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What Real Social Entrepreneurs Look Like (Illuminate x Markham: Reflection Blog)

Hi everyone! I hope everyone enjoyed the 2021 Illuminate x Markham Conference. My name is Mays Abusaifan and I am a Grade 12 student at L’Amoreaux Collegiate Institute. On April 10th, 2021, I had the pleasure to attend Illuminate x Markham’s regional conference. Here are my thoughts highlighting what I learned about social entrepreneurship.

Openness is Key

In terms of social entrepreneurship, I learnt that academic qualifications don’t define me. If I truly have a passion for change and am willing to work for it, I must put myself out there. Whether that be taking up community opportunities, such as this conference, or reaching out to others through LinkedIn. Surrounding myself with like-minded people and working towards actualizing my ideas is what social entrepreneurship is all about.

Christal and Chowdhury; Inspiring the Business World

The two workshops led by Christal Wang and Mash Chowdhury were more than keynotes. They were the push I needed.

Pictured: concepts to consider when referring to the Theory of Change.

When Christal spoke about the theory of change, it enabled me to come to a much-needed conclusion. For context, I’ve always been scared to partake in social and business ventures because I believed I would contribute to climate change. Manufacturing products releases damaging carbon emissions, while maintaining an online business produces e-waste. Even selling eco-friendly products, such as skin care products or clothes, is tainted through packaging and shipping corruption. I was initially riddled with anxiety regarding my indirect climate impact. However, with Christal’s discussion on the Theory of Change and how to make ethical goals, I feel more encouraged to pursue my plans.

Pictured: Mashruf Chowdhury’s information and interests.

As for Mash’s presentation on Cyber Security Risk Management, it opened a door that I never even knew existed. With an interest in STEM, specifically computer science, it is nice to know that not all STEM jobs require excessive technical abilities and application methods. Something as social and impactful as consulting can use learnt-abilities to educate others and create a safe community.

We Live and We Learn

I learnt many lessons from this conference and am excited to implement them in my day-to-day life. After today, I understand that my choices as a high school student are not binding; there is much room for change. For example, Christal spoke about how she started consulting at RBC, yet ended up working in a castle in Rome. It calms my nerves knowing that there are no career decisions I can make at this age that will impair my career. I would like to thank the regional leads and Illuminate Universe for making this possible. I will take this information to heart and implement it in my future ventures.

Pictured: My group (Group 15) working on the 2nd Case Study!


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