Oct. 1, 2017
President of Canadian Nurses Association talks about leadership at 2017 Schumacher Lecture
Relationships – this is the single word that defines leadership for Barb Shellian, BN’79, MN’83, president of the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) and the 2017 Marguerite Schumacher Memorial Alumni Lecturer.
Nearly 100 guests came out to The Ranchmen’s Club for Shellian’s lecture “They Smell Like Sheep” on Saturday, Sept. 30. This was the fourth year for the Faculty of Nursing’s annual memorial alumni lecture named after Marguerite Schumacher, the first dean of the nursing faculty at the University of Calgary (1974–1979).
“Leadership is based on relationships and getting done what needs to get done – involving people, gaining their commitment and encouraging them to participate in the tasks related to achieve mutual goals,” says Shellian, who is also the director of Bow Valley Community and Rural Health in Canmore, Alberta.
“My involvement in CNA, working with leaders in every province and territory and representing Canada on the international stage has been a lesson in leadership for me – a lesson in how to get things done in policy and advocacy for Canadians.”
Shellian spoke about her own experiences growing up in small town Alberta to working as a nurse for more than four decades. “What I learned about leadership, I learned in 4-H, guided by what’s in my head, heart, hands and health.”
She remembers studying at the University of Calgary when Schumacher was the dean and witnessing her “tenacity, vision and grace” establishing the credibility of the faculty.
“I am very proud to be an alumna of the University of Calgary and I am privileged to call many alumni my friends and colleagues,” says Shellian.
Her talk title refers to the book They Smell Like Sheep by Lynn Anderson about spiritual leadership for the 21st century. She drew parallels between how the shepherd who tends to his flock, who lives and breathes with them, ends up smelling like sheep is very much like the leader who is on the frontline with their community, team and colleagues.
“Leadership is common sense for common good,” she says. “Leadership is about creating a future worth wanting.”
After her talk, Shellian received a standing ovation from the attendees in the room — a mix of alumni, current students, faculty, staff and community partners.
The day before the lecture, on Friday, Sept 29, Shellian spoke to a room of 12 nursing students, mostly graduate students. She shared insights about embarking on leadership, right now and in the every day “hard, practical work” and answered questions about the future of nursing in Canada.
For photos from both the student lecture and the evening talk, check out this Facebook album.
They Smell Like Sheep: Lessons in Leadership
On Sept. 30, 2017, the Faculty of Nursing's 2017 Marguerite Schumacher Memorial Alumni Lecture presented Barb Shellian, BN'79, MN'83, for the talk "They Smell Like Sheep" which explored her insights on leadership. Barb is the president of the Canadian Nurses Association and director of Bow Valley Community and Rural Health in Canmore, Alberta.
Special thanks to Kate Wong, BN’12, president of the Alumni Committee for emceeing the event and TallTrees Leadership, our beverage sponsor for the evening.