Having worked as both a consultant leading a project and a manager hiring consultants, I have success and horror stories to share. What they have in common is the level of integration the consultant has with the project team. The more integrated, the more successful the end outcome.

A lot of time organizations hire consultants because either staff are too busy to do the work or they don’t have the expertise the project requires. Often the consultant is expected to solve a problem or take a project to the finish line, ideally with little input from the client.

Here’s the…


In the four years my son has been in the public education system, I’ve spent a lot of time advocating. Way too much time.

Up until this year, I’ve been advocating on my own. Advocating for my son to get the EA support he needs. Advocating for his IEP to be fulfilled. Advocating for him to get basic supports related to his diagnoses.

So much advocating!!

This year I teamed up with another parent to advocate for supports at our school. …


There’s a lot of talk in business about finding your niche. Zeroing in on the one or two things you do better than anyone. While having a niche is important, don’t forget to tap into your broader skills and life experience. The challenge with just focusing on your niche is people tend to niche away their gifts that they don’t think fit.

I’ve had a pretty diverse career as a reporter, public relations professional, educator, speaker, advocate and more. Over the years I’ve worn many hats including instructor, manager, consultant, volunteer and mom.

Here’s the thing, with my diverse experience…


It amazes me that in 2021 there’s more focus on the deficits versus the gifts diverse learners bring to the classroom. Despite there being so much talk about embracing diversity, it rarely includes neurodiversity.

Growing up I was fortunate to go to public schools that had many programs for neurodiverse students. Even though they were segregated in separate classrooms, which thankfully has changed, I still learned many lessons from my fellow students.

Patience. Compassion. Curiosity.

I truly believe my interactions with diverse learners was a key part of my own educational process.

Fast forward a few decades, and I find…


There has never been a time where we’ve had to shift so much, so quickly. It seems we’re constantly being asked to shift how we work, operate our businesses and even our perspectives. While all this shifting can give you vertigo, it doesn’t need to. Making a SHIFT starts with simplicity.

SHIFT is at the foundation of how I operate — both professionally and personally. I help people and organizations shift by following this simple process.

S — Simplicity

H — Holistic

I — Integrated

F — Focused

T — Transformative

Let’s zoom in on how simplicity is the first…


Advocating for yourself or others can be uncomfortable. I often hear people say they don’t want to seem too pushy, question if their voice can make a difference or are intimidated by not being an ‘expert.’ With all these insecurities running through their head, many people tend to minimize the personal experience, while leaning on facts and data. All while missing out on the power of advocating from the heart.

Let’s be clear — I recognize many of us advocate out of passion. We are passionate about the impact X has on us and/or our family members. …


I recently attended a workshop on advocating in public education using the School Act. The presenter, John Gaiptman, a former superintendent of education, did an amazing job of explaining the process for appealing decisions and advocating within a public-school environment. But what stood out most is WHY advocacy is important in education.

  • Your child not only deserves, but has a right to the supports they need in school.
  • By formally advocating for your child, you help ensure other children don’t experience the same roadblock.

While the presentation focused on the province of British Columbia in Canada, the two points above…


With all the time we’re spending in online meetings, it is easier than ever to tune out a bad presenter. It’s as simple as turning off your camera and scrolling through your phone while the boring presenter drones on and on. With it being so easy to tune out, how do you create engaging online presentations?

While I’ve previously written about foundational presentation skills to help you present like a pro, let’s zero in on the key shifts you need to make when presenting online.

1. Look at the camera not your notes

Reading verbatim from your notes has always been the best way to put your audience…


How To Communications

Have you ever been so impacted by someone’s words that they stick with you for days and even months? You know, those conversations that keep playing over in your head and you can clearly hear the person speaking when confronted with a situation.

A few months ago, I was talking with my business coach, Isabelle Mercier, about the various opportunities that were being presented to me. Some were exciting, others were nice to do and others weren’t overly interesting.

Before I could babble on, Isabelle looked me in the eye and said “if you don’t say no to what you…


Being the sister of an autistic man, I thought I knew a lot about autism. After all, I had grown up watching my brother struggle through the education system in the 1980s and was familiar with his stimming as well as challenges with changes to routine. But this ‘lived experience’ still didn’t prepare me for raising a child diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.

In honour of World Autism Awareness Day (April 2), I’m sharing some life lessons I’ve learned from raising an autistic child. This journey has not only made me a better mom, but a better person. …

Cynthia Lockrey

Writer, communications professional, speaker and patient advocate. Visit www.howtocommunications.com for free communications tools to help share your stories.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store