Celebrating 20 Years

Celebrating 20 years of emotional intelligence training

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My 20 year relationship with emotional intelligence began in June, 1997. I was working at the Open Learning Agency (OLA) in Burnaby at the time, delivering leadership training and managing a province-wide employment program for people on income assistance. I was attending a career development conference in Calgary and chose a breakout session on the topic of “emotional intelligence.”

I was intrigued by the title. The presenter was Dr. Steven Stein, PhD, founder and CEO of MHS Assessments Inc. based in Toronto. He spoke about a brand new assessment tool his company had just published as the world’s first scientifically validated assessment for emotional intelligence.

It was called the Emotional Quotient Inventory (EQ-i) and it was unique in the assessment world.

At the time, the EQ-i was one of a few assessments that could help someone understand more about what they do well and what skills and competencies need to be improved for greater effectiveness.

I was so excited to learn about this innovative assessment tool, which departed from conventional personality type indicators that measure preferences and tendencies. In contrast, the EQ-i assesses individual competencies at work and in life, and points toward development. I immediately recognized the potential of the EQ-i to help both my income assistance clients to improve their employability and my leadership clients to improve their leadership, both of which I was excited about. I pestered Steve with questions the whole time he was packing up his presentation, talking his ear off all the way down to the front of the hotel and then drove him to the airport to continue our conversation.

At that time the only place to take the EQ-i certification course was in Toronto and I wanted to change that. I flew to Toronto in January of 1998 to take what was the second EQ-i certification course ever offered by MHS. This memorable course was held at the Royal York Hotel across from Union Station. The trainers were Steve Stein and Gil Sitarenios, PhD, and Chief Scientist at MHS. Let’s just say, I learned a lot in a very short time and came away so excited about the potential of my new knowledge and skills to help my clients.

I knew then, that whether the world knew it or not, it needed more emotional intelligence. I had found my passion and my new career focus.

In 1998, Steve and I co-facilitated two EQ-i Certification courses in Vancouver and then I was approved to facilitate on my own. In 1999 I offered courses in Vancouver and in 2000 I began to offer courses in Calgary as well. As one of only a handful of people who were offering training in emotional intelligence at the time, I began receiving calls from organizations who had heard about emotional intelligence and wanted to bring EI to their organization or conference. I welcomed every opportunity to offer training and build relationships with other like-minded people in the area of emotional intelligence. In fact, many leaders in the field that I met at the first international conference on emotional intelligence in Chicago in 1999 remain friends and colleagues to this day.

Throughout the 2000s requests started coming in from all over the world. I was speaking at conferences and offering the EQ-i certification course and our own leadership training sessions in the Middle East, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, Africa, and all over North America. Some highlights include being a guest of the Sultan of Brunei in Brunei, singing for royalty in Malaysia, working with faculty and staff at the Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business in Shanghai, training executive coaches for the Stanford Graduate School of Business in Palo Alto, working at the European head offices for some of the largest companies in the world, and designing and delivering executive retreats at beautiful scenic locations for leading edge companies. I feel so privileged to have been a part of bringing emotional intelligence to the world.

A true career highlight began in the form of an email message from Botswana. I responded to the inquiry from the Republic of Botswana’s Ministry of Education as to whether we could assist them with an emotional intelligence program for their country. Responding to that email lead to a long-term relationship with the government of Botswana to develop and implement a 20 day emotional intelligence skills development program to be delivered to all 1.5M citizens through a train-the-trainer approach.

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