Michelle Hall talks about her community leadership journey

Michelle Hall is a settler living in the unceded territory of the Tla-o-qhi-aht Frist Nations, otherwise known as Tofino. She founded her business Cedarwood Cove, an adventure and wellness retreat, in 2013 with her husband Alan. Alongside running her business, Michelle is an environmental leader for a non-profit grassroots organization called Surfrider Foundation and actively volunteers in her community, as well as being a fulltime student with Royal Roads University. Photo by Marnie Recker Photography. 

What does it mean to you that LVI a place-based, locally offered learning opportunity?

It was a privilege to be able to learn in Nuu-chah-nulth territory and to be fully submerged in culture and traditional teachings from so many experts living here within the shared communities. This is a course that provides a chance to further education and skills in leadership, and is also an opportunity to learn about the current and very real strengths and challenges of communities we live in, and understand the deep-rooted trauma created from residential schools. When we can understand more about the place we are living in, and respect cultural history, we find ways to connect and understand other people we live alongside, and embrace opportunities to learn from each other and move forward together in ways that can lift each other up. This region is rich with ecological and cultural teachings, with many diverse experts to learn from!

What were the biggest personal developments LVI facilitated for you on your leadership journey?

“Lead self, Lead others, Lead community” was the most consistent message that remains with me. It teaches me that in order to maintain sustainability and success in my work as a leader, it is me who is in charge of ensuring my own personal balance, my own joy, my own development journey and my own workload capacity. I am reminded that a good leader leads by example and supports other leaders, adaptively co-managing teams and receiving new ways of doing something with an open mind. The biggest challenge I overcame was accepting a traumatic mistake within the duration of the course, and finding forgiveness for myself, and for others whilst moving forward with clear communication and a commitment to understanding. By showing up for the uncomfortable moments, I proved to myself that I was becoming a better leader.  “If you think you are a good leader, try telling someone’s dog what to do!” 

Can you speak about the relationships formed through LVI? 

I would never have experienced the course the way I was able to without the support, knowledge and trust shared so generously with me from my diad Anna Atleo. Having an assigned partner during LVI for me was critical to understanding the strengths and challenges of other leaders in this community. Furthermore, coming from different cultures and somehow holding the exact same values as each other was extraordinarily unique and wonderful. When we can listen to other peoples stories and hold space, we can embrace their victories and cradle the discomfort. Through this practice we open possibilities that can form beautiful and trusting relationships to work together. I was fortunate to have a fantastic team to work on a team project with and this was another example of learning from a place of diversity, traditional knowledge and inclusion, which in turn developed adaptive skills so we could keep project tasks sustainable and suited to everyone’s capacity. I’m so grateful to still hold friendships with all of my peers!

How has LVI impacted your life and work within and beyond our communities since graduation? 

Through the creation of my “Personal Leadership Plan” I was able to identify the many seeds of opportunities my personal journey could take, and thus I was inspired to return to University to complete a masters in Environmental Practice. I was able to use the credits gained on LVI as part of my application which was useful since I am a foreign student with over 20 years of absence from academic education. I understood that I didn’t need to know ‘everything’ to be a good leader, but I wanted to know more about the things that I found interesting and that would open up more opportunities to move forward in my environmental career. I invested more time to creating more leaders in my team, encouraging new leaders to step into my role as chairperson for the Pacific Rim chapter, and bringing more development and training to support new ideas. After I opened this space to the universe, I was then elected to become Vice President of Surfrider Canada and awarded the Chapter Leadership award from the Surfrider Foundation head office in the states. Instead of trying to grasp onto leadership, I have really enjoyed opening more opportunities of leadership to the whole Surfrider team, which has, in turn, meant incredible progress and success for our mission and has created the space for myself to find a balance for all of the seeds of opportunities I have created.

Audit Services Invitation to Tender

October 25, 2021
The Clayoquot Biosphere Trust Society (CBT) is requesting tenders from qualified firms of public accountants to audit the financial statements of the CBT for the year ending December 31, 2021, and if a contract is assigned for each fiscal year ending during that period.

Join our team as an At-Large Director

September 24, 2021
The CBT is seeking expressions of interest in a 4-year volunteer term as Alternate At-Large Director. The CBT exists to support research, education and programs that advance conservation, the understanding of natural processes in the marine and terrestrial ecosystems and that promote the health of individuals and communities in the Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Region. The CBT relies on the vision and strategic direction of a committed Board of Directors representing a diversity of experience, skills and interests supportive of the Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere designation.

2021 Discretionary Grants

August 6, 2021
Every year, the CBT provides small project funding (up to $5,000) in the following four areas: Research and Environment, Community Development, Arts and Culture, and Youth and Education. Each granting stream is built upon different funding priorities and overseen by its own Advisory Committee comprised of 12-15 local volunteers with interest and expertise relevant to the specific grant.

2021 Youth Action Grants

July 21, 2021
Our Youth Action Grants are one of the ways we fulfil our priority of Empowering Youth in the region. This is our 7th year offering youth-led grants and we are always inspired by the creative projects and their beneficial ripple effects in the community.

New Nelly Heyduck Art Collaboration

July 2, 2021
Nelly Heyduck has created a beautiful new print depicting our biosphere region in recognition of the 20th anniversary of the Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere designation.

Announcing the 2021 Vital Grant Awards

June 24, 2021
Our Vital Grant program began in 2018 with the goal to address regional priorities and complex challenges influencing sustainability in the Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Region. These $15,000-20,000 grants support meaningful collaboration between organizations, communities and cultures and must include a minimum of two project partners. This year, the CBT also reviewed Vital Grant applications with an equity lens by considering whether projects addressed regional social and health inequities.

2021 Biosphere Research Award

June 14, 2021
We are so pleased to share the details of Strawberry Isle Marine Research Society’s project funded by our Biosphere Research Award for 2021!

Announcing the Spring 2021 Responsive Neighbourhood Small Grants

May 14, 2021
We’re thrilled to announce the project funded by CBT’s spring 2021 Responsive Neighbourhood Small Grants! These grants are designed to help us foster connection in our communities during the pandemic when many of us can feel isolated and vulnerable. When we feel a sense of belonging in our community, we're more likely to be engaged in activities that make it a better place to live.

Holiday Giving Catalogue raises over $42K for regional charities

January 13, 2021
Over the month of December, the CBT worked alongside 20 local charities to raise funds for our most critical needs. Donors answered the call to stand together to strengthen our communities and ecosystems and together we raised $42,675. These gifts of all sizes will have a collective impact in a region that means so much to us all.

Emergency Community Support Fund Round 2

December 14, 2020
As the social and economic implications of the pandemic continue, community-serving non-profits are struggling to keep up with the increased need for responsive services and programming while facing significantly lower revenues than typical years. The CBT is proud to announce 5 diverse community projects receiving $30K in funding from Round 2 of the Emergency Community Support Fund (ECSF) from the Government of Canada, via the CBT. In total, $70K has been granted from the ECSF. Check out the list of organizations and projects who have received funding here!

Responsive Neighbourhood Small Grants: a show of west coast community resilience

August 19, 2020
We’ve wrapped up our COVID-19 Responsive Neighbourhood Small Grants (R-NSG) and couldn’t be more proud of our west coast communities! The 4 months since we launched the program have been a wild and unpredictable ride, but west coasters have come together to support each other— while maintaining physical distancing— in many inspiring and innovative ways.

CBT collaborates on a new SDG Guidebook

August 13, 2020
This week, Community Foundations of Canada launched a Guidebook and Toolkit to help Canada's 191 Community Foundations—and all the communities they support—find bolder, creative and innovative ways to meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. CBT research director, Laura Loucks, helped author a case study on p. 29 about our organization's dual role as a community foundation and UNESCO Biosphere Region.

We've met our Giving Catalogue fundraising goal

July 2, 2020
On Giving Tuesday Now (May 5th) CBT launched the Community COVID-19 Response Giving Catalogue, a place where west coast registered charities and not-for-profits share current and emerging needs with people who want to help. We are excited to announce that we have met our $30,000 for local organizations!

Red dresses in the office window

June 30, 2020
If you walk by the CBT office at 316 Main Street later this week, you may notice the red dresses hanging in the front window. The simple and elegant dresses are adorned with black silhouetted feathers and bring awareness to the staggering amount of missing or murdered Indigenous women and girls (MMIWG) across Canada, but especially those from our community.