In The Key of 12: An Emerging New Melody And Tapestry of Leadership

This show is dedicated to Brad Saul the founder, the mastermind of Web Talk Radio and far too many significant innovations to mention. Without Brad I would not be here opening up to a new and very exciting chapter in my life. He may not be here with us in body, but his voice and beauty will remain with me always. And so I thought I needed to do a special type of show, and here is what came out of that. What happens when you are producing a song where each artist comes in one at a time and records their unique piece, and then the producer brings them altogether on that magical board and creates the song? Well, that’s what I decided to do this week. Bring together the voices of the individual and credible women and one amazing man, so as to experience their song of women who lead. I knew I needed a very special cooperative, or one who could pull out the connective tissue or being homage to the lyrics, the unique voices that needed to standout in their own right. And I knew there was only one who could do that –her name Hilary Van Welter. From beginning her career in the Canadian Federal Government as Senior Manager and Policy Maker to her movement into the private sector as the executive VP of the creative group of companies. A national consulting firm she relentlessly challenged the status quo through leading transformational repositioning. The likes of Alberta economy…Canada…oceans, shell Canada, volubility you name it there’s a lot on the list. But she did come to realize that these giants were so culturally entrenched, she had to break free to work with the true elixir of change –the human being. As an accredited wreaking master and healer, she not only worked her magic with individuals seeking major life changes. She also began to weave her ever growing knowledge of human transformation into innovative future casting for her clients included the likes of American Express, Business Development Bank of Canada, Canadian Executive Council on Addictions, Johnson & Johnson Medical Products, all under the banner of her organization “Ascentia.” Now Hilary is always colored outside of the lines. And for the past 15 years she’s given birth to communities, to networks whose mandates had become lost in the rigor of our traditional economic and social agendas. She birthed to Canadian Breast Cancer Network, which so disease and momentum are what we now know as the Breast Cancer Movement. She initiated the national HIV Positive Women’s Community – the first of its kind and the Youth Internet Crusade for World Peace, Hilary also cooperatives the first ever Canadian International Internet Show. If you want to find out more about this incredible history of experience, you can find her at –A.S.C.E.N.T.I.A. Now our current project “re-wilding Lake Simcoe” is a 1.6 million dollar initiative that focuses on the renaissance of Lake Simcoe communities. They do it though through an internet relationship between people and nature. Hilary is a woman who works on the edge. She takes her clients to places they never knew existed, and yet she always knows that she’s working from the present from where they need to launch their new reality. So, her mind operates like no other person I’ve ever met. Her heart…well that’s her game changer. Now let’s open the mic to Hilary Van Welter.


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Lesley:  Well welcome Hilary Van Welter. And I can’t thank you enough for taking your time to spend the next 25-30 minutes with me and the audience. And as I’ve said at the intro, this is a special show and you’re a special guest because we’re actually reflecting on what did you and I experienced as we listened to these interviews and really garner the wisdom that has been emerging. And, one of the most prevailing elements to virtually every single interview was the art of the question. And you know, we learned at the selection of each word of the question, we’ll determine the exploration that we’re going to be going on, the trajectory that we’ll go through. What we most want to uncover and by definition what we don’t want of. In Bliss Browne in her interview raised the insight that once it takes to creative rate question is to say “what is the question that you would like to be asked that would open up your own creative leadership?” “What is the question that you would most want to be asked to open up your own creative leadership?” So, Hilary, what is the question you would most like to be asked?


Hilary:   Well, the question I’d like to be asked having listened to all 12 of the interviews and spending time listening to the voices, the energy, the insights and as well as the great questions that you asked, I would like to be asked what does it mean to be a woman in December of 2015, and how does that shine light on the term “leadership”?


Lesley:  Alright. So, that being the question, great question, what most emerges for you in terms of the answer to that question?


Hilary:   Well, I can only speak from my own experience of what it means to be a woman. I can empathize with other women around the world in different places, in different circumstances and different context. But for me being a woman is probably one of the …at this day and age is probably the most exciting, invigorating and hopeful times that I think women have ever experienced. And I think that we have tools, and as well as ancient tools, as well as modern tools that are calling us. I also think there is an incredible need for women to be women and to bring the blend of these ancient and modern tools together to be able to happen.


Lesley:  So what would be some of the tools that you heard in these interviews that we need to shine the light on?


Hilary:   Well, I heard from Jelka as well as from Bliss a real call to be a woman, and to be able to bring in as Jelka talked about the “ying” the ability to truly and honor the feminine. Vicki Saunders also talked about the need to bring out her feminine. Bliss Browne extensively talked about the need to be a woman and to understand when birth projects that we are birthing them. And it’s something that I and ironically with also Kirsten Eastwood have spent a lot of time talking about, in terms of looking at how do we actually bring projects into the world in a way that honors our bodies and honors our wisdom as women.


Lesley:  And I think that one of the things that Vicki said is that we need a new narrative. Some type of narrative that replaces in her mind, some of those things of “go big or go home,” “winner take all.” But I also in my own reflection think that there is an only one new narrative.


Hilary:   No, I think it’s a multitude.


Lesley:  And I think that from listening to these women they all had different narratives, which for me was so refreshing because I didn’t have to read the chapter appears the new narrative.


Hilary:   No. And what was fascinating was how they had a different language even Terry had a different language…Tim had a different language that he was using, and his ability to empathize around women’s ability to go into the rawness of issues and not avoid them was really, really fascinating. So, I totally agree that there are many narratives being woman together that created a really different type of tapestry. And it was the richness of that that I was aw actually as I reflected in. Even when I started clustering the various thoughts that I had and the various insights that I had as I went through the interviews, there wasn’t really any themes… And when I looked at it what I saw were connected thoughts as supposed to themes. And I think that that’s a great testament to the beauty of what I was listening to and what was being expressed.


Lesley:  So, you know, we have talked a lot about what is the perspective that we hold, and those perspectives come from beliefs that we bring into any given situation. And I had a different take when a number of my guests talk and Vicki in particular about how the system is broken. And I think that it raises for me, is it broken? Because you can say it on one level it’s broken. But you can break a piece of glass and it shatters, and then it becomes an element for jewelry, or a stained glass window, or something else that it never had its purpose yet created when it was in its previous form. And so what it brings to me is if we go into the world of “Gee! This world is broken,” and therefore we have to fix it, which I think is actually an old model in terms of “let’s go fix the broken model.” It raises for me one of the areas that you and I have talked about extensively is that it’s not that it’s broken, it’s just living out its time…


Hilary:   And I think that that’s a key point. What I also found that in women having these contexts and their different language, they’re bringing different tools to the table and different perspectives to the table. I don’t personally connect to the brokenness in that. As a healer I see that those areas where things are in fact “broken” or actually the doorways that are going to show us some really interesting possibilities should we walk through them. And I also really come to understand that we’re living in a time where we have been driven by an economy that is…. You know, the industrial age where this industrial models and the developed world is based on that, but it’s a lifecycle that is now on its downturn. At the same time, the Sigmoid Curve Theory that Charles Handy writes about a lot is that before an economy reaches its prime a new economy is birthed, so that it has the energy and resources that it can tap into from that previous or older generation so that the new generation of economies are growing. They’re growing at least being resourced. It means though like any intergenerational debate, there’s always going to be differences between the elders –if you will—of an economy and the new ones that are coming in. I call this the “dance of the curves,” because it’s a dance that has to happen in my mind. That’s my perspective that I carry, it’s a dance between the old and the new. And as you dance together you’re able to find a rhythm that you can collectively look how to co-create. And at sometimes, you know, the rhythm takes where it goes quite quickly and the older economy isn’t able to keep up, but that’s okay because it’s now declining, it is now giving space, and time and energy to the new one to be birthed.


Lesley:  And so the dance is also what for many of us is called “the hallway of the in-between,” and I think that’s what a lot of our guess talked about is that they’re leaving something, like they’re saying goodbye to something. But, as in many ways they’re very clear about what they’re saying goodbye to, but they are really quite unclear about what they’re going to.


Hilary:   And that’s where the faith and some very different kinds of tools I think are needed. And one of the most interesting, you know, for what Donna Hiebert being an artist the way she is, and I very fortunately also owns some pieces of her jewelry. Thanks to you know who. She writes that…or she spoke about the fact that we are walking ahead in a humble way, stepping into the unknown. It really is the unknown; we don’t know where the answers are going to come from. And I think that that’s one of the most powerful and beautiful spaces of being in this hallway where you don’t want to turn around and go back because that’s just is in the cards for you. But you also have to have the faith that as Bliss talks about in her interview that you’ve been impregnated and that there will be a project, something is going to a seed will emerge. Like my wonderful daughter-in-law spoke just before she gave birth to my granddaughter, you know, but just before she gave birth to my granddaughter when she was interviewed, she speaks about the fact that we have to be able to have goals that have never been done before, we have to believe in ourselves in ways that nobody else can believe in. And I think that those are the tools in the hallway to shine a light on how we can emerge through this hallway of change with new thinking, with new concepts and with a new energy that many of your guests actually spoken about.


Lesley:  Well, I feel that that every one of them were coming from a new energy, and each of those energetic elements were different. And they were different was because they were coming from their own true essence, that somehow they were in the midst of uncovering that essence. And so they had in some cases ripped the mask off, ripped the band aids off, ripped the warrior of a previous life way of living to expose themselves to that vulnerability. And what was the thing that Sarah said about fearlessness? It was something about how fearlessness has the ability to be vulnerable.


Hilary:   Actually that was Chris Power that was holding the paradox. And I think many of the things that your guess talked was the paradox. For Chris that was holding the power of being fearless meant that you have to be at your full exposure of vulnerabilities or be aware of and show the vulnerabilities. You know, Donna talked about the idea of the next being a very fragile place which had both the ugliness and sharpness of these metals but held such beauty and possibility inside it. And I think that that comes back to what Tim talked about around women being able to go into rawness and walking into the rawness of issues, rocking into the rawness because we can hold the paradox. We can hold the fact because that’s why we do I believe this dance of two curves in a different way, is that we can hold this ugliness as well as the beauty. And we can hold them together so that they actually inform us about how we take our next step.


Lesley:  And so, you know, in holding a paradox, what it actually also requires of us is that…and I mean Charles Handy talks about this deal is that this is no longer the either/or, this is the current space in which we operate, which brings me to the notion of… And I think Time raised it really brilliantly in terms of not about women or men, we both lived this. And that is, is that we’re so defined by labels, by roles. So when I’m a mother I operate like this, when I’m a professional in the corporate world I operate like this. When I’m a volunteer on a board of a not for profit I work like this. And we’ve created these characters of separation that we try to keep all locked up inside their own special code, when in fact they all are us and they all inform. Whatever is going on in our personal life deeply informs what’s going on in our professional life and vice versa. So, I think that this notion that paradox is a scary thing it’s not about choice, it’s about embracing the wholeness of it, the completeness of it.

Hilary:   Well, and I also think it comes down to your wonderful young publisher who spoke about the fact that consciousness is a human operating system. And when you have young minds that are talking about consciousness in that way as well as being a currency, as well as being other things than just a… If when we’re fully conscious it doesn’t matter what role you’re playing or where you’re conscious. And when you’re bringing that energy in that operating system into the foray, then you’ve got a much better chance of actually finding some new solutions. This week in new scientist there’s a whole pile of number of articles of the brain again about how the brain creates memories. And it’s likely becomes so grain-centric around the fact that the brain is the only thing that really drives us, that gives us our thoughts. And as a humor, I know that that isn’t the case that the brain is the partner with other parts of the body to actually find its way through a lot of the difficult things we’re trying to experience in this life. And as a partner, it partners with the heart, a great deal which has a very great strong and different intelligence. So, it was wonderful to hear about consciousness being raised in your interviews, very distinctly in that interview but it also was a subtext and many of the others. And I think that that interview was inspirational for a number of reasons, and that it really did to bring together the idea that we are more than just a physical body and we are more than just a sprain, that if we start to see ourselves that way then we are going to come into the world and bring into the world new concepts in a much different way.


Lesley:  And that’s Andrea Blakey, who really is a phenomenal young woman, and now I can actually say her age 27. What a youthful wise woman. But she also commented as…and I think a number of our guest it as well…and Donna in particular…that when we have an intuitive hit it doesn’t hit in the brain. Our hits come from all aspects of our body, all different parts of our body. And I like the way that Andrea said, “Yeah, I get the hit, it’s somewhere in this body,” and then my mind then goes to travel to find out why is it hitting me there, which brings me to one of the key themes that we’re going to put up on the posting for the show is the new currency. And I actually think the new currency is energy.


Hilary:   I think it’s energy and I think within that energy there is a…and one of the terms I work a lot with is the innovation of meaning. And that within energy we are innovating what meaning is, and what do we value, and what do we really see us as…and Vicki talked about in that interview as well about meaning having currency and values having currency. And within that, as a healer for 15 years, I’ve worked for the energy body and I integrate that into my strategy sessions, and I integrate that into all of my work is integrating energy because in the essence everything is energy.


Lesley:  So here’s where I want to once again shift perspective, because I would think that people think, “Oh! What Hilary does? Does she brings people in a room and she works with the healing modalities of Ray K. and other master performs of shifting our chakra systems, of shifting our energetic centers?” But you heal communities; you heal relationships of communities with water. You shape the whole notion of how water plays a role in our society. So, just even the lens of the word “healer” is so bounder, it’s bounded by old premises that we are….


Hilary:   …rarely use it because it carries a very different connotation, and my current work is redesigning public spaces that actually allow communities to bring in these new currencies and to explore a different relationship that’s… I talk about a partnership between people and nature, and the fact that our public spaces are abandoned in many cases because we have not reclaimed ourselves. And as we reclaim ourselves we can create them to the…we can recreate public space through invention, through beauty, through architecture but beautiful design. But it comes down to people wanting to have new relationships. And Tim talked about relational, you know, coming back to relationships. He talked about relationships and how that when you’re in a good relationship you can be in conflict. And so, I think in our community is if we start to really rebuild these relationships that we need, we can start to be honest in how we deal with some of our community conflicts. And if we can deal with them in our community level, how does that help us deal as we move out to a nation internationally? And I want to come back to the fact that when we listen to the people you were speaking with, I was very conscious that you were in Portugal speaking to people. You know, to my daughter-in-law in Sweden, to people in Toronto, in Halifax, in Chicago, and how seamless it was in having those conversations. And that we live in a time when there’s web that we’re creating with this new currency of energy. Can I actually be a call to action? And to go to something that Kathy Manners talked about that innovation has become an industry, as supposed to something that drives us that need to create that desire to create. And Kirsten Eastwood talked about it both in terms of looking at how do we use natures models to help us understand this thing called “innovation,” because we’ve gotten very mechanicalized.


Lesley:  And so , it’s fascinating in a sense that, you know, let’s go back to the dance of the Sigmoid Curge, the one that’s beginning at the prime of the old and then getting birthed, and then taking over into the due. You know, we say it’s innovation but in many ways it’s healing, it’s changing a way in which we are doing something that’s no longer working. And so, the point that Kathy made and that you’re making is that we use these terms in a 20th century kind of fashion, and we put healing over here as the la la land of alternative health, when in fact they’re one in the same thing in this new mindset that were shifting.


Hilary:   And what Carl Young talks about is the fact that illness is in fact our way of healing. And so it’s not about illness being bad and illness being a disease, it is if we’re going to go back to the hallway. It is our doorway into which we can walk for supplying some new part of ourselves, new answers to very deep issues. You know, you and I share a very common as this Kathy, as this number of the women that you talk to and specially Sarah. A very strong desire to start to take this word of addiction, and mental health and literally load them up because the ways we’ve been framing them and the way we’ve been approaching them hasn’t worked. And you know, this morning I had a hit around climate change. We’ve spent many years—myself –looking at climate change from a variety of different ways. And the biggest climate that we have to really look at is inside us, because that’s the one that’s eroded and that’s the that has such difficulties in terms of dealing with all the changes in our lifestyles. Our inner climate has certainly taking a bleeding, and we need some ways and tools of dealing with that.


Lesley:  So what’s a tool that you feel, that you are aware of or emerged to these interviews that can allow us to go into that space and allow the change…?


Hilary:   Well, meditation was mentioned a great deal over time, and meditation…a number of your guests mentioned meditation and taking a different form. I believe that also meditates on the ice, and I think that as she skates and as she does her figure she’s in a meditative state and that she’s in her zone. She can get inside herself. I think others need to have tools to be able to take us. I know I’m one who needs to have tools to go inside, to be able to visit whoever is living in there at the time. I happen to use a world of characters that I go, and visit and see what news my visualization to see what’s going on inside. Um, others start with reading and then are lead into different worlds through literature and/or through authors. I think the beauty of what I listen to was that there’s many ways in which to reach inside. Some of them might be through gardening, some of them might be just through the things that we love to do that allow us to touch a part of ourselves though we can then go and explore further.


Lesley:  So, what I mean as you and I both know my biggest meditation was walking the Camino to Santiago—and that was walking. That wasn’t sitting silent and that was constantly in movement. One of the stories that Sarah didn’t mention is that a number of her leaders which are…those that had come to her at risk and have been part of their really innovative leadership program to become leaders in their own right. They were significantly part of the project called “Hope Glooms,” and it’s where inner city children are developing this marvelous gardens. …they turn it into a salad dressing—an incredible salad dressing that just took off throughout Halifax. They went on dragon’s den; they got five of the dragons to sponsor them. And because there was meaning in what they were doing and their healing process of working with the soil watching something grow out of what looked like dirt, that then became this beautiful, beautiful essence of nature that they’ve been could transform into something that society would value. Now that’s meditation. These kids were all in a different frame; it’s a different consciousness that you enter. And whatever means you use to enter it, you’re in it when you’re in flow.


Hilary:   And coming back to the youth story, my own re-winding youth entrepreneurs were we had number of kids from the youth justice system, and in group homes who I really wanted to work with to create a different kind of business. We didn’t know what it would going to be when we started, but where…exploration started was in a field by a lake, and having them go out and talk to the various elements that they experienced in nature and to bring back what they really were fascinated by. And they came back with they were fascinated by ants and trees and went on to create a company called “The Tree Lounge.” But they were inspired with their experience in nature. And I think that it’s such a different space when you’re in nature, and there’s a lot of documented last child in the woods. There’s many different books now that are going to talk about the impact of nature has on us. But again, we keep talking about it in a psychological way. And if we want to talk about it in a new energy currency, then it’s about that when you’re in that space and you allow nature to commune with you and you commune with it something happens, there are no words but there’s feelings.


Lesley:  And I think that is…I’m so glad you’ve raised that is I think also the new currency. It’s how we feel emotionally as we’re in those spaces., and how those emotions bring us to a heightened level of awareness and a wickedness that we don’t experience… When we do what Vicki Saunders says “Women are great, give them a task. They honker down, they do the job, they get it done, task done; check off, now I’m on to the next one.” And that again is a model that worked brilliantly in the industrial era but it’s literally dying out. Because we are living in such a ubiquitous world in which all aspects of our energy are needed in everything that we do.


Hilary:   Well, when it comes down to the fact that the feeling system is more than just emotion, and it really is an operating system that’s connected to our consciousness that holds information inside it in ways that we’re still learning how to tap into it. Because inside that feeling you can feel…and I go back to what…I was to talk about being in the center of the ice, and she talked about the fact how exhilarating and so frightening it was to stand in the center of ice when you’re about to compete. Those feelings you can hold and they’re conflicting feelings but they form the same feeling, you can feel joy and sadness both of the same time. So when we tap into our feeling systems it actually allows us to experience things in a much broader, deeper, more profound way than when we try and think our way through it. And it’s learning how to work with that feeling system than I think it’s something that is part of this next curve.


Lesley:  And what would be your piece of advice about how we open that space up?


Hilary:   I think we go back to things we love to do as children. And I think that we allow ourselves to play and we allow ourselves to do something that we really enjoyed as children. And you and I have spared many childhood experiences, so there are so many thing that I can think of that we would do that we would go back in and explore. We had a very wonderful childhood of being able to leave the house at 8 A.M in the morning, take our dog and run through forests and fields and be gone for the day. And I did that when I was back in Sweden this time, when I visited my beautiful granddaughter. I think it’s allowing ourselves to go back into that place that took play.


Lesley:  So it also says to me that Vicki raised three acupuncture points. And you know that was really around finance, around marketing and around product or education—excuse me. So education, marketing and finance… And I think in the currency that you and I are talking about the three acupuncture points where we put the needles in, and through the synergy of how they dance together, how they open up is who I truly am. What is my most serious talent and which I have crazy passion about, and who is my tribe I can reach out to?


Hilary:   And I think that sometimes we just have to hold the space for the first two and the tribe appears.


Lesley:  And I think that’s it because that’s actually what Tim said, right? It’s that the tribe will show up when we…those others open. My other thought is, is that sometimes we do have this change spaces for this to happen. So, Trisha Pope moved to Portugal. That’s where she went. Jelka Klun traveled the world to find out. Donna Hiebert went to Mexico. You know, you went to Sweden, I went to Portugal. It doesn’t have to be…I mean Bliss went to Africa. You know, it’s not about the exoticness of the location, it’s about sometimes we just have to get out of the space that’s stimulating our current perspective and opens us up.


Hilary:   I totally agree. And I think that there’s an opportunity to be able we think forward of these wonderful 12 women that you interviewed…sorry 11 women and one gorgeous man that you interviewed that sets the tone, the first steps for the fact that there is much to celebrate in terms of who we are. And while the world issues can look crippling and our own family issues at times can look crippling that there are ways through this, and there are ways to travel as wholly be in between. And it would be wonderful to bring together those people who wish to come, and they have a different experience in a different place to explore some of this.


Lesley:  So, I think that in the sense of this, it’s allowing ourselves to find our sense of who we really are and that’s a journey of a lifetime. But there’s lots of breakthrough points that we have to stop and breathe in and acknowledge “this was a breakthrough conversation, this was a breakthrough TV show I watched, this was a breakthrough piece of music I listened to.” We think of these things as massive events, but they’re happening to us every day in all of these beautiful acupuncture wet points that if we acknowledge them they are all strong together in the massive appeal. Now, we are at our end of our time which I’m truly sad about. You are definitely somebody that I have talked to all my life, and now we’re going to let our little secret out that I have spent this last while with my identical twin sister, my soul mate but we always called each other our roommates. We have traveled this world together, we have all those things the people say we have telepathy. We have all of those wonderful, wonderful attributes of being in the world together. The thing that Hilary has so much more than I do is memory. She can recall situations that I can…as soon as she tells me them, I go “Oh yeah I remember that,” But she actually has them in our head, I don’t have them, I have to be stimulated. So, as we close out this interview, Hilary why don’t you tell one story of how earl our uniqueness is as humans showed up?


Hilary:   Sure, and it was actually listening to –again—through the interviews and talking about the fact that, you know, Chris Powers said that she didn’t grow up thinking she’d be a CEO. And Kirsten Eastwood said, “I never grow up thinking I was going to be an entrepreneur.” They weren’t the role models that allowed us…and then I was thinking about Tim talking about women going at the Uranus. And as I was doing the laundry as normally great things happen when you’re doing normal things, I came to me a memory of us sitting in the back of a car—of our parents’ car—and we used to have to go between…we lived in Montreal but other half of our family lived in Toronto. And so we would have 12-hour drives going between, and then we also took a trip to Nova Scotia. I can’t remember which one but during one those my mom took us into the book store and we were allowed to buy a book. And so, Lesley bought…there were the ladybird books and Lesley bought “Joan of Arc” and I bought “Florence Nightingale.” And it was this fascinating to think how early are imprinting was in terms of… We have actually very much followed those two role models in our lives and there’s so many funny ways, and imprinting can happen at very interesting time zone car rights.


Lesley:  Well, you know what, we have many more to do and I am so blessed to have you in my life. I think the audience is incredibly blessed to have you investing the amount of time you did to listen to all these interviews and extract this terrific wisdom. And so, it is with my greatest pleasure, I say see you soon.


Hilary:   See you soon and we will be posting a document that contains some of the highlights of these conversations, because those 11 women and one man are brilliant lights that can take us forward.


Lesley:  Thanks Hil.


Hilary:   Thanks Les.


Lesley:  Well we only got a glimpse of what Hilary is capable of seeing, hearing, interpreting and projecting. You can find more about her experience, her projects entering incredibly unique way of approaching innovation by going to her website –that’s A-S-C-E-N-T-I-A. We need people in this world who can force us out of our patterns, not by telling us that what we’re doing is wrong but by showing us what the option can be. Only from there do we have the energetic capability to create it. You can find out more about this show by going to and of course facebook at “women who lead radio show.” We will be posting a number of these themes and the elements of wisdom that has emerged from these first 12 interviews throughout the week of this show’s airing. Don’t forget, this is your show; I am your host Lesley Southwick-Trask. See you next time.

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