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Lisa Anna Palmer | Cattelan Palmer Consulting | Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

T: 613.878.0305


"A leader's ability to connect requires compassion, courage and competence."

As a leadership coach who has worked in the private and public sector for more than 25 years, what are the key problems?
I hardly hear complaints about pay. It's always about a manager not using an employee's name, and not saying Good Morning or Thank You. Employees feel like they have no control or flexibility over their work. There is a leadership gap causing a lot of workplace issues. Throngs of people are burning out and getting sick because of their work situations. It's really a public health crisis.

You tailor solutions to each client, but is there an overarching theme?
Try to make work more fun and interesting, and workplaces more compassionate. Show employees how they fit in and make a difference with the big picture — help them feel like they belong. Find out what they need to succeed and what excites them about their work. If 80 per cent of their work lights them up, they'll be healthier and more productive.

You learned the hard way, when you burned out at 34 and developed fibromyalgia. What happened?
I was working 12 to 14-hour days and at 34, I could barely walk. I started to question myself. I was having zero fun and yearned to spend more time with my family. So, I made fun my priority. I had to reconnect with that. Next thing I knew, I was beginning to heal and be re-energized. Now my mantra is, "Fun is Fuel!"

What is your passion?
My tagline is 'making the world a better workplace' and while I won't do that on my own, I'll do my part. I'm writing a book, coaching and training leaders, so having a clear vision keeps me on track.

Do you have a final piece of heartfelt advice?
You can have passion and vision, but you must let go of trying to control the outcome. If you get off track, you must persevere and say, 'What can I learn from this?' Life can take a turn but end up more fun and interesting than what you had planned in the first place. We must let go to embrace that possibility.

Photographer: Lindsey Gibeau