#GameChanger Kim Armstrong
I’d like to introduce you to Kim Armstrong, Canadian Equality Consulting’s featured #GameChanger.
Kim received her Honours B.A. in Political Studies from Queen’s University and her LLB from Osgoode Hall Law School. She has also completed the Police Management Certificate. She spent nine years working with the Edmonton Police Service, first as a Legal Advisor and then as Manager in charge of the Professional Standards Branch. From October 2006 to August 2018, Kim held numerous Government of Alberta positions, including: Deputy Clerk of Executive Council and Deputy Secretary to Cabinet; Deputy Attorney General; Deputy Minister, Status of Women; and Deputy Minister, Seniors and Housing. In 2013, Kim co-founded the Government of Alberta Women in Leadership movement. Currently, Kim is the Deputy City Manager of the newly created Employee Services Department at the City of Edmonton. I have been incredibly fortunate to have had the opportunity to work closely with Kim at Alberta Status of Women and in the Women in Leadership movement.
What is the best piece of career advice that you have received?
Kim: Stalk the longing that is stalking you. Pay attention to when you are in flow – when time ceases – and find work that enables you to utilize, build and leverage your superpowers.
What are some strategies that you would recommend to help women advance their career?
Kim: Network strategically. First, assess your network – is it diverse? Who is missing from it? Second, develop a plan to enhance it. Third, implement the plan. Seek informal mentors – have a large number of people from various backgrounds that you can reach out to for advice and guidance on a myriad of issues. Give, give, give, take – at every opportunity, share your views and perspectives with others and support and develop everyone around you. Seek continuous feedback – it’s a blessing and a gift from anyone who is willing to tell you, with compassionate honesty, how they experience you and how you could improve.
What has been your greatest obstacle and how have you overcome it
Kim: Myself. I had to get out of my own way and build a bridge over myself. This involved developing a practice of mindfulness which includes regular yoga, morning meditations, a Gratitude Journal and self-reflection. It has enabled me to live in the moment, breathe deeply and enhance my overall enjoyment of life. Out of this, I have created a mantra that I would like to share:
I will be continuously aware of feeling huge gratitude for the life that I have, the people that are in it, the talents and skills that I was born with. I am truly, truly blessed and I will try to never lose attention to this.
I will be “present” in the moment that I am currently in. I will bring conscious intent to living fully and with complete energy in the present, not spending time and energy reflecting on what has been or what is coming, unless that makes sense in the present moment.I will be a witness and not a judge to others around me. I will lovingly accept them for who they are in the world, not for who I arrogantly and without basis think that they should be. I will honour every other person’s right to set their own destiny, to make autonomous choices. When I start to experience “triggering” – which for me is the experience of strong emotion – I will silently acknowledge it, name it, and then allow it to wash over and through me. I will not act or speak when I am “possessed” by this moment but will wait, with patience, for a quiet and soft mind and heart to return. In these situations, I will remind myself to move from a state of reactivity to a state of responsiveness – from kinesis to stasis. Anxiety is contagious, but so is being calm.
- I will remain aware of the distinction between what I control and what is beyond my control and in the hands of fate. I know that the path of least resistance to my destiny (where I am going to end up anyways) is the one where I make the best possible choices that I can as choice points present themselves in my life, and I accept with an open and grateful heart those things that happen to me that are beyond my control. I embrace those moments without judgment (“bad” or “good”) as they are part of my journey and they have a purpose in my life. When I feel a deep peace and acceptance of whatever life brings me, I have the magical ability to know exactly what is required in each situation, in each moment.
I will always heed my intuition. By that I mean, I will hold space for uncertainty, listen to my “inner” signs, and trust in the combination of instinct and experience.
- I will reframe “failures” as “learnings” as I have committed to a life long journey of learning where I will always be curious about everything, a student of some things, and work toward mastery of a small number of things. If I feel as if I am surrounded by darkness – as if I’ve been buried alive – I will, instead, see myself as a seed that’s been planted. I will receive the opinions, feedback and observations of others as gifts, each of which offers me the opportunity to enrich and broaden my self-awareness, my knowledge, my perspective – and I will create opportunities to seek out these contributions wherever and whenever I can. I will strive to be authentic, humble, resilient and courageous. I will practice these behaviours in my life at every opportunity. I will breathe deeply, often.
Thank you Kim.