I did some fru-fru fromage for the reception of the Canadian Conference on Social Enterprise last night. I was really pleased that they seemed to dig my approach to the ubiquitous wine and cheese.
The Right Honourable Paul Martin spoke about engaging the community through social enterprise and triple bottom lines (profit, social good, environmental good). He envisioned a day when social enterprise (which I take to mean everything from large non-profits like United Way to independent social entrepreneurs) will have access to the same incentives and benefits as corporate, for-profit organizations. He held that organizations working for the public good are already engaging the public and employing 8.7% of the Canadian workforce, and that now we need to engage the government for the same set of rules that the rest of the country plays by, for a fair crack at being sustainable.
“I like the way you engage with people,” someone said to me as I hovered around the table, making sure people knew that the Ontario cheddar was particularly good with Cobs’ Apricot Loaf, and I wondered if she meant through food. I thought of my years of doing wine & cheese events in the theatre, of bringing snacks to rehearsals as a stage manager, of hosting Christmas, of doing neighbourhood brunches and BBQs and having not just random muffins at the Bestseller Bootcamp sessions but yummy unpredictable fare from the Guerrilla Gourmet, and I realized, yeah, I guess I engage with people through food.
I spent the morning wondering if we each have our own unique way of engaging with people? Mike, aka, The Best, seems to engage with people through helping; doing the dishes at Christmas, setting up for neighbourhood brunches and BBQs, helping people move (come to think of it, how come his back only hurts when we move?), helping people fix things, or helping them to have a good time.
All this time I thought it was through words, through writing, that I would or did engage with people. Or maybe through the future and seeing what it could look like if…
Maybe we aren’t limited to just one way of engaging, maybe it’s a package deal. But it is a fun question to ask – How do you engage with people?
It looks like Paul Martin‘s way of engaging with people is through social enterprise; helping to make the world a better place. And possibly through fru-fru fromage, though I forgot to ask if he liked it.