Inspiration:  How I keep my passion for physiotherapy alive” was the theme for Congress 2016 TED type talks.  This session consisted of five 7-minute, thought provoking, inspirational and occasionally tear-jerking presentations from 5 of our physiotherapy colleagues; Jason Coolen, Maggie Bergeron, Margaret Levett, Doug Freer, and Cpt. Pauline Godsell.  It is safe to say, that all who attended this session left with renewed inspiration and passion for our very diverse profession.

  • Jason Coolen is president of PABC and a transplanted Maritimer. In his talk, he discussed his reasons for getting involved with the association and his fear that people may not share his ideas.  His advice is to “find something meaningful and to dedicate your life to it.”  He shared that he is intrinsically motivated by the success of his business, the success of PABC, by seeing his clients succeed, and by a desire to give back.

  • Maggie Bergeron is a physiotherapist and co-founder of tech start-up healthSwapp.  She finds her inspiration in both creating a business and hiking in the woods, and describes some lessons that are common to both.  “Slow and steady wins the race” needs no explanation, but “Fail fast and fail often” is a lesson one in business needs to learn quickly.  Don’t be afraid to change your direction.  Always set big goals and “Don’t bail on the trail”- see things through to the end.  “Leave everything better than you found it” is good advice in Physiotherapy and in life.

  • Margaret Levett, a physiotherapist of Jamaican descent, now works in Abbotsford, BC.  She shared that her inspiration comes from a diverse group of people including her patients, colleagues and parents.  Her patients inspire her, as she watches them progress from lying in bed to becoming independent.  Her colleagues inspire her; she find coming to Congress is like recharging her batteries.  Her main source of inspiration, however, is her parents- both of who were polio survivors- yet she never heard them complain.

  • Doug Freer has been a physiotherapist for 43 years, although he began his education in agriculture, and when presented with his class ring, was told he was “outstanding in the field.”  He is disheartened when he sees physiotherapy treated as a job, and not the profession it is.  Is it time to create a “professional ring” for physiotherapy?  He describes his inspiration as being present with each patient, and having a strong sense of purpose- the reason why he “loves going to work each day!”

  • Captain Pauline Godsell is a Physiotherapy Officer in the Canadian Armed Forces.  She started her presentation with a short video of “Fight Song” featuring athletes from the Invictus Games (injured armed forces athletes).  She gets her inspirations from her patients in the armed forces, and the energy they evoke.  She is moved by ordinary people doing extraordinary things.  She defines inspiration as the “act of moving intellect or emotion.”