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"Tapping into my Potential with Illuminate Universe" - Richard Duong


Hello everyone, my name is Richard Duong, a 16-year-old national lead and intern at Illuminate Universe. Before becoming a part of Illuminate, I really didn’t know what I wanted to pursue. In Grade 10, I mostly joined all sorts of interesting extra-curricular activities. I would attend my school’s STEM Club, Model UN, Student Council, Computer Club, etc. But out of them, the ones that I was most attracted to were in the fields of business and finance. So I started cultivating my passion for business when I started joining my school’s business-related clubs. I joined my school’s DECA, Target Alpha, FBLA, etc., and meet all of these amazing people. However, what really empowered my potential was when I joined Illuminate Universe as an academy student.


I felt as an Illuminate Academy student and national lead, I was able to truly tap into my potential. I took new opportunities, network with like-minded high-school youth across Canada, and was given the incredible opportunity to host my own conference. Throughout this conference-making process of the Entrepreneur Financial Tech Conference or better known as EFTC 2023, I worked closely with other national leads and regional leads to develop the scope and aim for the conference which in this case was about empowering entrepreneurship, finance, and technology within high-school youth. Perhaps the biggest challenge with the development of the conference was creating a more streamlined team. Since we could only organize meetings virtually as many of the regional and national leads were in different cities across the GTA, it was definitely hard to overcome. Despite all of that, we were still able to host an amazing conference with more than 30 attendees coming.


And during the conference-building process, I was able to leverage my interpersonal and management skills to connect with fellow regional and national leads to accomplish team deliverables. However, I also felt I was too much of a perfectionist, focusing a little too much on each detail. I also felt I had trouble saying no to regional leads so that meant we sometimes would have to complete team deliverables last minute. However, after this conference, I have a better grasp on being a better manager and leader who can maximize productivity among people. In the future, when I am taking on new challenges that involve leadership, I will take what I learned from Illuminate and apply them there.


Out of the many leaders in the world of business, I feel like Warren Buffet has impacted me the most. Growing up, I have always been interested in the stock market. So I researched about it a lot, like what stocks to invest in, which mutual funds and index funds are hot right now, etc. But what really cultivated my passion for it, even more, was Warren Buffet and his advice for mitigating risk in the stock market. Along with extracurricular at school, Warren Buffet helped me develop my love for business and finance.


But most importantly, I want to thank Illuminate Universe for tapping into my potential. Through this awesome non-profit, I was able to see what I could do with myself. I could network with other people, I could lead other people, I could host my own conference with other people. I could see myself as someone of a crowd empowered by Illuminate’s mission of bringing business education to all high-school across Canada.


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