Carol Ann Fried as herself, and as Groucho Marx. Fried presents the program Laughing Matters at the May 28 Jewish Seniors Alliance Spring Forum. (photos from Carol Ann Fried)
Carol Ann Fried helps people find their “joy spot.” When she brings her interactive presentation to the Jewish Seniors Alliance Spring Forum May 28, she promises: “My goal is it’s going to be the most fun meeting they’ve ever attended.”
Fried is a Halifax-raised, Montreal-educated, Vancouver woman whose Friedom Training and Coaching Services include keynote speeches, workshops and meeting facilitation. She is also chief executive officer of Playfair Canada, which offers noncompetitive adult play experiences, especially to first-year students on Canadian campuses.
The joy spot is found in many ways, but it always involves connecting people with one another, she told the Independent.
“I do it by getting people to interact in creative and fun ways, toward some kind of end, if it’s a theme or team-building or fun at work or fun at home,” she said. “This can happen in various ways, but the way I do it is to get people up moving, usually, interacting with each other, talking with each other, doing some kind of activity.”
Typically, she does this with businesses, organizations and teams. In her program with the Jewish Seniors Alliance, laughter will be a core objective.
While members of the JSA may be longtime friends or acquaintances, Fried promises that, by attending her program, “They are going to get to know each other in new ways. They are going to make new connections, they are going to laugh. There will be laughter.”
After growing up in Halifax and studying at Dalhousie University, Fried got a master’s degree in counseling at McGill University in Montreal and eventually made her way west. She has served on the board of Or Shalom synagogue and is currently the chair of the membership committee.
If she has one piece of advice for people – attending her program or not – it is “Be courageous.”
That can mean something as simple as being willing to play.
“In our world, people somehow have the idea that play is for children and that we have to get serious when we get taller,” Fried said. “The idea of it is pooh-poohed by a lot of people. But my work is about getting them to do it before I tell them what they’re going to do.”
In corporate settings, she calls this “Managing to have fun.”
“I love jazzing up meetings,” she said.
Fried also has an affinity for doing programs with food.
“You can do a lot of things around food – Jewish people and food,” she said. “You can have a bag and in the bag are a variety of implements that are anything but cutlery. One of them could be the egg beater, the carrot peeler, a salt spoon, the things that you find in that drawer where you throw everything. People pull a ribbon and they have to eat their whole meal with that one thing. There are no forks, knives or spoons in there. It’s super-fun and it would be great for one of these family meals where you’re worried about how people are going to get along.”
Another idea is a “backwards meal” – spoiler alert: it’s eating dessert first.
“I really believe that shared laughter and play are essential to a healthy lifestyle,” said Fried. “When we are playful, all sorts of good things happen in our body, all those horrible hormones decrease and all the good ones increase. It affects morale, it affects creativity, all very positively. They’re going to experience each other in different ways than they otherwise would or that they are used to or that they have at other times.”
JSA’s Spring Forum takes place May 28, 2 p.m., at the Peretz Centre. Fried’s program is titled Laughing Matters. Call 604-732-1555 or email [email protected] for more information.