Herky The Misfit?
Herky has developed a passion for helping people and organizations come to terms with the issues that create barriers for them, develop skills to remove those barriers, and move towards personal and organizational fitness.
His wife Riesah Prock says that the reason Herky has developed such passion for this work is because he himself is a “misfit.” Herky doesn’t always admit his wife is right but in this case, she is! “I’ve spent most of my life trying to ‘fit in’ with family, friends, work, and society at large. The simple reality is, however, that I often don’t,” Herky says.
The youngest of 5 children and an “accident,” Herky was born later in his parents’ lives, so most of his siblings had left before he could blink an eye. Add to that a startling admission made to him by his Mom when he was 40 (you’ll have to come to one of his talks to hear that story!), and a lot of things about who Herky is and what he brings to the world start to make sense.
At 3 years old, rather than fit in at a family barbecue, Herky snuck away to row his family’s boat out into the middle of the lake, much to the family’s chagrin when they discovered him missing. When he was 8, he quit school for the first time (2 more times after that!) because he was being bullied for being fat and having a weird name (go figure!). In high school, he always felt like he was on the outside looking in. He wasn’t popular with the girls, wasn’t great at sports, in fact, Herky wasn’t good at anything really, including school.
How Does A Misfit Cope?
Herky developed a variety of skills to set him apart from others so that he could be noticed, skills such as; leadership, public speaking, facilitating, listening, creativity, observation, analysis, performing/writing music, and humour. Ironically enough, these skills Herky developed to get noticed and stand out, also allow him to fit more easily into society.
Another interesting outcome of being a misfit is that Herky has developed a “sixth” sense when it comes to working with people and organizations. “I recognize when things aren’t quite right, when there isn’t a good fit,” Herky says. “I’m sensitive to what goes on around the periphery of situations because that is where I’ve lived much of my life. This allows me to see things that others don’t, and I can hone in quickly on areas that need to be addressed.”
Herky’s passion comes from knowing what it’s like to be on the outside looking in at, and realizing from his own experience that you can develop skills to fit in.
The Long, Winding, & VERY Rewarding Road!
Herky’s career path has taken him on some exciting and rewarding adventures! From his start as an entrepreneur at age 12 with his own paper route, to his first “real” job as a grocery packer at 14, Herky had already developed a sound work ethic, instilled in him by his Dad. “He always told me that it didn’t matter what job I did…what mattered was how well I did it,” says Herky.
Herky hated school, and as a result, he did poorly academically. Consequently, he was unable to go into post-secondary education right after high school, so continued working in a variety of settings, learning skills, meeting people and loving each job that he had.
Herky’s life changed dramatically when he was in his early 20’s because of John Logan from the VRRI in Calgary, Alberta. John’s raw honesty about Herky’s skill, or lack of, as a commercial real estate salesman inspired Herky to make an occupational shift which resulted in his working with at-risk youth (another story which Herky shares in his Keynotes). Herky has worked with youth in residential treatment centres, on the streets, in schools (Yes, Herky actually became a High School Teacher & Guidance Counsellor because he knew he could do a better job than the ones he had!), and in career development.
In 1993, when he was told by a school that they wouldn’t be renewing his contract because he read in his office with his feet on his desk, wrote too many post it notes, and a plethora of other serious violations (you guessed it, yet another story Herky tells in his talks!), Herky went into private practice as a therapist and started his company Foothills Youth & Family Services Inc. (FYFS)
From therapy to consulting to career development to obtaining a Bachelor of Education degree, a Master’s degree in Human Resources focusing on Organizational Development, and certification as a Career Development Professional and Professional Speaker, Herky has developed numerous programs and projects helping youth and organizations become more fit.
Herky focuses on Organizational Fitness, Organizational Development, Issues in the Workplace and Career Development. Herky says…
“I bring a wealth of experience to the table with a background in business, education, and career development. From my work with at-risk youth to my work with at-risk organizations, I have learned that ‘fitting in” is not necessarily a good thing, nor is being a “misfit’ a bad one. Organizational ‘fitness’ has less to do with people ‘fitting in’ and maintaining the status quo, and more to do with them developing skills and attitudes that move the organization forward.”