Embracing Memories and Navigating Change


As I stand at the threshold of retirement, I find myself reflecting on the profound nature of change. Change, especially in the context of retirement, can be a daunting prospect. The uncertainty, the shift in routine, and the unknown path ahead can stir up a sense of fear. Yet, amid the apprehension, there’s a beauty that unfolds – the beauty of memories.

On July 1, 2004, I founded Career Professionals of Canada (CPC) with a big dream. I hoped to develop a national association that would support career professionals from coast-to-coast-to-coast. On Canada Day 2022 we were thrilled to re-introduce CPC as a not-for-profit corporation. This December marks the start of our first full fiscal year and the beginning of a new chapter for CPC. We have finalized the transfer to our new executive director.

CPC members are always at the heart of everything we do, and this seems like the right time for me to share my heart with you. Since our beginnings, we have grown exponentially. It would have been be impossible for me to run CPC forever and we needed a succession plan. I have the great fortune to be connected to so many gifted leaders, advisors, and volunteers within the association. So, I reached out to my closest colleagues and confidants for help. Many tirelessly helped me through the process of setting up and transitioning to our new organization. With compassion, they helped me through the process of letting go and allowing our new CPC to take shape.

As we close in on 1000 members at CPC, I have had the support of too many helpers to mention. I would be afraid to leave an important name off the list. The truth is, in so many ways, I consider each of you my friend.

Today, I offer special thanks to all of you. You have given me so much in ways too numerous to count. We wouldn’t be where we are today without you.

Those who know me, know that I have wanted to gift CPC to our sector for a very long time. Little did I know that CPC was a gift to ME.

You have taught me that career professionals are thoughtful, selfless, and giving. Your generosity in spirit, words, and gifts mean more to me than I can ever express. You have shared so much of your best selves with me that some of it had to rub off. Your kindheartedness has permeated through all aspects of my life. Through your daily examples, I have built my own understanding and capacity for purposeful kindness.

Meaningful Gifts

It would be difficult to select just a few memories for a time capsule, but, over the years, I certainly have been blessed with several meaningful gifts that I will cherish forever.

At one of our first in-person events, Strategies for Success, the members of Career Professionals of Canada surprised me with a special Leadership Recognition Award. This award is very sentimental to me and I display it in a place of honour in my home office.

As our business transfer came to a close this month, some of my nearest and dearest friends on the CPC leadership team presented me with two gifts. As I received these gifts, I was overwhelmed with emotion; simultaneously taken aback and humbled by the thought and effort that was put into each one.

I will treasure my Inukshuk circle of friends for all of my life. This striking piece by Simeonie Iqaluq is quintessentially Canadian. It truly represents all that I wanted CPC to be and what each of our members have helped it to become! “Inukshuk have come to represent the positive attributes which we all strive for: a community working together; giving and sharing; and leaving something to help those who follow. We call it being Canadian.”

The stunning custom-made chain necklace I received is made by Canadian artist Sandra Paetsch at Orange Avocado Jewelry. Formed from precious metals, it purposely includes four special beads in CPC colours: red, purple, silver, and black. The charm has a handcrafted CPC logo and the ring around it reads “Purposeful Kindness.”

New Beginnings

CPC is now overseen by a newly created board of directors who have responsibility for CPC’s strategic direction, ethical governance, and long-term sustainability. Our websites, member programs, benefits, courses, and certifications all remain the same. I will remain as executive director in the interim and will continue to support CPC as chair of the board for as long as you will keep me.

As I embark on my new career path, reporting to our outstanding board of directors, I’m excited. Things will certainly change in my own life, and I know that the future holds a great deal of promise for CPC. It’s the end of a chapter and a new beginning for all of us. We are just getting started and there is so much for us to do with our new national association.

I have been blessed by many generous colleagues that I am now proud to call some of my closest friends. You have been much more than a resource and sounding board for me. I hope to continue to learn and grow through the example of your empathy and compassion.

Thank you to those who have helped shape me into the person I am today. Thank you for all the memories that we’ve shared over the last 18 years. Let’s move forward together with purposeful kindness and a renewed dedication to CPC.

Your number one fan,


Sharon Graham

Sharon Graham is founder of Career Professionals of Canada. As an advocate for purposeful kindness, she nurtures happiness and fulfillment by modeling a kinder tomorrow. As chair of the board of CPC, she provides foresight and leadership within the sector and ensures that the mandate of this national organization is upheld with integrity. Committed to setting the standard for excellence in the career development profession, Sharon has authored top selling paperback publications and textbooks, and has established a range of certificationprofessional developmentcommunity developmentmentoring, and award programs. 

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