Bob Spensley

image1Bob’s purpose as a natural connector is to bring people together for the greater good. He often says his greatest resource are his many friends, and that would be accurate. The values he strives to improve on were largely introduced to him by the Inuit: adaptability, resourcefulness and cooperation, all three essential for survival and success.

Bob has lived in several multi-cultural settings (Montréal, the Italian part of Switzerland, the south of Spain, throughout Canada’s Arctic) and he continues to travel almost constantly. He speaks four languages fairly fluently, and did his best with with Inuktitut for 9 years. Academically Bob has degrees in History, Spanish Literature and Adult Education, he is certified with IAP2 (International Association for Public Participation) and he has broad training and experience related to renewable energy development, counselling and communication.

Professionally, Bob’s diverse background doesn’t fit into any boxes, but it is all related. He has been fortunate to have always worked with people in meaningful situations, and often where some creativity, originality and big thinking is involved. Currently, he is CEO and Co-founder of Relationship Matters – working closely with his wife Kim – helping develop training and support for professionals world-wide in different forms of therapy and education. This involves developing relationships with various global partners, co-creating a multitude of contracts, editing books and presentations, and helping keep Kim sane while navigating the complexities of a vast diversity of inspiring projects.

image1 (1)Previously, from 2001 to 2014, Bob was Co-founder and Principal of Sequoia Energy, striving relentlessly to develop responsible renewable energy projects. Sequoia initiated and developed large-scale wind energy and run-of-river hydro, mostly across the prairies on both sides of the Canadian/US border and also with First Nations in British Columbia. During these years Bob’s greatest joy and focus was on understanding and helping to nurture healthy community dynamics and partnerships. These experiences taught him a lot about perseverance, some realities of business and politics, and gave practice in facilitating people with diverse backgrounds to overcome obstacles together. Sequoia Energy was known in the industry for its community-first approach to wind energy development, and developing the St. Léon Wind Energy Project (the largest in Canada at the time and easily the most community-supported to date) remains one of Bob’s greatest against-all-odds professional accomplishments.

Before Sequoia, Bob worked in the field of education in the Arctic of Canada. Up North from 1992 to 2001 he had many roles, living in remote communities across Nunavut. He worked 5 years with Nunavut Arctic College as Instructor, Adult Educator, Coordinator of Community Programs and for a small time, as Acting Director. As an Instructor and Adult Educator, he was involved in co-creating a cooperative learning environment (learner-centred curriculum and process, with team teaching), he led literacy-related popular theatre (audience interactive theatre for social change), and worked alongside many respected elders. In his more administrational roles, based on community needs, he creatively found funding from government and industry and co-created culturally appropriate and multi-level employment readiness programs.

Previous to that in Rankin Inlet, Bob initiated and spent 2 years managing a privately run, positive home setting for senior Inuit high school students. As their guardian, he was responsible for supporting them the best he could with healthy food, academic guidance, recreation and emotional well-being. Before that, initially as a volunteer, he had spent 2 years supporting a larger regional Inuit high school residence that was managed at the time by the Kivalliq Divisional Board of Education. While Bob was extremely lucky to have the opportunity to go up and live in the Arctic, he grew to understand some of the social challenges its culture-in-transition presented; he learned a lot about himself and he made a lot of close friends. For the record, he’d still be up there 18 years later if Kim hadn’t come to Rankin on contract and if Bob hadn’t succeeded in convincing her to volunteer to speak to the community at the Learning Centre about how people really learn; their meeting of the minds stemming from that event quickly became a partnership. In any case, it’s her fault that today, they are based out of Victoria, BC; she loves warmer climates.

image1 (2)Before going North Bob was an English as a Second Language Teacher with immigrants in Montréal, a Spanish Language teacher at Trent University in Ontario, and a Manager/Coach over many seasons at a remarkably high performance outdoor community-based pool system, in his original home of Pointe Claire, Québec.

Unlike Kim who always knew exactly what she wanted to do (be one of the top occupational therapists on the planet), Bob could be perfectly happy doing 1,000 different things – as long as it was meaningful, creative and brought amazing people together for the greater good. So he’s extremely lucky; today he’s surrounded by a lot of great people, who support a lot of people, who support a lot of people – so the “meaningful work” quota remains full to over-flowing.