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VICTORIA, B.C.: Sept. 22, 2020 -- Lt. Gov. Janet Austin (left) and Dr. Bonnie Henry participate in a panel discussion on leadership at the 2020 Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in Victoria. (Submitted/UBCM)
Lt. Gov. Janet Austin (left) and Dr. Bonnie Henry participate in a panel discussion on leadership at the 2020 Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in Victoria. Photo by Submitted/UBCM /jpg

Henry said that to her, leadership is about being able to connect with people and support them in doing what needs to be done. She believes that if you tell people what needs to be done and why and give them the means to do it, they will unite against a common foe, and that togetherness will help build resilience and get people through the crisis.

“There’s this saying that all tragedy is a failure of communication, and the way that we communicate things, particularly in a crisis, has so much impact on how people respond,” Henry said.

Austin said what happened to Henry and happens to other women in high-profile positions is unacceptable. She praised Henry’s leadership and said the qualities of developing people, understanding, compassion and teamwork have become increasingly important and will continue to be necessary.

“I would certainly agree that people have seen the effectiveness of the qualities that we’re describing, and I’m hopeful as well that this will become more entrenched in — certainly in British Columbia — in society,” she said.

Baird said leaders haven’t been the only ones showing kindness, compassion and empathy. Under the stress and strain of dealing with a pandemic, the people she has dealt with during daily interactions have exhibited these qualities.

“When it comes to a crisis situation, it really is the sorts of traits that should prevail to help us through the next unforeseen future, and I’m grateful that everyone, in my experience, is rising to the challenge,” Baird said.

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