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Illuminate x Durham Speaker's Time: An Astounding Experience!

Hi everyone! My name is Ioana Paun and I am a Grade 10 student at Sir Wilfrid Laurier CI. Last week, I had the pleasure to attend Illuminate x Markham’s regional conference where I was lucky to learn about leadership and maintaining a healthy mindset in tough situations. Here are my thoughts highlighting what I learned from the founder of Illuminate Universe, Alina Huang.


Through this event, I learnt many things from Alina Huang. When she shared her founding story of Illuminate Universe, her enthusiasm and determination to create this organization really inspired me as it showcased the idea that hard work truly does lead to success. I loved hearing about her successes like how she recently authored an industry paper with Google and Deloitte that was sold for more than $1 Million CAD.

In order to become a successful leader, you have to be dedicated, driven and with a positive mindset. Alina Huang mentioned how impactful a poor mindset can affect motivation in your work. She explained that there are two mindsets: sage or saboteur. Having a sage mindset means positively looking at tasks with enthusiasm. In contradictory, a saboteur mindset would make you feel stupid and overall incapable. The way we approach a problem will determine how successful the outcome will be. I learned that no matter the challenge if you look at it with the determination and willingness of “ I CAN do this” then everything would go smoothly. It is compelling to always keep your head high and push yourself to exceed your potential. With that, Alina helped me realize how crucial it is to maintain a positive attitude for our well-being.


What I enjoyed most in the session was the opportunity to discuss with other people and create a business proposal based on only two pictures. Distributing my ideas to my group members with a sage mindset, allowing for my creativity to unleash and meeting new people all lead up to an amazing experience. My major takeaway from Alina’s presentation was to reach my fullest potential to display my strengths in a flourishing and positive manner. To sum it up, this session was an incredible learning experience!