Alumni Profile: Laura Kennett

Anna-Marie AshtonAlumni Profile, Updates

Laura is an Energy Futures Lab Fellow, and a Human Venture Leadership Board Member. We asked her about her learning process over the last few years, and her hopes for the future.

“Human Venture has had a profound influence on me.  This is a community that knocked me off the treadmill of life that I was previously on.  I thought I was being successful but I didn’t know what success was.  Learning through Human Venture has opened my eyes in a society that perpetually encourages turning a blind eye. I feel energized that there is so much to learn!

Human Venture has given me courage in the face of social intimidation to ask challenging questions.  Courage takes discipline and practice and this community has helped me to be more comfortable with not being the same as everyone else. Human Venture has given me patience to observe social dynamics as a scientist and to de-personalize situations so I can examine the causal architecture.

I learned the significance of discovering my orienting story and I am constantly being surprised by how little I know about who I am, how I got here, and where I am going.  I’m sometimes saddened by how I let opportunities to be more inquisitive with others, such as my grandparents, pass me by without realizing how short and fragile life can be and how tenuous memories are.  As I prepare to enter my forties, I feel like a kid again, but this time with courage, urgency and purpose.

My most significant relationship is with my husband.  He is truly a partner in helping me navigate challenges and a supporter of exploring this wondrous world.  He feels like my perfect match: neither overbearing nor absent – my soul mate!

I’ve learned that I can accelerate my learning through forced engagement.  This forcing is my own undertaking to immerse myself in learning even when I may feel I don’t have the capacity.  This drive has helped me be a part of the board for Human Venture Leadership, travel regularly to Calgary to participate in the 2016-17 Human Venture alumni program, become a fellow with the Alberta Energy Futures Lab, and become the incoming chair for Enbridge’s United Way campaign.

Besides the mountains of great resources available through the internet, here are some specific resources that have challenged my understanding of life:

– Jared Diamond’s “Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed”
– Ronald Wright’s “A Short History of Progress”
– Christophe Bonneuil and Jean-Baptiste Fressoz’s, “The Shock of the Anthropocene: The Earth, History and Us”
– Solomon Northup’s, “12 Years a Slave”

I went to the Resilience Conference in Stockholm, Sweden this August.  A main focus of this conference was global sustainability challenges and opportunities, which are heavily influenced by the speed, scale and connectivity of the Anthropocene.

I have learned that the journey of learning to survive as the human species is long, relentless and has no end.  However, we do have to support each other in rest and healing every once in a while to recuperate strength through reflection and self care.  Without children of my own, I feel a very strong responsibility to contribute in another way.  My legacy won’t be a bloodline, but I hope to leave behind inspiration to question our values, how we direct our energy and what success looks like. However, I have a long way to go to figure out how to create a meaningful legacy that supports the Human Venture, which is why I support the Human Venture Leadership organization.

My hopes for the future are that more people will help each other to learn, engage, inquire, and speak up.  I hope we will reach a tipping point in which deep inquiry becomes the norm and outdated models of success fade away.

Recently, an elder who spoke at the Energy Futures Lab told the group to be like a buffalo walking into a snow storm – It’s not going to be easy so bow your head down, brace yourself and press onward.”