Four Simple Word Forums are spaces for leaders to gather, learn and think about servant leadership.

We are planning our next series of Forums. What topics would you like to discuss in our next Four Simple Words Forum? Drop us a note here.

Our past Forums

Forums #5, #6 and #7 | Thinking About Service And Faith

A Forum mini-series hosted on Zoom at 11 am – noon. Sign up today!

Friday October 2 | A conversation with Sara Sayyed, Principal of Meezan School, Guelph
Friday October 30 | A conversation with Lakhdeep Singh Dhaliwal, VP of Equity Education at
Friday November 27 | A conversation with John Borthwick, Minister at St Andrew’s Presbyterian, Guelph

Our fall Forum mini-series continues our learning about servant leadership as part of our journey of rethinking this important and yet misunderstood concept.

In October and November we will be exploring how Islam, Sikhism and Christianity embrace the concept of serving others. Over three separate forums, we will speak with a leader from each of these communities, learning more about their faith tradition and how the concept of ‘service’ is seen through their teachings and daily practices. Join Curt as we hear from these servant leaders to look for commonalities between each faith tradition and how we can learn from all three.

Our very special guests

Friday October 2 | A conversation with Sara Sayyed, Principal of Meezan School, Guelph

Sara is the current Principal of Meezan School. Sara volunteers as a Community Services Director at the Muslim Society of Guelph where she conducts outreach sessions and seminars for the centre on a regular basis and consults with various community partners on how equity and accommodation measures can be adopted within organizations and workplaces. Sara was a Director of the Guelph Refugee Consortium and currently sits on the Guelph General Hospital board and the Guelph Community Foundation Grants Committee. Sara holds a Bachelors of Environmental Science from the University of Guelph. Register for 1, 2 or all 3 sessions with the form to the right.

Friday October 30 | A conversation with Lakhdeep Singh Dhaliwal, VP of Equity Education at

Lakhdeep has a passion and purpose for front line leadership in the field of Anti Racism, Human Rights, Equity & Diversity. He has worked with YMCA Canada, Halton Multicultural Council and Citizenship and Immigration Canada. More recently, Lakhdeep has fully transitioned from an instructor at Conestoga College School of Health & Life Sciences and Community Services to Vice President of Equity Education with unlearn and as a Next Generation program facilitator with The Mosaic Institute. Lakhdeep is the recipient of a number of awards in the classroom and community arenas. Register for 1, 2 or all 3 sessions with the form to the right.

Friday November 27 | A conversation with John Borthwick, Minister St Andrews Presbyterian, Guelph

John is an ordained minister in The Presbyterian Church in Canada and is currently serving the congregation of St. Andrew’s in Guelph, Ontario where he has served for the past seventeen years. John is an experienced teacher and facilitator, specializing in the areas of traumatology, resilience, compassion fatigue, conflict mediation and coaching skills, and leadership development. He has shared his leadership with non-profit boards, universities, faith communities, and Emergency and Police Services. John is passionate about coaching leaders, inspiring innovators, and working one on one with individuals seeking to change themselves or the systems that they serve. Register for 1, 2 or all 3 sessions with the form to the right.

Forum #4 | Servant Leadership & Feminism

A Four Simple Words Zoom gathering | Friday June 12, 11 am – noon

Our first chat with CV about the commonalities (and tensions) between feminism and servant leadership was a huge hit. And boy did it get us thinking! Adding an equity lens to the concept of service makes this conversation, big. Fast. It challenged our thinking about what feminism is, our role in it and being aware of the many barriers faced by leaders from all corners of our community.

With so much left to explore (and because we had so much fun during our first chat!) CV has very kindly offered to come back for another Four Simple Words Forum. Building on our conversation in May, we will take a little time to listen to more of CV’s insights and then open the floor to your questions. We have lots to ask and know you do as well. 

Space is limited. Register now.

Forum #3 | Servant Leadership in Education

A conversation with Mike Anderson, Principal, Upper Grand District School Board | Friday May 29, NEW TIME 1 pm

Of all the sectors that have been impacted by COVID, the most pronounced may be the education sector. In a remarkably short period of time, the Ontario education system has changed how teachers deliver education to approx 2 million students. The pressure and expectations of this shift has been immense for students, their families, teaching professionals and board administrators that support them all. It has been a challenge that has asked everyone involved to step out of their comfort zone and find new ways to collaborate, perform their jobs and measure success differently. 

Four Simple Words wants to explore what servant leadership (also called co-learning) looks in the education system. Your host Curt Hammond will facilitate a conversation with a servant leader we have long admired. Mike Anderson is the principal at Brant Public School, in the Upper Grand District School Board. Mike has been a leader in the educational sector for 20 years and has spent the past 7 years in administration. Mike and Curt will take a deep dive into servant leadership in the education sector before and after COVID and explore how it is helping students, staff and the admin teams that support them deal with their new reality. 

Space is limited. Register at the form on this page.

Forum #2 | Servant Leadership & Feminism

A Four Simple Words zoom we had on Friday May 1/20. Curt Hammond had a great conversation CV Harquail, author of Feminism: A key idea for business and society. CV (Celia) Harquail, PhD, is a change agent, author, consultant, speaker, and (retired) management professor who advocates that we craft our work, run our organizations, and partner with our stakeholders in ways that lead us — and our businesses — to be positive forces in the world. 

CV talked about the communities and tensions between feminism and servant leadership and left us with lots to think about. You can listen to their engaging chat here. You can also download CV’s presentation here.

Some of Curt’s reflections on this forum:

  • The conversation really challenged a lot of my thinking about what feminism is, my role in it and being aware of the MANY barriers that people who don’t look like me face.
  • The concept of ‘service’ is a more complex than I thought. Servant leadership doesn’t have to mean a leader needs to give up their sense of self worth.
  • Serving others without lowering yourself is complicated when your gender or culture has been expected or forced to serve from a place of inequity.
  • Being a leader and leading are two different concepts

Thank you to the following attendees for contributing additional reading:

Forum #1 | Serving virtual teams

A Zoom conversation we had on Thursday April 9/20. Curt facilitated a conversation with two of his smart friends, Glenna Banda (executive director at AgScape)and Melanie Lang (executive director of the John F. Wood Centre for Business and Student Enterprise, at the University of Guelph) about how best serve the individual and collective needs of our teams while working from home. Click here for a copy of the Zoom meeting video.

Curt’s big takeaways when it comes to serving teams entirely online:

  • We need to manage (down) our expectations around productivity and efficiency
  • We need to work harder to collect team feedback
  • We need to check-in with team members regularly and in ways that are meaningful to them
  • Acknowledgement of team emotions is not a ‘nice to do’: it is mission-critical
  • We need to embrace and celebrate failure more
  • We can avoid ‘Zoom stew’ by clarifying meeting purpose and goals before meetings start
  • We need to model work/home balance
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