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Sharing our 2023 Leadership Gathering Report

Our Leadership Gathering brings together invited representatives to engage in critical discussions about key policy issues.

Dec 19 2023 | Connective

On October 16-17, Connective hosted the second annual Leadership Gathering.



At this two-day dialogue, invited representatives from across the justice, health, and social sectors came together to focus on improving the delivery of services to individuals facing complex barriers.



Read our Leadership Gathering Report



Connective’s Leadership Gathering offers a unique opportunity for decision-makers, subject-matter experts, front-line service providers, and people with lived experience to embrace vulnerability and share openly; to transcend service silos, and reach across organizational, ministerial, and sectoral lines; to challenge one another, to let go of old ideas or roadblocks, and to find new ways of working together.


This year’s theme, Supported and Effective Transitions, focused on the increased vulnerability that service users experience when moving from one setting, system, or service to another:


  • Transitions from corrections to the community, including from custody to community and from community supervision to post-sentence.


  • Transitions from in-patient therapeutic care for mental health and substance use disorders into the community.


  • Transitions into institutional settings for anticipated short stays.


Building off the success of last year’s inaugural Gathering, and the enthusiasm from its participants, we were excited to restructure this year’s event. We extended it across two full days and allowed ourselves to grow our ambitions.


Where last year’s Gathering placed a greater emphasis on connections and conversations, this year’s asked participants to engage in a more active process of idea creation, critique, and revision.


At the end of this moderated process, attendees had developed a series of six concrete, practical, and targeted recommendations for improving system-to-system transitions.


Setting the Stage – The Leadership Gathering, in Context

As a long-standing nonprofit service provider, our decision to spearhead this event for the second year in a row was an easy one to make.


Over 90+ years of operation, we have become all too familiar with the new and evolving ways that communities across BC and in the Yukon can struggle with severe social and health crises.


Deaths from drug poisoning remain at historically high levels; Untreated mental health and substance use disorders in the community bring harm to individuals, cause anxiety in neighbourhoods, and engage the attention of the criminal justice system; Homelessness remains a persistent and stubborn issue; global economic and political turmoil drives the cost of living ever upward; impacts and anxiety from a rapidly changing climate put lives and mental well-being at risk; the ongoing housing crisis puts safety and stability out of reach for many.



As all of this adds up, the speed of change and the rise in complexity demands more from us at every corner – more services to reach more individuals in more places and more ways than ever before.


To make this happen, we all need to work together. This is the promise and the potential of the Leadership Gathering.

Putting Promise into Practice

We were honoured to start this year’s event with the perspectives of those with lived experience – their openness and vulnerability in sharing set the tone for the sessions that would follow, and offered all participants a good reminder of why they were there.


Having heard from those who had navigated service and sector transitions themselves, participants then formed breakout groups to further discuss and explore key issues and roadblocks. Issues were also sorted into one of three types – system level, operational level, or individual (i.e., beliefs and attitudes) level.


In the latter half of the day, the smaller groups came back together, and issues were presented so that all participants had a chance to seek clarification or make further contributions. To set the stage for Day 2, participants then ranked their interest in pursuing solutions to each of the issues that had been identified. Those that received the greatest levels of support were carried forward.


On Day 2, participants again worked together in small groups, this tim to design solutions to the issues voted on during Day 1.


For each solution, the goal was to identify:


  • Who should be responsible for making it happen


  • Key governance and collaboration considerations


  • Financial costs and benefits of the change


  • Principal obstacle(s) to the change


After solutions had been developed throughout the morning, they were presented back to all participants, for review.


The goal was to:


  • Identify where greater clarity was required


  • Identify any unrealistic or incorrect assumptions


  • Identify likely obstacles to progress


  • Identify how the solution could be improved


Groups then had a chance to revise their proposal according to this feedback. When the recommendations were finalized, participants again voted anonymously to indicate which ones they wanted to bring forward to government representatives.

Moving Forward – Next Steps

Witnessing the ideas, perspectives, and connections exchanged at the Gathering was both impactful and inspiring.


With the Gathering behind us we are eagerly shifting our focus to the implementation of these recommendations. Connective will be sharing the Summary Report with a wider strategic audience and will work with government, leading non-profits, and other interested and affected parties to encourage action on the six recommendations.