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June 03, 2019

Message to My Younger Self: On Being a Leader

“If your action inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader” — JOHN QUINCY ADAMS

Leadership to my youger self

I've often been referred to as a "leader". It's not a title I take lightly or for granted. I think that leaders have an extraordinary responsibility to gather people or ideas, foster and encourage new ideas and growth and inspire change while being kind and fair.

Now, these aren't ALL the qualities of being a leader, of course, and not all leaders share the same qualities. But these are characteristics of a leader that I hope to bring forward as I'm called upon to moderate, to participate, and to chair. 

Earlier this week, I got the opportunity to judge a series of videos produced for a community-led volunteer initiative called Critique Week. Each video producer or group created a short video based on the very challenging discussion of palliative care and services at Hospice Vaughan. This was a voluntary assignment, and the video producers were all under the age of 18. Some were as young as 11 years old.
Julia judging a student competition
Photo credit: Vanessa Galle Photography

Each producer or group tackled the project with interesting techniques, scripting and editing. They weren't all perfect -- but that didn't stop them from trying, and I respect that. As judges, we then had the responsibility to positively critique and offer feedback on their work. 

And as I looked out into the room of students, receptive for comments by "leaders", I was the one left inspired. Here, was another generation of leaders who were choosing to learn, striving to deliver a message and as a result, inspiring advocacy, responsibility and change. 

You could say the judge learned a thing or two from the students. And I'm sure I wasn't the only one.
So, if I had to deliver a message to my younger self -- the student council president, the newspaper editor, volunteer lead -- it's this: there are examples of leadership all around you. Take the time and explore the organizations, the companies, the people nearby. You never know who or what will inspire you to do more and be more.

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