Jason Cressey, PhD (psychology), teaches leadership courses at the Justice Institute of BC when he is not teaching courses on topics like Emotional Intelligence for Continuing Studies. And, to make sure he is fully occupied, he is the director of “Motivation in Mind” corporate seminars and motivational training. He specializes in body language, interspecies communication, social skills, interpersonal relationships and cultural differences.
Cressey has been teaching his popular courses through Continuing Studies since 2007. He says that what keeps him inspired is the constant variety of people that walk through the door at the start of the day.
“This variety is most unlike my other lecturing work, where many in the classroom fit a particular profile or demographic and are ultimately there to gain a qualification of some sort. It also differs from my corporate consulting work—where I usually know the type of team I’m working with and may even have an established professional relationship with the individuals there. With Continuing Studies courses, every course is different and full of surprises, as there could be a young university student sitting alongside an octogenarian, or someone from a manual trade sitting next to a person who works in a highly bureaucratic office environment. Everyone brings something very unique, and their reasons for attending provide a wonderfully diverse spectrum.”
“The students I encounter in every course I teach are my greatest teachers. As all the courses I teach are about the skills of human interaction and maximizing positive experiences in life, I learn so much from the questions, concerns and experiences of those who walk through the door, so many of whom are willing to share a part of themselves— I love the fact there’s an informality and a real enthusiasm behind it from the people who attend.”
Cressey says that he is always surprised by the insatiable quest to learn, especially amongst many students who are in their senior years. He aspires to become like them, approaching learning with curiosity and vigour.
His own continuing education includes learning to speak more Turkish (a language he loves for its sound, structure and mental challenge—plus he loves visiting Turkey), and expanding his knowledge of vegetarian cooking drawn from other cultures.
“I’m always curious about learning cooking techniques for new cuisines, and have been working for some years now on perfecting my Ethiopian dishes, which are so vegetarian-friendly. They also have a unique type of bread called injera that takes three days to prepare, and I swear is the most fickle think in the world to get right in terms of both taste and texture—it’s a great teacher of patience, risk-taking and trial-and-error!
Travelling is, naturally, another passion, and Cressey recently returned from a major ramble through the five former-Soviet “stans” of Central Asia: Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.
“The ‘stans’ were wonderful in that they lived up to (and exceeded) everything that I expect from a great travel destination: they were diverse from each other, and very different to back home. They also did the most important thing any travel destination should do: they blasted away my stereotypes!”
The following article was first published in the Fall 2016 Calendar