So, here it is.

My first post as Principal Dot Connector of Fisherwick Collaborations. Or, to be technically correct, Fisherwick Collaborations & Strategic Consulting.

Why the short form, and why the long-form? The good people at the Registry of Joint Stocks told me that any new business name has to be both distinctive and descriptive.

Fair enough.

I wanted to name the company “Fisherwick” (more on the genesis of that name/word/concept below). They said that met the distinctive test, but was not descriptive.

Collaborations was a purposeful choice because I have spent virtually every minute of my working life collaborating in or within some process, scenario, circumstance, event, crisis, opportunity or moment; perhaps understandably, this was hardly recognizable to me (and perhaps others) as Collaboration when it was done within the realm of Politics. But Collaboration it undoubtedly was.

The Collaborations part was a good adjunct, but still not descriptive enough to pass their test; hence the additional verbiage at the back-end of the long-form, official, name.

And there you have it – the anatomy of what’s in a name.

But that’s not where this particular journey began, either at a political meeting or within a hallowed Legislative chamber.

Nor have they been the most important steps along the way, notwithstanding how much I have at times fallen victim to that belief.

To be sure those experiences held and still hold a lot of important inflection points, but I won’t mistake those as anything other than temporary, impermanent destinations on the journey.

A journey that started nearly four decades ago in a hard-scrabble, industrial town in Northern Ireland. Ballymena (which means “the middle townland” in Irish), sits in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. Half-way between the Northern Causeway Coast and the City of Belfast, and a short-drive to the Glens of Antrim.

The town is most famous, perhaps, for its talent export of one Mr. Liam Neeson.

It is a place not unlike many in rural Nova Scotia, or rural Canada, for that matter. With long-standing industries and keystone employers, whether linen factories or a sister Michelin plant to those we have in Nova Scotia. And they have not been spared the jarring economic changes, down-sizings and closures we have seen here, either.

The year I was born is notable for many, many things — Apple Computer was incorporated, Fleetwood Mac released Rumours, Elvis died, Star Wars was released in Cinemas, France ceased using the guillotine as a means of execution, Smallpox was eradicated and Anwar Sadat became the first Arab leader to make an official visit to Israel.

But Northern Ireland was then a place of deep (and deep-seated) unrest.

It was a place of people, communities, townships and houses divided amongst and against themselves. Because of religion. Because of prejudice. Because of fear.

People seeking to claim, rather than to create.

Fisherwick held – and holds – many happy memories for me as a place of discovery, family and pastoral comfort in my pre-school years.

But the bubbling-over of that unrest, the limitations and storm-clouds it placed on our collective horizon as townsfolk, as citizens and as a people, was too much for my parents to bear and subject a tussle-haired young boy to.

And so as all parents do, on issues of the day or major life matters, they made a choice with their children in mind.

We immigrated to Canada. Many happy and interesting years, homes and experiences in Manitoba, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia later, here I am.

But I increasingly come back to that place, to the idea and the notion of Fisherwick.

I come back to it as a parent, a citizen and a guy with a penchant for trouble-shooting, impelled to seek out and connect dots.

To me Fisherwick is an idea and a place that is there — is always there, no matter how improbable that may sometimes seem — amid whatever chaos, unrest, difficulty or other haze, aura or storm-cloud there is.

We just have to look for it.

Instead of seeking to claim, we need to work to create possibility, opportunity and value for ourselves and others.

Collaboration is, well, often the most sensible yet difficult thing we can do – in business, government & society as a whole.

Fisherwick Collaborations is a business built on the premise that:

– dialogue is more productive than conflict;

– ‘we’ and ‘us’ are invariably stronger than ‘you’ and ‘I’; and,

– in seeking to understand the world, and one another, in new and different ways, we will find a more sustainable path.

And why the notion of Principal Dot Connector?

Truth be told, it’s a crowd-sourced title and idea, based on a lot of curiosity and listening. The result of the collected wisdom of generous and insightful people, reflecting back to me what they believe I should and can “do”.

With the benefit of some quiet reflection in Nova Scotia’s old growth forests, morning strolls in the name-sake Fisherwick Crescent and environs, and a good bit of distance from the hurly-burly world of partisan politics…I agree with them.

It fits. It’s something I can do, and intend to do with relish.

To embrace the incisive generalist and help people connect their proverbial and real dots.

It is within these principles and from this perspective that I want to work with you to create possibility, opportunity and value.

Let the journey continue.