Medium Short: Shifting Gears

Pouring pints, pondering, podcasting, decomplexifying

B. Lorraine Smith


An early morning view of Lake Manitou in Northern Ontario where I’m enjoying a change of scene, if not exactly relaxing down time. (Photo by me.)

Welcome to the latest Medium Short, a weekly accountability practice highlighting what I’m up to along the unmarked trail to #IndustrialHealing. Quick heads up: this weekly update will soon only go to my (always free) newsletter mailing list so please make sure you’re signed up here*!

I sometimes joke that I need to study “how to take a vacation”. Case in point: I am staying on the beautiful shores of Lake Manitou in Northern Ontario as a change of scene from Montreal life.

But rather than being here to relax by the lake with various family members who live here and others who are up for a visit, I am slinging pints at my sister’s micro-brewery, reading about misguided leadership, setting up ways to simplify my work for greater impact, while training for a marathon.

Isn’t that what everyone does on their summer vacation? If not, I swear they’re missing out. Anyway here’s a bit about the week.

Pouring pints: hard but awesome

I worked at Split Rail last year, both in the taproom and doing some field research with local ingredient growers.

This year I’m just waitressing, filling in the labour gap as the summer students are back in school but the tourist season continues.

Waitressing is hard. I mix things up (“IPA” and “Pilsner” both have a “P” in them, for goodness’ sake.) Plus now there’s all these electronic buttons to push. But I love it anyway.

Helping people enjoy world-class, locally made beer in a small business where the founders care about the community more than anything else is the best reward a jaded sustainability consultant could ask for.

My sister, Andrea Smith, co-founder and co-owner of Split Rail Brewing Company in Gore Bay on Manitoulin Island in Norther Ontario. I strong-armed her into joining me for a relaxing moment out on the patio. She has the same family trait of not knowing how to vacation. We’re working on it.

Pondering: smart leaders don’t know much either

The cabin I’m staying in is full of books that have accrued over the years. I find…



B. Lorraine Smith

Former sustainability consultant replacing ESG with reality-based insights about corporate purpose and impact.