Updated: Nov 23, 2020
Hi everyone! My name is Dhara, and I'm a grade 12 student at Chinguacousy Secondary School. Today, I had the pleasure to attend the Illuminate National High School Leadership Conference with over 170 students globally. Here is my blog which strives to highlight what I learned about entrepreneurship, smart investment choices, and the importance of inclusive leadership!
"Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality" - Warren Bennis
CPA Ontario Keynote
A great way to start the morning, Illiana Oris Valiente, a Managing Director at Accenture Canada for Innovation Strategy and Block Chain, spoke about her interesting life and career changes and the essential traits a leader has. It was interesting to learn that she had many career pathway changes throughout her life, and that she believes that we cannot go wrong if we follow our interests. This is something that stuck with me throughout her presentation, as it encouraged me to pursue my passions rather than what others expect me to do. I also enjoyed learning about how the character attributes of resiliency and flexibility are traits she uses on a everyday basis, and how they are actually two of the most crucial traits a leader has to have. This resonated with me as I agree with what she said, we have to be resilient to what we face, and flexible to accommodate inevitable changes.
CPA Ontario Pitch Workshop
Although Jodi was unfortunately unable to present, it was interesting to hear about Alina's personal story to how she got to where she is. It was inspiring to learn how she overcame the challenges that were on her path, and how she did it with perseverance and passion! Her personal story truly promoted the message of how one setback should not dictate your life, and how we should use these setbacks to actually make our purpose shine even brighter. Learning that vulnerability is actually your edge truly impacted me deeply, and I definitely want to ensure that I use challenges in my path to demonstrate my passions in the future.
The World of Finance
An essential takeaway I took from this presentation was that a dollar today is worth more than a dollar in the future. To be the most successful when it comes to investing, you have to know your ability to invest, and come up with the best plan that suits your preferences. I also enjoyed learning about how there is a lot of power in compound interest, and how if you start early, you can gain good rewards in the future. This inspired me to start looking at my options, and prompted me to think about how I want to invest in the future, as well. I also liked how Chirag mentioned that there is a difference between gambling and investing, and this stuck with me throughout the presentation. He said that if you know you do not need that money for another 10 years, you should invest in stock because of it's risky nature. If you need the money in 6 months, it is recommended not to invest in stocks but something of lower risk. This was an interesting note, which I will remember even after today!
I loved how it was said that being a good leader depends on knowing when to stand out, and when to follow. I also liked how it was mentioned that the importance of being a good inclusive leader, by being aware of bias and expressing humility and empathy! The racecar analogy was very intriguing, and prompted me to remember these six key takeaways:
It’s not enough to believe you are unbiased. You have to reach out and actively include
You cannot always rely on her to include you. Sometimes you have to help yourself and assert yourself
It’s okay to ask for help
Don’t make assumptions - assumptions lead to walls and barriers
It takes time
Never underestimate the value of trust
Entrepreneurship and Leadership Know No Boundaries
I consider myself to be an entrepreneur in the ways that I know how to take calculated risks because of my effective decision-making skills. I understand the importance of weighing all options, consulting others, and being confident in my choices, and these are all necessary to be an entrepreneur. You must also be bold and creative, and I would like to believe that I posses these qualities. With $5, I would invest my money in an investment opportunity that may be a little risky, but would guarantee good returns over a prolonged period of time. I would take a risk in which all my options have been weighed, and the one in that was in the middle of risky and too safe would be my course of action, as it would guarantee a higher reward, while still not throwing all of my funds out. To apply an entrepreneural mindset in the future, I would continue to make well calculated risks that would broaden my outcomes, while remaining confident in my decisions.
Next year, I look forward to meeting new people at my prospective university, and exploring the real world outside of my hometown. I am excited to step outside of my comfort zone and take part in many new adventures - ones that include smart investing and being an inclusive leader!
I would share with my friends that it is important to be an inclusive leader, as you do not know what others have been through. You should not make assumptions based on certain stereotypes, and this is something that everyone should apply in their own lives.