What's In A Name?

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Shakespeare tells usthat a "rose by any other name smells as sweet". So I'm excited to introduce today's guest blogger, Lynda Gerty, who discusses the importance of identity and names. Lynda is the Manager of Marketing & Communications at Volunteer Vancouver. Read on to understand the cross out.

This summer, I dreamed and schemed my way into an extended leave from work in order to explore the highways and back roads of our neighbour to the south. The trip took me 12,000 kilometres across the northern US, down the Mississippi River, across Texas into New Mexico, and finally back to the breezy West Coast.

I had been to the US before, of course, but stuck mainly to big cities: Seattle, Las Vegas, New York. And so - prior to this trip - I sat firmly in the camp with those who view the differences between Canada and the United States as largely exaggerated. The two countries are so intimately entwined that I saw our identities and characteristics as largely the same. Of course, we enjoy thinking that we are culturally distinct as Canadians but, in truth, I always thought our sense of uniqueness was overblown.

So, how did I feel after almost two months of roaming through the United States of America? I guess you could say that I gained an appreciation for the unique identity of each nation. Somewhere between the blues music of juke joints in the Mississippi Delta, the State Fair in North Dakota, talk radio hosts doling out social commentary with a broad twang, and the flavour of cold margaritas in Santa Fe, I began to understand the uniqueness of America a little bit better. And when I crossed the border back into Canada, I felt the difference in my bones. No one was more surprised than I was.

I took the trip fully expecting there would be many lessons learned along the way - but not knowing what they would be. It turns out that one of the greatest pieces of learning was this: there is beauty in acknowledging - even claiming - one's unique identity. Whether we're talking about individuals, nations, or organizations... life is richer for the differences among us.

It was in this spirit that I returned to Volunteer Vancouver, where my responsibilities for the fall included launching a new name for the organization. Today, we officially begin doing business as Vantage Point. Why? And better yet - what the heck does that have to do with the differences between Canada and the United States?

Those are good questions. And the answer is - this organization also has a unique culture, a distinctive way of viewing the world. Anyone who visits us for any period of time experiences that difference, just as I did in the US this summer.

Vantage Point is a new way of looking at how organizations work with people to achieve their missions. As we adopt Vantage Point as our new name, we invite you, our community, to acknowledge and celebrate our uniqueness with us. We hope that you will!

And if you have any thoughts on our name change, please share them as comments here.

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