My Day at NHLC!

Updated: Nov 24, 2020

Hi my name is Jennifer Doodnauth and I am a grade 12 student at Chinguacousy Secondary School. I am currently attending the Illuminate National High School Leadership Conference with a lot of other students aspiring to become leaders like me. In this blog I will be going over the key topics I have learned and everything I have learned about leadership through this conference. These include topics such as finance, collaboration and entrepreneurship.


My Favourite Leadership Quote: “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” – Peter F. Drucker


To start of the conference we began with a keynote from Iliana Oris Valiente, Managing Director at Accenture Canada for Innovation Strategy and Block Chain. She was very inspiring as she talked about her story. She has gone through many different career pathway changes throughout her life and ended up getting her CPA designation. Her story taught me a lot about leadership and what being a leader means. Iliana believes that the most important traits of a good leader are resiliency and flexibility. When it comes to the definition of a leader she stated that the definition has changed over time and it is no longer constricting. Leaders can be anyone as long they have empathy and can embrace their human side. The best piece of advice I learned from Iliana is that we can never go wrong if we are following our interests.


Next we had a CPA Ontario pitch workshop. Unfortunately Jodi who was suppose to present was unable to due to personal issues. Instead Aliyana told us the story of how she became \n intern for Deloitte and how her career has evolved. She started of by telling us about her biggest failure which was failing a class in university and how she overcame the obstacles and was still able to succeed in the end. This was inspiring because event though there were times where she thought her career was over, she pulled through and persevered in the end to make it out on top. This story spoke to me because since I am going to university soon it is good to know that even if things do not go as planned they will work out in the end.


After that we had another workshop from Concentra all about understanding the world of finance. In this session I learned a lot of finances and investments. Some of my key takeaways were that a dollar today is worth more than dollar in the future. I also learned about the different investment options and the risk and rewards that come with them. I learned about entrepreneurship and what makes a good business. All of these notes taught me that there is a lot that goes into running a business and it all starts with finances. I learned that if you start young you can earn a lot of money for the future.


Next we finished off with a keynote about leadership and careers from Carmen Wade. This keynote was very helpful as it taught some very good life lessons that I will take with me throughout life. She believed that a good leader knows when to stand out and when to follow others. They also visibly aware of bias and express humility and empathy. Her six life lessons were:


- It’s not enough to believe you are unbiased. You have to reach out and actively include

- You cannot always rely on her to include you. Sometimes you have to help yourself and assert yourself

- It’s okay to ask for help

- Don’t make assumptions - assumptions lead to walls and barriers

- It takes time

- Never underestimate the value of trust

These lessons are very important as they can be applied to anything in life and they are good reminders to have when doing business.


I consider myself an entrepreneur in the sense that I am a leader. I have the skills and abilities to actively lead a team and I know now what it takes to be successful in the business world. If I were to create a business with only $5 I would create a service business and invest in something I can do for others. This would be beneficial to everyone and would be easy to get new ideas and come up with something innovative. My entrepreneurial skills will help me in the future because I plan on going into the business field and maybe one day open my own business. These skills will help me through university and in the workplace too.


To close the one thing I am most passionate about and will take into next year is the leadership skills I have developed through the NHLC. This will help me going into next year in university because I will stand out from all the other students. The one piece of advice I would give to others is that everyone can be a leader and everyone can be a follower but its your decision on what you choose to be.




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