Sean Pihl, Pihl Law Corporation
Giving Back to the Community
Sean Pihl is proud of the community-minded team at Pihl Law Corporation. He points to the influence of both a former school counsellor and his wife (also a lawyer at Pihl Law) in upholding the value of giving back to the community. His extensive volunteer background stands as an example for many. Sean remarks that, “What I’ve learned from many years of volunteering and non-profit work is that it’s really a big part of bringing you joy in your day and meaning in your life.”
Several years ago he became acquainted with the executive staff at BrainTrust and readily agreed to become a corporate sponsor. His legal practice in the area of personal injury has made him aware that traumatic brain injury is very misunderstood. Sean speaks appreciatively of BrainTrust’s move to providing more brain injury education, and describes three key reasons why it's needed.
First, there is the stigma. He talks about the human tendency to pull away from people who have a brain injury, rather than offer support or seek understanding. This increases the suffering of the affected individual because of the social isolation it creates and how it compounds the feeling of being ‘different’.
Second, he sees prevention education for youth as essential. As a father of two teenage boys, he is concerned about the number of teens who take risks they ought not to, and the tragic consequences that can occur. “You’re running into teens that are bragging about the fact that they’ve had three concussions from skateboarding, not realizing that could have such an amazingly poor impact on their future – emotional well-being, jobs, and everything else. Education is critical in that regard.”
Third, Sean believes a better understanding of what brain injury is will lead to it being diagnosed more readily and people becoming more comfortable with accepting the diagnosis. This includes advancing the understanding that concussion is a mild brain injury.
Sean speaks about the positive, warm, and inviting environment that has been created at BrainTrust, and values the time that has been put into finding the right people to work in the organization. His experience with clients with brain injury has also shown him the benefits that BrainTrust offers. Individuals with brain injury receive validation, tools, and assistance in managing the social safety net, helping them navigate everything from housing to funding and medical care. He notes that while support may be available, “if you don’t know how to find it or manage it, it’s inaccessible.” He’s also seen families of those with brain injury find much-needed understanding, direction, and support at BrainTrust.
Sean’s belief in developing a socially conscious community runs deep. He suggests we would all be better-served by letting go of meaningless distractions (such as social media) and instead taking time in our day to learn more about the community in which we live. “Go on the webpage for BrainTrust and read about what they’re doing…learn about the Pihl Paddle for Prevention…if you need a distraction, be distracted by learning about our community and what’s going on and what we’re doing, and you’ll start feeling very engaged with it.”
We live in an era where time can feel too short and authentic connections can be too few. Both Sean's example and advice stand as reminders to reflect on the choices we make that will add meaning and joy to our own lives.