Peggy Shaughnessy, CEO & Founder, Whitepath Consulting. Connecting the disconnected.

Words of wisdom: We always have to look for those social gaps. We have a responsibility to help fill them. Let's make our communities healthy and well.

Country: Canada

Website: http://whitepathconsulting.com

Industry: Training / well-being

Organization size: 32

 

Interview with Peggy Shaughnessy, CEO and Founder, Whitepath Consulting; Canada

Learn more or buy the book Make Your Contribution Count for youme • weLearn moreInterview highlights:

  • When to pivot your business model
  • How to tap into your unsavory past to frame your future
  • How to build interdependent social enterprises
  • The benefit of having a social enterprise collaborate with nonprofits.
  • When dealing with the opioid crisis, where does the healing start?

PROMOTIONAL VIDEO

Learn more or buy the book Make Your Contribution Count for youme • weLearn more


Interview with Peggy Shaughnessy, CEO and Founder, Whitepath Consulting; Canada

Peggy Shaughnessy is a captivating and inspirational speaker. Her advocacy and activism on resolving the people's struggles with mental health and addiction have blessed her with a powerful gift for positive change. Her knowledge comes from a 20-year nursing degree before returning to complete her Masters degree. Peggy is an expert in rehabilitative psychology and has worked directly with many individuals, organizations, and communities across Canada for the past twenty years. She is the founder of Whitepath Consulting and the developer of the Redpath approach. Peggy is currently pursuing her PhD at Trent University. Peggy harbours profound belief in the power of 'connecting the disconnected.' She is known as an 'emotions warrior' in her struggles to transform healing and wellness programs.

United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal(s) addressed:
#1. No Poverty, #3. Good Health and Well-being, #10. Reduced Inequalities, #16. Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions

Social impact:
The social-economic impact of Whitepath Consulting is to empower people to look at goals through a different lens for not only recovery but also restoration of full functioning and passion for living. This process moves participants from brokenness to personal transformation to full integration into society. Our mission is connecting the disconnected.

Website: http://whitepathconsulting.com

Interview with Peggy Shaughnessy, CEO and Founder, Whitepath Consulting; Canada

Note: This interview is transcribed using AI software, which means, the transcription is not perfect. Watch the video or listen to the podcast to hear our guest’s wisdom in her own words. If you want to see more interviews like this, please comment below!

Suzanne F. Stevens 

Welcome, Peggy to wisdom exchange TV. I’m so excited to interview you, particularly because of your background, and the focus you’ve put on indigenous peoples over your career and, particularly, mental health, which is such an important topic now. Over the last few years, it has finally gain momentum, but particularly now with the pandemic. People are really acknowledging the fact that mental health is such an important piece, and it really needs to focus on it for our marginalized communities. So welcome, and I really look forward to speaking with you.

Peggy Shaughnessy 

Thanks so much for having me. It’s great being here, totally correct. We’re coming out of a pandemic, we hope, and it’s time to step back and really open our minds and look at what is innovative and what’s new.

Suzanne F. Stevens 

You’ve been doing this for 20 years now as I said it in your introduction. what was the catalyst for you starting Whitepath?

Peggy Shaughnessy 

It was during my undergraduate degree, I started visiting the native brotherhood at one of the federal prisons, and I really saw the lack of support these men by coming into prison. And so that’s sort of, I had a passion I guess that I wanted to help these people coming out of prison.

Suzanne F. Stevens 

Now, coming out of prison, why did you choose that beneficiary to benefit from your knowledge.

Peggy Shaughnessy 

I guess one of the biggest things was because I could have been in person myself.  I guess we are always attracted to something that we’re most familiar with and dysfunction was part of my own life.

Suzanne F. Stevens 

Why don’t we dive into that a little further — some dysfunction? Can you explain exactly what that entailed and then how that transitioned you into pursuing a career in therapy.

Peggy Shaughnessy 

In my own childhood I experienced every kind of dysfunction or trauma, one could experience. My parents were not in love, and I was sort of one that witnessed it. My mother was a prostitute, so I watched that. As well I lost both parents when I was nine and my grandparents raised my sister and me, and so I fell through many cracks myself and needed to come up with some kind of thing to do so I wasn’t so angry,

Suzanne F. Stevens 

To have such trauma and then to pivot to something so meaningful. Do you recall, the time when you decided to make that pivot like was there a moment, or was it a reflection, or is it just a series of traumatic events that made you all of a sudden say I have to change my course.

Peggy Shaughnessy 

Yes, I think it comes to the point where you get tired of it, you get tired of punching your way through a bar or being angry at the world because your life was worse than everybody else’s so I think eventually the heaviness itself became too heavy to carry.

Suzanne F. Stevens 

Do you remember the moment?

Peggy Shaughnessy 

There are moments. I don’t think it could be just one moment when it’s there was so much dysfunction and I think even at my age today. I still have moments that sort of is a reminder, which then shows me that there’s something else that needs work on my own self today.

Suzanne F. Stevens 

I remember reading something about you where you had said that you’re still doing the work. Even though you’re in a position and have expertise and, you’re working on your dissertation at this point in your career, but in the process of helping others you’re still doing the work. Talk a little bit about that.

Peggy Shaughnessy 

When I worked in one of the federal prisons, I had the greatest opportunity to work with an elder, GEORGE we called him, and he told us that we had four rooms we have our physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual. If we don’t visit each one of those rooms each day will never be in balance. So, it’s something that I created the four-room theory where very quickly I can go through those four rooms and see where my own self is today. Do I need some work? And, you know, am I thinking not correctly, am I crying and my emotions are at a walker is my thinking that it needs to step back and do I still have a connection, so my mission in my business is connecting the disconnected. And I think we get disconnected from our own self.

Suzanne F. Stevens 

Which I love and I said in your intro because I think that’s so powerful is connecting the disconnected. You started, as we already discussed in the prisons to help the disconnected to become connected, but you didn’t stay the prisons, you decided to shift again once you started down this path you shifted your business. Why did you do that?

Peggy Shaughnessy 

Well, I think in business we always have to be looking at where we need to shift. And so, I didn’t feel that I was able to get to the number of people that I wanted to get or that I could reduce recidivism within the walls that were holding the inmates themselves so that took me to start going to communities in many remote communities, to see how I could leave something behind that they could use themselves, for their own journey.

Suzanne F. Stevens 

Now, one of the conversations, and there’s so many during this pandemic, that has really risen to the top and one of those also is seeing fewer people in prisons. When you make the comment that you couldn’t make the change there. Why do you think that is?

Peggy Shaughnessy 

Well, it’s systemic, you know, if you look at who’s in prison, it’s usually the minorities in our society. And it’s often the ones that have mental health, and so those two things and then, especially with this pandemic as you started out this conversation today, mental health and addiction that isn’t something new. It’s just we see it more because we’re not so busy and so many people that are out within the prison walls of mental health, and some form of addiction, which needs to be worked on. But the system isn’t set up that way.

Suzanne F. Stevens 

What do you think needs to happen to help with mental health to avoid prisons in the first place?

Peggy Shaughnessy 

Well, I think we have a society right now that we’re so geared on mental health but we’re looking at the behavior itself. So, I think it’s time to step back, we’re not allowed to be sad anymore. We have these systems in place that if you witness somebody was certain behaviors and you’re supposed to report it. And so now we have lineups because people are sad. And they’re in the lineup with the people that might be clinically depressed or have schizophrenia tendencies. And now the lineup is so big that it’s become too big. And so, it’s, it’s creating a bigger problem when there are areas that we could be working on with some people in a different venue.

Suzanne F. Stevens 

So that’s an interesting comment on so many levels. And to your point, that through the pandemic the conversation and mental health has escalated. Over the last five years, we’ve seen it escalate. But people that weren’t necessarily sad, are feeling it now because of our circumstances. Could it be the fact that many of us don’t know where our next paycheck is coming from? We don’t know how we’re going to manage our children anymore, we’re overwhelmed with all the additional stresses in our lives and realize that we’re not doing well. I’m curious, now that that lineup as you suggested is so much longer, what do you think we need to do because there are different levels of people who’ve had mental health issues for years due to trauma. And now that we’re finding people who have mental health issues that are really didn’t know they had them. So you have this emergence of different people struggling at different degrees and for different lengths of time. What do you think we need to do in society to help those people because they’re different groups.

Peggy Shaughnessy 

Well, I think all of us have mental health. I think that’s the biggest problem is it’s become so stigmatized that we all don’t realize that we need to go through those four rooms each day to see where we’re not really balanced in that if we’re not really balanced and when something like this, it’s, it affects us even more so. And so people need to learn how to work with themselves. In order to see what they’re carrying and you know in a pandemic is the greatest time. I think we have to step back and see. Yes, we have to bills, but why are all those things that we just left behind us, so important to us?

You still look at the amazing things that have occurred during this Pandemic like this sort of community building on groups online that if you need groceries or if you need certain things people are dropping off groceries to people’s doorsteps that they don’t even know. So, you know, can we leave the things behind that we just went through, and can we come up with what we’re trying to talk today about different models were of self-reflection that mindfulness, you know really grabbed the hold why was that. So, you know, there are many things that people are really searching for, and I’ve always been searching for self-help because there’s something that they just don’t know why they’re carrying.

Suzanne F. Stevens 

Now I couldn’t agree with you more. There are so many good things that have come from this pandemic and because you wisdom exchange TVs produced by YouMeWe, we really that’s where I’m focusing is focusing on who’s come together, who’s come to the call and we celebrate them on our website because there have been so many things that have happened and we do realize now probably more than ever, how interconnected we actually are. And I think that is such an important message and that I hope so many people take away from this. You work with indigenous peoples and also nonindigenous peoples but I want to focus on the indigenous for a moment, how do you connect with that beneficiary in your work and help them, tap into those four rooms. So how do you actually address that?

Peggy Shaughnessy 

When my connection started with, I’ll being indigenous offenders being released from prison so they all didn’t come to my city or I’d have all the police on my doorstep but so many of them might help reconnect with their community and put in place a plan for a better successful reintegration so when the community would say to me, these are all the things that they for that inmate to come back to, I would ask them to put down the brochure and really tell me what they had in their community because when Joe, at two o’clock in the morning needs support is their office going to be closed? They’re trying to get them to go beyond what the mandate of their organization was and how can I as a community can help Joe reintegrate better. So that’s how my connection started working with communities across Ontario and many northern. And then when I decided to start going into communities to train people on my programs. I already had those connections put in place,

Suzanne F. Stevens 

Which is fabulous going into the community so now you train people within the community to do the Redpath program.

Peggy Shaughnessy 

It started that way at first. I started doing workshops across the country on opioid misuse on crystal meth. Many of the different trauma quite a few workshops I started crossing the country doing that and then I’d have many people coming in from organizations and communities to listen to me, give them tips on how to do certain things that they might not be doing. And then that took me to Manitoba in 2002 was my first training, I was in the Yukon at the time when I got a call and said, You’re coming home, you need to be in the office so I started going into communities and training them and I started training them to deliver five different programs that I had developed originally an emotion management program but unfortunately, the government doesn’t fund emotional management so they took me back to the table to look at addictions and violence and bullying and those types of things. And look at them at different angles because you do have to come at them from different angles.

Suzanne F. Stevens 

So as somebody that also trains for a living, this has been my experience and I’m curious about yours. It’s one thing to train and that’s another thing that the organization or in your case the community embeds those philosophies, in the community to help provide that support.  What measures, did you have in place, to help them, or to see if your training was having the impact that you intended?

Peggy Shaughnessy 

Well, I created with Dr. James Parker on the psychology department at Trent a scale called the Aboriginal assessment inventory. It was based on emotional intelligence. And so we had looked at a bar on a big scale he was one of the first to created and the alexithymia of scale when you have a feeling that you can’t express it in words use alexithymia. And so, my colleague, he was part of the development of the alexithymia scale. So, which allowed me then to use it and to see if it was generalizable to Aboriginal populations. So that’s the first thing you have to do is to make sure, what are you measuring what you’re setting out to measure. I was able to then take that scale and put it into a circle so that a frontline worker gets it back that they even if they didn’t have the education would be able to understand where that person needed work. That’s how we started to try to figure out what did people really need the most work and so that’s the scale used to pre imposed treatment and we can then look at the individual and out the group itself was able to do it. And then we’re able to give that skill, like those measurements back to the community to be able to use back into their next proposal to show the government of changes in the government always likes to see numbers so we would help them with that proposal as well. So those two things we put in place because we know, even though numbers may not be important to them. They’re important to the funder. And so that is one of the big things that we were able to do for the communities, to be able to take something that if you might not be educated in the science world and understand what you’re getting back and be able to use those analysis and for future funding.

Suzanne F. Stevens 

Did you do anything specific to have the community ingratiate you to assist them?

Peggy Shaughnessy 

Well, I’m sure you’re aware of residential schools so you know you have five generations of people that have been exposed or not only winners but probably, it’ll accrue to them as well. Sexual Assault physical abuse and no one’s really looking at the underlying one of subjugation and domination by the state. And so you have a group of people and not all people but many people that always feel less than someone else inferior to other people, that’s a big cloud to be under and so by going into communities and just starting with underlying traumas, and then moving beyond that, so that they themselves, see individually what needs to work so it’s not hard to measure success. When you have a group of people that have been so traumatized.

Suzanne F. Stevens 

And yet, and I appreciate that. However, they were receptive to a white woman coming in. Again guiding them on what to do which caused the problem in the first place. So what did you do bridge yourself to understand what was going on, and also open them up to actually taking advice and counsel from you?

Peggy Shaughnessy 

I think what I was able to do and I always tell people I made the interpreter, where I was able to work with elders, not just within prisons but across Canada, and receive wonderful teachings that help guide me on my own journey, and then take those and put them together into something that made sense and not saying the others didn’t make sense because that’s how I made sense from them, but was able to take something that I think already existed within the philosophy of many of these nations, and take something and put it together into a process that should change.

Suzanne F. Stevens 

Fabulous. You know, we did touch on again so many things you’re doing right now are extremely topical and opioid crisis is one of those things that there’s a lot of conversation on how to address the issue and I know newspapers in the last couple weeks. It’s, again, a topic that’s escalating from making drugs free so that we can monitor and we’ve seen this in some areas in Toronto and in Vancouver, I’m just curious from your perspective, what do you think would help reduce the addiction of opioids?

Peggy Shaughnessy 

I think the concentration is so much on the drug that we’re forgetting about the people. And so, again, it’s, as a society, we can only measure what we see. So, it’s the behavior of the drug-taking itself. Instead of looking at the underlying issues on why one needs to take something in the first place. I always say that addictions is not the problem. The problem is, is the underlying issue. People only use it for two reasons. Most often, and one is to numb the pain or feel again. And so we have to figure out why one needs to numb the pain, or why one has been so numb their whole life that they want to feel.

Suzanne F. Stevens 

And that’s where you come in.

Peggy Shaughnessy 

Exactly. We currently have been very busy because of the pandemic too to mainly frontline workers now. I was a nurse for 20 years and we had, nurses, even back then imagine getting addicted to narcotics so this isn’t something new, again, it’s just something that shows its face in a larger capacity, especially when people are dying. You know we’ve had heroin, for a long time on injecting that’s why we had methadone clinics open in the first place. Now, it just seems to be that’s the answer. And I’m not saying that methadone should be closed down because it shouldn’t. I’m not saying that safe injection sites shouldn’t be used because they should be. Safe drug supply, I think probably is a good idea, but everybody assumes that everybody’s going to get free drugs and then everybody’s going to be addicted and then we’re going to have more crime right. Instead of looking at why is poverty, is always the underlying issue. you know, looking bigger at society, you know people are hurting right now because they don’t make the big paychecks. Now, yet they have a little bit of an understanding and empathy on why one that is always in poverty feels like they do.

Suzanne F. Stevens 

Well you know that’s a whole other conversation, and because I think you’re bringing up a really good point. Citizens that rely on their paychecks to support their family are all of a sudden struggling may have more empathy for somebody who’s always been struggling. Haven’t we seen that with George Floyd?  All of a sudden, we saw abuse of power on video. And this has been going on for years where black men and indigenous men and indigenous women, which is another conversation, all together, have been treated poorly in our society and all of a sudden we see it on video, we start paying attention. It’s interesting that like you’re parallel, all of a sudden now that more of society is suffering, perhaps more of society would realize that we have to do something about it.

Peggy Shaughnessy 

Money isn’t going to be the answer. I just hope that a lot of organizations don’t take advantage of this right now, and waste money on things that shouldn’t be like our concentration has to change our whole outlook has to change coming out of this, or we’re just going to be wasting a lot of money.

Suzanne F. Stevens 

You have a business and a business needs money. So you’re not a non-for-profit but you are a social enterprise. Now, what are the two most challenging hurdles to sustain your social impact we’ll start there and then we’ll get into your social enterprise itself.

Peggy Shaughnessy 

I think that sometimes society gets confused or maybe they don’t understand what a social enterprise really is and so they confuse this with the one-percenters of corporations. I am in a business that is trying to make social change. I’m sort of being looked at not very nicely by some not-for-profits that think I’m here to take over their money and that everything’s going to be privatized so that becomes a very big issue. Right now we have our community where I live that is really suffering from opioid crises and the money’s being directed to the not-for-profit side who closed their doors because of the pandemic. We’ve got an increase in opioid use and fewer services, and we’ve had about 30 deaths already in a city of 80,000 people.

Suzanne F. Stevens 

So that’s very interesting that you could still do the work. But now they have nowhere to go. People with the challenge is that what you’re saying.

Peggy Shaughnessy 

I am. We have people coming out of jails with nowhere to go that there are not even the services there to help people to guide them where they’re supposed to go so that makes our business much busier. Human contact is what really is needed.

Suzanne F. Stevens 

Are you able to provide the services, then?

Peggy Shaughnessy 

We have been providing them. Maybe that’s where social enterprise comes in where you know you’re able to make money in one area, and maybe the odd person you can see then that might not be able to afford to pay. And so, you try to balance that off.

Suzanne F. Stevens 

Are you offering a lot of your services for free?

Peggy Shaughnessy 

Currently, I’m also in talks with the government was sort of a plan coming into the pandemic so I’m hoping that as we move forward that we’ll be able to partner more with some not-for-profits to show that we really can work together,

Suzanne F. Stevens 

Which is such a good strategy to collaborate because the expertise is there and the problem is bigger than the nonprofit and your organization. And it would also encourage other people if they knew they can run something sustainably because nonprofits have a different reporting system than a social enterprise actually has. So what are some of the ways that you are able to make up income to help sustain your organization?

Peggy Shaughnessy 

Well we do several things and I also own a restaurant so which, we had to lay a few people off but so I’m able to then us, if one is doing better than the other, they sort of help each other out so trying to always be looking at what can we also be doing in another venture that can help each venture out so we’ve been able to do that for about 10 years. It’s been very helpful especially in the area that I’m working out where I can work with a client and then throw them in the dish room or, start teaching them some social skills especially men come into the prison. And then, you know, eventually, gradually they get into different areas that they have more contact with people. I’ve been able to over the last 20 years, look at different things and what needs to be changed and how can we make money in this area that will help with the other area when things aren’t as good.

Suzanne F. Stevens 

What’s the name of your restaurant?

Peggy Shaughnessy 

Whistle Stop Cafe.

Suzanne F. Stevens 

Some of those people have been in prison in the past?

Peggy Shaughnessy 

Right. I have different people come in now. We work with different employment agencies to help people with Asperger’s and things that may not get a job because they don’t have the social cues during the interview, in order to get the job.

Suzanne F. Stevens 

In some cases working at the Café is for rehabilitation,  some cases offering an opportunity to a minority, that would not otherwise have access to having an income. It is fabulous that your social enterprises are able to also support another social enterprise. One feeds the other in regards to Whitepath consulting. How many employees or collaborators do you have?

Peggy Shaughnessy 

Ten work at Whitepath Consulting I have about 22 Whistle Stop Cafe.

Suzanne F. Stevens 

The 10 that they will go to different communities now do you have licenses for other people to actually train your material in communities?

Peggy Shaughnessy 

Anyone that’s been trained as a frontline worker gets licensed, so they have to go through intensive three-day training, and there’s just right now there’s three of us that do that. We’ve currently been doing it online as well. It depends on the community and in the access that they have to the internet so some communities don’t have a very good connection so that’s an area that we might have to fly to, but to go to the James Bay, for instance, it costs $3,000 return just to go to port Alberni. And then send your materials and other time, you’re looking at hundreds of dollars just for shipment and when you send them two weeks before that they’re there when you arrive. And so there’s a lot of problems getting things and the expense of it. So, lots of those we’ve been able to cut the cost by training. You can still do pretty good training where you can have somebody from BC somebody from New Brunswick, and somebody from Northern Ontario all together, which they wouldn’t necessarily be together so we train people then they get licensed and we keep a strict file on who’s been licensed. We’ve had calls I remember one call from a probation officer asked if someone was trained in the Redpath program. And we looked up and they hadn’t and so then we had to get lawyers to look at.

Suzanne F. Stevens 

Through this, you’re also talking about something that’s also risen to the top as a conversation another one of sustainability is access to the internet, which in rural communities has been proven to be very challenging for people. It would sound like if more people had access to the internet, you would be able also to coach more people that are the beneficiaries of your program not only the people who want to facilitate it but also the beneficiaries of your program and reach more people at a reduced cost.

Peggy Shaughnessy 

I think the internet, really opens the door for many, many things. And there are certain times when if I was going to work in a remote community I would first go there and show that we had a connection that you know that humaneness or if you’re even compatible to begin with to work together. And then I think the success is much greater when you start working on something like we’re doing right now. And there’s that connection now, you can’t do that. For certain groups of people, I think that it’s important that human touch in that chemistry that we don’t seem to get online, as if you were and I were having this discussion similar.

Suzanne F. Stevens 

Yeah and I agree with you. This is a great second, and it’ll never be the connection that you do have when you’re face to face and that’s something I really, noticed but at the same time, thank goodness more people are recognizing the fact that you can still have some connection remotely. I love what you’re saying, in the sense that you still need that human connection and then you can go remote, but you really do need to feel connected and particularly with what you’re doing. You’re dealing with a lot of people with a trauma that they need to have that high trust, and there’s no better way to get high trust than face to face, rather than through technologies that are provided.

Something else I find interesting about this too is, I’ve done a ton of work in Africa and in the rural communities, although not perfect either. I find that the internet and some of the rural communities in Africa are so much better than it is in Canada, and it feels like although we’re a developed nation the first world, that some indigenous people don’t have water or provide the access to the internet. I know we have a massive country. However, it is curious that in a developed country that so many of our indigenous peoples and people in rural communities don’t have great access and we’re seeing it now more than ever, where people are running around trying to communicate online going to different places in order to get that access. How do you think the access would have a great impact on what you’re doing? for example, if more people in the rural communities had access to the internet, how do you think that would impact your ability to coach and work with people with trauma?

Peggy Shaughnessy 

Well, it really opened the door and it would really create a lot of employment. I think with what I’m doing, it can create a lot of employment right across the country because with using such innovative ways that people don’t necessarily need to work in the same building, and so it could open the doors to some of the best workers that aren’t even in your own city. Also provide opportunities to working with people coming out of jail, or people who are having difficulties in their daily life which is affecting their employment in many other areas. Youth right now we’re going to see a big increase in youth coming out of this pandemic and that we really need to look at, not just in first nations communities but in all parts of society. I think this is really effected the youth much greater than what we’re even looking at.  Youth are used to being with friends and playing sports and all of those things that keep our youth’s mind clear and being able to function today. I have eight grandchildren and so I’ve really seen the effects of even my grandchildren, with this pandemic.

Suzanne F. Stevens 

You lead 32 people, do you have any leadership techniques that you employ that create a culture that embraces diversity, because really that’s what you are doing. So you have three leadership techniques that you implement for your teams.

Peggy Shaughnessy 

Well, I think as a leader, you’re only a leader with the people that you surround yourself with.

  1. It’s always been my philosophy that they become part of my family. And so, that we’re connected like I’m trying to connect the disconnected is part of my daily life. Many people that I employ may not have family, they will come to my house for Christmas. I think leadership is surrounding yourself with people that then become part of your leadership. I think that is very important.
  1. I think that the second leadership that they realize that you’re not perfect in that you ask the people what their input would be I think it’s very important to always be humble.
  1. And the third one I think is to always make sure that you have something else in place that you can fall upon so that you don’t collapse. The because right now we saw that with who’s going to still have a door to open when we come over this pandemic and what did those businesses or those organizations have in place. Just in case.

Suzanne F. Stevens 

What role does collaboration play in your organization?

Peggy Shaughnessy 

It is the top thing is collaboration because I have to collaborate with perhaps maybe the funder whether it be the government whoever the church. Its collaboration with communities is collaboration, which is the person sitting in front of us. So, if we didn’t have collaboration, I wouldn’t exist

Suzanne F. Stevens 

You still can collaborate with the government because the government does pay consulting companies to assist and execute. Which collaborator have you found to help you most effectively to have the social impact that you’ve had?

Peggy Shaughnessy 

I think the biggest collaborator I ever had was a lobbyist. In a position that I’m in, I think I never realized the importance of a lobbyist that knows their way around, many different gates that I never knew existed. And so, I think, as a business and as a social enterprise in my area, because, you know, it’s always trying to work with the government, even to help First Nation communities or communities, maybe that’s not necessarily the money coming directly to me, but it’s knowing where you’re the expert and where you need collaboration to help you stay as the expert.

Suzanne F. Stevens 

So, help you stay as the expert help me out with that? I’m not sure I understand.

Peggy Shaughnessy 

This like being an artist, are you going to be the marketer or are you going to be the artist? For me, and to be able to keep my concentration on what I do best, and that’s writing programs training and educating. I don’t have the time to do all of those other things. Nor do my staff. So, it’s the collaboration with somebody outside of your organization that will help you become more successful.

Suzanne F. Stevens 

Yes, to sort of filling in the areas that aren’t necessarily your strengths, but are their strengths so seeking those out. Yeah, which is definitely a great way to approach it.

Moving on a little bit to you. What have you done in your worlds probably a very uncomfortable world but if there were one or two things that you’ve done that have made you really uncomfortable but if you didn’t do them you would not have the impact on the beneficiary that you have?

Peggy Shaughnessy 

If I look at my whole life I think it’s all been an experience, someone living with living experience. I moved drugs for a large bike gang during my teenage years and saw people die in so many things that I didn’t really want to be part of. And I think I had an uncle that was a staff sergeant on the police force, head of Drug Squad and I always used to say that I was going to go to reform school. So I think that fear of that but knowing what could have happened to me or how the world in the underground sort of runs sort of allows me then to see who might be trying to pull the wool over my eyes or whatever, of people that I’m working with to be able to understand that I’ve been there to your you’re full of it because I know that’s not correct.

I think it’s my lived experience that will always outweigh my doctrine, once I get that even though my doctrine is important for the world that I’m in.

Suzanne F. Stevens 

So why are you the right person to lead this initiative?

Peggy Shaughnessy 

Well, I think, compassion and being fierce are two of the things that I think that drives me and I think that I’ve always realized that, why the creator something bigger and not was to leave something behind and so this long journey of a PhD I’m going into my sixth year right now, and I need to get it done. It’s been a really hard journey and it hasn’t been for myself it’s so I can leave something behind so somebody else can grab a hold of that piece of thread I’m leaving in another thread and at some point that blank it’s going to be completed.

Suzanne F. Stevens 

So how has Whitepath Consulting providing meaning in your life?

Peggy Shaughnessy 

It is my life. It has been my journey. I’ve had tears I’ve have had laughter, but Whitepath, is something that I started because I knew that there were things in our society that needed to change and it’s a slow process. Sometimes you just want to throw in the towel, but you know that that’s not going to help anybody doing that.

Suzanne F. Stevens 

Thank you. I’m going to ask you some rapid-fire questions so just short, sweet answers first thing that comes to your mind no right or wrong. It’s all about you.

What is the one thing you wish you knew prior to engaging down this path?

Peggy Shaughnessy 

I think the hurdles and I think that often, the hurdles sometimes want you to quit. And so, I wish somebody could have told me something, or to get across those hurdles easier.

Suzanne F. Stevens 

Worst piece of advice you ever received.

Peggy Shaughnessy 

When are you going to sell it?

Suzanne F. Stevens 

When are you going to sell it?

Peggy Shaughnessy 

Yeah, in my restaurant we have a lot of fights and my mother in law or my uncle would call and say “when are you selling?” So, you should sell it and I didn’t listen. So, I guess the advice I didn’t take but there are lots of people that you know are fearful when I go into some communities that there might be violence. That’s advice that I’ve never taken, but it’s been poor advice.

Suzanne F. Stevens 

And at the same time, a lot of people wouldn’t have a place to work if you didn’t provide that rehabilitation.

The best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Peggy Shaughnessy 

I think old George’s teachings about the four rooms and about my journey is probably the greatest. Old George died the day my grandson was born, I think he left a little piece of them designed.

Suzanne F. Stevens 

No doubt. Beside your beneficiary, who do you think needs the most investment time resources money,

Peggy Shaughnessy   

Homelessness.

Suzanne F. Stevens   

I know you have daughters but if one was 10 years old today what advice would you give her?

Peggy Shaughnessy   

You can be whatever you want to be.

Suzanne F. Stevens   

What advice do you wish you received?

Peggy Shaughnessy   

You can be whatever you want to be.

Suzanne F. Stevens   

Who is the greatest female influence in your life?

Peggy Shaughnessy   

My daughter. My daughter works with me. And I have three daughters, but my one daughter works for me and she is the greatest.

Suzanne F. Stevens   

I’m going to say one word, and just say the first word that comes to your mind.

 Empower

Peggy Shaughnessy   

creative

Suzanne F. Stevens   

inclusive

Peggy Shaughnessy   

I wish.

Suzanne F. Stevens   

care.

Peggy Shaughnessy   

love,

Suzanne F. Stevens   

 courage,

might

Suzanne F. Stevens   

Contribute

Peggy Shaughnessy 

 

Redpath

Suzanne F. Stevens   

consistent,

Peggy Shaughnessy   

hard work,

Suzanne F. Stevens   

conscious

Peggy Shaughnessy   

content,

Suzanne F. Stevens   

collaborate,

Peggy Shaughnessy   

social enterprise

Suzanne F. Stevens   

 community.

Peggy Shaughnessy   

Connecting the disconnected.

Suzanne F. Stevens 

Thank you everyone for joining us.

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Do you have any words of wisdom for our audience regarding contributing to society?

Peggy Shaughnessy 

We always have to look for those gaps. We have a responsibility to help fill them in. So, let’s make our communities healthy and well.

Suzanne F. Stevens 

Thank you so much, Peggy.  Until next time, make sure your contribution counts.

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