Faces of the OLW Network: Liz Hendriks, WWF Canada
Behind each member of the OLW Network, their projects, and their efforts to help turn the curve on our collective OLW impact measures are people. With all this (gestures broadly) happening around us due to COVID-19, these are truly times for family, friends and for embracing our social connections while we physically distance. The OLW Network relies on our social connections and collaborations with each other, so we want to highlight the most important aspect of the Network: you, its members.
Each month, we’re highlighting someone in the OLW Network through a Q&A interview format, taking a peek into their work lives and all the quirks that come along for the ride as we adjust to working from home, many of us with kids and pets dashing about in the background!
The interviews are conducted by Andrew Stegemann, Director of the OLW Network, and are edited for length and clarity.
This month’s face of the OLW Network: Liz Hendriks
Elizabeth Hendriks is the Vice President of Freshwater Conservation with WWF Canada. She lives in Toronto, and now finds herself sharing her work world with her family, including her partner, Pat, and her two kids, Chloe and Jack, and Bluey the fish that swim lazily behind her during video calls with her colleagues.
Andrew: What is something positive happening in your work world during these unique times?
Liz: I love that folks at WWF are being so creative and thinking about how this current situation will change how we achieve our goals. Nobody has said we can’t achieve our goals. They talk about how we will look differently at our goals and think of different ways of achieving our conservation goals. Even in uncertain times, there is a curiosity in WWF’s conservation team to drive at impact and that brings me so much hope and joy.
A: It seems like people are trying to be innovative. Is there an example of an aha moment from that?
L: We’re still very much in the brainstorming phase of this work to be honest. While we haven’t found the perfect solutions yet, there’s this willingness to rumble with change. It’s like the saying, you have to have some storming before the norming. We know a large part of our work is about the human connection. Recognizing that, we’re grappling with changing how we do what we do.
A: It reminds me that the change we need now - going through this - doesn’t mean that this is the change of forever. This will pass. Nobody knows how long, but this will pass. Moving on to the next question, what is a quirk of your home/work life right now?
L: The quirks in our home involve trying to have structure while I’m working from home. For example, yesterday we had the first online video piano lesson for my daughter, but I couldn’t figure out how to lift up the phone so the instructor could see the keys. Probably because I was trying to type one-handed on my laptop since I wasn’t part of the lesson... We’re all adapting!
We also have “Momma Time” and it’s important that the kids can see our daily schedule at eye level. But it’s all changing a lot. I’m trying to make Momma Time magical time… but sometimes you just have to sit on your kids because they’re not listening. I have a picture of me literally sitting on my child because she threw the airplane that one last time. I said, “Stop throwing the airplane”, and she didn’t. So I sat on her. Someone said, “Oh, that’s amazing!”, and I said, yeah it’s called good parenting… and not great parenting (laughs).
A: Tell me about this dedicated Momma Time.
L: The kids and I (try to) make a commitment that there are no screens, we keep our patience, and that we are present in the activity we choose collectively to do. We have chosen these rules to engage in Momma Time so it feels like something more than the normal. Right now, we’re attempting 9am - 11am. We also have a Question of the Day. My son is five, so he gets a Question of the Day at school. Right now, it’s, “Who is scarier, zombie, alien or monster?”
A: On the larger theme of what comes next, given this crisis, what’s your hope?
L: This is a great question because before these changes, a lot of my job and discussions were talking about how we can control and manipulate the external world for the goals we want. This time is teaching me how little control we have and how important being in the moment is. Frozen 2 is very popular in my household and one of the main songs is about what’s the next right thing you can do. I think how much of this time - even though it’s only been a few weeks - has already taught me to be in this moment and how little is in our control. When I think about what’s next - I know we have an opportunity to restructure how our communities and society are structured. By doing the next right thing, I hope we build something better through this challenging time, that we can build a different future by living into today.