Dare boldly

A blog by Louise Gallagher


Celebrating the heroes in our midst (a Saturday Feature)

I had coffee with one of my favourite heroes yesterday, Ian Prinsloo. Excerpted from his bio at The Rehearsal Process — in formal terms, “Ian is a professional theatre director with over 20 years experience working across Canada… Recently Ian has been exploring theatre outside of theatre. His graduate research (MFA, University of Calgary) focused on how the alternative ways of knowing developed through actor training and enacted in the rehearsal process could be developed in people outside of theatre and how those abilities prepare groups to engage in change processes.”

In real life terms, Ian is a man with a great heart, inquiring mind and enormous capacity to, as he calls it, be comfortable in the field of inciting change. I first met Ian at the shelter where I used to work when he came in to work on The Lower Depths Project he created for the National Conference on Homelessness held at the University of Calgary in February of 2009.  “The Lower Depths Project explored the lived experiences of people connected to the issue of homelessness through theatre practices; in doing so it was seeking to create an opening for alternative views of the issue to emerge”, his bio states.

Ian knows how to touch hearts and open minds, to see possibility in everything and to be open and generous with his enormous talent.

Ian is a hero. 

Max Cielsielski. was one of the participants in The Lower Depths Project and continues to be a supporter and participant in The DI Singers. A gifted artist, carpenter, musician Max is a man of great heart and deep soul. Max was a founding artist of the art program I started at the shelter, and one of its strongest supporters. His generosity of spirit, his willingness to explore his creativity and to share his discoveries inspires me. Max is a beautiful soul who never ceases to leave me breathless at the beauty and magnificence of the human spirit.

Max is a hero.

I first met Des Nwaerondu at the TEDxCalgary event last November where I was a presenter and he was one of the participants. We met for coffee in January and  I sat in awe of this young man who is committed to make a difference in the world, and who is doing it everyday. Des takes action. Des makes change happen — and in his doing, creates opportunities for others to see their power to create change too. You can read Des’ blog HERE, and follow him on twitter here — @AdvisorDes. He’s always got lots of good information to share on creating wealth in your world — he’s an accomplished wealth advisor by day and a heart-driven philanthropist at all times.

Des is a hero.

Heroes in Our Midst would not be complete without a video of someone, something in the world that inspires creativity, wonder and awe. My friend Maureen at Writing Without Paper shares a VIMEO video of music expressed as a rollercoaster ride this morning on her Saturday Shares (My finds are your finds) — Its fun and exciting to watch and makes me marvel at the ingenuity of the human spirit! Enjoy!

ZKO Rollercoaster // GREAT EMOTIONS from virtual republic on Vimeo.



Heroes in our Midst

Every day opportunities present themselves to celebrate the difference someone is making in the world. Yesterday, I met with my friend RW who is committed to mentoring a young man he met some months ago when taking a tour of a youth facility. RW doesn’t ask for recognition, and he doesn’t have any expectations of reward, what he has is a deep belief in the possibilities for this young man, and a willingness to be there to guide, hold accountable when necessary and support him however he can.

RW is a hero.

Barry Davidson is a volunteer who continually gives. Sometimes he jokes and says he gives so much because he doesn’t know how to say no. My experience of Barry is that he gives because he is committed to being the change he wants to see in the world.

Barry Davidson is a hero.

My friend Lori Stewart is another hero. One day, listening to CBC Radio while stalled in traffic, she heard about AWESOME Toronto and immediately contacted the founders and started the AWESOME Foundation Calgary. Along with the AWESOME team, she is making a significant difference in providing seed funding for awesome ideas worth supporting and celebrating here in the city.

I am blessed. I know lots of heroes who inspire me everyday.

I don’t know Doug Blackmon, but his book, Slavery by Another Name, shocked and disturbed and moved me. The journey of the forced servitude of African/American’s throughout the first half of this century resonates within me still. On Monday, PBS will air the documentary based on his book and it promises to be an emotional and powerful telling of a story that has the capacity to break even the most hardened heart. (Click here for more info)  Slavery by Another Name is the disturbing and true story of  “The Re-Enslavement of Black People in America from the Civil War to World War II”. Given our treatment of the First Nations Peoples here in Canada, this is a story we must honour and acknowledge if we are to create a path to healing the past and creating a better future for all our people. Please click HERE and read the Introduction to Slavery by Another Name. We must bear witness and find courage to change by examining our past with open eyes, hearts and minds so that the future can be founded on humility, truth and compassion.

Doug Blackmon is a hero.


There are so many people in this world Making a Difference that I have decided to dedicate Saturday’s to the Heroes in our Midst. This is the first installment. If you want to be included, or if you know of someone who is making a difference, please send me an email with all the details you’d like included and I’d love to showcase you in future Heroes in our Midst columns.


Have an inspiring day — or as Lori would say — Make it AWESOME!

And… Sunday’s will be Guest Column days. To kick off this new series of insight, ideas, celebrations of making a difference, my friend Dave Cunin will be the first guest columnist tomorrow. Hope you can make it! I’m excited about what Dave is going to share I’d love to give him lots of encouragement. Your support makes a difference!