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Cathy Bergland

Transforming Communities One Life at a Time

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Cathy Bergland

Cathy Bergland

Cathy’s role as the Chief Learning Officer for ImpactLives was simply meant to be. Before joining ImpactLives as a staff member, she was Chair of the Board of Directors for four years, guiding the organization through early growth with a keen eye for both long-term sustainability and critical details. In her newly created role as CLO, Cathy brings strengths-based leadership development for corporate, faith-based and education-based clients to a new level – with strong service and solutions that guide transformational change in organizations, teams and individuals. Before joining ImpactLives, Cathy served at Presbyterian Homes & Services for twenty-five years, most recently as the Executive Director of Leadership Development and Organizational Effectiveness. Her previous roles included Director of Care Center Operations, Director of Quality Management and the Executive Director of Operations. During Cathy’s service at Presbyterian Homes & Services, the organization grew from three campuses in Minnesota to thirty-six campuses in Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin and has more than 5,500 employees. Cathy holds an adjunct faculty position with the Bethel University MBA Program, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, and the University of Minnesota, and has been a frequent presenter for Aging Services of Minnesota and Leading Age. She received her undergraduate degree in Music Therapy from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, her MBA from the University of St. Thomas, and is also a licensed Nursing Home Administrator. She is certified through the Performance Excellence Network and the American Health Care Association to perform organizational assessments and evaluate organizational performance. When not relaxing at her cabin, Cathy is an avid distance runner and musician, and serves with her church. She lives in Plymouth, Minnesota.

Posted by on in General

What is it about ourselves that we want to so quickly move away from what we do best and the traits we are naturally wired to do well – and instead focus on what needs the most improvement?  One explanation may be our natural curiosity for what we don’t know. Even as kids, we were constantly looking and asking for the toys we didn’t have. Or we wondered what was hidden behind the door. What we couldn't see was intriguing and we didn’t want to miss out on anything.

As a part of our strengths-based Leadership Development training, ImpactLives helps participants know and understand their “Top 5.” These “Top 5” are one’s top five themes as determined after taking an on-line assessment administered by Gallup Strengths Center. In reality, we each have all 34 themes – and for a larger fee, one can take the assessment and get all 34 themes in rank order. If we were just able to see the full list, would our curiosity be satisfied and then we could settle in to just concentrate on our Top 5?

At ImpactLives we adhere to the positive psychology foundation and encourage people to just get their Top 5 themes and to not worry about number 6 through 34.  Despite our explanations and rationale, invariably the comments arise…”I just want to know my number 6 through 10,” or “I want to take the assessment again and get my bottom 5.”

Are we such a product of our “work-on-our-negatives” culture that we can’t simply focus on what we do well? My recommendation for you is to give it a shot! It’s very rewarding, and life moves forward with a bit more ease. For me, I still have plenty of challenge left to figure out how to use my Top 5 (Connectedness, Responsibility, Relator, Learner and Input) for the good of ourselves, friends, family members, workmates and ImpactLives’ participants. It’s a rewarding journey!

Posted by on in General

I recently returned from leading a group of adults through a 10-day ImpactQuest leadership development experience to the Dominican Republic.  While I love to have the “veterans” return for the second, third or fourth time, I get such joy out of seeing people experience a new culture for the first time – it must the be “Developer” in me!

During the first day of these experiences we spend time setting expectations and dealing with questions. I always ask about fears and concerns – it helps each participant know he or she is not alone when there are common fears and concerns shared, and this exercise gives me insight into how people are processing and areas about which I need to be extra-sensitive. 

On that first day and throughout the experience, it not uncommon to hear concerns expressed such as:

“Will I get to know anyone here?” 

“My life is so different than any of the men, women and children here!” 

“The language barrier is significant and I don’t know if I can or will connect!” 

As they looked around – EVERYTHING in the Dominican Republic seemed so different from our homes in the Midwest. Nothing seemed the same – from skin color to language, to the look of the homes, to what they eat, to safety standards, to noise levels. 

And then one day, as we visited the ImpactLives’ land and checked in with two of our neighbors, Wendy and Marcella, one of the participants from Nebraska named Rita had her “ah ha!” moment. She realized that we are more alike than we are different. Here’s how it came about.

Rita had just reached a significant milestone: five years of being cancer free. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009 and is now considered a breast cancer survivor. In conversation (through an interpreter), Rita found out that Wendy was going in that week for a similar procedure. There it was…an immediate and powerful connection between these two women. All elements of differences melted away and Rita was able to share her story, answer Wendy’s questions, give encouragement, cry with Wendy, and leave her with a big hug and promise to pray for her daily.

We never know, do we? Don’t let any obvious differences blind you to what you have in common and what you share with others. This is transformational growth that Rita could not have learned in a book or classroom. It’s through these moments that we touch each other’s hearts deep inside and we learn the most about ourselves, others – and how we may actually be more alike than we are different.