Our Founder’s Story: Sam Kemble – Labour Relations Practitioner
When he was six months old, Sam was adopted by an Oji-Cree woman, Emma Fiddler of the Sandy Lake First Nation – Sucker Clan and Lloyd Kemble. Lloyd and Emma separated soon after that. Mother Emma raised him in Community in Sandy Lake until she succumbed to breast cancer. At that time, Sam was four and half years old.
Then he was raised by his father, Lloyd Kemble, an owner of a small electrical contracting company operating out of Calgary, Alberta. The company was negatively impacted by the National Energy Program and later by the Alberta government’s slow-to-pay-contractors austerity measures. The company was under strain. It was the type of strain that Lloyd could not turn around with the resources available. Lloyd’s mental health deteriorated upon the realization he would lose his company and home. Lloyd knew that fifty of his employees would lose their jobs. Instead of seeking help for his mental state, he committed suicide. At that time, Sam was fourteen years old.
Sam found release in competitive wrestling and pursued education for education’s sake. He kept compulsively busy but remained somewhat unfocused. He did not seek help for the trauma and adverse childhood experiences that he had been exposed to earlier in his life. Sam’s lack of focus continued until he was exposed to the labour relations field by professors Dr. Allen Ponak and Dr. Daphne Taras while studying at the University of Calgary. The introduction to labour relations would mark the start of his next obsession. The labour relations field naturally drew him in. On a cerebral level, it involved:
- defending and protecting employers,
- a significant intersection with social justice and fairness,
- job creation for working families, and
- defending financial security for job creators.
On an emotional level, it:
- exposed Sam to high conflict situations which felt familiar to him at the time,
- involved attunement and empathy,
- played into Sam’s hyper-vigilant state and negative bias stance by requiring constant risk analysis; and,
- served what seemed to be his need to oscillate between intense states of conflict and resolution.
Upon graduation, Sam worked for Neil Tidsbury at Construction Labour Relations – An Alberta Association, representing two hundred fifty contractors in labour relations, collective bargaining and policy matters for ten years. Sam then worked for KBR as Director of Human Resources and Labour Relations for Canada, supporting six thousand employees, covered by sixty-three collective agreements across Canada. Since 2012, Sam has worked as a labour relations practitioner for Workforce Delivery Inc., delivering human resources strategy, recruitment and collective bargaining support to clients across Canada.
In his forties, Sam suffered physical, emotional and mental limitations due to nervous system dysregulation arising from untreated complex post-traumatic stress. When the pain and disruption got bad enough, he eventually sought help. He engaged in four years of intensive therapies and support and subscribed to an ongoing maintenance regime under the care of medical practitioners.
The support received helped Sam tap into another level of mental, emotional and spiritual growth. This journey has proven the willingness to be vulnerable and access help is a source of strength. This strength enhances every aspect of his family, social, and professional life. Sam’s mental and emotional fortitude has increased ten-fold, and he now openly promotes mental health, wellness and neurodiversity in his personal and professional life.
Sam continues to be highly committed to his practice, constantly learning new things, staying on top of the latest trends, and supporting clients with their most complex human resources and labour relations issues.
The journey, experiences and willingness to do the healing work uniquely position Sam to contribute to Workforce Delivery Inc.’s mission: “To engage the human spirit and deliver results. We help communities, organizations, and groups realize opportunities and confront challenges with innovative people-centred solutions.”