balance of roughly $88,000.  In past years the fund has been depleted before the end of the funding year. Given the current average usage each month, it is anticipated that this year funds may last into late February 2012. As applications are received and approved, weekly updates of the overall balance will be provided on the M&P PD Fund website  to assist with professional development planning.

Once the current fund is exhausted, new funds will become available on April 1st, the beginning of the UBC budget year.

Online Application and Reimbursement Processing Project

A project is underway to automate the application, approval and payment process. The goal is an improved turnaround time for reimbursements to fund users, and a more user-friendly process, including self-service access.  Based on current projections, the transition from a paper-based claim process to an online claim process will be phased in during the upcoming funding year (2012-13).  The project is still in the system development stage and ongoing transition timing updates will be provided as details become available. This initiative is part of a broader program focused on eliminating bureaucracy and increasing transparency for UBC employees.

Other Administrative Changes.

Regardless of the progress of the online project, the onset of the new funding year will see the introduction of some important changes to the guidelines.  As of April 1, UBC Continuing Studies courses that meet other criteria in the guidelines, and tuition top-ups for UBC credit courses will both be eligible for reimbursement.  Additionally, in discussion with the AAPS Executive, the funding year will be divided into shorter periods in order to distribute the funds more evenly and fairly throughout the year. More information regarding this change will be shared on the M&P PD Fund website over the coming months.

Please contact Susanna Mulligan  at 2-9273 or Peter Godman at 2-8115 in UBC Human Resources if you have any questions.

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New AAPS Website

On January 9, 2012 AAPS launched a new website. The launch was the culmination of a process begun by the Communications Committee in the summer of 2011.  After a competitive process the committee selected Serengeti Design Group to design the new site.

The vision for the redesign was informed by a desire to maintain the information rich nature of the old site while modernizing and humanizing the site.  To that end there is enhanced information on the site about the advocacy services AAPS provides to the membership.  Members can now also sign up for an advocacy appointment from the website as well as register for PD events .

In addition to the redesign a social networking element is accessible from the site in the form of LinkedIn.  LinkedIn is the most recognized form of networking among professionals and will provide a venue for member-to-member communication.   In response to the members’ expressed desire for member-to-member communication, conveyed at the April 2010 AGM, a customized group in LinkedIn has been set up for AAPS members.  A link from the page provides detailed instructions on how to join the group and connect with colleagues.  Members will also be able to set up subgroups of special interest from the main discussion forum.  Please note that while AAPS is happy to provide this forum for member-to-member communication, the group will not be moderated and AAPS is not responsible for the content.

We hope you find the new site informative and helpful. We also look forward to your feedback at aaps.office@ubc.ca.

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Advocacy Issues Report

The Advocacy Committee and the AAPS Member Services Officers are available to support and assist the membership in advocacy issues.  If you have concerns and/or questions, please contact us and you will be assigned a representative to assist you with your situation.  All information is treated confidentially. Questions which are brought forward raise AAPS' awareness of what is happening on the University's campuses, and ensure the Agreement on Conditions and Terms of Employment (ACTE) is being appropriately applied.  

The following report provides a year-to-date snapshot of the work that the Advocacy Committee and Member Services Officers are engaged in. Queries represent a simple contact that typically comprises of information sharing or education such as what is found on the Advocacy FAQs on the AAPS website. Advocacy statistics represent work that requires support, action, and follow-up by a Committee Representative or Member Services Officer.  The Terminations Without Cause statistics represent the number of letters issued, as per the copies provided to the AAPS office, in accordance with Article 9 of the Agreement. 

For the period: July 1, 2011 to December 31, 2011





·         Hours of work

·         Professional Development

·         Leaves of Absence

·         Appointments

·         Benefits

·         Vacation

·         Workload Overtime

·         Classification & Reclassification

·         Pay

·         Sick Leave

·         Term Appointment

·         Performance Review

·         Disability Benefits Plan (DBP)

·         Maternity / Parental Leave

·         Resignation

·         Secondment  / Temporary Promotion

·         Termination Identified (no requested support)

·         Bargaining Unit

·         Reorganization

·         Other general interpretations


Advocacy Issues




Issues Handled



Hours of Work

Time of day / Day of week





Warning / Suspension




Terminations Cause

Gross Misconduct / Theft / Assault / Other




Terminations Without Cause

Unsuitability / Position Elimination / Reorganization / Budget cuts




Terminations Probation

Suitability / Fit





Voluntary termination




Term Appointments

Date Moved / Notice / Pay




Classification & Reclassification

Job family / Grade









Bargaining Unit

AAPS / CUPE / Faculty





Personal / Bullying  / Sexual / Gender




Health & Safety

Workplace Safety





Department or UBC Changes




Sick Leave

Pay / Duration / Qualifying for





Accrual / Entitlement




Return to Work





Performance Review

Probation / Ongoing





Search / Selection / Offer Letters




Secondment / Temporary Promotion

Other positions




Other General Interpretations











Terminations Without Cause

Terminations Without Cause


  • July: 13
  • August: 11
  • September: 8
  • October: 9
  • November: 9
  • December: 5

Total: 55

·         Reorganization

·         Lack of Funding

·         Lack of Suitability

·         Probationary

·         Budgetary Restraint

·         Other

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AAPS Professional Development

To Register:

  1. Please login and register using the Professional Development Registration System using your personal email as your username
  2. Register in the course by selecting the checkbox
  3. Check your mailbox for confirmation

Upcoming Events

Personal Taxes:  Tax Tips when Filing your 2011 Personal Tax Return

Presented by Dayna Holland

Four upcoming sessions:

  • January 24, 2012 VGH
  • February 2, 2012 Robson Square
  • February 9, 2012  Point Grey
  • February 15, 2012  Okanagan campus

As an accountant with a background in corporate tax compliance, Dayna Holland is not ignorant to the fact that talking about money can be intimidating and uncomfortable.  That's why she is so passionate about supporting clients in gaining the knowledge they need to make great decisions about their finances.  Whether it's mitigating tax implications, creating a budget, or strategic financial planning for your business, Dayna aims to be your go-to person.  She takes pride in answering ALL the accounting questions swirling around in your mind. 

Dayna draws on years of experience that include working as a Chartered Accountant in one of the largest accounting firms in Vancouver, as well as working in the Finance Departments for a couple of high-tech companies.  Currently, her portfolio of clients includes entrepreneurs in the retail, service and distribution sectors.  Dayna also provides in-house tax support for larger corporations. 

This interactive seminar will cover:

  • Overview of the Canadian tax system;
  • Tax tips and traps; and
  • Specific situations:  Rental properties, change in marital status, sole proprietorships, and retirement planning.

Participants will walk away with a better understanding of the Canadian tax system, including some tips when filing their 2011 Tax Return.

Please check the PD Registration System for date, time, and location details and to register for the event.

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The Last 10 Pound Shred: Get Fit – And Stay Fit!

Presented by Tommy Europe

Thursday January 26, 2012

11:30 am - 1:00 pm

Point Grey
Frederic Wood Theater
6354 Crescent Road [view location map]
Free event. Please register to ensure the event is not cancelled.                                

Tommy Europe is the no-nonsense drill sergeant and host of the popular fitness shows, "The Last 10 Pounds Bootcamp" and "Bulging Brides", airing on Slice TV. He is the fitness coach that people love to hate. Tommy is one of the country's most sought after fitness coaches, whose modus operandi is a tough-love, in-your-face approach. "Pain is just weakness leaving the body", says Tommy, who was voted Vancouver's Best Personal Trainer in the Georgia Straight's readers’ poll for 2006, 2007 and 2009.

Tommy earned his credentials in the school of very hard knocks. As a professional football player, he was a two time all-star as a defensive back in the CFL where his bone crushing tackles earned him a reputation as one of the leagues' hardest hitters. The highlight of his 11 year professional career came in 1994 when he won the Grey Cup as a member of the BC Lions.

His athletic background allowed him to appreciate the movements of all sports and incorporate them into his total body functional training regimen. He strives to maintain the highest standards in developing new and innovative ways to enhance and maintain physical fitness, following his HITZ "High Intensity Training Zone" functional training system. So bring your "A" game, and get ready to work. Don't talk about it, be about it!

In this high energy keynote presentation, Tommy will share his philosophy to help people get started towards a healthier lifestyle. He will explain why it is never too late to get started, that it doesn’t cost a lot of money or take a lot of time and what you need to do to get lasting results – fast!

Please register if you wish to attend this event.

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Practical Project Management

Presented by the Berrant Group
Tuesday February 7, 2012
9:00 am to 5:00 pm
Point Grey
Student Union Building
Party Room
Free event for AAPS members.


Tackling today's project-focused environment requires a straightforward, down to earth approach. In the Berrant Group’s most popular program participants will learn practical, effective tools, and proven processes that will ensure projects stay on track and deliverables are achieved.

Those attending this full day workshop will learn how to:

  • Establish effective communication lines from the start;
  • Develop concise intended outcomes and deliverables;
  • Build a Project Charter that is simple, yet effective in getting projects off to the right start;
  • Recognize and prevent common Project Management problems;
  • Use criteria to determine tasks and measure the project;
  • Identify and evaluate risks and contingencies;
  • Effectively determine resource requirements; and
  • Use a Work Breakdown Structure, Gantt Chart and Network Diagram to manage a project.

Please register to ensure this event is not cancelled.

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Discover Practical Ways to Strengthen Your Immune System

Presented by Patti Smyth and Nancy Buchanan

Two upcoming sessions:

  • March 8, 2012 Point Grey
  • March 13, 2012 VGH

This interactive presentation (noon to 1:30 pm) focuses on a holistic approach to building a healthy immune system. Our immune system plays a vital role in not only fighting colds and flu, but in preventing many lifestyle diseases. Food, nutrition, probiotics, and healthy habits are just some of the critical components that this session will focus on. Participants will walk away with practical advice that can be incorporated immediately into their lives and will discover how to protect and build their immune system at the office and at home.

holihealth is owned and operated by Nancy Buchanan and Patti Smyth, Registered Holistic Nutritionists. Both Nancy and Patti have had over 20 years of experience in the corporate world prior to embarking on a career change that utilizes life and career experiences, a passion for food and nutrition, as well as personal and family health journeys.

Nancy Buchanan’s 25 year career as a business consultant focused on increasing productivity and efficiencies. She has taken this experience, combined it with her passion for health and creates workshops to educate people on the concept of holistic nutrition and how to develop a balanced lifestyle. Nancy is always cognoscente of the challenges associated with implementing change and ensures her recommendations are ‘doable’.





Patti Smyth has worked in the financial services industry for over 20 years. She has managed a career, juggled family life, and experienced her own personal health crisis. Patti’s many years as a financial advisor and in management awarded her the opportunity to coach for success. She enjoys working with a group dynamic and empowering people to take control of their personal wellbeing.





Please check the PD Registration System for date, time, and location details and to register for the event.

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New Paradigms of Retirement

Presented by Tracy Theemes, Financial Advisor, MA, CFP, FCSI, FDS

Thursday March 22, 2012
10:00 am to 1:30 pm
Point Grey
Ponderosa Centre
2071 West Mall
Arbutus Room
Free event.

It is widely recognized that preparing for retirement is the “right” and responsible thing to do. But in our changing world  it seems that our ideas of what this phase looks like have not kept up to the reality. In 1960, the average adult male worker died 2.7 years after retiring. The economics of that truth are vastly different from the reality today. What are the real pitfalls we need to avoid and what are the magnificent opportunities this new world offers us? With increased life expectancies, longer retirements, and a society with a growing absence of wisdom workers and gender disparities how can you shape an empowering life enhancing plan for yourself? What are the economic implications of having to make your money last for almost 30 years? How do men and women differ in their financial needs? And what does this phase of life REALLY look like?

Prior to co-founding Sophia Financial Group in 2009, Tracy was a financial advisor for a Canadian bank owned brokerage firm and gained valuable international experience with Smith Barney, a US brokerage firm that dealt with 2/3 of America’s pentamillionaires in their Olympia, WA office. She has delivered hundreds of educational seminars ranging from socially responsible investing to behavioural finance to gender and money. Tracy’s educational background includes a Masters degree in Counselling Psychology. She is a Certified Financial Planner, is insurance licensed and is a Fellow of the Canadian Securities Institute. She is also a Financial Divorce Specialist. Before becoming a financial advisor Tracy spent 10 years in management with an international play equipment company. She founded, then sold, a specialty children’s furnishing company based in the US. Tracy is a believer that “we are stronger together than apart” and regularly participates in activities and events that promote and support financial literacy.

This session will look at the four key phases of retirement and their financial impact:

  • Productive Engagement: the period of life where the role work plays has shifted;
  • Kilimanjaro: time to climb mountains, start businesses, take courses, and change the world;
  • Home is where the heart is: characterized by less travel and increased concentration on relationships and the meaning of life; and
  • Assisted living: living in community with family or others.

Please check the PD Registration System for date, time, and location details and to register for the event.

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Past Events

Awareness of Mental Health

Presented by Margaret Tebutt on October 20, 2011

Presented from a co-worker’s perspective, this event shed light on often hidden issues that contribute to conflict and lack of understanding when an employee is struggling. The aim was to help participants contribute to increased success when an employee is returning to work after an absence due to mental health issues. Through video of people sharing their real-life stories, participants were able to hear from employees who live with mental illness.

This session was presented in support of UBC’s Thrive Week.

“The presentation was so inclusive that it was easy to see myself and my co-workers in the examples used. What a thoughtful and professional presentation - very well written and delivered by a compassionate, well-qualified expert.” – Michelle S.

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Your Career - What's Next? Tips for Discovering New Career Opportunities and Moving Forward

Presented by Marlene Delanghe on November 3, 2011

Back by popular demand, this workshop allowed participants to gain tools and resources to:

  • Understand how careers really develop and gain a new understanding for how to approach their career no matter what career stage they are in;
  • Identify strengths, values, transferable skills and interests through informal activities and create some initial career profiling to clarify career fit;
  • Learn what practical and doable steps they can take to discover new opportunities and connect to career alternatives;
  • Develop 20 second verbal resume important for networking conversations;
  • Initiate a conversation with a supervisor regarding career future; and
  • Create a personal career road map.

Participants enjoyed and appreciated the opportunity to network with other AAPS members and the time to reflect on their own careers.

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Brain Boosting Secrets - Making the Science of Cognitive Fitness Work for You!

Presented by Terry Small on November 29, 2011 at VGH

Once again Terry brought his great sense of humour as he helped participants learn:

  • The #1 job of your brain
  • How to eat right, to think right
  • How to get rid of negative thoughts
  • The #1 food for your brain (you probably don't eat this right now)
  • How to improve your reading skills
  • How to improve your memory
  • How to help prevent the onset of Alzheimer's disease
  • The 3 things every brain must have

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Briefcase Parents: How to Go from Balancing your Home and Workplace to Harmonizing your Roles and Responsibilities

Presented by Lisa Martin on December 6, 2011 at Point Grey Campus

Completely unique in the marketplace, the Briefcase Parents Workshop, based on Lisa's best-selling book, guided working parents through a series of exercises, where they identified their priorities and gained fresh perspectives.

This is what some of the participants had to say:

“These types of courses help identify tools I can take away and incorporate into my life. It reminded me that it is important to refocus my life every once in a while because working and raising a family is a big task and sometimes overwhelming. Anything to improve my work/family balance is always helpful.”- Jill S.

“The exercises to find our career-life harmony score in various areas, and to become aware of our values, were very useful. I liked that the workshop was so hands-on, and that we had the chance to get ideas from other parents.”- Meg W.

“It was very personal & relevant, I wasn't prepared for this but it was exactly what I needed. I enjoyed getting to know those at my table and appreciated the interaction with other participants.”- Jacqueline S.

If you wish to continue to learn more about creating career/life harmony, Lisa thought you might be interested in her online newsletters.  Lisa on Leadership is a monthly private-roster newsletter providing strategies and solutions to help you maximize your return on effort and achieve greater success and significance.  Monday Morning Rise and Shine offers weekly advice and insight to help you achieve stellar results and a spectacular career.  To view past newsletter topics and subscribe please go to http://www.lisamartininternational.com/connect/newsletters-sign-up

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Featured Articles

Advocacy: A Core Service

By Michael Conlon

As the recognized bargaining agent for AAPS members, one of our core lines of service is advocacy. Advocacy takes a variety of forms but may be summarized most succinctly as the task of ensuring our members’ rights are protected under the collective agreement, University polices, and the Human Rights Code of British Columbia. Our ethical and legal obligation is to provide members with strategic advice in the employment relationship that is solely in their interest.

We have three Member Services Officers available to serve your needs. They can provide you with tactical advice about difficult workplace relationships as well as evaluate whether or not there are any formal avenues open to you in your dispute. Any discussions with our MSOs about workplace issues are kept in strict confidence only disclosed under rare circumstances as ordered by a third party (e.g., a criminal investigation). 

In cases where there is a violation of the collective agreement or the Human Rights Code, AAPS files a grievance with the University which follows a formal process to resolve the dispute. In many cases we are able to reach satisfactory settlement with the University. However, in rare cases grievances proceed to a formal arbitration process.

In adjudicating the weight of a grievance we are charged with evaluating the relative merit of the case at hand in conjunction with the effect of the issue on the membership writ large. An initial assessment of the case is made by the Member Services Officer who suggests a course of action. If the member disagrees with the assessment they then have the option of the matter being reviewed by the Executive Director. At that point if the member is still unsatisfied with the decision, the matter is referred to the Advocacy Committee for discussion. The Advocacy Committee is comprised of AAPS members who, if requested, vote on whether or not to file a grievance.  Any further disputes are referred to the AAPS Board for a final decision.

While such disputes are rare, it important that members know that we govern ourselves according to the legal duty to represent members fairly and without prejudice. Part of our role is also articulating the difference between vexing working relationships and formal violations of labour relations and human rights statutes. At all times our commitment to the membership is to communicate our rationale for decisions in a timely and professional manner.

In reviewing the formal nature of the grievance and advocacy process it is also important to emphasize that our advocacy also takes the form of tactical advice and support for members navigating stressing transitions and conversations in the workplace. Our trained labour relations specialists are open to meeting with you on any number of topics to discuss your workplace challenges. While UBC is a great place to work for most of our members, the reality is that there are occasions when you need advice that is solely in your interest. We look forward to providing that service to you to ensure that you have the information and advice you need to flourish at UBC.

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Understanding Your Agreement

Every edition, AAPS Member Services Officers review select terms or conditions of employment from the AAPS Agreement.





Luisa Liberatore and Sharon Cory,
AAPS Member Services Officers


Sick Leave

The Sick Leave Plan which AAPS achieved as part of the collective bargaining process with UBC offers comprehensive sick leave in the form of 6 months of paid leave per illness or injury. As per the collective agreement, the sick leave benefit is also allocated on a pro rata basis per illness or injury.

Probationary employees accumulate sick leave at a rate of 1¼ days for each month worked. Part time employees will have the leave prorated based on the percentage of their respective appointment. Once the probationary period is completed, employees are eligible for a leave of absence with pay for up to a maximum of 6 months per illness or injury.  It is important to note: employees who have successfully served a probationary period and are serving another probationary period as a result of a transfer or promotion will continue to be eligible for a leave of absence with pay for up to a maximum of 6 months per illness or injury. Once the 6 month sick leave allotment for the illness or injury is exhausted the employee may be eligible for coverage under the Disability Benefits Plan (DBP). If the illness or injury is likely to exceed the 6 months, it is advised that the employee begin the process of applying for DBP at least a month before the expiration of the sick leave.

Please contact the AAPS office should you require further clarification or want to learn more. The AAPS office is also available to assist you with other matters which you may need support with.

Professional Development Fund

The Letter of Agreement #3 addresses the Professional Development Fund. Every fiscal year (April 1st through to March 31st), M&P can claim up to $750 for professional development. This money is drawn from a lump sum amount and is awarded on a first come, first serve basis.  The fund is administered by Organizational and Development in UBC HR on behalf of the AAPS membership.

As outlined in the M&P PD Fund Update article, the PD Fund administration is undergoing change. More information about the PD fund can be found on the AAPS website or on UBC HR’s website.

Please contact Susanna Mulligan  at 2-9273 or Peter Godman at 2-8115 in UBC Human Resources or the AAPS office if you have any questions.

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Coaching Corner

By Nancy Hogan, CEC BBA

Go Deep!

Happy New Year!  To kick off the New Year I thought it would be useful to discuss something as simple (or not) as listening.  What does deep listening mean to you?  Many people rate themselves as great listeners although spend much more time talking than listening. Often you may be thinking about a response to what they are saying instead of being present in the conversation (or thinking about something totally unrelated).  Guilty as charged?

You know the feeling when someone really “listens” to you and gets what you are saying.  When they summarize your conversation with a statement in their own words that shows they understand and you say excitedly, “YES… That’s it!” is a great feeling as a human being.  Relationships of all kinds are improved when people are seen, heard and understood.

Active listening is a skill everyone can develop and continuously improve.  It involves not only listening to the words the other person is speaking, but also to the tone, emotion, meaning behind the words and watching body language during the conversation.  You may also notice what they don’t say. 

Great listening is not about providing a solution to the issue being discussed; it involves focusing a great deal of attention on the other person without worry about the outside world.

My coaching challenge to each of you reading this (should you decide to accept it) would be to consciously be a more active listener in your life – with people at work, home, and social situations.  How does this change your interactions with others?  How do you want to be seen as a listener?

How will sharpening your listening skills make 2012 a great year?

Thinking about professional training as a Coach?  Check out the UBC Coaching Internship Program for full details and application forms for 2012.  Deadline for submission is March 31, 2012.

Nancy Hogan is part of UBC’s award-winning Coaching Services, which is part of Coaching @ UBC and offers one-on-one coaching services with a professional coach, team coaching and skill development in coaching. Coaching @ UBC offers services to all UBC faculty and staff. To learn more visit UBC Coaching Services online.

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The Know-Do Gap: Create Career-Life Harmony & Escape the Balancing Act

By Lisa Martin

You know it: I need to orchestrate harmony between my roles and responsibilities to become more productive, happier and successful.

You don’t do it: I view my life in silos (self, family and career) that need to be juggled and balanced so I focus on the parts and tasks of my life rather than results and the whole.

There is a fundamental difference between finding balance and achieving harmony. When people think of balance they often think about having it all; all of the time – which is unobtainable – or obtainable at great cost. In fact, if you strive for that scenario you may lose your mind or other valuable body parts.

Harmony, on the other hand, is about having what matters most to you – and that ebbs and flows depending on your age and stage in life.

The problem with balance is it sets up this unrealistic expectation that every area of our life is equal – like the image of the justice scales – well in today’s crazy world that is simply not realistic.

The problem with balance is it refers to or connotes a juggling act. That there are many balls in the air (many of which are thrown at you) that you have to catch…and should not drop.

The problem with balance is it is paradoxical. Wanting or desiring balance makes you consider all the things you can do to find a better balance…and as you know there are hundreds of things you can do.

We all know about 8 glasses of water a day, 8 hours of sleep, going to the gym 3 times a week, spending time with loved ones. The list goes on and on.

The truth is you can become stressed and unbalanced, just thinking about work/life balance. In fact, when faced with so many choices you face the paradox of choice. When you have too many choices you become paralyzed. You become confused as to where to start. And if we don’t know where to start – you often don’t.

The problem with balance is that it causes you to look at your life in silos or compartments (think scales and balls in the air)…it makes you focus on the parts and tasks of your life; rather than results and the whole.

Conversely, harmony is about seeing the big picture of your whole life and designing it in a way that all the pieces fit and play together well.

Our world is teeming with information, individual choices and just too much stuff. We daily face a glut of options and stimuli that can be overwhelming. It is those of you with the ability to see the big picture – to sort out what really matters most – that will have the advantage in your pursuit of a harmonious life.

It is important to note that there is no right way or wrong way to achieve harmony – only your way. Career/life harmony is an individual proposition. We are all different people, with different careers, interests and at different stages of life.

Career/life harmony can be about going 150 miles an hour on a project because it engages and inspires you.

Career/life harmony can also be about taking a sabbatical to pursue the adventure of your life. Or career/life harmony can lie somewhere in between where greater harmony is achieved in the day to day.

The point is harmony comes from living your life in alignment with what matters most to you… and those who you love. It’s about making intentional choices every day that support your individual priorities and your ideal level of activity.

When you live your life in alignment with your priorities and let go of the unimportant you become happier and more productive. You escape the balancing act and shift from the endless battle of juggling your home and workplace to the more natural and effective approach of orchestrating harmony in your many roles and responsibilities.

You stop questioning whether you are doing the right things…and instead are focused on doing the right things the right way. You reap the rewards of maximizing your return on your efforts.

However, when you haven’t composed your life for harmony you create the opposite which is dissonance. And dissonance in any form will degrade or lower your return on effort.

Closing the know-do gap

It’s a full circle: the more you harmonize your life – the better you maximize your return on effort – the better you maximize your return on effort – the more success and significance you will achieve. To be competitive, to accomplish your big goals and, most importantly, to achieve a joyful, rich, engaged life you must maximize your return on effort.

Reproduced with permission from Lisa Martin : http://www.lisamartininternational.com/the-know-do-gap

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Community Announcements

UTown@UBC Kids Fit

UBC Campus and Community Planning, in partnership with the School of Kinesiology and the University Neighbourhoods Association is offering a 6-week after-school fitness program for kids aged 7-9 and 10-12 who live on campus.


  • UTown@UBC Kids Fit is only offered to children who live in UTown@UBC in either Acadia Park or UNA neighbourhoods
  • Kids Fit is offered to children aged 7-9 and 10-12 with a maximum of 40 children in each age group.  For each age group, 20 spaces are available to children from the UNA and 20 spaces are available to children in Acadia Park.  


  • Tuesdays and Thursdays, 3:45pm-5:45pm, from February 20, 2012 until March 30, 2012


  • All sessions will have child drop-off and pick-up in the Acadia Park Commons Block, 2707 Tennis Crescent

What is included?

  • Age appropriate physical activities
  • Quality physical activity instruction by senior-level students in UBC’s School of Kinesiology
  • Out-trips to UBC athletic facilities

What activities will my child be participating in?

  • Games and sports
  • Swimming at the UBC Aquatic Centre
  • Martial arts
  • Outdoor pursuits

Who will be responsible for my child?

  • All activities are supervised and led by senior-level UBC students who have completed first aid training

How do I register my child?

  • To download the registration form click here
  • Pick up and drop off registration forms at the following locations:
  • Registration is $30
  • Registration begins Wednesday, January 11, 2012 and closes Friday, February 10, 2012 at 5:00pm.
  • As space is limited registration is first-come first-serve.

For more information please contact:

UTown@UBC Community Outreach Coordinator – Coco Lefoka
Phone: 604–822-2278
E-mail: coco.lefoka@ubc.ca
Website: www.planning.ubc.ca/kidsfit

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Amazing Race Health Challenge Starts on Monday

Compete with your team of colleagues in the Amazing Race Health Challenge against UBC faculty and staff all over the province.  For five weeks, you’ll log points on the online system, to show that you’re working towards health for five weeks, in five different dimensions of wellness: psychological, social/community, nutritional, physical activity and intellectual.  In doing so, you have a chance to win one of the weekly draw prizes for participating ($100 gift certificates) and the winning team has a choice of massage chairs, Nintendo Wii Fit, Xbox Kinect, or a variety of gym memberships or classes.  The program is coordinated by Human Resources and supported by the Employee Family Assistance Program Committee.

Find out more: http://www.hr.ubc.ca/health/healthy-ubc-initiatives/amazing-race-health-challenge/

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Travelling Health Fair: Coming to a Location Near You

The Travelling Health Fair offers free individual, confidential health assessments and consultations to UBC staff and faculty, visiting 10 different UBC locations (including Robson Square and the Diamond Health Care Centre) over 10 workdays.  The 2012 fair will be offering anxiety screening, massage therapy consultation, blood sugar and cholesterol screening, functional movement screen, and acupuncture consultation, as coordinated by UBC Human Resources. Registration will open to all UBC faculty and staff on Monday, January 23, as announced in the March issue of the Healthy UBC Newsletter (subscribe here: http://www.industrymailout.com/Industry/Subscribe.aspx?m=23480)

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Responding With Respect: A Free Training for Departments/Units

Responding With Respect is a free 3 hour training session which has been developed by UBC Human Resources, in partnership with the Canadian Mental Health Association, in order to help enable UBC staff and faculty to better understand and intervene for mental illness for themselves and their colleagues, specifically anxiety and depression. The free training is designed to teach faculty and staff to recognize early warning signs of mental illness and to be able to refer colleagues to proper resources.  Since early intervention means a greater likelihood for full recovery, and colleagues often have a greater opportunity to see early signs of mental illness, the training is meant to help create healthy workplaces, as part of UBC’s Focus on People.  For more information, please visit the website: http://www.hr.ubc.ca/health/healthy-ubc-initiatives/responding-with-respect/

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Dr. Nedd Seminar: Power Over Stress

Dr. Nedd will present a one hour  Power Over Stress seminar in mid-March 2012 (final date to be confirmed) at the Point Grey campus. This event is open to all UBC faculty and staff.

Dr. Kenford Nedd, an Internationally Renowned Keynote Speaker, has been featured as one of the top 10 professional Speakers in America. He has received standing ovations from his Keynote presentations throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and the Caribbean. Apart from his career as a public speaker Dr. Nedd is also a practicing Medical Doctor in Behavioral Medicine and Stress management and has appeared regularly on CBC and CTV Television as an inspirational and motivational keynote and seminar speaker. He has touched the lives of many people from different parts of the world with his practical stress management techniques and innovative ways to boost energy and brain power.

As an expert in stress relief Dr. Nedd offers a variety of easy and practical insights into stress reduction and scientific methods for relieving the acute and chronic symptoms of stress.

Details of the event will be posted on the AAPS Group LinkedIn site. To find out more and/or to purchase tickets please contact Jenny Radford at jradford@intaudit.ubc.ca .

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