*Originally Posted on Facebook
What a weekend!
This weekend I had the pleasure of attending the The Canadian CML Network‘s annual conference which was so well put together (as always) and it was so nice to catch up with all my fellow CML-ers, who have truly been a HUGE source of support for me on this journey. I was absolutely touched to have been nominated by my peers to win the ‘Extraordinary CML Story’ Award this year, and it was extra special to have both my family and my CML doctor share the moment.
On Sunday I headed to Ottawa for the Country Music Association of Ontario Awards where it was my absolute honour to accept the inaugural Holly & Steve Kassay Generous Spirit Award in recognition for my time and effort on the board of directors in the developing years of the organization. I was not prepared for the standing ovation I received, and I desperately tried not to sob my way through my speech. Thank you to the CMAOntario, Holly Kassay and Steve Kassay for giving me a truly wonderful moment I will treasure forever!
A huge part of my speech was thanking both the organization and my country music family as a whole because I love the SH** out of you guys. If you weren’t able to attend I’ve included it below. I still need 8 million naps to catch up, but it was so nice to bust out of the condo for a weekend and feel like ‘normal’ again ❤️ Thank you to Grant MartinBarry Roden and Miranda Varricchio for capturing my special moments!
In 2012, after the encouragement of my mom (thanks mom!) I attended my first ever AGM for the Country Music Association of Ontario. A few hours later, I was just as surprised as everyone else to leave a newly appointed member of the board of directors. I sincerely questioned whether I had just made a huge mistake.
Admittedly I had no idea what I was doing in the beginning, but I made it my goal to learn and get better every day, so that I could earn the position I felt so honoured to have been given. I wasn’t always the easiest member of the board to get along with. I asked a lot of questions and started a lot of debates. I made it my mission to ‘never say no’, even when a task or goal seemed insurmountable. Over the next two years, along with the other members of the board, people who I had admired and respected my entire career and still do, we executed our first awards show, our first Road to Independence conference, and made so many other huge leaps as an organization.
Although it wasn’t always easy, it wasn’t a huge mistake. It was the best decision I ever made. Being a part of the CMAOntario allowed me to grow not just as an artist, but as a person, and better yet, it gave me the privilege of watching how the CMAOntario could help others do the same. How one organization could elevate so many and leave a lasting impact on the industry. It was my honour to be a small part of that, and It has been my pleasure to watch this organization continue to grow and become something treasured by so many.
In school they taught us that networking is all about your elevator pitch. It’s all about selling yourself. But that’s a lie. Real networking is about setting yourself aside. It’s about being generous with your time and open with your heart. It’s about celebrating the wins of those around you, knowing that a rising tide lifts all ships. It’s about knowing that being a part of this country music family, of what we have right here in this room, is a greater gift to your soul than any award or accolade you could achieve. I have never been more sure of that.
I am truly honoured to be receiving the inaugural Holly & Steve Kassay Generous Spirit Award tonight. But, I really feel like this award belongs to you all. When I needed generosity and spirit in the hardest moments of my life, you, my country music family stepped up to support me. I will never forget it, and I hope that you will continue to live your lives with the generosity and spirit you have shown me, because that’s what this family, and this industry is all about. We built all this together, and I’m just proud to be a part of it. Thank you.