I have never met Paul Simard, true story. I knew of Paul through his TEDx Laval speech, and a podcast where I felt his sincerity. Since then, I have been a fan. One of the things that solidified my first impression him, was his petition to put up a #BLACKLIVESMATTER signage in the heart of the West Island, a gesture still dear to my heart today.
Paul wears a few hats, here is his story.
Petrona: What is your official title?
Paul: Founder, Curator – huMENity and Director of Community and Impact Partnerships, The UN Refugee Agency – Canada
Petrona: What is your greatest passion? Did that fuel you to get started?
Paul: My greatest passion is to be in service – it’s a bit of a cliche, I know, but my proudest moments have always come from this place. The fuel that got me started was actually the realization that “We all change the world. The question is whether or not we do it with intention or not.”
Petrona: What is the message you wish to convey to the world? In other words, how do you want to be remembered?
Paul: I want to be remembered through the relationships that I built, through the men that I supported and their children and, ultimately, by how my own daughters will carry themselves into what they do. The echo of my life will be through those voices.
Petrona: Describe your business, service, or mission.
Paul: At huMENity – we support men of all ages, young and old alike, to reconnect with their highest energy, both the masculine and feminine, the yin and yang, in order to create a new paradigm for healthy, honest masculinity. Also, at the UN Refugee Agency – we are dedicated to saving lives, protecting rights, and building a better future for refugees, forcibly displaced communities, and stateless people.
Petrona: What is your biggest quirk?
Paul: I have powerful mirror neurons, and will often hear my own voice shifting to take on accents and speaking habits of those around me, especially those I have just met…
Petrona: What has been your biggest challenge in business?
Paul: Accepting that I am much more effective as an “intrapreneur” than an “entrepreneur”.
Petrona: What’s next for your business or for you?
Paul: Given the current context, huMENity is committed to ensuring that men of all ages know that they have somewhere to go to find connection and support, to be seen without judgment, to see and be seen by other men who are sharing at that moment. In addition, the UNHCR is focused right now on making sure that the plight of refugees does not get lost in the chaos of other challenges, while also doing all we can to mitigate the effects that COVID could have on camps around the world.
Petrona: What advice would give to someone reading this?
Paul: Develop your curiosity and your wonder. They are superpowers that help foster empathy and build resilience, two things we absolutely need more of in the world today.
Petrona: What is your favorite quote?
Paul: “We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children”
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