A team of CONNECT Hamilton leaders, along with some of their Hamilton Health Sciences counterparts, traveled to Dublin, Ireland last month to attend the World Congress on Brain Injury.

CONNECT President and COO, Patti Flaherty, who has Irish roots, said the highlight of the trip was the kindness of the Irish people.

“There is such an authentic kindness enjoyed and wanted to bottle up and take back to Canada,” says Patti. “In fact, I am so infatuated with the idea, I would like to consider changing one of CONNECT’s values to ‘kindness.’ To me, Respect (as one of our values) is just a given. Kindness would be more intentional. Even when we are not happy, we can lean into kindness to find a way forward.

“The world congress is very science- and research-heavy with few references to real stories and real people. And, although it was just that, it was clear the science and research is now saying that people need to be involved socially and in meaningful, real-life activities to make their rehab work for them.”

Patti says CONNECT has been focusing on the individual’s redesign journey for years, so it was nice to see the science tell the same story.

One of the delegates from Hamilton Health Sciences to attend the congress was Rebecca Bond, Community Intervention Coordinator with the Acquired Brain Injury Program at the Regional Rehabilitation Centre.

“It was amazing to get to know our partners at CONNECT even more,” says Rebecca. “We communicate constantly to collaborate on cases, problem solve, update each other – but what an opportunity to get to know each other on a more personal level. That makes working together professionally even more rewarding. It only serves to make communication and collaboration even stronger.”

She says it was nice to brainstorm ideas for future endeavours and ideas for collaboration. It is clear HHS and CONNECT have common values.

Adam Van Sickle, Service Access and Transitions Leader, says Dublin was as important socially as it was from a business perspective.

“The conference itself was fascinating and CONNECT’s poster presentation was great for engaging people about our model,” says Adam. “But the connections we made outside of the conference over a pint of Guinness were just as important. It was wonderful to bond as a team and to be with our HHS friends in Ireland.”

CONNECT’s Director of Culture, People and Services, Jamie Curran, says the World Congress was, interestingly, a chance to connect as a team and with contacts from back in Ontario.

“It’s so valuable to be out of our regular environment and building that strong team bond together,” he says. “We were able to talk about the Life Redesign Model, enjoy the sights of Dublin, connect with some of our partners, and connect as an Ontario team.”

See CONNECT poster here: https://connectcommunities.ca/2023/03/connects-poster-for-the-2013-world-congress-on-brain-injury/