Our staff are the heart of what we do: Get to know Paul

At Taylor Newberry Consulting we are grateful to be able to connect to incredibly talented, passionate and dedicated individuals. We are especially fortunate that some of these individuals have chosen to call themselves “TNCers”. We are continually inspired by members of our staff who share laughs, values, and learnings. Periodically, our website will feature a different member of our staff who will share a little bit about their work and a glimpse into their life. 

This month Karla sat down with Paul (he/they) to get an update or their work and interests. Paul recently celebrated his one year anniversary at TNC! After coming to TNC to work part-time, Paul was promoted to a full-time research consultant role. We are grateful to have them on the team.

Karla: What’s your favorite thing about working at TNC?

Paul: I went back to school to get a job that was doing meaningful work, especially community-based work. So I just really love all the different projects that I’m working on at TNC because I just feel like I can actually see our work making a difference in real-time. And I just really love the team. I mean, I can’t say enough about the team. Yeah, everyone’s just super supportive, fun, and brilliant. And from day one, I felt like a part of the team. For someone coming into a new field like me, I was a little nervous, but yeah, I don’t know, I feel at home at TNC.

Karla: That’s lovely to hear. Can you tell me a little bit about one or two projects that you’re currently working on and something that you’ve learned from them.

Paul: So one of the projects I’m working on is CMHA’s Campus Peer Support program. I jumped on that project sort of towards the middle, I guess, so I wasn’t there from the start, but I was able to interview some peer supporters about the work that they’ve done over the last three years. It’s a pilot program, and it’s coming to an end. I was able to interview some peer supporters about their experience being a peer supporter on their respective campuses. And I just loved how passionate peer supporters are about their work and how important their work is to them. Actually,  I didn’t really know much about peer support. So through this project, I was able to do a lot of background reading and, again, just talking to people, and I learned a lot about peer support. As an ex-student, and having struggled with my own mental health and even addiction issues, I don’t know, I feel like I just really fell in love with this project and the idea of what peer support and campus peer support is. So yeah, that was one really neat project that I jumped on. 

And then The 519, so I’m fairly new to this project. I’ve only started working with The 519 in the last couple of months. But yeah, I love this project. I’ve been wanting on this project for the whole year that I’ve worked at TNC, or as long as I’ve known about it anyway. It’s a partnership between the Homes First shelter system in Toronto and The 519, which, in short, is an organization that advocates for the rights of the 2SLGBTIA+ community and provides a space for various programming. So Homes First created a queer-specific shelter called Pacewood, and the evaluation kind of has a dual purpose. We’re assessing the partnership between Pacewood and The 519 and also whether Homes First is meeting their goals for the residents that are living in Pacewood, which is fairly new; it’s only six months old, so it’s a developmental evaluation. And it’s kind of giving me a window into what it’s like to be a member of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community and what it’s like for them to deal with systemic housing issues. And given the disproportionate violence that queer folks deal with in the housing system, it’s just really important to create a shelter space that is safe for those folks and housing in general. Also, Pacewood’s focus is on queer newcomers specifically, and this is often their first connection, I guess, to the country on the day that they enter Canada. So I just value the space, and it’s really important for me as a queer person and as a trans person—someone who identifies as both pansexual and non-binary – it’s really important for me to, I don’t know, provide my perspective as a queer researcher on how this research is done, and yeah, it’s just really important to me because it just kind of hits home. And I also have a lot of experience working with newcomers as well as, with Syrian refugees in particular. So yeah, it just kind of melds a few of my different interests into one. And yeah, as I said, I’m just new to the project, but I’m just really happy to be on it, and I’m excited about all the pieces moving forward. Yeah.

Karla: Totally yeah. It sounds meaningful. What’s one of your favourite memories from the past few months of TNC?

Paul: Yeah, this might be longer than a few months, but the in-person get-togethers with TNC are so fun. Especially the ones where we go to a park and we play a game. I learned how to play Kubb, which is a game rumoured to have been created by the Vikings. Although it’s also been said that, more realistically, it was invented in Sweden in the 1920s, it’s like lawn bowling. But being able to play those team games outside of work is a really great bonding experience. We all work from home generally, so to be able to just have a day a month where we all get together and have a good time is so beneficial, even for working relationships, because we just get to know each other a bit better. And I think we have a pretty healthy online back-and-forth between all our members of the team, but those in-person get-togethers are pretty great. And also, another favourite memory is going to Toronto for a focus group recently, which I did for The 519. I thought it was great to be able to actually do some in-person work. Ever since the pandemic, we’ve all been so online. So to be able to travel, the travelling part was obviously fun, but to be able to do the in-person piece and actually sit in a room with a focus group, I thought that was really, really great.

Karla: Yeah, there’s definitely a different feel to it.

Paul: Yeah, 100% Yeah, so I found that to be a valuable experience, for sure.

Karla: Awesome, and what’s something outside of work that made you smile this week or the past few weeks?

Paul: I have two things, actually. My son just recently got accepted into Trent University with a scholarship for the anthropology program, so that’s just wildly exciting. He hasn’t said yes yet, because he’s also holding off for Guelph. He’d like to go to the University of Guelph, but it’s just awesome that he’s been accepted into university. And my other child, who’s non-binary, recently celebrated their first year of working at Buon Gusto, which is huge for them. They’re 17, and they started there when they were 16. Their goal is to be a chef, so for their first job to be in a fancy Italian restaurant like that and move up quickly is a pretty big deal. They’re the pizza boy there, so they’re really important there. It’s just huge, and I’m just so proud of them. They’ve been able to hold down that job for a year, and they’re still killing it. It’s just been a good week of wins for both of my kids.

Karla: Yeah. Yeah, totally so many things to celebrate. It’s wonderful. Okay, and then the last question. Finish this sentence: When I’m not working at TNC, I am most likely…

Paul: To be playing music in one of my bands, cuddling with my dogs or cats, walking in the woods with my family, or playing Stardew Valley. 

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