TRU hosts leadership conference to encourage aspiring student leaders

Workshops featuring representatives from TRU and local community offered students unique takes on leadership

Leadership skills are required in many post-secondary fields after graduation. (Paul Downey/Flickr)

Developing leadership skills and qualities are a great way to gain an edge in an increasingly competitive job market.  In this light, TRU held a leadership conference on Sept. 29. to expose students to a variety of “leadership perspectives.”

The first session was held in the Clock Tower, while the various workshops and lead sessions took place in the International Building.

Students who registered for the day conference attended three sessions and were given the opportunity to select from a variety of speakers.

While the themes for the lead sessions focused on amplifying, developing, emerging and learning, the two-afternoon workshop sessions explored leadership as it relates to purpose, empathy, culture, non-profit organizations and the globe.

The keynote speaker, Janice Otremba, a professional speaker and certified leadership coach, kicked off the event with a lively presentation on the topic: ‘LEAD that Change.’

“When we step into leadership it’s really about our ability and I do believe that in today’s complex world we have to have leadership as a skill set. It’s not just a mindset –that’s part of it– but it’s actually a skill set,” she said.

Otremba was referencing the fact that university students were in the perfect position to assume leadership roles through speaking up, trying new things and working towards finding their voices.

She also encouraged students to start thinking about what they would be prepared to stand up for and against.

“That’s the opportunity you have here [in university], to be seen, to be heard, to experiment for yourself, try things on and see if they feel right,” she added.

Emphasizing the importance of embracing change, she also recounted a personal experience that had taken place five years prior when she made the decision to adopt a healthy lifestyle.

She told the audience that she had already acknowledged that making a change would require “some radical shift” in her daily routines, not only related to what she ate, but also how she felt and what she thought about herself.

“I realized okay, I need to have some help. I need to find someone who has gone before me and in that I called up a really good friend. So when you’re looking for leaders, no need to reinvent the wheel, find the person that’s already doing something that you see that you’re attracted to,” she said.

Still, Otremba insisted that the “bottom-line” in change boils down to the person making the decision.

“A decision, whether it’s yours or it’s going to find you, it needs to be an intentional one so that you can be engaged and learn from the experience, because when you are intentional you can still choose to be engaged and deepen your understanding of yourself in that process as you go through it,” she explained.

Otremba also led a few interactive exercises where she had students introduce themselves to each other and share their non-negotiable values.

She emphasized the opportunity students have now to change how they experience life and encouraged them to be an active part of diversity themselves by leading change.

The different sessions provided students with the opportunity to network with a variety of experts and professionals as they shared their own perspectives on and experiences with leadership.

Overall the conference was a success and inspired and motivated those in attendance to aspire to and embrace leadership.