Currents of Change: Inspiring, Creating, Transforming

Currents of Change: Inspiring, Creating, Transforming

Friday, 1 November 2013

The Amazing Latornell Race: A message from our champion

By Michelle Berquist, winning team member, Amazing Latornell Race


In our working lives, there are precious few opportunities to take time out to grow as professionals by learning outside our specialty and by making new connections outside our organization. It especially rare to have such an opportunity while riding a miniature merry-go-round and combing the grounds of a countryside resort, in the cool night air, looking for an Anne of Green Gables look-alike.

Last year’s Symposium bore witness to the inaugural Amazing Race and I am proud to be guest-blogging as a representative from the first ever winning team. At first I was as shy and hesitant as many others seemed to be to join in for a yet-to-be-proven concept, but I am glad I did. The Race was a highlight of the conference for me.

The Amazing Race event gave me a chance to share a common purpose with three complete strangers, though it quickly became clear we had plenty else in common, including care for the environment. The women on my team were accomplished in fields ranging from biology to public engagement to editing and their approaches to the challenges laid out by the race gave me insights into new ways to tackle challenges in my professional life.

Some activities tested our knowledge, others tested our skills and others tested just how goofy we could get with our colleagues. The sense of comradery that I felt my team and with my fellow racers would have been reward enough for participating. However, I have to say that the cash prize for the winning team was a very nice bonus. It gave us each a boost on the next evening’s competition: scoring the winning bid on some of the most sought-after items at the Dream Auction.

The Race will be on again this year, so rally your colleagues into a team or prepare to form a new alliance by signing up as a free agent. No one knows exactly what the race will bring, but one thing is for certain: it will bring a good time.
Michelle was honoured to be a student moderator at Latornell 2012 while completing her Master of Science in Planning at the University of Toronto.  Michelle was on the winning team of the first annual Amazing Latornell Race. Michelle's coursework explored the interface of natural, built and social environments and culminated in her independent research on storm water financing.  Look for her talk on storm water credits at this year's Symposium.

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