We Are Not Alone: Why Mental Health Matters

To merely say that Covid-19 has added a fresh layer of stress over whatever else we all deal with daily is probably an enormous understatement.

The last couple of years have been hard on all of us.   We have all been trying to manage our work, our families, and our lives in a constant state of worry.   This goes for everyone – those lucky to have not gotten sick, for those who have battled the illness or frankly for ANYONE who has known ANYONE afflicted by this virus.   The effects of this crisis run deep. Deeper than we may even yet realize.

With the lifting of many mandates and rules across the country, many of us have simply decided that we have had enough of worrying.   However, is it enough to decide? Does it matter? The infection rates are still high – I have three of my family sick with it right now.   The worry is still warranted

The term ‘selfcare’ has been thrown around a lot but still seems to be connected mostly to spa days and mediation.   A nice bath, while relaxing, is probably not going to help you very much as you plunge into the next day of worry, compounded by the previous day of worry.   

The theme of this year’s Canadian Mental Health Week is Empathy.   Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others, and sadly according to a recent study our empathy for others is at an all time low.   As they say, crisis can breed contempt. Out of necessity, we go inward and we tend to focus on our own. The survey conducted by the CMHA found that only 13 per cent of Canadians were feeling empathetic.  This is a drop of 10% since the beginning of the pandemic.

This is not hard to understand.  It is hard to feel for others when we ourselves are struggling.   But empathy does indeed start with us.  It must. If we can truly understand and respect what is happening within ourselves, we can indeed see that same struggle within others.

The first thing to remember is, you do not have to do this alone.  Due to the pandemic, many of us have felt isolated and cut off from our friends and family, even our neighbours and co-workers.  Reach out.  Reach out. Reach out.

If you are fortunate enough that your employee benefit plan may have mental health resources available… use them.  The CMHA website is filled with valuable resources too, like this Mental Health Meter.

Other resources include:

We are not alone and there is nothing shameful about the challenge of mental health issues.   Now, more than ever, be empathetic with yourself – when you take care of yourself first, that care will reflect upon those around you who perhaps are also struggling.

Chasing the Taillights

by Julia Chalifoux, Project Manager

The car is leaving whether you are ready or not.

Our experiences shape us in all kinds of ways. I find that the lessons we learn as we evolve as humans take on multiple meanings. After losing my father-in-law this past fall, I began to reflect on my relationship with my own dad and the lessons I learned from him. As a pouty child and sometimes sour teenager, my dad’s lessons weren’t always easy. Still, they instilled in me my abilities to work hard, navigate challenge and practise resilience — abilities I now value very much.

This past year our personal and professional lives have demanded these abilities like no other. And much like dad’s lessons, navigating these hasn’t been easy. Still, trusting the process and knowing the magic of time and perspective, I feel confident that one day we will all look back on this past year with an attitude of gratitude as this will be the year that we shaped our future like no other.

I want to share some lessons learned from my dad as a demonstration of the importance of perspective:

Growing up, my dad and I attended the same high school, the only high school in our small town located in the British Columbia Kootenays. He was a chemistry teacher, and I, his student. And while being 13 and having your dad teach you the periodic table was mildly mortifying (after all, what do you call your dad who is also your teacher?), it did come with its benefits, such as a free ride to school if you were ready on time. That was the household rule: if you were not in the car by the time he was, the car was leaving and you would be left to your own devices to get to school. Most of the time I made it, but there were still many mornings that I was forced to walk.

That household rule taught me a few important lessons:

  1. The importance of being on time.
  2. I was not the centre of the universe.
  3. Often in life the car is leaving whether you are ready or not.

While the first two lessons are obvious, it is the third that has stuck with me the most, as recently the landscape of how, where and what we do for work has changed dramatically.

In short, work has felt a bit like that car in the driveway, peeling out before I have had time to load my backpack and get out the door. I feel like I am chasing the taillights, hoping that my dad will see me waving frantically running behind the car and that he’ll stop. But inevitably the speed of the car overtakes my legs, the taillights fade and I am left to trudge.

While trudging is not the end of the world, it naturally comes with its own set of consequences (see lesson 1 above).

Looking back, I now recognize that those days my dad left me to my own devices to get to school were not meant to be cruel (although I am sure I cursed him at the time); they were simply fuelled by the fact that he had other priorities and responsibilities to fulfill that (gasp!) were more important than me (see lesson 2 above). His job is what put food on our table, and thus him getting to work on time (and therefore keeping his job) was simply more important than ensuring my comfortable transport.

When you are the one left standing in the cold driveway staring at the fading taillights, it is easy to think that the driver is a jerk. But over the years I have come to realize it is not the driver who is a jerk — it just is what it is. The driver is simply doing what they must do to fulfill their responsibilities and move forward.

Growing up, my car ride to school was a means to an end for me (one that I would need to navigate for five years). My dad, however, was driving the road of a lifetime. He was in constant pursuit of an ever‑fading sunset: post-secondary education for his children and retirement.

I remind myself of this lesson these days when sometimes at work I feel like I am back in the driveway chasing the taillights. I remember that not only am I chasing the taillights, but there is also someone else chasing the sunset — or in our case at Reportex, the sunrise.

Further, I remind myself of the importance of being on time and getting in the car. The car (like life) is moving forward whether you are ready or not. Best buckle in and get ready for the ride and sunrise.

Connect Series: Meet Kris Bergado

Kris is another friendly face at the Vancouver office. He is the office services coordinator for Reportex and works with reception/client services as well as the catering department to ensure all in-house operations are running smoothly for clients and staff. Kris was born in the Philippines but grew up in Ottawa. He moved to Vancouver as part of his love for travel and new experiences. He solo traveled 16 countries in two years while making many international friends through his travels. His employment experiences include working for one of the biggest companies in the hotel industry as well as one of the finest luxury hotels in Vancouver.

Kris is another artist in our midst, like Shannan. We seem to attract a creative bunch!

You appear to have a passion for travel and meeting people. Can you tell us where the urge to learn architecture comes from? 

Growing up, I always had a fascination for ornamental structures. Seeing all the beautiful statues and little details that make a building pop really appealed to me. Things like incorporating the surroundings to create a picturesque look really excited me. I thought maybe I could create something like that myself one day. Maybe not as ornamental, but something that would capture people’s attention.

We have been discussing wellness on the blog and in our internal Slack channels. Do you have a favourite way to recharge or any tips to share on staying well?

Wellness is an important thing to me! Most of my free time is spent at the gym, but I also like to give my mental health a break and take the time to sit down and pop a bottle of wine and snuggle with my dog.

At Reportex our core values of team, mentorship, equality, community and industry are central to what we do. Which of these values resonates most with you and why?

Out of all the core values community and team were the two that I immediately felt strongly about.  As a fairly new staffer I was introduced to team-building events, such as paint night and Cinco de Mayo. It’s nice to just chat and laugh with your fellow colleagues and just be in the present.

You have been an integral part of the move to our new floors. What excites you the most about the new space?

The new space is awesome! This might be a simple answer, but I love the windows and how so much natural light comes into the space. No need to go outside for your daily dose of vitamin D.

We’re glad you are enjoying the new HQ, Kris, and we are thrilled that you see how important our core values are to us. Reportex firmly believes in supporting and keeping connected with all our staff and contractors. Internal communications and support are equally important as external, and we feel that helps make our team so great at what they do.

Connect Series: Meet Shannan Howe

Shannan is from Ireland and moved to Vancouver in February of 2020. She started working at the young age of 15 and has a lot of experience in customer service, complaints and leadership. Her compassion and caring attitude are her strongest assets.

Shannan completed a one-year course in social care and later studied social studies and psychology. Sadly, she had to leave college to take care of her ill grandfather full-time. After that, she became a care manager for elderly people. After a few tumultuous years, Shannan decided to travel the world and ended up in Vancouver. She fell in love with the area and all it had to offer, and thankfully for us, she has not left yet.

At Reportex our core values of team, mentorship, equality, community and industry are central to what we do. Which of these values resonates most strongly with you and why?

Team and community. I think these are the core values that resonate mostly with me in my daily life and work life together. Working as part of a team is something I have always felt strongly about. Everything and anything can be done better and more efficiently with a team of people that are honest and open and willing to work hard together.

Throughout my life I have been part of so many teams, such as dancing, folk storytelling, music groups and volunteering back home — which leads me to the “community” aspect. The “support local” movement has become a huge part of the lives of those who give back to the community, especially because of the pandemic.

Helping people and supporting people around me has always been something I have tried to do, hence studying social studies and becoming a full-time caregiver. I come from a very small community with about two shops, four pubs (of course), a church, a football team, a primary and secondary school and one overcrowded care home for all the elderly in the community and surrounding area. I volunteered in the care home to give a helping hand where it was needed, and I was soon offered a full-time position as a caregiver and ended up managing my own team. It was an amazing experience to meet all of the locals that had known my own grandfather (and family too), and I also enjoyed making their days a little better. I’ve also worked closely with children and youth, teaching Irish sean‑nós dancing and mentoring dancers in the community because we were too far out of the closest town for other teachers to travel. There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about.

Tell us more about SsketchyArts? Does artistic talent run in the family?

SsketchyArts is my accidental pride and joy, thanks to living in Vancouver. When I moved here, it was quite hard to get a job as most places wanted a Canadian reference, which I clearly did not have, so I had a lot of spare time. I bought canvases and art supplies and just started painting like I have always done when I was bored. Then random people started sharing my paintings online and asking for commissions. I set up an art page after my family and friends forced me to because I was too scared, and it just blew up. I now have paintings that are displayed all over the world in online art galleries in places like Sweden, Dubai, Ireland, Croatia, Spain, Australia and all over Canada. Luckily (and also unfortunately), most of my dad’s side of the family has an artistic hand, so they think nothing of the fact that I am selling paintings. But at least we all share the love of art!

We have been talking a bit about wellness on the blog and through our Slack channels. Do you have a favourite way to recharge? And does it include you still practising Irish dance?

Unfortunately, I haven’t done much dancing since I moved to Canada, more so because of the pandemic of course, and it’s just not as fun or enjoyable without a crowd clapping and joining in. It’s the atmosphere that dancing brings that is the best part. So recharging for me right now is stepping back each day to practise gratitude, make affirmations and set intentions:

  • Gratitude: think about what you are grateful for today.  
  • Affirmations: first analyze the thoughts or behaviours that you would like to change in your own daily life and career that day. Say “I am confident” out loud — it does help.
  • Intentions: this can be as simple as planning to drink enough water today or accepting yourself as just enough. 

Try it — you will love it!

We want to thank Shannan for leaping into the deep end with such enthusiasm for her new role at HQ.  We could not have gotten through the renovations and the move without her can-do attitude.  Thanks Shannan!

Connect Series: Meet Bonnie Pigeon

Centrepoint Bonnie

In 2010 after a lengthy career as an advertising consultant in print media in Calgary, Bonnie and her husband made the move to Kamloops, where she took on the position of corporate and government sales manager for Hotel 540. During that time the Centrepoint mediation and arbitration centre was developed, and she took over its management. There she met Marina Hopkins, and in December of 2020 she accepted the role of scheduling/administrative coordinator for Kamloops Reporting Services.

When not busy scheduling discoveries or printing and binding transcripts from her home office, Bonnie takes advantage of the Kamloops climate with activities that include gardening and kayaking, and she also enjoys getting crafty with macramé and painting. She loves to spend time with her two granddaughters, Sofia and McKenzie, when she can too.

You have been doing the whole work-from-home routine for a while now. Do you have any tips or tricks on how you stay focused and organized?

Yes, I have worked from my home office in a previous position, so it is not new to me, and it does have its advantages. I manage to stay focused, and I find I accomplish more because there are fewer distractions than there would be in a busy work environment. I have no kids or pets at home to distract me, so it is just me. I do miss the face-to-face interaction with co-workers and clients, but I find that if I have all the required tools and technology to accomplish my work, I’m okay with that. I am not averse to talking to myself!

You may have noticed that we have been talking quite a bit about wellness on our blog and internally through our Slack channels. Do you have a favourite way to recharge or any tips for staying mentally and physically healthy?

I’m not as physically fit as I once was when running or going to the gym was part of my daily routine, but I do walk on a daily basis, and in the summer months I like riding my bike or kayaking — those activities recharge me. For a mental escape I enjoy cooking — getting into the kitchen and creating something yummy (and healthy) is my go-to when I need to relax. I also recently took up macramé, which I find not only mentally relaxing but also fun since I get to create something with my hands, and this has really helped me during the COVID shutdown. COVID made me rethink my leisure time and need for hobbies.

At Reportex our core values of team, mentorship, equality, community and industry are central to what we do. Which of these values resonates most strongly with you and why?

Although they are all important core values, I think “mentorship” resonates most with me. As we mature in our lives and careers, I think it is essential that we share our learnings and experiences with our younger co-workers, friends and family. There is so much knowledge to pass on that it would be a shame not to share with and guide those just starting out in their careers. I have had several mentors throughout my life, both professionally and personally, and I appreciate and value each one of them.

Thank you, Bonnie, for sharing a little bit about yourself. We are happy for you to be part of the Reportex family. And we also love your thoughts on mentorship and sharing our knowledge and experiences.  Fostering success for individuals and organizations through the advancement of literacy, education, and mentorship opportunities is indeed one of the core values that we strive to focus on every single day.

Change, Challenge, Focus and Responsibility

by Julia Chalifoux and Coach Mary Crayston

“Change is the only constant in life.” — Heraclitus

This quote used to make me cringe. I felt it was taunting me. An ever-annoying reminder of life’s fleeting fragility.

I thought about it when I found new grey hairs on my head, when my phone was losing battery life more and more quickly (a clear sign that it was on its deathbed), and most recently when my own health came into question.

I have felt it on a professional level too.

I have felt it in the ever-growing list of technological knowledge and skills my job requires, the swelling list of projects and bodies to coordinate and the increasing volumes of work complexities that the global pandemic has created.

But as I lay on a cold surgical table just over a month ago thinking about all of this as I drifted off into an anesthetic-induced sleep, two powerful thoughts came to me:

  1. The brave women that had come before me.
  2. Change is often a gift in disguise.

Thinking about the brave women that had come before me gave me perspective. While my problems were seemingly big in my world, I was not alone or unique in having to face challenge. Perhaps “challenge is the only constant in life” would therefore be more accurate.

When I lived in Japan as a teenager, I learned that the Japanese have a special word to describe challenge: gambaru. According to Wikipedia gambaru roughly means “to slog on tenaciously through tough times.” Reading this description, you would think that gambaru is a heavy, burdensome thing. However, it is not looked upon that way.

Friends, family members, co-workers and strangers will often enthusiastically shout out to one another “Ganbatte ne!” or what roughly translates to“do your best!” In Japanese culture challenge is viewed positively. The difficulty is certainly acknowledged, but the reward of the hard work is the focal point. In Canada the word “challenge” often carries a negative connotation. “He/She was a challenging student,” for example.

Where we set our focal point is so important in determining our attitude and ultimately our outcomes.

It is easy — at least in my case — to get bogged down and stuck.
To release the reins of my horse to someone else.
To become reactive rather than proactive. A victim rather than an agent.
To see myself as out of control rather than in control of my circumstances.

But if I have learned anything in the last few months, it is that change and challenge are often a gift in disguise and that my future is in my hands.

Facing the idea that I might have cancer caused me to think deeply about what may have landed me on that surgical table in the first place. Sure, it was easy to think that it was shit luck, but there was another part of me that couldn’t help but think that maybe it was something deeper.

Physically, I have always kept myself quite healthy. I am a “good” eater, and being outside has always been what I have enjoyed best. Walking, running, hiking, riding my bike, skiing and doing yoga — these are all parts of my regular routine.

Emotionally, however, things were more complex. While I possessed a positive mindset, I often found self-expression hard. I have often avoided conflict for the sake of harmony and have kept a lot inside.

I recently asked Coach Mary a few questions about all of this. Here is what she had to say:

What are three easy ways that we can start to deepen our self-awareness?


  1. Hire a coach!
  2. Read, listen to podcasts, watch videos. Take a personal development course.
  3. Make time for yourself to reflect, to pause, to be with yourself.


  1. Listen to the voice inside who is talking to you all day. What is it like? Is it kind, supportive and encouraging?
  2. Get curious about who you are, what you want and who you want to be.
  3. Realize that you are not your thoughts and that your circumstances are not happening to you. You have a choice about how you think and what you do about your circumstances. Every time.

You often reference the Saboteur and the Sage as parts of our personalities. Could you explain this concept? Is there something we can do to become more aware of the Saboteur and the Sage?

Saboteurs are patterns of thinking that we have learned that have become how we are triggered to react to life. They inevitably cause us more stress, anxiety, pressure and disconnection. They are the Darth Vaders of our thinking. 

You can of course take the Saboteur assessment, which will give you great insight. Our work is to intercept the Saboteurs — to know we are human and we are going to have reactive and triggered responses. And we can pay attention to ourselves, reflect on our reactions, notice when they are happening and set ourselves up well when we can foresee that we might head into Saboteur land.

Sage patterns of thinking come from the components in our brain that include creativity, focus, big‑picture thinking, empathy, innovation, exploration, purpose and meaning. It is the Jedi perspective.

Your Sage are your truth. They are who you are — your essence and who you are becoming. You can access them by knowing your values and what matters to you and by taking time to connect with them (journaling, meditating, coaching, reflecting). You can strengthen the neuropathways of the Sage by noticing when you are responding to life from that perspective. You can reflect on times when you weren’t Sage-like and consider how you could respond in a Sage way. You can write/ponder/draw about your Sage and deliberately connect to them.

Why is personal responsibility important both on a personal and professional level?

Responsibility is paramount. Responsibility gives us power. When we are responsible for our lives, our thoughts, our reactions and our responses, then we can do something about them. When we are responsible, we can create our lives. Lack of responsibility makes us victims to our circumstances and to other people’s behaviours. Responsibility simplifies our lives, gives us integrity, holds us accountable and gives us freedom.

What are some simple tips for maintaining perspective during challenging and changing times?

  1. Pay attention to how you are doing. How are you responding? What do you need?
  2. Make time for yourself. Pause, take a break, take five, sleep on it.
  3. What can you control? What can’t you control?
  4. Communicate what you are experiencing. Talk about it.

Through my own work with Coach Mary I have become more mindful about my thoughts and behavior patterns. It has been powerful work to deepen my self-awareness, step into the scary waters of self-expression and acknowledge the agency I play in my own life and circumstances.

West Coast LEAF: Using our stories to create a new future

By Kerry Sauriol, Marketing Coordinator

I am one of the new “kids” here, and part of my role is to understand not just the excellent services that Reportex provides the legal community but also why. It’s important that I understand what drives the people here and what is important to them. Thus I was honoured and excited to represent Reportex at the 2021 Breakfast for Dinner virtual event hosted by West Coast LEAF on the evening of March 23rd.

I haven’t attended a lot of virtual events, so I found the whole process fascinating and was in awe to be online with almost 400 women and men who were showing their support of this organization and the work they do. The words of Raji Mangat, executive director of West Coast LEAF, were enough to convince me I was in the company of amazing and inspiring people who feel the same way about equality, injustice, and fighting for a better world, especially when she said:

“We know that returning to what was ‘normal’ is neither possible nor is it desirable. … It wasn’t good enough then, and it isn’t good enough now.”

And that is why the (R)evolution concept here at Reportex resonates so well with me: moving forward, seeing new opportunities and new ways to do better and be better.

Gloria Macarenko led an amazing panel discussion that included El Jones, Jules Arita Koostachin and Kali Spitzer that revolved around the concept storytelling that they do through film, poetry, writing and photography. They spoke of how they used their mediums to weave a new future based on the histories (therestories) of us all, using that past experience to teach us all how to reframe the so-called “norms” that have shaped our culture and society for good and, tragically, for bad.

In her opening speech Gloria read a quote from Arundhati Roy. However, I think another section of that essay fits the way we need to move forward politically, economically and culturally:

“Whatever it is, coronavirus has made the mighty kneel and brought the world to a halt like nothing else could. Our minds are still racing back and forth, longing for a return to ‘normality’, trying to stitch our future to our past and refusing to acknowledge the rupture. But the rupture exists. And in the midst of this terrible despair, it offers us a chance to rethink the doomsday machine we have built for ourselves. Nothing could be worse than a return to normality.”

The way forward for us all is in change and innovation. The way forward for us all means taking all that is good and giving space for that to grow into something better than what existed before. Reportex, believes that.

That is why we focus on our values of team, mentorship, equality, community, and industry. This is why we are excited about our new space that has been created downtown to serve our community. We can’t wait for you to see it. Reportex keeps looking for new ways to build upon our services not just to the legal community but to the community that we work and live with, and that is why I am excited to be part of this team we look to the future.

If you want to learn more about what West Coast LEAF does, do visit their website and donate if you can.

Connect Series: Meet Business Development Coordinator Kiran Deol

Kiran Deol Business Development

Kiran joined Reportex after about 10 years in legal administration and then as a hybrid paralegal. She has seen the legal world change dramatically, especially in the technological applications it uses, and was keen to stay on top of the ever-changing playing field. Her background in the legal field and her tech savviness have made her a great asset as our business development coordinator. She works closely with our business development team on marketing initiatives and creative content and has been the face of Reportex at the many events and seminars we attend and sponsor.

Kiran, however, is now stepping away for a bit to head into a brand-new adventure as a soon-to-be mom of twins! We are so thrilled for her, and we can’t wait to see these tiny new members of the Reportex family.

Your time as business development coordinator has seen a lot of dramatic changes (thanks, COVID-19) in how everyone was doing their jobs and living their lives.  What was the biggest adjustment you had to make, and how did you manage to keep all the balls in the air?

I joined Reportex at the beginning of this pandemic, accepting the job while the whole world went into lockdown mode. To say the least, I did not know what I was getting myself into or what to expect. Since a year ago there have been many adjustments — from holding 10 virtual proceedings at a time via Zoom to accepting the business development role and coming up with new ideas to help navigate our clients through this unprecedented time. The biggest adjustment for me was to roll with the punches. No day was the same as new challenges arose weekly, but working with a team such as our tech team made it easy to navigate through. 

Like it was for everyone else, working from home was an adjustment, but it came easy to me and gave me a great balance to my life. Saying that, the biggest adjustment was helping everyone else adapt to their new lives and to keep them working in the smoothest way possible!

At Reportex our core values of team, mentorship, equality, community and industry are central to what we do. Which of these values resonates most strongly with you and why?

All of these core values have become something I breathe every day, especially with our current expansion and keeping in mind what Reportex stands for. In the last year “team,” “mentorship” and “industry” stick out the most. 

At the time I joined Reportex, “team” was a big deal! I have never worked with such a great group of people that will do anything to help each other out. During the lockdown we were taking things in stride but as a team would always pull through and make things happen smoothly!

Shortly after joining Reportex, I accepted the business development role. I’ve excelled in this group because of the mentorship I received from my team. Having each other’s backs and having an open communication process without ever seeing each other in person is hard to come by. 

And “industry”! The legal industry has changed drastically in the last year — more than it has in the decade I have worked in the legal world. Reportex is all about the industry and being on top of all the latest trends and finding ways to keep people working without additional stress. To be a part of a company that is making such a positive impact in the legal industry is humbling.

We have been talking a bit about wellness on the blog and through our Slack channels. Do you have a favourite way to recharge or any tips for staying well?

Wellness has always been a huge part of my life, but I have always struggled with the balance of work/life as well as keeping my mental and physical state in check. Reportex has made this easier for me to do as we incorporate wellness into our daily lives constantly. With our monthly challenges and daily check-ins wellness has become a daily practice for me. When I found out I was pregnant with TWINS! I knew I could tackle this new adventure in my life because of how I was taking care of myself with the support of my peers. Wellness has become the most important practice while being pregnant because as we all know, it is harder than normal to keep a positive mindset.

My favourite ways to recharge have to be meditation and journaling. Being grateful for all I have and working that into my meditation and journaling has really helped with my balance between life and work.

My biggest tip to staying well is gratitude. If you journal like me, write down three things you are grateful for each day even if it is as little as your morning coffee or a beautiful sunny day! If you don’t journal, verbalizing when you are thankful for something is helpful. For example, thank your husband for vacuuming so you didn’t have to do it! Just be grateful for the little things in life that you have and never concentrate on the things you want. If I have learned anything in the last year, it’s that the things you want magically appear.

As you head into this new adventure as a mom, can you tell us what you will miss about reporting into Reportex every day?

This new adventure excites and scares me at the same time! I have never not worked since I was 17, so it will be an odd transition; however, I can only imagine this will be the busiest, most rewarding year of my life.

I will miss our many channels on Slack when I would take a break from being in the zone and check in on the “pets of Reportex” or “just for fun” channels! There are only a handful of people I have met in person, but I feel like I have known all of my co-workers for years because of all the constant communication. 

I will also miss all the familiar faces I see via Zoom, mainly all our friendly mediators with whom I have become very familiar in the last year. 

Lastly, I will miss my team! They have been so supportive and understanding throughout this pregnancy, and I couldn’t have asked for more. I know we will all keep in touch, and I will keep everyone updated on all things “mom.” Maybe I’ll surprisingly pop into one of our Tuesday weekly meetings stay tuned!

We are going to miss you too, Kiran, and we are so thankful for the groundwork you have helped lay out for the many new ventures on the horizon at Reportex. We are so thrilled for you and your husband, and we cannot wait to see photos of babies as soon as possible!

Feeling Anxious: You Are Not Alone

By Kiran Deol, Business Development Coordinator

A major theme throughout our blog, especially this past year, has been wellness. This month has been no exception with what we have appropriately named “Mindful March,” bringing awareness to our mental health. We at Reportex keep close contact with our employees and have kept up to date with the needs of the legal industry during this pandemic, including ways to reduce workload stress.

I recently had the pleasure of attending a paralegal seminar put on by TLABC called “Rising Above Adversity.” Throughout this seminar we got to hear not only from paralegals in the industry but from lawyers who shared their struggles with anxiety even before the pandemic hit. It was refreshing to hear about struggle in such a highly regarded position and not only how to overcome those struggles but how to help all employees acknowledge their struggles in the workplace and at home. Reportex has acknowledged the changes and stressful situations our clients are faced with on a daily basis. Our new space reflects these changes and has areas where you can relax.

We hear about mental health more and more every day, which is great; however, in the last year only 1 in 10 people acknowledge they are suffering from anxiety. The first thing to know is that you are not alone. There are treatments, and anxiety is more common than you think. To acknowledge your anxiety, look out for the following signs: excessive worrying; difficulties sleeping; fatigue; concentration issues; irritability and tension; increased heart rate and palpitations; sweating and hot flashes; trembling and shaking; chest pains or shortness of breath; or feelings of terror. For more information about these symptoms please visit How to Tell if You Have Anxiety: 10 Signs and Symptoms at BetterHelp.com.

Acknowledging these symptoms is a huge step, and there are many ways to remedy them, including maintaining a routine; watching your dietary, alcohol and coffee intake; limiting how much TV you are consuming; maintaining social connection (Zoom meetings, phone calls, outdoor distanced activities); engaging in community service; and journaling. Practicing gratefulness is also highly recommended: keep a gratitude journal and simply write down three things a day you are thankful for, even if it’s for your morning coffee. (I encourage you to check out resources from brain health speaker Terry Small for the scientific backup and positive effects of practicing gratitude.)

Anxiety is not a new concept; many people suffer from it. COVID has built a whole new type of anxiety, so remember to be compassionate and not to beat yourself up about your anxiety. Limiting news and social media can also be helpful (protect yourself but don’t feel bad about shutting out the bad news that is constantly running through our newsfeeds). Feel good about checking in for help. There are several anonymous sources you can turn to, and here are some free apps you can download on your phone: Sanvello, The LifeLine App, MindShift CBT and BetterHelp

Although the last year has been stressful, believe it or not, there could be some pros to COVID: having a shorter commute, staying home with your fur babies, wearing comfy pants, using less paper, enjoying home-made lunches, not having to fake smile because you are wearing a mask or not having to meet in person due to the ability to communicate with people around the world via technology. Many of us can’t wait to meet in person again, but in the meantime there are ways around it.

We have featured our technology many times in our blog posts, helping people navigate through the pandemic. That’s not all we are doing! As we spring into spring, Reportex is unveiling the expansion that our amazing team has been endlessly working on behind the scenes. We have shared teasers and information about our expansion, and we are extremely grateful to be able to share the features of our new space. We understand that our clients are often in high-stress situations while visiting our office. At Reportex we have incorporated unique art by our in-house artist, Shari Pratt; zen dens with beautiful downtown Vancouver views, where you and your clients can relax with coffee and snacks during breaks; a state of the art kitchen (scheduled to open later this year) to accommodate lunches; and, as always, helpful staff to cater to your unique needs. We are of course still accommodating stress-free virtual proceedings and e-services — everything from examinations for discovery to lengthy e-trials facilitated by our friendly tech team.

Our priority is client satisfaction, and we want to make your visit as comfortable and as stress-free as possible during the pandemic and after. We cannot wait to unveil our new space and welcome everyone back into the office. Follow us on social media to stay looped in on the latest developments. Also keep an eye out for blog posts about our wellness initiatives and how to navigate through the pandemic in the smoothest way possible.

Connect Series: Meet Operations Manager Casey Dickinson!

Casey grew up in Kingston, Ontario, and attended the University of Guelph. In 2010 Casey made the move from Ontario to Whistler, where she started as a team lead for the guest services department at Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resort. From there Casey progressed through the company, working for the food and beverage department and the sales and marketing department, and she eventually moved back to guest services as the assistant manager. In 2018 Casey took a leave of absence to travel to New Zealand and Australia, which led to her moving to Auckland, New Zealand. Casey worked on the community engagement and insights team for the Auckland City Council before returning to Canada.  Casey is fluent in French and is an avid sailor, hiker and snowboarder. She loves travelling, reading and drinking wine (preferably all three at once). A fun fact about Casey is that she has an identical twin, who also lives on the west coast!

Not only are you the operations manager for all three locations of Reportex (HQ, All-Star and Island), but you are a busy bee with a lot of amazing hobbies. Now living in Vancouver, you probably get the most out of all your hobbies. What is some advice you can give about not giving up on your hobbies during the pandemic?

This is a fantastic question, and one I am sure has come up for a lot of people recently. Keeping up with my hobbies has been challenging, especially considering I returned to Canada and moved to Vancouver in the middle of the pandemic, so finding my groove took slightly longer than it usually does when I move to a new place. I love hiking, biking, boating and snowboarding, so I am lucky that the North Shore is a short drive away, but it can still be a challenge to find the motivation to get out there these days. I would say I have a few pieces of advice to give:

  • Plan. A lot of activities or outdoor areas require reservations these days (even though they didn’t in the past), so do your research and see what their COVID protocols are.
  • Be patient with yourself. Don’t expect the same results that you would have a year ago. We have all been through a lot, and our minds, bodies and souls are trying to recover in different ways.
  • Recognize and appreciate the benefits. One of the motivators for me getting out and doing the things I love is remembering how happy and healthy they make me feel. While it can be a challenge to get out of the house and make the moves, the reward is so worth it! Whether it is a hike through the fresh mountain air or giving yourself a few quiet, uninterrupted hours to be creative, it pays off, and you will always feel better for it.

You are overseeing Reportex’s headquarters expansion. What are you most excited to showcase to all of our clients in our new space?

There are so many things about this expansion that have me excited. This is a new space with 20,000 square feet of new custom-designed boardrooms, lounges, serveries and offices. The team has worked incredibly hard to consider every little detail, with a goal of offering our clients the highest quality of service. Christy and the design team have done a wonderful job with the space, and I think it will be quite clear how every minor detail was considered in the design process. From the extra soundproofing of meeting rooms to our showpiece boardroom (completely kitted out with leading-edge videoconferencing technology) to the state of the art kitchen from which we plan to provide a new and exciting food and beverage program — there was no piece left unconsidered.

As someone who comes from an artistic family, I am also excited to see Shari’s custom artwork displayed throughout our spaces. Shari has put a lot of thought, heart and effort into designing pieces that will fit well and really lend themselves to the space.

This year has been unexpected, to say the least, but Reportex has been blessed to go forward with our expansion this spring. What do you feel was the main focus to keep business going during this pandemic?

This is an enormous accomplishment in normal times, but to have been able to continue with this expansion through the pandemic is something I feel we should all take pride in. It has been an incredibly challenging year, yet there has been such strong commitment and drive to reach our end goal, and for that I think this whole team should be incredibly proud. And of course we owe a lot of thanks to Christy for being our fearless, driven, dedicated leader through it all.

I think the focus since the start of this pandemic has been to continue to operate in a safe, respectful and innovative way. At Reportex I feel we are some of the lucky ones who were able to adapt and redirect very quickly to ensure our clients and staff were supported in all aspects. While there have undoubtedly been hurdles and challenges throughout the entire process, the goal has always been to continue to provide the excellent and professional service that we have become so well known for over the years and to ensure our team members are supported, comfortable and provided with the flexibility everyone needs right now.

At Reportex our core values of team, mentorship, equality, community and industry are central to what we do. Which of these values resonates most strongly with you and why?

I feel as though the value that resonates most with me changes depending on what projects I am working on and what my current focus is. For example, I just came out of a heavy eight months of learning the ropes and trying to understand the wild world of Reportex, so during that time I was really dedicated to mentorship and appreciating that process.

Now that I have a clear understanding of what is required of me and my role, I have shifted to focus on the value “team.” In the past when I was training new groups at Whistler Blackcomb, there is a quote from Henry Ford that I used:

“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”

What I think is interesting about this quote is that it points out that teamwork is a journey, not something you can just instantly shift into. To work well on a team and to be truly successful, you need to understand and respect the communication and working styles of everyone in the group — these are things that need to be learned over time. This is not instant, and it is important to respect this when working on a new team.

We have been talking a bit about wellness on the blog and through our Slack channels. Do you have a favourite way to recharge or any tips for staying well?

Right now I am trying to be very easy on myself. These are hard times, and it does not take a lot to hit capacity, whether it be physically or mentally. I know that for myself the most important thing right now is to ensure I am balancing my screen time. It is easy to spend a whole day at work looking at my computer screen to then go home and spend all night looking at the TV screen; however, I am trying to be extremely mindful of this.

Julia Chalifoux, Reportex’s project manager, started a walking challenge in February, and it has been so incredibly helpful with getting me into a good routine. I have been much better about getting out for walks after work, and with longer days ahead I am hoping to keep up with this. An hour of fresh air and no screen is an excellent way to decompress and regroup. I have also started leaving my phone at home during these walks (my housemate was passionately against this idea until I promised to carry a whistle with me, which I now do) as I was finding that I would pull out my phone and get distracted by something on yet another screen.

I think the most important thing for everyone right now is to listen to your mind and body. While it is very easy to say this, the action is much harder. An hour of quiet time a day gives me the opportunity to check in with myself and determine what I need, but maybe for someone else it’s an hour of blaring music and dancing like nobody’s watching — whatever works!