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    A Message To My Daughter on International Women’s Day

    The following contribution was originally posted from Chuck Bruce who is the Board Chair of the Mental Health Commission of Canada. He writes from St. John’s and this piece was posted on March 8, 2020 in the Guardian from Price Edward Island at

    Mr. Bruce has been involved with the MHCC since the organization’s inception – first as a member, then Chair, of the Workforce Advisory Committee – and later as a member of the Advisory Council.  Most notably, he lent his expertise to the development of the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace.  A senior executive with experience in finance, operations and corporate governance, Mr. Bruce’s interest in mental health was piqued when he became aware of the economic impact of mental illness within Nova Scotia’s public service.

    As he immersed himself in the subject, he realized the far-reaching implications of mental health problems and illnesses extend well beyond financial ramifications, and he became interested in championing the cause. Mr. Bruce was hand-picked by the MHCC’s late Board Chair, the Hon. Michael Wilson, to serve in the capacity of Vice-Chair, an experience Mr. Bruce describes the “honour of his professional career.”

    Currently the inaugural CEO of Provident10 – the administrator of Newfoundland and Labrador’s largest public pension fund – and formerly the Chair of the Nova Scotia division of the Canadian Mental Health Association.

    A Message To My Daughter on International Women’s Day

    The moment my daughter was born, some 16 years ago, International Women’s Day took on a whole new meaning.  

    I knew my tiny bundle of joy would one day grow up and live in a world that wouldn’t always be kind or fair. 

    My job, as her dad, was to help her cultivate the kind of mental toughness that bends but doesn’t break — to teach her that vulnerability isn’t weakness and never to mistake stoicism for strength. 

    As she grew, I came to understand that the reality she faced would require a resiliency unknown to her parents’ generation. 

    Teaching my daughter to drown out the Instagram pressures to lead an unblemished life has meant replacing superficial static with meaningful actions. Volunteerism, sports, reading, and nature walks were all good antidotes to the frenzy of filters that can dangerously blur fantasy and reality. 

    Every day, I remind my daughter that she is the perfect version of herself. And it’s my fervent wish that every young woman has a champion to share her joys and lessen her burdens. 

    With that wish in mind, today, as we celebrate the women in our lives, I’d like to share my messages to Kate with her peers:

    • You don’t need to make anyone feel more worthy by downplaying your own success.
    • Never compromise your values to conform to expectations. The pressures – especially on women – are as insidious as they are plentiful. There is nothing you “should” be. You are more than enough, just as you are.
    • Foster healthy relationships. Surround yourself with people who accept you, encourage you, and want the best for you. Remember that relationships should complement, not complete you. You are a whole person all on your own. As for those who tear you down, understand that they might be fighting unseen battles or suffering themselves. 
    • Make time for yourself. Don’t be afraid to set boundaries. And when you need extra support, reach out – there’s no greater sign of strength.
    • Never undersell yourself, even when doing so makes things easier. Sometimes people will feel threatened by your confidence, and that’s OK. Own your successes with the same humility you own your failures. Our mistakes and missteps are the true opportunities for growth. 
    • Believe that your voice is as important as any other. Don’t be afraid to raise it, whether in celebration or constructive critique.
    • As you go out into the world, remember that mental fortitude isn’t a race to the finish. It’s a lifelong journey – and something to be practised daily. 

    Through your actions, Kate – the respect you show, the thoughtfulness you demonstrate, and the care you bring to those you love – you are building the kind of world that I wished was waiting for you all those years ago. 

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