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The Human Assignment

The Human Assignment

By Matt Johnston
The human experience is the greatest project any of us will undertake, yet it’s often one we spend the least amount of time working on.
Each week we learn from world-class experts from all walks of life to gain insight into all those things that fall at the intersection of life and work.
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Currently playing episode

Treating Life as a Performance Sport with Dr. Adrienne Leslie-Toogood

The Human Assignment

Donna Harris – Coaching, Self-Care & Upcoming Human Assignment Projects
This week we welcome/introduce Donna Harris, the Human Assignment co-creator, to join the show. Donna has been a previous guest with Dr. Adrienne Leslie-Toogood and will now join as a co-host for most episodes. A coach at heart, Donna is continuously intrigued by all types of human performance and what people need to be at their best. Donna has extensive experience in high-performance sport. She is a former All-Canadian athlete in Track and Field. Donna transitioned from athlete to coach and held concurrent roles at the national level as a coach (University of Manitoba) and a sport administrator working full time for various organizations, including Athletics Canada, Athletics Manitoba and Racquetball Canada. During this time, she started to experience challenges with work/life balance, which led to an illness from stress when her life load was out of control. These experiences, coupled with a decision to walk away from a national team coaching pathway, led Donna to graduate research that uncovered the role that passion, culture, recovery, and connection play in sustaining performance. The research, while rooted in elite sport, has application across many contexts. There were two big takeaways from Donna’s graduate study research that led her to the Human Assignment. The first is the takeaway that there is no such thing as work-life balance, but with awareness and deliberate actions, an effective work-life blend is possible. The second big takeaway was the discovery that we tend to see those around us as one-dimensional. We do not realize that there are several dimensions to the people we interact with every day. When we learn to see people multidimensionally, we can really see them, and when we really see them, we are better able to understand them and connect with them. When this happens, we cannot only better help them be at their best, but we celebrate the holistic human within them. In this episode, we talk about Donna’s background, her research, family life and some of our visions for the Human Assignment. We hope you enjoy the show!
February 23, 2021
Mental Health and COVID with Eva Stordy
Eva Stordy is a Registered Psychologist and Senior Clinician with Arete.  She holds a master’s degree in Counselling Psychology from the University of Lethbridge and years of experience counselling children, adolescents and adults as well as couples and family systems—Eva understands people and thoroughly loves what she does telling us “I'm witnessing people change. I'm witnessing their resilience piece and their growth, and their capacities. And it's amazing what challenges people can overcome. And so that part I always find really inspiring.”  Our chat with Eva covered a wide range of mental health related topics including the compound impact of Covid and why she has a “hate on” for the virus.  Our discussion highlighted Eva’s diverse professional experiences where she has supported people through a wide range of presenting problems, including depression, anxiety, communication and relationship challenges, self-esteem, grief and loss, trauma and attachment, and life transitions.
February 8, 2021
The Power of Dreams with Cordell Jacks
“I like to say that the dreams always come in the service of growth. They're always there to help us look at our own stories. They're not here to pat us on the back and say do more of the same. They're here to show us something that we need to look at.” -Cordell Jacks Cordell Jacks describes himself as a seeker, a big ideas person and a boundary pusher. Most of his career has focused on re-imagining major social innovation initiatives in international development, ocean plastics, and cleantech start-up companies, working towards a better world in public health, environmental sustainability, and circular economies. His ideas and efforts have earned him international accolades including significant investments from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and The World Bank, global awards including the INDEX: Design to Improve Life Award, Dubai International Award for Best Practices, The Lipman Family Prize at The Wharton School of Business, and speaking opportunities at Harvard Business School, The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and SXSW, amongst others. More recently, Cordell has had a significant perspective shift in redefining 'impact' and 'scale,’ turning his focus towards the individual and 'going deep,’ launching an initiative that is literally teaching people how to Dream better. As a Dream Coach, Cordell shares his lifelong passion for studying the science, psychology, and global lineages of 'Dream Work' practices. He teaches people how to access and utilize the "2 most important hours of their day,"....those spent dreaming. In our conversation with Cordell, we follow his career from Canada to the developing world and back to Canada again. We discuss answering phone calls from the universe, the importance of sustainable water and sanitation in developing communities, international development work, the role that circular economies play in the sustainment of business and the earth. Finally, we take a deep dive into the power of dreams, learning how our dreams hold the keys to innovation, self-discovery and meaningful creation in our waking lives. This interview is packed with insight, honesty and inspiration.  Please enjoy our conversation with Cordell Jacks. You can learn more about Cordell and his work on his website, on Instagram, or on Facebook. Cordell offers courses, private coaching, and dream interpretation sessions.
January 4, 2021
Bringing Out The Best In Others with Janine Stephens
“If you're trying to draw the absolute best out of people, they need to feel safe to fail; they need to feel safe to push themselves. They need to feel comfortable that, you know, that you'll be there for them.” Janine Stephens is a former member of the Canadian National Rowing Team, where she won an Olympic Silver Medal in 2012 as part of the women’s eights rowing team. In 2017, Janine became the head coach for the Manitoba Rowing Association, and in 2019 she was announced as the winner of Rowing Canada's Presidents Award for her dedication to the sport of Rowing. In our discussion, we talk about creating spaces where athletes and others can be themselves while striving for excellence based on how much they want to give and what they want to achieve.
December 28, 2020
Mindful Leadership with Keith MacPherson
Keith Macpherson is a Canadian mindfulness coach, speaker, musician, and author who has taught thousands of people the practice of going inward to create transformative breakthroughs that will lead to their best lives. Keith joins us to help kick off our “season 2.” As we all navigate the Pandemic, Keith acknowledges that it is not easy and that he too has days when he does not feel great.  Our conversation with Keith touches on the importance of mindfulness, his advice for navigating the rough days, the pressures on leaders and his work to support his executive coaching clients. Keith shares his perspective on the opportunity we have to emerge from the pandemic better than we were before it. He also introduces us to a new community he is creating called We hope you enjoy our conversation with Keith MacPherson.
December 21, 2020
Managing Life’s Load in a Pandemic with Dr. Adrienne Leslie-Toogood and Donna Harris
In this episode, we talk to high-performance consultants, Dr. Adrienne Leslie-Toogood and Donna Harris from Toogood Consulting, about mindset and managing the various aspects of our lives in these uncertain times. Dr. Adrienne Leslie Toogood is a licensed psychologist that has worked with clients ranging from business leaders, individual Olympic athletes, teams and coaches, to PGA Tour winners.  Donna Harris has developed and led the implementation of various national and provincial programs while in senior leadership roles with Athletics Canada, Racquetball Canada and Athletics Manitoba. Adrienne and Donna have extensive experience supporting people through uncertainty and the unknown in sport and life. This conversation felt very timely for me. I hope you enjoy it.
May 4, 2020
The Magic of Five Vegetables a Day with Aimee Gallo
Aimee Gallo is a Certified Nutritionist specializing in functional medicine and fitness and the founder of Vibrance Nutrition. She discovered the impact food choices have on overall health at the age of 12 and never looked back. For over 25 years she's explored different dietary modalities and studied nutrition's role in human health, receiving two degrees in nutrition and numerous certifications and specialties in topics such as fat loss, sports nutrition, functional medicine, and holistic health. Aimee has worked in private practice for over 15 years, helping countless people dramatically improve their quality of life and health through sustainable lifestyle shifts uncovered in a collaborative, shame-free environment. She has been a contributor on topics of health and wellness for Athleta’s Chi Blog, Mother Earth Living Magazine, and was recognized as a leading Mom in Business in 2014 StartUP Nation. Through exploring the research and observing outcomes in clinical practice Aimee has become convinced that the answer to chronic disease and the healthcare crisis lies at the end of our fork and can begin with one simple action, which she will share with us today. Check out Aimee on Instagram, Facebook or on her Youtube page. Aimee has also offered a free guide to listeners called, “5 Ways to Increase Your Veggie Intake by 5 Servings in less than 15 minutes!” You can use this link to download the guide, and Aimee says that coupled with the Veg Hunter app will give you a great start to leveling up your produce intake.
December 30, 2019
The Power of Attention with Paul Dewland
Paul Dewland is a Mental Performance Coach and a certified trainer of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (INLPTA). Paul’s clients range from corporate executives to professional athletes. He is best known for his work with professional golfers, where his client list includes players from the PGA Tour, European Tour, LPGA Tour, Ryder Cup team members, Korn Ferry Tour, Champions Tour, Symetra Tour, European Senior Tour, PGA Tour Canada, PGA Latin America, and several other professional tours. Paul is a great guy, one of my dear friends, and has coached me for many years. So, I know first hand what an amazing coach he is and how impactful his work can be. In this episode, we focus on the work he does with his athletes and how we can transfer these lessons into our lives. If you want to learn more about the work Paul is doing, you can contact him through his website at
December 9, 2019
Redefining Authority with Jaclyn Mellone
Jaclyn Mellone ( helps experts exponentially grow their business by becoming the Go-To Authority in their space. She is a coach, strategist, Keynote speaker, mama, guac lover, and host of the Go-To Gal podcast. She helps her clients get out of their own way, package their expertise to scale, position themselves as the go-to authority, and have their dream clients and opportunities landing on their lap!  Her signature approach combines restructuring her clients’ business models, reframing their mindset, and revamping their marketing so that they become the go-to authority from the inside out. Jaclyn supports experts at all stages from freelancer to global brands. She has spoken at marketing conferences around the US, grown her social media channels to total over 50K followers and has been featured in Entrepreneur, Yahoo Finance, Reader’s Digest, Parents, Well + Good, and in dozens of podcasts and radio appearances. Jaclyn has proudly built the Go-To Gal empire in her slippers from her living room in Rochester, NY! You can find Jaclyn at:
December 2, 2019
Pushing your Boundaries in the Pursuit of Lifelong Human Development with Andrew Parr
Andrew Parr is a former professional golfer, a high-performance coach and the founder of Wildernest Camp. As a coach, entrepreneur and life-long learner, Andrew is focused on the pursuit of life-long human development. In his coaching work, he supports everyone from top NCAA teams, professional athletes, Olympians, executives and the general public. Andrew is one of my dearest friends, so I know first hand what an incredible individual he is. He has competed at the highest levels of golf, he’s recovered from a stroke, he’s trained with some of the best coaches in the world, he never stops learning and he’s constantly supporting and inspiring others to push the boundaries of what they think is possible. You can find Andrew on Instagram, or at You can learn more about Wildernest Camp on Instagram or at If you enjoyed the episode, please consider giving us a review!
November 25, 2019
Claiming the Relationship you Desire with Kyle Wright
Therapeutic Relationship Coach™ Kyle Wright is a leading voice in the conversation around modern masculinity and transforming how we talk about and work on our relationships, sex lives, and mental health. Bridging the gap between self-help books and a therapist's couch, he’s one half of the NYC-based sex and love power couple who founded Wright Wellness Center. Kyle and his wife, Rachel Wright, MA, LMFT have worked with hundreds of couples and have taught thousands of people about healthy communication. Kyle is the co-host of the Bachelor-themed podcast The Wright Reason and the creator and host of the popular podcast Masculinity on the Rocks. He has been featured widely in the media, including U.S News World Report, Bustle, Fatherly, Glam, and dozens of other outlets. Learn more at or by following @thewright_kyle on Instagram.
October 21, 2019
Living a Life That is Truly Rich with Patrick King
Patrick King is a Certified Financial Planner and founder of Transformative Financial. Over the years Patrick has helped CEOs and executives, all-star athletes, Grammy-winning artists – and dozens of other folks from all walks of life (including the world’s top bologna salesman) – grow their financial lives. He started Transformative Financial as an alternative to the big-box brokerage houses and “pretentious firms” that cater to the ultra-wealthy. He has said that building this firm was his way of “walking the talk” by pursuing the work he loves on his terms, just as he encourages his clients to do. If you want to learn more about Patrick, you can visit his website, and check out his podcasts Invest in Your Life and Claiming No Dependance. If you want to support our show, please consider giving us a review on the iTunes Store. Thanks so much as always for listening. I hope you enjoy the show!
October 14, 2019
A Career Built on Following Passion with Ken Wiebe
Ken Wiebe is a sports journalist, with The Athletic, where provides insight and analysis for the Winnipeg Jets. He appears regularly on Winnipeg Jets broadcasts on TSN TV, with a featured segment called “Wiebe’s World.” Ken is also a frequent contributor on 1290 TSN radio in Winnipeg.  Born in Brandon and raised in Altona, Ken has spent the past 19 years covering sports, primarily hockey, for the Winnipeg Sun. After graduating from the University of Regina in 2000, Ken covered the Manitoba Moose for 10 seasons before the Winnipeg Jets returned to the NHL in 2011. You can follow Ken on Twitter @WiebeAthletic. If you like the show, please consider giving us a review!
October 7, 2019
Designing a Life on your Terms with Tripp Lanier
Tripp Lanier is the host of The New Man Podcast: Beyond the Macho Jerk and the New Age Wimp, which for over a decade has been downloaded millions of times. Since 2005, he has spent thousands of hours coaching people all around the world to “get out of the rat race,” become an authority in their field, and make a great living doing the work they were put on this earth to do. His clients have ranged from Navy SEALS, to best selling authors, to professional athletes, to high profile executives, to “that guy that lives up the street from us.” Over the years he’s designed several businesses to support a simple lifestyle focused on freedom, ease, meaning, and fun. At the age of 23, Tripp created one of the first digital video post-production companies in the Southeast. To support his music career and love for travel, he crafted TV shows and commercials for national and regional clients. Wanting to align his personal values with his work in the world, he sold the company after 12 years to become a professional coach. Other contributions include working with world-renowned philosopher Ken Wilber as Co-Director of Integral Institute’s Art Center. Tripp is married to therapist/relationship coach Alyson Lanier and has the best daughter in the whole wide world. They live in a small beach town in North Carolina where he spends much of his time surfing, playing music, and enjoying a simple life.
September 23, 2019
Making Sense of Mindfulness with Keith MacPherson
Keith Macpherson has a big vision. He believes that mindfulness can and will be made accessible to everybody on the planet. As a musician, author, speaker, and leadership coach, Keith has spent over twenty years touring globally. He is a regular columnist in Balance Magazine and inspires thousands of people around the world with his daily intentions on social media. In his new book, Making Sense of Mindfulness, Keith introduces his five-step framework to assist in comprehending the buzz word “mindfulness” and how to practically integrate this powerful practice into day to day life. Drawing from his background in music and wellness, Keith believes that both mindfulness and music are the universal languages that bring people together in harmony as one planet. With a strong dream of accessible health and wellness for our global community, Keith’s work revolves around fulfilling a vision of a healthier planet aligned mentally, physically and spiritually. If you’d like to learn more about Keith, check out his website,, follow him on Instagram @keithmmac or download his podcast Let’s Connect with Keith MacPherson. If you enjoy the show, please consider giving us a review on iTunes.
September 16, 2019
Turning Your Passion Project into a Career with Mike Kelly
Mike Kelly is the Co-Founder and CTO of MemberVault, a Relationship Marketing Platform that is changing how we engage and sell online. Mike, along with his wife Erin, founded MemberVault five years ago to help Erin’s boss solve a problem that she couldn’t find a solution to. At the time, Mike was working as a software developer working 9-5 at a big tech firm. What started as a project for one client, turned into a passion project that now supports thousands of people to build online communities with similar interests, and make a living monetizing their offerings. Mike and I have a candid conversation around his journey building Member Vault, the realities of Startup life while raising a family, and his definition of success. Please enjoy, Mike Kelly! As always, if you liked the show, consider showing us some love with a review on iTunes.
September 9, 2019
Treating Life as a Performance Sport with Dr. Adrienne Leslie-Toogood
Dr. Adrienne Leslie-Toogood has spent the last three decades competing and consulting at the highest levels of sport. Adrienne is a licensed psychologist and adjunct faculty at the University of Manitoba. She has extensive experience working with athletes in both Canada and the United States at all levels of performance. Dr. Toogood’s clients have ranged from individual Olympic athletes, teams and coaches, to PGA Tour winners and World Champions. She is the Past Chair of the Canadian Sport Psychology Association and the Director of Sport Psychology at the Canadian Sport Centre Manitoba. “I think that life is a performance sport ... At the end of the day, I think we should all step back and reflect and think about the lives we want to lead, who we want to be and the relationships we want to have … too often we wait until we are unwell and make the changes so that we can live with more meaning and purpose.” In this episode, we talk about the work Adrienne does with Athletes and other high performers. A key theme in this podcast is that Adrienne attempts to help her clients create environments for themselves and their teams so that people can have the freedom to make mistakes, be vulnerable, learn and grow. Adrienne emphasizes the importance of developing trust and self-awareness so that we can develop our own individual practices that support well-being. Please enjoy the show! If you enjoy the show, please consider giving us a rating and review.
September 2, 2019
Lessons from Coaching Canada’s Best Golfers
Derek Ingram is the head coach of Canada’s National Amateur and Young Pro Golf Teams, he also coaches and mentors numerous professional golfers, including PGA Tour winners Mackenzie Hughes and Corey Conners.  I caught Derek on a rare week off in Winnipeg, Canada where he lives with his wife and two sons. Derek has coached all over the world and at every level of golf. He’s been recognized with almost every coaching award you can win in Canada, and in 2016 he was selected to coach Canada’s Olympic golf team at the Rio summer games (the first time in over 100 years that golf was included as an Olympic sport). In this interview, it’s pretty easy to see why Derek is such a trusted and beloved coach to his players. His simple adage that “People don’t care how much you know until they know that you care” (a quote by Theodore Roosevelt) resonates in this interview as his foundational value in coaching. In this episode Derek repeats a few key themes: The importance of authenticity to build trust with people. He speaks about how important it is for him to deeply get to know his students– who their family is, what their passions are, and why they’re doing what they are doing. Defining what’s important to you as an individual and what success means to you as an individual.  Find a way to fall in love with the everyday process of what you are doing. Derek describes that even when playing sport day in and day out, which sounds glamorous, the reality is that most days the work is hard and monotonous. He supports his players to fall in love with the day to day work. Derek is a world-class coach and a really nice man. He’s been a friend, mentor and coach to me since I was a teenager, so I’m thrilled to share this conversation. I hope you enjoy!  If you enjoy the show, please consider giving us a rating and review. Links to books recommended on the show: Training Camp: What the Best do Better Than Anyone Else Chop Wood Carry Water: How to Fall in Love with the Process of Becoming Great
August 12, 2019
Bold Leadership with Dave Angus
Dave Angus is the President of Johnston Group Inc., one of Canada’s leading group benefits providers (*cough* and the company I work for:) ). Dave recently joined Johnston Group after 17 years as the president and CEO of the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce. Under his leadership, the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce was instrumental in bringing a World Trade Centre to Winnipeg, establishing Leadership Winnipeg and Yes! Winnipeg, and most recently, the Winnipeg BOLD initiative – a grassroots public policy campaign designed to mobilize the community behind BOLD ideas for the future that are linked to increasing prosperity in the city. Current and previous positions include past-chair and sitting member of the Joint Public Advisory Committee (JPAC) of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, co-chair of the board of the World Trade Centre Winnipeg, co-chair of the Winnipeg Poverty Reduction Council, board of governors of the Manitoba Museum, board member of Winnipeg’s Downtown Council, member of the CentrePort Advisory Committee, member of the YES! Winnipeg Investor Council, president of the Chamber of Commerce Executives of Canada, Canadian representative on the board of directors of the American Chamber of Commerce Executives, co-chair of the Council of International Trade, member of the City of Winnipeg’s Red Tape Commission, member of the City of Winnipeg’s Zoning Advisory Committee, member of the Mayor’s Trade Council, chair of Prairie Theatre Exchange, board member of the YM/YWCA, honorary president of Commerce Students Association – Asper School of Business, campaign cabinet member of United Way of Winnipeg, and co-chair of the general business campaign for the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.  This is my first ever podcast episode, so please bear with the “ums” and “ahs” + stuttering. That being said, I couldn’t have asked for a better first guest, Dave Angus, who is an incredibly inspiring leader, a friend, a mentor … and my boss! Dave and I have a wide-ranging conversation focused on leadership, community involvement, culture, and optimism for the future.  Please enjoy!
August 2, 2019