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Illuminate and Lifelong Learning

Hi Everyone! My name is Bridgette and I am a Grade 10 student at Alexander Mackenzie Secondary School. Yesterday, 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 collaboration, entrepreneurship and executive thinking!

"Leadership and learning are incoherent to each other." - John F. Kennedy

I personally love this quote because it emphasizes the correlation between leadership and learning, and it in some way contrasts a common misconception I had about leadership - that leaders are naturally born. Instead of pushing the idea that leaders are "cut in stone" and that only certain people have the ability to be leaders, the quote inspires me to continuously push myself out of my comfort zone. In some sense it inspires me to keep putting myself out there, as it relays the message that by assuming a leadership position, I could learn something new about leadership or and even about myself!


Workshop #1 (Dan Kiernan) :

My key takeaways...

  • “Don’t take your career so seriously”

  • "Don't follow your passion"

    • Meaning, explore other options and keep your mind open

  • How to introduce yourself

  1. Make the other person comfortable

  2. Establish something about yourself

  3. End off with a conversation leader

*context, credibility, call to action*

3 Step Framework

  • Reflect

    • Collect evidence and get outside opinions on your strengths, weaknesses and motivations

  • Explore

    • Explore key paths based on your reflection (talk to people in the industries you’re interested in

  • Activate

    • Use the gathered info to shape yourself as a candidate (emphasize what employers are looking for)

Above: Oxford business coach Dan Kiernan teaching students about introductions


Workshop #2 (Swish Goswami Q&A) :

My key takeaways...

  • Try to talk to people in your career path that have already DONE IT

  • Use/exploit your competitive advantage

    • Why are you best suited for this role?

    • What makes you stand out from other potential candidates?

    • Utilize any potential competitive advantages to your full advantage

  • The path to success may be unorthodox (e.g. dropping out of college to pursue entrepreneurship)

  • "I don't even know if I'm prepared right now quite honestly"

Above: Swish Goswami answering student questions!


Final Conclusions...

If someone were to tell me that I'd voluntarily sign myself up for a conference dedicated and centered around leadership, lifelong learning, and career paths, I would never in a thousand years believe that person. However, by attending the Illuminate x North York Lifelong Learning conference, my past perception has completely changed! Not only have I proven to myself that I can put myself out there and push myself out of my comfort zone, but I've realized that I love networking with others, collaboratively working with my peers, and attending workshops given by speakers with experience and insight.

I've never been the most outgoing or extroverted person, but with the encouragement from the other attendees, the regional managers, and Alina, I was comfortably able to share my ideas, ask questions, and participate in open discussions. This opportunity was amazing, insightful, informative, and not to mention, fun, and if I could share one piece of advice about leadership after NHLC, I would say don't be afraid to put yourself out there, who knows, you might actually discover something new about yourself :D

See you next year Illuminate!


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