Good question and one we were asked at the Beyond Borders Leadership Development program offered to grade 12 students at the Upper Grand District School Board in Guelph.
This semester these students have been participating in this alternative, four-credit program, learning about all aspects of leadership, business, world issues and data management/advanced functions.
I was attending their Women in Leadership event along with around 15 other women who have leadership roles in what they do.
Now this was an impressive group of students, male and female but mainly female, who have been studying the topic of leadership, and through this experiential learning experience, developing their own leadership skills.
Several of the female students had done their research and gave speeches on different aspects of gender equality, both here and in developing countries. One student even read a poem she had written! Talk about impressive.
Divided into four houses (teams), based on Harry Potter, the students have also been competing, in a friendly way of course, throughout the program and at this event, they had to provide the lunch for all of us and we got to vote on which meal was best.
And they have been on trips – to Camp Tawingo, New York, Toronto and Blue Mountain, all with the purpose of broadening their experiences and building a strong cohesive culture within the group.
As a final test at the end of the semester students must execute a charity event only six weeks. The event is hosted at the local theatre and raised considerable funds in the past.
What an amazing experience for the students who have to apply to be in the program and for whom, I suspect, will find it hard to settle back into the normal classroom afterwards. It seems a pity that more opportunities like this are not available within the educational system, and with funding cuts, who knows what will happen with this program.
For our part, we each had to introduce ourselves, talk a bit about our careers and share one nugget of advice. Then, like speed-networking, the students got to talk to several of us on an individual or small group basis, and that is when we got asked all sorts of questions, like the leadership one.
I am sure you are waiting with bated breath to hear what our answers were – listening, empathy, collaboration, being open-minded, problem solving, involving others in the decision-making, taking an interest in people beyond work, life long learners, big picture thinking, allowing people to grow and learn, visionary and more.
What would you add?
Company of Women
I have had an eclectic career from running non-profit organizations and being editor of a national magazine, to working for government on women’s issues. In 2003 I launched Company of Women, an organization that supports women in business. A prolific blogger, I also write for the Huffington Post, and several other online publications. I am the author of five books on women and entrepreneurship, and co-author of Good Enough. Embrace who you are. Unleash your brilliance. which is available on amazon.ca In June, 2016 I launched Full Circle Publishing offering one-stop services to get your words out into the world.