For 21 million people surveyed worldwide, being an Achiever was identified most frequently as their top strength using the CliftonStrengths™ assessment, a Gallup™ tool. But not for the 70 participants gathered June 1 for a "Live Your Strengths" workshop, held at St. Monica Parish; the majority of whom were more inclined toward being Connected than being Achievers.

The morning workshop, led by the Ontario-based company EmergentStrengths, included representatives from 16 Montreal parishes and organizations, and was an introductory session for developing a strengths-based program.

“People who know their talents and have the opportunity to use them every day are six times more likely to be engaged in their work and three times more likely to have an excellent quality of life” the program states.

After collating the individual results from the CliftonStrengths™ survey, 11 prominent strengths — called talent themes — emerged from the Montreal group, with talents defined as Positivity and Learner ranking closely at second and third.  

“An interesting side note,” explained Barry Koen-Butt, who facilitated the workshop with his wife, Elizabeth Yorski, “Connectedness for Canadians is #19, versus #1 for [the Montreal] group. Perhaps not surprising, since that [talent] theme was once known as Spirituality.”

The husband-wife team introduced the strengths-based program, which they developed three years ago for their local parish in Markham, Ontario. Together, the two certified professional coaches founded EmergentStrengths, whose mission is to help “Catholic organizations build stronger and more vital faith communities. We motivate others to recognize their God-given talents and amplify them into strengths.”

Next steps

The introductory session is the first of five designed to help parishioners and those in parish leadership recognize the existing strengths within their communities; this is a continuation of the Parish Vitality initiative undertaken in the diocese. Learning to integrate them will be explored in the next stages of the program, through smaller group sessions offered at individual parishes.

A second introductory session will also be offered in early September for those who could not attend the June 1 meeting. For more information, contact the Office for English Pastoral Services (OEPS) at (514) 925-4300 ext. 315 or

The event was organized by the OEPS, refreshments courtesy of Pillars Trust Fund and hospitality provided by the Knights of Columbus – St. Brendan Council #14693.