Leadership Development through NHLC 2020

Updated: Nov 22, 2020

Hi Everyone! I’m Caleara, I’m a grade 11 student in Vietnam (which is 12 hours ahead from Toronto). 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 different topics including collaboration, leadership, and entrepreneurship


“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way” - John C.Maxwell


I was really impressed with all the valuable information and advice given from workshops and keynote speakers from Deloitte, Concentra and CPA Ontario.

In the morning keynote from CPA, I was really amazed of her career path in how she got from an undergraduate student which are not really confident of becoming a leader, to enrolling in the CPA program, which gave her a lot of valuable lessons and experience in helping her develop her reputation and finally opening her own company. She mentioned the two really important skills for leaders that are resilient and flexible - which is a key takeaway for me. And she also mentioned the important of following what you love - “You won’t go wrong if you follow your interest”


The second Deloitte workshop given by Alan was a different perspective of looking at leadership for me and it helps me understand more about how a leader should think and act. He mentioned the saboteurs and sage mode of a leader and a guide on how we can improve our leadership from changing to sage mode and also the Saboteurs test that we can take to better understand our current leadership. The key thing I take away is that “Every outcome or circumstance can be turned into a gift or opportunity” as you encounter the problem with sage mode.





In the third workshop from CPA Laveen, I get to understand more about the CPA designation, its benefits and how it can further help us in our career path. This really influences me in thinking of taking the CPA designation instead of a master degree, as it gives you more valuable in-depth skills and learning about the field. He also mentioned the average compensation of a CPA worldwide and the path of becoming a CPA.




In the last keynotes from Carmen, she talks about 6 different lessons she get out from her son cart race, which are:

  1. It is not enough to believe you are unbiased. You have to reach out and actively include

  2. You cannot always rely on others to include you - sometimes you have to help yourself and assert yourself

  3. It's okay to ask for help!

  4. Don’t make assumptions

  5. It takes time

  6. Never underestimate the value of trust




Through the National High School Leader Conference and especially the two cases competition, I got to develop more areas of knowledge in entrepreneurship that I have never known before, and especially challenge my entrepreneurship mindset in developing solution for the given problems.


I have participated in this conference twice, and this proves why I’m still coming back as it gives me experience that can hardly be found in a business classroom and that provides me with useful skills for a future career!


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