LIVE on the Sport Physiotherapy Canada Facebook Page, I welcome Dr. Emma Stokes on the show to discuss leadership.  Dr. Emma Stokes BSc (Physio), MSc (research), MSc Mgmt, Phd is the president of World Confederation of Physical Therapy.

In this episode, we discuss:

-Dr. Stokes’ journey to becoming the President of the WCPT

-Takeaways from the World Confederation for Physical Therapy Congress

-Constructive feedback and the 360 review

-How to grow your professional network and the two up, two down and two sideways rule

-And so much more!


Third World Congress of Sports Physical Therapy

Emma Stokes Twitter

World Confederation for Physical Therapy Website

WCPT Facebook

WCPT Twitter

WCPT Instagram

For more information on Emma:

Emma is the head of the newly established Department of Physiotherapy & Rehabilitation Science at Qatar University. She has worked in education for almost 25 years and is on leave from Trinity College Dublin where she is an associate professor and Fellow. Her research and teaching focus on professional practice issues for the profession. She has taught and lectured in over 40 countries around the world. In 2015, she was elected to serve as President of the World Confederation for Physical Therapy. She was re-elected for a further four years in 2019. She has experience as a member and chair of boards in Ireland and internationally in a diversity of settings including education, health, research and regulation.

Read the full transcript below:

Karen Litzy:                   00:01                Hey everybody, welcome to another interview for the Third World Congress on sports physical therapy, which is happening in Vancouver October 4th and fifth of 2019 and we’ve been interviewing a lot of the speakers and today we’re really excited and honored to have Dr. Emma Stokes who will be in Vancouver with us. So Dr. Stokes, thank you so much for coming on.

Emma Stokes:               00:29                Oh, thank you so much for the opportunity to chat with you again, Karen. It’s always a pleasure.

Karen Litzy:                   00:34                I know, I know I just saw you in Switzerland and we’ll talk about that in a little bit, but before we get into all of that, just in case, there are some people who are maybe not familiar with you, which may be, there are, I don’t know, but can you tell us a little bit more about yourself?

Emma Stokes:               00:55                Yes, of course. Well, I’m an Irish physiotherapist and I’m sitting in Trinity College in Dublin, where I have the privilege of spending a lot of my professional life. So I qualified as a physiotherapist in 1990 and let’s just fast forward to eight years after I qualified, I went to my first international meeting and you know, I tell this story wherever I go in the world, which is, you know, I went to that meeting and I came home. And in that moment, in those days I really recognized that I wanted to be part of the international physiotherapy community. You know, a lot of people ask me that question. They say, well, you know, how do we become part of that? And you know, honestly then I didn’t know what that meant or looked like or felt like or anything like that. But as I tell the story and we can come back to this later on, you know, I decided I was going to make myself indispensable.

Emma Stokes:               01:45                So I volunteered for every conceivable opportunity that arose, including within the ISCP, which is the Irish side of charter physiotherapists. And in 2015 I was elected to serve as the president of WCPT the world confederation for physical therapy, the global physiotherapy organization of which the IFSPT, which is the International Federation of Sports Physical Therapy, is a subgroup of which the Canadian physiotherapy association is a member organization. And of course of which sports physiotherapy at Canada is a division of the CPA. So we’re all connected in this big family and I got to serve as the president for four years. And then last year I decided that I would seek a second term as the president of WCPT. And there was an election in May and I was reelected, here I am, I’m very, very happy to am honored to be serving a second term as president of WCPT. And it’s been a long journey and I’m happy to answer any specific questions about that as I always am. Because you know, I think not because I want to talk about myself, but because I think sometimes people look at you and they say, how’d you get there? And I’m happy to share that journey because I think that’s a really important question. When you see someone in a position that you want to be in, then you need ask them how do they get there?

Karen Litzy:                   03:01                Yeah. So let’s talk about that. So you volunteered for everything and anything you could get your hands on it sounds like, and I’m sure that helped get your foot in the door and, open things, a crack here and there. So when did you first decide to be an elected official?

Emma Stokes:               03:23                I think physiotherapists are nervous about the volunteering thing and the idea that, oh gosh, it would be terrible to volunteer if you had an end game and you know, 30 odd years ago to be 30 years since I graduated next year as a PT, you know, I don’t think we had the whole, I don’t know the word networking even existed in the way it does now, but I loved getting involved and things. So I was very involved with the Harriers and athletics club here and lives in trinity and I reckon I spent more time with them than I did and my physiotherapy program. I just loved getting involved and you know, when you’re a junior physiotherapist or in your, the early stages of your career in the day job, you know, and you’d know this Karen, right?

Emma Stokes:               04:08                You don’t always have the opportunity to do the things that you want to do because you’re maybe limited sometimes in the organization that you’re working in. And in fairness, I worked in St James’s Hospital in Dublin and there were no limitations placed on me when I started to get momentum, but it took me a few years to get some momentum. So I became a member of the Irish society and I went to a meeting. They needed a member on a committee and that’s where it started. And you know, I was on a committee and then I was on another committee and then in 1996 when I was working in trinity, one of my friends whose office was across the Carto said to me, we’re stuck for someone on the international affairs committee. Would you volunteer? And I think I suggest more because I was sort of trying to help her out.

Emma Stokes:               04:51                Than I wanted to necessarily do international affairs. And then, you know, it started, I just, I knew then the global physiotherapy was where my, I think maybe I was struggling to find my place in the Irish physiotherapy world or maybe the clinical physiotherapy world rather than the Irish. You see that everywhere, the clinical physiotherapy world. And so when I started to do some international work, so I got involved with my first international research consortium and I started to volunteer and so the first international meeting that I went to was 20 years ago. In 1999 and no one paid me to get there. I paid for myself to get there. I was presenting some of my phd research and I had gotten to know, Brenda Meyers, I’d met her once or twice and I emailed her, I said to her, look, I’m here.

Emma Stokes:               05:42                Do you need to volunteer? And I was a teller at the general meeting of WCPT I helped count votes. Now you might not think that that’s super important which it is. In the governance meeting of WCPT, I counted the votes in 1999 and then clearly I could count and I stayed involved with European level. And in 2003 the meeting was in Barcelona and I asked you about some time, the Irish societies delegation. But I was there with some of my phd students at that stage and some of my own research. And I went to the general meeting and Brenda said to me, well you would you like to be the chair of the credentialing committee? And that’s what I did. So in that, that was the time when you presented your credentials in within paper, you brought your paperwork to the meeting and there was something really elegant about that process. And now we do it electronically and it’s a little different. And plus I got to meet the presidents of every member organization and WCPT at that meeting. And then I finally got elected to actually the board of WCPT in 2006 and that was a chance I didn’t expect to get elected. I was only running to signal my interest for four years later. But I got elected and I guess the rest is history.

Karen Litzy:                   07:01                Great. And I think the big moral of the story here is that no one’s an overnight success. It’s not like you one day said, I’m going to run for president of WCPT and got elected, you have to put the time in and pound the pavement, if you will, in order to kind of work your way up. And I think in the days now of social media and everything happening, having to happen immediately. Yeah, it’s hard. So what advice would you give to someone who maybe doesn’t have the patience these days to put the work in?

Emma Stokes:               07:35                Yeah. So first of all, I think you have to enjoy the journey. So, you know, I never knew it was a journey in many ways. I guess at some point I knew it was a journey. And I think one of the things, because I’ve done a lot of reading around leadership and, I think what I’ve been fascinated about is this notion that just because you try once for perhaps an elected position and you’re not elected doesn’t mean that you walk away. So that in 2006 now, I don’t know would I have walked away. I don’t know that I did because I actually think I would’ve because I think what happened was in 2006 I had no expectation of being elected. But my plan then was to say, look, I’m interested. I know that’s going to be another four years before I’m elected.

Emma Stokes:               08:26                Or I could be elected. And I don’t mind if I’m not elected this time. So I was elected and that was pretty amazing. And interestingly in 2011 and it was suggested to me by a number of people that I should run for president. And I decided not to because I wasn’t ready now cause that’s another conversation which is about when are we ever ready. But I think I’m very objective about my abilities. And so I had sort of decided that I didn’t feel ready in 2011 to be elected as the president but by 2015 given what I had done between 2011 and 2015 I knew that I had the experience, I had the capabilities to be a very effective president from the point of view, I think at least I felt I had given the organization the best shot in terms of the experience that I had gathered.

Emma Stokes:               09:33                So I had done a graduate business degree. I had done a lot of governance courses. I had been the chair of the board of charity and I just felt, I suppose I felt from a self efficacy perspective and we talked about this, about our patients all the time. I felt confident going in that not withstanding what needed to be done, I was confident that I was able to definitely demonstrate that I had the experience to be the chair of the board of a charity based in the United Kingdom, which is what WCPT is from a governance perspective. But also that I felt that I had enough experience to at least give a fairly good shot of being the president of the global organization. And there are two quite distinct parts of the road.

Karen Litzy:                   10:21                Well, and that leads me to my next question is as president of WCPT and for maybe the people listening, if maybe one day that’s on their list, can you give a quick rundown of the roles and responsibilities of that position?

Emma Stokes:               10:35                Yes. And Look, you know, I think let’s just use the sort of a nice kind of balanced scorecard approach to this. So to me, when I ran, when I sought to be elected as president in 2015, I said I would look in, I would look out, I will look to the future. And then I had a little small part of the balance scorecard, which is you know, that quadrant system which was about inspiring. And in a way they map onto the two I think quite distinct aspects of the presidency, which is that you are the chair of the board of an organization and a company that’s based in the United Kingdom and that brings governance, legal, fiduciary responsibilities. But you were also the president of a global organization. You are the leader in some ways the first among equals. But nevertheless you are in a leadership role.

Emma Stokes:               11:21                And my perspective on that is my job is to bring people together in the global community and that’s whether it’s the physiotherapy part of the global community or the wider collaborative part of the global health rehabilitation community. So looking in was about ensuring that the organization with working with the board and staff and our volunteers was its best version of itself. Looking out was to start looking at who we working with internationally and what are the international organizations that we’re working with. Looking into the future is about leadership. It’s about creating the next generation of leaders in physiotherapy. And then the other space was about inspiring. And I suppose for me in the four years, I’m sharing something with you that I have probably not shared with very many people. So in my narrative and the work that I do with an amazing coach is around how do you walk with the dreamers and I’ve given a few talks that talk about what with dreamers, but it’s about that idea of how do you inspire people to do something different, to get involved, to be involved in a different way, to just grow.

Emma Stokes:               12:30                I guess just to enable us to sort of amplify everything that we do. And I suppose for me that’s very, very, it’s an intangible, right? It’s that sense of how do you measure that when it’s very hard to measure it? Right? And you know, now in the next four years, that hasn’t changed. So we’re still looking. So I believe we need to still look in, we need to still look out. We just need to look out in a bigger, better way. We need to look to the future. And I feel that commitment from me over the next few years is really important in terms of what are we talking about in terms of sustainability, the next generation of leaders, the future of organizations that are just in their beginning part of the journey. And My blog, which just was posted yesterday, is about, I suppose that other quadrant, now I’m talking about the moon landing projects.

Emma Stokes:               13:21                So it’s 50 years since, you know, since the first Americans landed on the moon. But I think that 1961 speech that JFK gave about this idea of what, asking ourselves the question about what we should be doing, not because it’s easy, but because it’s hard to me, you know I’ve got four years, you know, I’ll be president for four years and then I go on and I just do a different part of my life. So if I had one thing that I want to do, it’s about, we could be asking ourselves the question as an organization and as a community. What should we do because it’s hard. What should we do, because it’s right. And, we have to ask ourselves the hard questions. And those things are nuanced and they’re just this dissonance in them and they’re not easy and they’re not going to be done in the four years.

Emma Stokes:               14:14                So what are the big projects, what does that decade going to look like? And if you look at who they have two big projects that are focused on 2020, 30, which is, you know, it’s almost a decade away. And I think we as a global community and as a global organization needs to be thinking about what are we doing to help answer those questions. So I guess, yeah, does that answer the question?

Karen Litzy:                   14:52                That’s the role and responsibilities in a very large nutshell, a balanced score card and nice framework. Cool. Yeah. No, that’s great. Thank you for sharing all of that. And you know, I did feel that sense of global community and working together and learning and open-mindedness, I guess would be a good way to describe the WCPT meeting in Geneva, which was a couple of months ago.  I definitely did feel that global community. And I think, you know, social media has its pros and cons and we can talk about that forever. But one of the pros is that it does certainly bring people together from all parts of the globe. And so I really felt, a lot of comradery and felt like I quote unquote, Knew people even who live in Africa or they’re in Nepal or Europe or even just across the United States. I really enjoyed WCPT. I thought that there were some, I mean obviously I didn’t go to every session cause it’s impossible. Well I went to some really great sessions that did bring up some uncomfortable questions and kind of pushed my boundaries a little bit. So I really enjoyed that. But what were your biggest takeaways? Obviously, again, not that you could be in everything everywhere all the time, but what were a couple of maybe maybe two of your biggest takeaways if you can whittle it down?

Emma Stokes:               16:34                Oh Gosh. Two really, okay. But let’s, let’s start with the opening ceremony. So you know, it, the opening ceremony to the board. So we work with the board and the staff work really closely together around that type of event. So the board does not get involved in, you know, what color is the curtain, but we do make a decision about the venue because the venue has a cost implication. So, you know, so do we go for a big room where everyone is together or do we go for a smaller room where there’s some breakout sessions? And I think what was really interesting was we had a series of conversations around that and we finally resolved in them, I guess April, of the year before the congress. So April, 2018 but the decision was, nope, we are going into a big space where everyone is together on it. And it meant that, and you will recall this, it meant that everyone had to walk.

Emma Stokes:               17:29                It was a short walk from the venue of the opening ceremony to the welcome reception and not happening. It wasn’t raining so, and so I don’t know that anyone ever understood the amount of forwards and backwards and trade offs on cost and logistics and the walk and everything like that. But, when we made that decision, the decision was, we are a global organization and our strategic imperative is that we are a community where every physiotherapist feels connected to the engaged. Therefore, when we have an opening ceremony, everyone is in the room. And to me that probably has been one of the most powerful memories of my WCPT life is that moment when everyone is in the room and I have experienced it in the audience, but boy experiencing it on the stage, looking out that audience is, you know, I’m never gonna forget that, that that’s a memory that I’m gonna have for the rest of my life was that I never imagined, I forgot.

Emma Stokes:               18:31                I didn’t think that it would in my mind, you know, we’re all gonna walk along. It’s gonna be 15 minutes. I dunno if you remember this, but it was that snake of people. And it was perfect because you had international physiotherapists rambling on, and they had to walk slowly, right? Because it was enforced because we weren’t going anywhere in a hurry when there was, you know, 4,000 as we wove our way along to the opening center to the welcome reception. And to me, I think it was a visual and a physical and representation of who we are, which is that community of people that are connected better because we are connected. So that to me was, it can only go downhill from there.

Emma Stokes:               19:29                Right. Cause I was just like, it was fabulous. So in terms of specific content, and I completely love the diversity and inclusion session, and I think that was, you know, that was a focused symposium. It was peer reviewed. It was submitted. It was an amazing team of fabulous physiotherapists from all over the world and a stellar audience. And to me that was, you know, that was both literally and symbolically immensely powerful in terms of what it is that we’re doing as a community. And in the closing ceremony I said, you know, I felt that the three themes that came together were diversity, inclusion and humanity. And that’s not to take away from the content, the science, the practice content, the clinical content. I’m not taking away from that, but I think what we’ve started to do is bring us up.

Emma Stokes:               20:20                We have started to lift our eyes as a global community. And now more than ever, we need to do that because of the stuff that is happening in all worlds. So, you know, we just need to raise the level of our conversation. Of course everyone needs science and they need evidence informed clinical practice, we need humanity in our conversations. And if we’re not doing it as a global community, then I don’t know who else should be doing this. And to me, the diversity and inclusion session was babied us. We had an amazing session on education talking about the education framework policy piece. But you know what I think really emerged from the congress was on a big shout out to anyone in education is we need to revive our educators network. We need a global community of educators that are having conversations with one another.

Emma Stokes:               21:21                We need to do it. Whatever we can do. I think the other session that that I loved was the advanced practice one because that’s a big conversation and it’s a big conversation that spans not just high income countries but low, low middle income countries. It’s it, you know, if we look to ensuring that we’d have universal health coverage, then you know, the World Health Organization is talking about this billion level of health workforce shortage and we are a solution. We’re a solution in so many ways and we need to start having those conversations around how are we the solution. And one of the ways that we are solution is around advanced practice. And then I guess the other one that I just loved, and I’m really sorry that so many people were actually turned away from the door with us doing this. And we went on, we would talk about this was the one that starts to take that editorial from editorial to action.

Emma Stokes:               22:13                Then you know, the stellar mines that were involved in that. You know, so Peter O’Sullivan and Jeremy Lewis spoke the editorial, you know, Karim, who was the editor was going to facilitate that session but couldn’t because he had other commitments. But he was at Congress, which was amazing. So what we had was we had to have the insurance. We had the physicians, we have physiotherapists from the low middle income countries in that room. And I think what’s brilliant is, but you know, there’s a, you know, I wouldn’t, I’d love to suggest that I was writing it, but I’m not, I’m just, you know, I’m sort of sitting you know, I’m there in the background saying, Hey, look, the bread lines are out there.

Emma Stokes:               23:01                You do your work. So we’re going to have a nice, I hope, a nice publication around that. But, this is one of the moon landing projects, right? If we want to have this paradigm shift, what does WCPT need to be doing in terms of what does the global community need to be doing? But what can we facilitate around this? This is another moon landing project. What does that look like? You know, how do we change the way and we ensure that the delivery of rehabilitation and physiotherapy is the best version of itself.

Karen Litzy:                   23:46                It was a definitely a very popular session. Peter O’Sullivan was like, I’m sorry, I didn’t know it was going to be that many people there. But it looked really great. I was watching from, I was going to another session, to see my friend, Christina present her research, but it was good to follow along with all of the tweets in the social media from there. And I was interacting and after Boris was like, so what did you think? Did you like the session? I was like, I wasn’t in it. And he was like, what? But I thought you were there cause you were tweeting. I’m like, well I can keep up.

Emma Stokes:               24:20                Yeah, yeah. And you know, I think one of the things that, so we are, we are a learning journey, you know, and there was a tradeoff, right? So, yeah, I think Peter and Jeremy were really keen to get a very, very interactive session because there was data that needed to be developed from this, you know, so the data being gathered as a result within this session, which is a very interactive, you know, session. And I think that’s really important. You go for a smaller room with very interactive session of course, or you go for a big space with 500 people in it and close, you lose a granularity in terms of detail. Plus the editorial was only published in June, you know, less than a year before the meeting.

Emma Stokes:               25:18                The other thing, right, you’re not planning for years cause I mean it wasn’t four years. And so that’s where you’re trying to do the responsiveness piece, which is, you know, a hot editorial, which was big on big ideas, you know, so, you know, the conversation then well it’s of course that’s the choice of the editorial, which is big ideas. Now let’s just talk about enactment. What does that look like in term, well, A, can it work beyond high income countries, but B, what does it look like in terms of the next steps? So it is, so, you know, I acknowledge that was a big challenge and there was a lot of people who were very disappointed, but it wasn’t a keynote session. It was around from editorial to acting what needed to be a granular session. We should talk about, you know, how do we keep that conversation going? And that’s where I think things at the meeting that the conference in Vancouver a year later then congress the year after that starts to allow us to start a plan for those conversations to move forward.

Karen Litzy:                   26:20                Yeah. Yeah. And I think that’s a good thing to hopefully bring to, Vancouver and allow people to see, well, what did come out of that WCPT and then how can we expand on that. Excellent. Good. Okay. So let’s shift gears quickly. And you kind of alluded to your research earlier and that you were started your research in the 90s. And I know that a lot of your research centers around leadership. So can you talk a little bit about your research, number one and then number two, how does that research kind of guide you in your day to day function within your job?

Emma Stokes:               27:24                Yeah, initially my research was very clinically based research. And then in 2010 I made a decision. So first one, let’s put it out there I’m not a researcher, right? So I’m not going to be anyone ever with a high heat index. That does not give me joy in my life. My joy is around amplifying other people’s research, which is why, you know, my joy is around saying that editorial was amazing. Now let’s see how we can get it to the next steps. But nevertheless, I am an academic and therefore it’s really important that my research informs my teaching. You know, we are resected at institutions both here in Trinity, but also where I’m working now at counter university. And so it’s really important that when we teach, we

Emma Stokes:               27:56                are teaching, our research informs our teaching. So in 2010 I had an amazing opportunity to take a sabbatical. I finished my graduate business degree. I’d suddenly discovered that you can actually learn about leadership. And I had suddenly thought, hey, you know what? Let’s look the what’s happening in physiotherapy research and leadership. Answer nothing at all. And, you know, then you ask yourself the question, well that’s fine. You know, do we need to be doing research in leadership physiotherapy? And the answer is actually, interestingly we do because we know obviously more and more about leadership is that leadership is context specific. So it’s very contextually informed. It’s also very contingent around, you know, what you do on a day to day basis. But increasingly the conversation around leadership and healthcare is leadership is not a role.

Emma Stokes:               28:45                It’s a mindset, right? You lead from the edges. A loy about transformational leadership? It’s moving from the transactional nature to the transformational. And so that’s what I was doing. If you think about it, my practice in Physiotherapy was around, you know, working with organizations in either leadership roles or being part of other people who were leading projects and you know, being in the followership role or the participant road. And so I made probably, what’s a career changing decision, which is that I actually stopped doing physical research. I said, okay, my research was around professional practice issues. I will research what I practice and my practices is physiotherapy. So I worked on that year with Tracy Barry around direct access and we did it globally. We’re now looking at sort of processing the results of, you know, a really interesting survey around advanced practice and the building survey around that.

Emma Stokes:               29:38                And you know, so now I’m not that, I’m not the doer, I’m the person that’s part of a team and the next generation of fantastic researchers are doing the research. So I want to give a big shout out to Andrews Tollway is doing amazing work on the advanced practice survey and also Emer Maganon, who was done, you know, she was my phd student on my post-talk and she’s done a huge amount of research around leadership. And I’ve had the privilege of being along for the ride, which is fabulous. And that’s what you get to do as a phd supervisors. So that’s wonderful. And so the research has been around leadership, physiotherapy. We’ve worked around with the global community around some of the research that’s happening and there’s very little in physiotherapy and that’s a shame. But actually what’s interesting is there’s more and more and that’s good. And there’s a huge Canon of research around leadership in nursing and for doctors, their providence is different. And so I don’t think we should underestimate doing a lot of really good research around understanding the physiotherapy perspective and understanding and enacting leadership because I think that helps us start to understand where we might have some weaknesses or some behaviors where we’re reluctant to get involved. And I suppose that for me is around how do we have those conversations, both from a research perspective but also from a day to day practice perspective.

Karen Litzy:                   30:59                Right. And then you kind of answered the question of how does it affect your day to day leadership abilities. And I think you just answered that because you’re finding your weaknesses as a whole within the profession and I’m sure that can make you a little more introspective to see if you’re either contributing to those or hoping to overcome them.

Emma Stokes:               31:18                Yeah, absolutely. You know, I think you’re absolutely right. I did a really interesting thing of just before I finished my first term as president, and I don’t know if that, if you’ve done this or if anyone has, but I did it at 360.

Emma Stokes:               31:32                So I had 11 people do the leadership practices inventory. So I did this and then 11 observers did this and then four people did in depth interviews. Oh, let me tell ya, so first of all, I’m indebted to the 11 people who participated and who gave up their time to do the Leadership Practices inventory about me, but also the four people who did in-depth interviews and they were, you know, so there were people within and external to the global physiotherapy community and Oh gee, that was interesting. You know, that was a, I learned a lot about myself, you know, and you know, and interesting I’ve done a reflection beforehand, sort of predicting what they might say and there were no surprises. There was a lot of reinforcements and you know, so I obviously, you know, you do the thing right, the 80 20 thing, which is they focused on the 20% of stuff that you’re not best at.

Emma Stokes:               32:27                And of course I had focused on that. So there was no surprises. But nevertheless it is saluatory to hear people say it about you and you know, and so on a cross, you know, so this wasn’t, or three people, this was 11 people saying similar things about me and I’ve just spent two weeks with my family, Eh, like way more time with my family that I’m spending a long time. And I’m like, Oh yeah, I see where that comes from. Oh, how interesting. So I’ve done a 360 with my colleagues and I’ve spent two weeks with my family and yeah. Yeah, you know, I get it a lot of your niece that is seven and nine. They’re saying, I think we should buy a to do list notebook. And I’m like, what do you think? I need one.

Emma Stokes:               33:09                Oh, yeah, you definitely need to do this, that book. I’m like, okay. All right. So there’s seven and nine and they’re seeing that list already, you know? So it’s fascinating. So I think you get, I think for me it’s about where did the data points come from? I’m ensuring that you get them from people who will tell you the truth in a trusting, positive way. And so I do the research and then I do the granular stuff, which is hard, but yeah. But you have to do it if you are committed to being the best version of yourself in the service of the role that you’re in.

Karen Litzy:                   33:47                Yeah, yeah. And in the service of others.

Emma Stokes:               33:50                Yeah. Am I going to get any better? I’m not sure. Am I any more patient? Am I better at listening? Am I going to be any better as I’m pressing the pause button? I don’t know, but I’m going to try. Maybe try anyway.

Karen Litzy:                   34:08                You know, I think the good thing is that you’re now aware of some of these and I don’t think they’re faults. But you’re aware of that side of your personality.

Emma Stokes:               34:22                Yeah. And I think maybe it’s not that I wasn’t aware of it, it’s more that it was reinforced about the impact that it has on people. If you’d ask me, honestly, did I find out anything with the 360 that I didn’t know about myself? The answer is no. But has it made me face up to it and acknowledge its impact on others? Yes. And am I taking responsibility for trying to be a better version of myself. Yeah, sure I am. Cause you don’t do this without taking it on to the next phase of the journey. Right?

Karen Litzy:                   34:54                Yeah. You don’t just read it and say, okay. Yup. Nope. Yeah. Great. Cool. Well thank you for that. I’m going to look into that. So, you know, we’re talking about WCPT and all of these international organizations and you do a lot of traveling and meeting all the different people. So you have a very wide network. So what are your top tips for physio therapists who are trying to build their professional network?

Emma Stokes:               35:28                Two Up, two down, two sideways. And we’ve talked about this before, I think, which this is not my rule. I got it from, and a really good friend of mine who got it from someone else, a colleague of his, and the idea that networking is really natural to some people. Like they just, they’re good at, right? Yes. But for a lot of people it’s not. So, so I think the first thing is that you do two up two down two sideways route. And I think what’s really interesting is when you say it out loud, you can start to use it. And in that way. So, and two up, two down, two sideways is, and so you’re at a meeting and you want to be two people who are ahead of you in their journey.

Emma Stokes:               36:09                So, you get ready, you identify them in advance or you don’t, you just happened to meet them. But, for a lot of people it’s about working and saying, okay, these are two people that I want to meet. And you’re prepared and you don’t randomly want to bump into them, but you have an ask of them maybe or not. Maybe you just want to connect with them because you admire the work that they’d done. And two sideways is two people that you want to connect with who are your peers, right? So two people that you’ve met on Twitter that you say, okay, I want to meet that person in person, I want to see that person. And then two down or two people who are ahead of you, the behind you in the journey. So students and you know, phd student, you know, so if you’re a little ahead of them in the journey, who are they?

Emma Stokes:               36:53                You know, and you know, who can you help along the way? So it’s really interesting is I think it’s a great rule. So you’re at a meeting, who are your two up, two down, two sideways. I love it. And really interesting is if you know the rule and the person you’re talking to knows the rule, it’s great fun. So I was at a meeting where a physiotherapist came up to me and said, have you done your two down? So I had talked about this in the next year, a few months before rounds, and he’d come up and he said, have you done your two down yet? I’m like, sorry. He said, have you done your two down? I said, no, I haven’t. He said, can I be one of them? Oh, that’s so cool. And I said sure you can how can I help you? And so we ended up having a conversation and I was able to do some stuff for him that was fantastic.

Emma Stokes:               37:38                And I thought, hey, you know, that’s great. So, I think it’s fantastic. So plan for your two up two down two sideways or be ready for your two up two down two sideways. And you know, I still do that. I mean I still think about hooking you. Who are the two people in the world that are going to be helpful for WCPT, who do I need to interact with, you know, and I don’t necessarily always know who they are now, but it’s in that moment I’m like, okay, I’ve got my card ready, let me tell you who I am. Do you think I could connect with you about this conversation or this presentation that you made? And so the other thing then is about looking around the room. And I think this is both as someone who wants to network, but also someone who’s potentially in a situation where you could open circle.

Emma Stokes:               38:24                So it’s about physically looking through was a great piece of advice that I got. When circles are closed. So if it’s me and one of the person I’m wearing a huddle, that’s very hard for someone to come into. And sometimes that’s okay because sometimes you are having a meeting and you don’t necessarily, you need to have a conversation. But also sometimes it’s about how do we keep that circle open to welcome someone in or if you see someone on the periphery to bring them in. Yep. So, so it’s about the physicality of the space so that, you know, so sometimes it’s about being polite and saying, look, oh, are you having a meeting? Or if sometimes people are having meetings, right? They are genuinely saying, look, we’re actually having a conversation. But sometimes it’s about looking around the room where you see the open spaces and coming in and saying, oh, hello, I’m so and so knowing that that that circle is open to have someone come in. Yeah. But also I think as people who are in spaces, recognizing if you see someone out of the corner of your eye might be hovering, have the generosity

Emma Stokes:               39:29                to bring them in and say, oh, hey, did you want to join us? Well, and sometimes, so for me, a lot of the time what I do is I bring someone in because I know they want to connect with someone and I say, okay, you guys are connected. I’m going to go and I’m going to move on.

Karen Litzy:                   39:44                Yeah. I feel like Karim Khan is the king of that, by the way. Oh yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. Oh, did you want me to come with me? This is exactly, yeah, exactly. Absolutely. He is the king of connecting people like that at different conferences. He’s done that for me so many times and I don’t know how. I’m always like, what can I do for this man? Because I feel like he’s done so much and he’s so good. And I love the two up, two down, two sideways. I’m going to remember that when I go to Vancouver. It’s a great room. You know, and maybe we need to produce a little card to up to that, like a dance card. Oh that’s a good idea. Maybe we can do that for sports congress. Oh I’m definitely doing that. Oh that’s such a good idea.

Emma Stokes:               40:37                And then maybe one of the sponsors or one of the, you know, cause they could have a little piece of the sponsorship piece at the back.

Karen Litzy:                                           Yeah, absolutely. Well I know that, you know, Chris is listening in on this, so I’m trying to shout out to a sponsor. And then if you really want people to kind of get into it, you can kind of fill it out with the person’s name and then handed in and win a prize at the end. And I love the bringing someone in and when we were in Switzerland, Christina Lee that I was with and you know, we had met in Copenhagen at Sports Congress and decided that it all stayed together at WCPT and you know, you’re just walking around and she gave me a compliment that no one’s ever given me before, but it’s might’ve been one of the best compliments I’ve ever received.

Karen Litzy:                   41:52                And she’s like, you know, you are so good at making sure people are involved in conversations. Like you’re so good at bringing people in and you’re so good if someone’s not saying anything of, you know, making sure there’s space for them. She’s like, that is, she’s like I’m learning from that.

Emma Stokes:               42:10                That’s fantastic. And it is a great gift of yours because you are so present in the moment when we’re having conversations. So you’re very sensitized I think to the people in the room or the space that we’re in. So you do connect people in a way that is fantastic and it’s a huge gift. And I think the fact that you don’t even know is that you’re doing it means that’s a great gift for you. Yeah, I think sometimes, and that’s, you know, that is wonderful. So you have, you know, you’ve internalized that it’s probably just a natural part of who you are. And I think for other people it might not be intuitive, but it’s a great thing to remember. The other thing to remember is the 20 second rule or the two minute rule, but we have the rule, which is, you know, we meet people all over the world. Some people meet people around the world. You’re never necessarily going to remember everyone’s name. So I have a rule, which is if I’m standing chatting to someone and the person I’m with who knows me, we haven’t been introduced within 30 seconds. The cue is introduce yourself because either A I’ve forgotten cause I’m so taken up in the conversation. It’s not beyond the bounds belief, you know, happens very regularly. Or secondly, I’ve had that moment where I’m suddenly thinking,

Emma Stokes:               43:28                I don’t know that I remember this person’s name or I’m not sure enough that I remember their full name.

Emma Stokes:               43:35                So just introduce yourself, so if you’re with me and we’re in a conversation, you would always do it right. You’ll say, Oh hey, I’m Karen, she’s introduced me. That’s fine. But, but it’s also, it’s a very polite way of getting over that moment of she’s forgotten.  She’s taken up with a conversation or she hasn’t done it because she’s only thinking I’m having a panic. I remember exactly where I met the person. Yeah. I remember their name. And you know, sometimes I put my hand on them. But I can usually remember exactly where I’ve met the person.

Karen Litzy:                   44:11                Yeah. I’m good at faces. And sometimes like if I’m with some, like a friend of mine and I see someone, I’m like, oh my gosh, I know this person, I know this about them, this about them. But I don’t know their names. So when we go up, we’ll start chatting and then I want you to introduce and then I want you to introduce yourself. So I’ll prep this, the person I’m with, I’m like, I might know their backstory, I’ve read them know, but I can’t think of their name.

Emma Stokes:               44:32                So you know, do the 30 second rule, which is when you’re with a friend who hasn’t introduced, you just introduce yourself.

Karen Litzy:                   44:38                Perfect. All right, so let’s talk about Third World Congress. What are you going to be speaking on?

Emma Stokes:               44:45                Well there you go, on leadership and you know, you know, how fabulous is that? I’m so excited about being there, you know, I’m just, I’m so honored to be invited because I was invited a couple of years ago and, you know, I wasn’t necessarily going to be the president of WCPT again. Right. So, and I said to them, you know, what’s really nice that you’ve invited me but you know what, it’s great. We just invite you anyway because we want you to talk about leadership. And he would have been the president and that’s great. So, I’m thrilled that I was invited to be that. I’m super excited about that. I’m back as the president of the world physiotherapy and, you know, I just, I guess, you know, I love the sports physiotherapy world.

Emma Stokes:               45:27                You know, I’ve never practiced as a sports physiotherapist and it’s not my field of expertise, but I have learned so much simply by sitting in the rooms of amazing congresses. And I’ve learned so much that just simply by Osmosis, that every now and then I say something and I think I sound like I know what I’m talking about. Actually. I’m fairly confident that I do, but how do I know? And then I realize, okay, what I’ve sat through five keynotes lectures from the stellar people in the field. And it’s not that I’m an expert, but I can actually at least point people to the references. So, you know, I think there is so much to be gained from a global community of practice and knowledge coming together and you know, the sports physiotherapy world is incredible and I am so excited and Vancouver is beautiful and the Canadian physiotherapy is fabulous, So bring it on.

Karen Litzy:                   46:26                Awesome. Well I know, I am excited to go in to learn and you know, there’s breakout sessions. I don’t know which one to go to because they all sound really great. I don’t know what you think, but I think they all sound like it’s an amazing program.

Emma Stokes:               46:40                Absolutely. It’s fantastic. And I think, you know, you know, I get the joy. So I suppose my joy is my privilege and my joy is that I get to dip in and out of so many sessions. And because you know, in a way I am taking different lessons away from Congress. It’s like this. So I’m taking away the thought leadership lessons I watched, you know, I want to sit in on the leadership stuff, I want to sit on the policy stuff. But you know, if you’re practicing day to day working with people in the sports world, there the richness of the programming is like, where do you start to choose, you know, how do you decide what you’re going to go to, to take away, to inform your day to day practice?

Karen Litzy:                   47:18                Agreed. I think it’s going to be great. And again, just for people listening, you’re obviously on the Facebook page, so hopefully you can see the banner on top that says October 4th and in Vancouver the Third World Congress of sports physical therapy. But I guess this is going to be on my podcast as well. So Emma, where can people find out more about you?

Emma Stokes:               47:40                Oh, so, well, like they want to find any more out, more about us I think actually look at, so is our websites. Have a look at the website because we are going through a major both rebranding, you know, redesign of the website. So it’s going to look super different. I think we’re going to have some interesting information about our rebranding by October and about the rebranding of the product. You know, the kind of, the idea of what do we call ourselves as a global community and started to merge the space. I’m committing to blogging once a month, which I’ve failed dismally at, but I am now committing, so just put the first blog out there and yeah, so follow us on social media, like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and then look at our webpage but also look at our subgroups obviously because, the world sports congress is being co hosted by the Canadian Division of sports PT and the International Federation sports physical therapy and that’s the WCPT subgroups. So all joined up. So yeah, look at the website and I see the early bird is opened on until the end of August for Congress in Vancouver in October.

Karen Litzy:                   48:55                Yes. Awesome. Well, thank you so much for taking the time out and coming onto as a pleasure.

Emma Stokes:               49:00                It’s my pleasure as always, and thank you for the opportunity and I will see you in Vancouver.

Karen Litzy:                   49:04                I will see you then. Thanks everybody. Have a great day.



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©2019 Karen Litzy Physical Therapy PLLC.
©2019 Karen Litzy Physical Therapy PLLC.