When you have the opportunity to work with some of the most interesting and dynamic speakers in the world, you are afforded the opportunity to ask questions about their lives and the messages they share. “The Well” is an ongoing series that provides an intimate look inside the lives of some of our favourite people at the Arlan Group.
This week, we feature Jennifer Buchanan, Music Therapist and Author…
The Well: What is your “why”? Why do you feel your message is important and why do you feel it needs to be shared with your audiences?
Jennifer Buchanan: 26 years ago I had just finished university and had immediately left the province where I had lived my entire life to enter a work force in a relatively unknown field called music therapy. Oh to be 21 again, full of hope and enthusiasm, and not knowing the challenges that were ahead. Although there would be some business setbacks along the way, the work itself was always meaningful. Serving all ages, from infants with visual impairments to seniors with dementia, I witnessed the health benefits of music immediately – improved mood, increased feelings of connection and decreased stress.
It only made sense to ensure that these amazing outcomes were replicated and that is how my business grew. Today, we are a team of 20 serving over 175 agencies in all areas of healthcare regardless of age or ability.
My why of sharing the ‘Tune In’ message is because of what I have witnessed all these years – how music is proven to change individual lives and entire organizations one note at a time.
The why of sharing the ‘Do-Gooder’ presentation is based on the struggles and successes I had building a business that evaluates everything it does on the impact it makes. For us making money has been important to our growth and sustainability, but making a difference in people’s lives is where our passion and purpose lies — and what we rail every decision by.
TW: What do you feel are the two most important take-aways from your message?
JB: I have been told that the stories I share are memorable. At the root of each story is the inspiration to use the accompanying strategy to help improve the organization’s overall well-being. Research is quite clear, if we feel it we will remember it. I consider this every time I craft a new story to share.
I realize, as a keynote speaker, that I usually only have an hour with the audience so ensuring they have something of value that they can use for weeks or years to come is very important to me.
TW: Is there a specific demographic or sector that benefits most from your message and if so, how have you seen your message impact the people’s lives and/or work environments?
JB: I am finding there is not one group that can benefit more than others – however the specific takeaways tend to be different for each person. I have spoken to groups that exclusively serve people facing death and chronic illness as well as corporate oil and gas companies. These groups can feel quite similar, including having high levels of stress. Music can help with that.
TW: How does wellbeing factor into your own life? What do you find to be the biggest challenges?
JB: When you work in healthcare you can face something called compassion fatigue. This is something that didn’t escape me either. All three of my professional hats have one similarity – music therapist, social-purpose business owner, speaker – the success of each is dependent on my trailblazing attitude and work behaviours. For me this has translated into many work hours. The older I get the more mini-sabbaticals are necessary. I also am learning to pay attention to my own Do – Gooder advice: spread the dream, build on strengths, make incremental steps towards my personal ‘blisspoint’, and always invest in care for self and others.
Wellbeing isn’t an end goal, it’s a continuing state of mind and focus, a way of being and thinking that we believe at its heart should drive everything we do.
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