Hi Everyone! My name is Esther and I am a Grade 11 student at Victoria Park CI. 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 topics executive thinking, management, and finance.
"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader" -John Quincy Adams
We began NHLC with an opening keynote from Iliana Oris Valiente, the Managing Director at Accenture Canada for Innovation Strategy and Block Chain. As she introduced herself, I assumed that she had a clear pathway in business, then achieved her position. I was surprised to find, that like me, she also struggled to choose the right career pathway. I found her ability to accept change very inspiring, especially as someone who soon has to choose their future career as well. In addition, she really exemplified how leaders don't come in a set box, and how flexible the term "leader" really is.
Next, my team and I joined the CPA pitch workshop. Although Jodi, who was originally supposed to present, was able to join, we had the opportunity to listen to Illuminate Universe's founder, Alina's story. This was one of my favourite parts of the conference, as I found her success from failure truly inspiring. She showed me how to use all failures as opportunities to succeed.
My next workshop was from Concentra to help understand the world of finance. I found their topics about investment and the time value of money truly interesting and made me think of what I could do now as a student with my money, and how I can properly manage it in the future.
We finally finished off with a keynote about leadership and careers from Carmen Wade. In all honesty, I was expecting another speech about her career in business and how she got to her position. I was pleasantly surprised to instead hear her story about working as a mechanic with racing, and the life lessons she took away from her work. My key takeaway was why it was necessary to really consider bias and express humility and empathy in your work.
After learning more about entrepreneurship and leadership, I consider myself an entrepreneur in a leadership sense. I have the skills to lead and team and produce a great product/solution, even with only 1 hour on the clock. Even with only $5 in my pocket, I would likely create a digital business where I can use my skills at no cost. As I want to go into a career that requires me to constantly interact with others, I can definitely use the entrepreneurial mindset to communicate with others and find opportunities.
I'm very passionate about equity in business, and I'm looking forward to meeting new speakers and hearing their experiences in future conferences! To all my readers, leadership is truly in your ability to inspire and value everyone in your team.