For Sarah Goodman, reconciliation is about having faith and believing in people, even in the uphill battles. It also goes hand-in-hand with her definition of leadership.
“Leadership is not about trying to own every idea, but asking ‘How can I help? How can we make this happen together?’”
So when Chief Robert and Karen Joseph approached Tides Canada with their vision for a Walk for Reconciliation, Goodman knew she just had to be a part of making it happen.
At the time, Goodman was the Senior Vice President of Tides Canada, one of the country’s leading charities working on social and environmental issues.
Goodman and her colleagues at Tides Canada felt passionately about Reconciliation Canada’s plans. But she admits with just a year to go, and no organizational structure or funding in place, the idea of 50,000 people walking for reconciliation was ambitious.
“It was probably the first time I leapt from heart instead of head,” she says. “There were moments where we thought, ‘this can’t be done, it’s too ambitious’. But it made perfect sense for what the organization felt was important for the country. So we got behind it.”
Goodman said everyone involved recognized that the walk was just one step in a long road to reconciliation.
“These issues are very complex and there are no simple answers,” said Goodman. “True reconciliation requires a deep commitment at an individual, organizational and societal level to do things differently; to hear and respect those with different views and experiences.”
While with Tides Canada, Goodman worked with Chief Robert and Karen Joseph to establish Reconciliation Canada as a joint initiative of Tides Canada and the Indian Residential School Survival Society (IRSSS).
Goodman was impressed with how quickly things came together. Not only did most of the organisations they approached agree to get involved, many – like Vancity and the City of Vancouver – brought their people, resources and passion for reconciliation with them.
“It really speaks both to the tenacity and the vision of Chief Robert and Karen Joseph, and their call for reconciliation,” Goodman says. “They were right in saying ‘this is the moment for reconciliation’ and it gives me great hope for the future.”