Lee-Anne Ragan is President of Rock.Paper.Scissors Inc., Vancouver’s award winning corporate training and entertainment company. Letters after her name include an M.Ed. (specializing in cross-cultural conflict resolution), a B.SW. (Community Development) and a Provincial Instructor Training Certificate.
Lively, engaging, spontaneous ….. just a few of the descriptors consistently used to describe Lee-Anne’s workshops. She’s garnered local, national and international acclaim for her work as a specialist in team building, conflict resolution, communication, innovation and training trainers training.
Clients who call her up stem from a range of sectors: corporate, not-for-profit, and community-based. Lee-Anne’s work has taken her to Asia, the Arctic, Africa, Mexico, from coast to coast in Canada, and the USA. With over 20 years experience, she deftly adapts workshops on the spot to meet client’s specific needs. Specific clients range from the YWCA and the City of Kamloops to the United Nations and the former President of Mozambique. Laughter. Learning. Leading. For Lee-Anne, it’s all in a day’s work.
Lee-Anne has two boys and is happily married to the love of her life. As a family the Ragan’s enjoy adventure travel, camping and cuddling together on the couch to read. Lee-Anne is a firm believer that cookie dough should be a food group unto itself.
And here’s how she answered my 6 questions about creativity:
What inspires your creativity?
I’m inspired by people I meet and things I see in everyday life. A magazine article can lead to a new workshop idea, a book on business development can lead to a new activity for a workshop.
Key for me is being busy enough that my mind is engaged but not so much that I’m overwhelmed; this is a good recipe for new ideas and overall juju. An example is driving and listening to podcasts, which tends to take my creative juice into the stratosphere (providing there are no kids fighting in the backseat). I am lulled by the rhythm of the road and can easily (but safely!) let my mind wander into new terrain.
I am constantly on the lookout for ways to be a creative translator – what I call taking complex information and creatively using it so it makes sense and resonates for clients in training workshops. For example a race using balloons is a metaphor for how we handle change, a group holding a string at different levels becomes a demonstration on how we feel about conflict. My son saying (when he was about 2 and wasn’t eating something coloured yellow) said ‘Mommy, this tastes yellow’ became the source for one of our most popular training activities.
I’m open, I’m keen, I’m a voracious reader and I love to cobble (put disparate things together to create something new). Taking a continuing education workshop is my idea of creative nirvana.
How do people respond to your creativity?
I firmly believe people are drawn to creativity like a magnet draws in steel. Sparks fly when ideas are popping and who can resist that?
Many people don’t have faith in their creativity and/or they’ve had experiences which haven’t celebrated their creativity. One of my roles is to help people rediscover the creativity that is in their DNA.
What is the wildest journey your creativity has taken you on?
Internally my creativity journey has taken me to the recesses of my imagination. When something is bubbling up (I call it ‘capooling’) I’ve learned to stop and pay attention. It’s said that the ‘ah ha’ moment is when your conscious mind becomes aware of something your unconscious mind has known for some time. I love those creative pops, like pop tarts exploding from the toaster.
Externally my creativity has played a key role in my work with the United Nations. I’ve done training in Kenya and China and on the horizon have trainings booked for Mozambique, Uganda and Tanzania.
Working across cultures is a fertile field for increased creativity.
Through my travels I’ve increased my ability to adapt, for example:
-when I was using an outlet in Kenya and forgot to change plugs for my curling iron I severely burned my hair, however I simply worked it into my workshop
-when I was giving a training in the slums of Kenya and there was no electricity to play music I asked the participants to sing (what a gorgeous moment as their voices raised in harmony)
-when I was having trouble getting good shots at a camel wrestling competition in Turkey I simply got into the ring, which really got the adrenaline pumping!
Who loves you for your creativity?
My clients hire me for my creativity, it’s how I make my living. Rock.Paper.Scissors is known for doing things differently. For example I often use our comedic improvisers when I’m doing training in order to reinforce or anchor the learning. Besides being hilarious, there’s nothing quite like working with professional comedians to ramp up your creativity.
My friends appreciate me for my creativity, my husband originally pursued me because of it and my kids are both tickled by it and add to it immeasurably.
In which ways do you see yourself as Breaking New Ground?
I’m a born trainer. I LOVE to take complicated concepts and through interactive activities, make them come alive so my clients can learn more about themselves, their colleagues, and their communities. This learning translates into a fuller, more engaged way of being; being able to resolve a long standing conflict, come up with a new product or service idea, communicate better with your kids etc.
I like to think of myself as helping people to see themselves more clearly. I bring things onto people’s radar that they haven’t experienced before so their view is wider and more encompassing.
Here’s to views, viewpoints and seeing, in all life’s rich tapestries, colours and combinations.
What’s next for you?
I’m off to Africa this fall to do program evaluation and peace-building training in four counties for the United Nations.
I’ve gotten a new mentor and look forward to working with her on a social media strategy for RPS.
And down the road I’m looking forward to getting an assessment that I’ve developed called Life Lenses, online in an engaging, interactive way.
And here’s something that inspires her creativity:
M.F.M. which is something I’ve created which stands for ‘mini for me’. My M.F.M. is a small treasure box that I keep full of things that have meaning for me, a smooth stone from a favourite walk, a nut from the beach on the Indian Ocean, a picture of a child’s hand, aromatherapy lavender scent, a small candle. These are all things that I can use, one at a time, to quiet my mind, sooth frayed nerves, find some peace in a hectic day and just be. Not do anything but just be. Be still. Be quiet. Be contemplative. Be evocative. Be creative.
Thanks Lee-Anne! Keep us posted on those great projects you’re up to!
FREEBEE! Dolly and Lee-Anne have put together a creativity resource list. If you’d like a copy, plus the link to Lee-Anne’s newsletter issue on creativity, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.