Greatness in Leadership Conference 2018

 IME students representing the University as Student Ambassadors for the day. 

IME students representing the University as Student Ambassadors for the day. 

In the midst of planning our No Horsin' Around Culinary Cook-Off, a few of us IME students were able to take a day off to attend the Greatness in Leadership Conference at the Enmax center this past Thursday. This years theme for the conference was "Discovering Greatness" and showcased a number of incredible speakers who exemplified exactly that. 

The day started off with a speech from Darci Lang presenting her message of focusing on the 90%, AKA focusing on the positives and building a happier life by doing so. Darci spoke to how no one's life is perfect and that we all face various trials and tribulations, but reminded us that we can't let our adversities define us or our lives. One of the main lessons I took away from the day was her idea of complaining about an issue three times at most and then "laying that sucker out," meaning if after three times of complaining about some situation, if it still hasn't changed, then do something about it. Don't keep focusing on the negatives, the 10%, but rather do something about it and turn the situation around. It's a lesson I've already been applying to my own life, and I have to say, in even just under a week I've started to notice a difference. Not only do I feel less stressed and negative about situations, but I've noticed the effect it has on my relationships, another result Darci said to look forward to. The happier you are and the more you focus on the 90%, the more the people around you do as well, and the happier and more positive your professional and personal relationships are. 

The next speaker of the day was Steve Carlisle, the president and managing director of General Motors of Canada. His story of starting his career off as an industrial engineering co-op student and working his way up to his current position was both interesting and inspiring. He presented any ideas on the importance of innovation and the future of technology, and left listeners with the main message that determination is really the key to success. 

Lunch was, of course, delicious and I was lucky enough to be sitting at a table with Lethbridge Iron Works, who coincidentally is one of our major sponsors for our IME fundraiser! I was able to thank them for their generosity as well as learn more about the company that's been in Lethbridge for 120 years!

After lunch and a little bit of networking we heard from Catriona Le May Doan, a two time Olympic gold medalist. Her speech looked at "leadership with a purpose." Her perspective was that great leadership is doing what it takes to help others reach their full potential. She spoke about a couple different ways we can do this and used her own personal experiences as both an Olympic athlete and as the lead athlete mentor for these past 2018 Winter Olympic Games. The first method she spoke to was leading from the front and paving the way for others, something she did when she became the first Canadian Olympic athlete to defend a medal at the Olympics. The second leadership method she spoke to was guiding from the back as a mentor, and supporting those you are leading. One of the main messages that I took away from her speech was that leadership is a commitment to both ourselves and to others to do more than we thought possible and to help others find success in their lives. 

The next speaker of the day was Connie Podesta, and although I'm pretty biased I thought her talk on leadership and creating a culture of accountability, and closing deals more effectively was the highlight of the afternoon. Now I say I'm biased towards Connie's speech as very close to the beginning of it I was called up out of the audience to join her on stage for a portion of her presentation. It was an exhilarating, albeit incredibly nerve-wracking, experience to be up in front of that many people, but it was an experience I will never forget. At the end of it Connie presented me with her watch and sent me to enjoy the rest of her speech, which was still incredibly enjoyable as she combined her history in comedy and therapy to make her points. Following her presentation Connie found me in the audience and gave me a hug, thanking me, and telling me to never forget that I am the future of leadership and innovation. It truly was an amazing experience.

Following a break to network and eat more incredible food, it was time for the days main event: the keynote speaker Dr. .Robert D.. Ballard, the man who found the titanic, and other significant shipwrecks. His story of being a young child wanting to be "Captain Nemo" and the journey he went on to become one of the most distinguished discoverers in the world was fascinating. In addition to finding the titanic (when he was actually supposed to be on a top-secret government mission retrieving nuclear weapons from sunken Cold War submarines, using the titanic search as a cover story) he played a key role in developing telecommunications technology which has changed the world of undersea exploration. Dr. Ballard told many stories of his discoveries and how he has led numerous teams in making some of the biggest undersea discoveries. He truly did exemplify the days theme of discovering greatness. 

Over all the entire day was really enjoyable, and I am so glad I had the opportunity to attend the event. I left having met a number of wonderful, hard-working, intelligent people. and learned so many lessons that will help me prosper, not only in the business world, but in my own personal endeavors as well. Plus I got a new watch too, so now I'll always knowwhat time it is!