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A step closer to achieving my goals

Hi everyone! My name is Allyson Amike and I am a Grade 9 student currently attending Alexander Mackenzie Highschool. Yesterday I was fortunate enough to have been given the chance to attend the Illuminate x North York Regional Conference. My blog aims to highlight what I’ve learned about collaboration, executive thinking, entrepreneurship, and choosing careers.


“Do not go where the path may lead Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Keynote from Dan Kiernan


We were given the pleasure of listening to Dan Kiernan, a Career Coach at Oxford Saïd Business School. Dan Kiernan’s keynote on finding and choosing the best career path that is right for you was very beneficial to me. He advised us to forget about the falsehood of “follow your dreams and passions” because what often happens is that our passions change, which is why we were taught 3 key and very effective steps to finding the right career for ourselves,

  1. Reflect

  2. Discover

  3. Activate

He made it a point to further explain that we must keep in mind that we should base our choices on evidence of when our strengths that are required for the job that we are interested in have been demonstrated. I was so hung up about finding "my passion" I never bothered to explore any one option in detail. His advice has now gotten me seriously thinking about what my strengths are and what would be the best option for me.


Workshop #1 - An Elevator Pitch


In the first workshop, we were advised on how to create and execute an effective elevator pitch. So that it was structured in a way that exerts confidence and professionalism. He outlined the steps or tips for this:

  1. Context

  2. Credibility

  3. Call to action

To test out our learning we were told to introduce ourselves to others in a breakout room. The workshops demonstrated that by using these three steps I was capable of creating an effective pitch that flowed naturally and was concise. This will be beneficial if and when I might get the chance to introduce myself to any future employers, clients, or colleagues.


Workshop #2 - A Case Study


The second workshop that I participated in was a case study challenge. Even though the time crunch made it stressful I still had a decent time. My teammates and I were able to collaborate well and in a way that allowed for the work to go relatively smoothly. Through this, I learned how important time management, teamwork, and proper work distribution are to complete a big task on time and to the best of one's capabilities. I also learned about the many issues in our education system that are not really spoken about very much. The case study, through testimonies, reports, and graphs highlighted how the modern education systems are mainly focused on marks rather than learning and the developming into a lifelong learner; which is a large issue in our society.


Here are me and my teammates during our preparation time!


Keynote from Swish Goswami


Swish Goswami was very insightful. I learned that I should try to talk to people who have done it and gain insight from those with experience. This would be beneficial to allow me to gain a realistic perspective of the career path or industry that I am interested in, and what it would take to get that there. Networking and connections which are very important can also be gained just through talking and interviewing experienced industry professionals.


I consider myself an entrepreneur in the sense that I have various passions, skills, and interests; and would like to apply them to a project that would strive to help people and provide further advancement in our quality of life. If I had $5 in my pocket I would start investing it in a business of low cost like a lemonade stand. I can apply the entrepreneurial mindset in all that I do by sharing my ideas with my colleagues, setting goals for myself, uplifting other people and helping them to achieve their goals.


The most important thing I learned at NHLC is that I need to choose a career that I enjoy doing but also have the necessary skill set to do. To find out if I am fit, I need to form connections with industry professionals to gain some more insight and experience into the career I am interested in. I would need to evaluate my strengths, see what drives me and what I am interested in because as Dan said its “Evidence not assertions, Evidence not assumptions.”


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