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Changing the Lense of the Education System

Hi Everyone! My name is Leyla and I am a Grade 11 Student at St. Robert Catholic Highschool. Today I had the pleasure to attend the Illuminate x North York Regional Conference. Here is my blog which strives to highlight what I learned about different topics including planning for the future and the importance of lifelong learning.


"The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not a bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly." - Jim Rohn


The first keynote speaker was Dan Kiernan, a Careers Coach at Oxford Saïd Business School. Throughout the many eye opening tips he gave regarding pursuing a career in the future, it truly caught me off guard when he mentioned that it is completely natural to switch careers. Personally, I have always struggled with taking risks and making drastic changes regarding my life, and so the idea of studying for years for one career, then switching to another absolutely strikes fear in me. Even so, Mr. Kiernan's tip has helped me live more comfortably knowing that freedom still exists, and that there will always be options open catered to your interests.


Dan Kiernan's workshop consisted of posing an elevator pitch to 2 other participants in the conference. In my breakout room, my partners coincidentally both had interests in the computer science field, and were able to converse comfortably with eachother. This allowed to me realize the importance of networking and creating relationships with those of similar interests.


The second workshop, the Lifelong Learning Case Study, centered around creating a solution to promote lifelong learning in the current education system. Teams were provided articles and statistics to help show the current issues students are facing, allowing us to begin creating solutions. Although a large portion of the time was spent in panic and rushing to type things out, my team was able to pull through and create a plan of action which centers around the idea of pinpointing students' interests early on in highschool. By doing this, students are able to focus on what is required to learn for their desired career path, and also gain hands on experience without having to commit to said pathway. Although we didn't win, my team had an amazing time during the challenge and truly enjoyed listening to the other teams' solutions.


This is my team:

Top Row (left to right): Amanda, Yolanda, Leyla

Bottom Row (left to right): Angela, Nicholas

The second keynote speaker was Swish Goswami, the CEO of Trufan, a social intelligence platform helping brands make smarter marketing choices. While giving insight into how his life as a CEO differs to other CEOs, the one true takeaway I learned was that it is okay to celebrate the small victories, and to focus on the smaller aspects of life. He mentioned how he celebrates small wins with his team, which ultimately promotes positivity, motivation, and an overall brighter atmosphere. This truly changed my scope of life and caused me to rethink the way I create my goals.


I consider myself an entrepreneur in the way that I always strive to meet new people and create relationships with those around me. If I were to create a business and I only had $5 in my pocket, I would create a business that centers around a product that would take time rather than resources to create/find. This way, there would be a steady flow of income before expenses would be necessary.


One thing I am very passionate about is improvement. After attending Illuminate x North York, I look forward to learning how to become a better person, teammate, and leader for those around me.


If I could share one piece of advice abut leadership, I would say that life will always be changing, and that should not be something to fear. As we grow older, we also grow in maturity, which changes our mindset and scope on life. Rather than rejecting these changes, we should accept them and learn from them, as they will ultimately help us become better leaders for those who need us.