OLS 2013

Three hundred aspiring leaders from across Canada and the US gathered in February 2013 for the first-ever Odette Leadership Symposium, “Unleash the Leader in You.”

The event, held at the Caboto Club in Windsor, Ontario, February 15 and 16, brought 300 aspiring young leaders from across Canada and the United States together for a spirited discussion and debate on what it will take to lead in an increasingly complex and uncertain business environment.

The symposium dealt with such questions as inspiring others when you speak; the difference between competent and extraordinary leadership; the key challenges facing tomorrow’s leaders; and the implications of social media.

Some of the pre-eminent leaders of today donated their time to be involved, including: Dr. Richard Davis, president and CEO, Kilberry Leadership Advisors; Harry Rosen, founder and executive chairman, Harry Rosen Inc.; Diane Reko, chair and CEO, Reko International Group; Brian Burke, former president and general manager, Toronto Maple Leafs; and Richard Peddie who was also the symposium’s honorary chair. “We want to start them on that path,” said Peddie, who spoke to students regularly as the business school’s leader-in-residence.

The symposium was targeted to students and recent graduates from across North America. It received coverage in major daily newspapers including The Windsor Star and The Montreal Gazette.

Students Kim McGuire, who has since graduated, and Michelle Faulds co-ordinated the symposium as part of their involvement in Odette’s leadership training initiative.

Fourth-year student Mina Girges, who would like to work in high-end fashion, told The Windsor Star that the chance to meet a hero like Rosen was motivating. “I saw this as a way to build my skill set,” he said.

Classmate Alex McFadden said that he appreciated Burke’s “straight-up” talk, which included a revelation about how lonely it can be at the top and tough decisions he has made.

Natalie Yun, MBA ‘13, had a different perspective based on 13 years in human resources for four different multinational corporations.

“After the recession there’s a huge (talent) gap from the corporations’ perspective,” she said. “On the other side, the people looking for jobs are good, they’re competent, but they don’t have those leadership skills. … I’m personally happy to see these kinds of sessions for students and working professionals.”

For more information about our first leadership symposium, please visit the OLS 2013 website.

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