Hi, I’m Barb Brunzell and I have a confession to make. My journey to find my life’s purpose has been, well? Let’s just say, I took the scenic route.
You see, for as long as I can remember, I have always felt as though I was called. The question was, called to what?
The quest to find my truth has gifted me with the opportunity to slip into the skin of another and walk around in their shoes as a classically-trained actress on stage. It has granted me the privilege of sharing people’s most intimate stories on radio and television, as an award-winning arts and culture journalist for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. It has also aided me as a director of marketing who led teams, helped create products and sell out houses for numerous facilities, and arts organizations from around the globe.
You see, “all that glitters is not gold.”
Yes, I had achieved society’s definition of success, but I had not honoured my own. The higher I climbed up the proverbial ladder, the further I was from my integrity. I had shapeshifted into who I thought people wanted me to be, and abandoned my playful, magical, woo-ful, Self by the side of the road.
And because I did, I never felt like I belonged.
I was never enough.
My lack of self-worth became a gaping wound I attempted to Band-Aid with overwork, people-pleasing and juggling more balls than one woman could possibly ever handle. Then, one day, I dropped them all. I had given a pint of blood at the door, both in my professional and personal life, and I had not discriminated. Everyone had gotten a piece of me, but me.
I hadn’t listened to the whispers, the nudges, or even the slaps across the face I received from the universe with increasing frequency. That is, until it took me out with a two-by-four upside the head. I went down and stayed down for a really, really, really, long time.
This surprised everyone, especially me. I was deflated and wouldn't get up again until I acknowledged my power, and committed to owning it. (Psst, more on this chapter here.)
If my story resonates with you and you’d like to work with me as your Wayfinder Life Coach, let’s chat. Book a discovery call, I’d love to help you find your own narrative thread and be your guide as you write your next amazing chapter.Get in Touch
Wayfinder Life Coach certified by Martha Beck, PhD, a Harvard-trained sociologist, world-renowned coach and New York Times Best-selling author. (This program is accredited by the International Coaching Federation)
- Associate Certified Coach (ACC™) with the International Coaching Federation (ICF). This certification from the leading global organization for coaches and coaching is seen as 'The Gold Standard of Professional Coaching.'
- Harner Shamanic Counseling ™ taught by The Foundation for Shamanic Studies. Originated by Michael Harner, and based upon core shamanism, this methodology allows shamamic counselors to work with clients so they can become practitioners of divinatory shamanism, navigate non-ordinary reality and learn to co-create with helping spirits for their highest good. Packages available. Tap here for more information.
- Yoga. Psyche. Soul. 300-Hour Yoga Psychology Teacher certified by Ashley Turner, a yoga/meditation teacher and licensed marriage and family therapist. (The program is accredited by the Yoga Alliance Foundation.)
- Coaching for Self Leadership: An Introduction to the Internal Family Systems Model, a therapeutic approach created by family therapist, academic, and author, Dr. Richard C. Schwartz and taught by PCC certified life coaches Brian Jaudon and Gutherie Sayen
- Accessing Living from the Self, an Internal Family Systems Institute taught by Dr. Richard C. Schwartz and Loch Kelly, author, meditation teacher, psychotherapist, and founder of the Open-Hearted Awareness Institute
- Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) developed by scientist, writer and meditation teacher, Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn and taught by Mindfulness at Centrepointe
- The Power of Self Compassion created and taught by Kristen Neff, PhD, professor and author, as well as Dr. Chris Germer, clinical psychologist, lecturer and author. Both are co-founders of the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion
- Apprenticeship with Sorrow: Community, Ritual, and Sacred Work of Grief with Francis Weller, psychotherapist, author and soul activist
- Numerous courses with The Foundation for Shamanic Studies founded by anthropologist, educator and author Michael Harner
The Highlight Reel
Looking for more about my professional experience?
A Consummate Creative with Arts Experience from Every Angle
Most of my career, 35 years to be exact, has been spent working in the arts and culture sector. My experience spans all disciplines: performing, visual, literary and media arts.
It has been a colourful journey to date, one where I have held a variety of roles including: actress, writer, programmer, journalist and broadcaster, documentary producer, public relations and communications strategist, marketer, audience and partnership development lead, fundraiser and so much more.
I spent a decade as a professional actress performing on stage, in film and television, commercials and corporate videos. The next ten years I spent as a journalist and broadcaster on the arts and culture beat. The last 15 years were focused on building and leading creative arts marketing teams, and creating new cultural products locally, nationally and beyond.
The Melville Boys, Upper Canada Playhouse
An Award-Winning Storyteller
Storytelling is in my blood, and the 10 years I spent working as an award-winning journalist and broadcaster gifted me with too many rich and adventure-filled experiences to count.
The bulk of my time in this field was spent working for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), where I took on many roles: host, producer, reporter, and writer for numerous television and radio shows airing across Canada. I also co-created an award-winning international arts and culture unit that supplied news, current affairs, documentaries, series and specials to local and network radio and television.
As a dedicated arts and culture reporter, it was a privilege to be able to regularly peek behind-the-curtain and share with audiences the most intimate moments belonging to artists from every walk of life. It is here I learned the true power of story, knowledge I use in my coaching practice today.
Here is just a sample of the CBC shows who featured my work: The National, CBC News at Six, Canada Now, Newsworld, CBC News Morning, The Current, Sounds Like Canada, World Report, The World This Weekend, Radio Noon, Information Radio, Up to Speed, Ontario Today, Ottawa Morning, All in a Day and many others.
The Talent Whisperer: Compassionately Challenging People to Rise
My personal brand of magic is being able to see the whole picture, both the micro and the macro. Zoom in, and I can see the unripened potential lying dormant in another and help tease it out into the open. Zoom out, and I can see all of the places those talents align with organizational goals. The right mix of people on the right team, not only lift each other up, they help the entire business or organization rise to the top as well.
Over the last 25 years, I have worked my wizardry to build all kinds of creative teams; a new arts and culture documentary unit for the CBC, public relations and video production teams for a marketing agency, and multi-faceted marketing, audience and partnership development service hubs across multiple disciplines for numerous arts centres.
I believe everyone has a purpose and all hold multiple gifts, and that it is up to each one of us to do the work and be courageous enough to activate them. I also believe that organizations and leaders have a vested interest in supporting this work.
Idea Factory & CEO of Change
I’ve developed a reputation as someone who can fix anything, whip up innovative product offerings, and usher in change in a way that feels comfortable. I’m usually brought in when everyone is tired, ideas have run dry and inspiration has left the building. My job is quite simply to reinvigorate the process, find creative solutions, and get everyone on board, so we can bring it home together.
The details may vary; sourcing the right talent, executing an event, developing programming strategies to fill empty theatres or assembling a new team to deliver the goods. It doesn’t matter the challenge, what fuels me is the opportunity to inspire individuals and teams to think big, reach beyond their growth edge, and achieve things they never thought possible.
- Blizzard Award: Manitoba Motion Picture Industry Association
Reportage, 2006, Evelyn Hart: The Last Dance, CBC Manitoba
- Gracie Allen Award: The Foundation of American Women in Radio and Television, News Story-Soft News, 2005, Miriam Toews, CBC News: Canada Now
- The Chris Awards: Columbus Film and Video Festival, Honourable Mention, The Arts, 2003, Carol Shields, CBC News: Canada Now
Other Nominations Include:
- Blizzard Award: Manitoba Motion Picture Industry Association, 2006
- Gemini Award: Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television, 2005
- Golden Sheaf Award: Yorkton Short Film and Video Festival, 2005