A farewell message from Barb Riley

This is farewell!

By Barb Riley, KDE Hub founding scientific director

At the Hub’s 2022 Annual Symposium, I was one of two speakers who reflected on the forces that brought us together and will keep us together to help mental health promotion flourish in Canada. I suggested what some of those forces might be through a story; my story of the KDE Hub’s formative years (2018-2022).

When concluding that story and talking about the KDE Hub’s next phase – maturation – I mentioned it will not be my story to tell. The Hub is welcoming new leadership tomorrow, April 1, 2022. Drs. Alice Schmidt Hanbidge and Colleen McMillan are eager and well-prepared to co-lead the Hub. For more details of the Hub’s change in leadership, please see an announcement from Dr. Wendy Fletcher, President and Vice-Chancellor of the Hub’s host institution, Renison University College, affiliated with the University of Waterloo.

I also said “This is not farewell. And yet it’s the last time in my role as Hub Scientific Director that we will all be together – as in-person as we get nowadays.” So I took that opportunity to expand on “two big feelings” that were referred to often at the symposium: Gratitude and Hope.

Instead of repeating my remarks from the closing session of the symposium, for those interested in hearing them, please access the 19-minute recording.

My gratitude and hope have only grown in the one month since the symposium. As the Hub team distilled key messages and quotes from symposium sessions, and wove together highlights into a video featuring voices of speakers and participants, the strength of my conviction increased even more that 1) it is an opportune time for growing mental health promotion in Canada, 2) equity and culture as a foundation must be central to mental wellness promotion, and 3) fundamental changes that are needed are also possible.

To access main messages, recordings and other resources from the Hub’s 2022 Annual Symposium, please see the Hub’s special edition March Update, released earlier this week.

Although my role as the KDE Hub founding scientific director is ending, my passion and commitment for helping mental health promotion flourish is not, especially with such amazing people – all of YOU – who are finding each other and finding ways to learn and act together. In the early months of my retirement, I’ll be finding my way across the country and re-locating to BC. In a new place and time, as I continue to explore what retirement means to me, we may meet again at another moment on our life journeys. At this moment, please accept my very best wishes and abundant blessings for ‘flourishing’ – personally, professionally, individually, collectively.

Fondly, as always,

Barb Riley