Both around the globe and here at home, 2016 was one for the history books. Whether it be lengthy and sometimes contentious elections in jurisdictions around the world, the welcoming of more than 35,000 Syrian refugees in communities across Canada, or historic provincial and federal commitments to infrastructure spending in our region, the events that shaped the past year consistently reminded us of the importance of inclusive leadership and the role of next-gen leaders in shaping our communities. It also reinforces why groups such as the Emerging Leaders Network are so incredibly important in the city-building space and I’m thrilled to take a few moments to acknowledge another great year for the network.
Whether it was exploring the various communities in our region, building our personal leadership brand, or incubating and showcasing city-building projects as part of ELNshowcase, 2016 saw the ELN continue to find new and interesting ways of building meaningful relationships and driving impact. We also celebrated the ELN’s 10th anniversary throughout the year (a major milestone!) and introduced new ways to recognize the talent of our membership such as the monthly ELN Member Spotlights and even more exclusive opportunities to attend city-building events and discussions.
Of course, none of this happens without people. Thank you to all those who have joined us at events and personally engaged in their community, not only this year but throughout the ten year history of the network. I thank you for your continued engagement and the important work you do for our region. I’d also like to acknowledge the dynamo ELN Executive team, led by ELN co-chairs Richard Wiltshire and Elisha Muskat, who have worked incredibly hard to provide the network with relevant programming opportunities. Richard, Elisha, Lana, Matt, Arjun, Carley, Imanzi, Ryan and Jason, thank you for making 2016 so memorable – I can’t wait to see what you bring to the table in 2017.
As we gear up for a busy and exciting 2017, we will be continuing to build a diverse leadership pipeline throughout the GTHA while looking for new ways to grow and scale our impact (we’ll be sharing more details about this early in the new year!). We’ll also be continuing to look for ways to recognize rising and established leaders who inspire, create space for all voices and represent the best our region has to offer, starting with the announcement of our annual CivicAction Emerging Leader Award and Lifetime Achievement Award for CivicAction Leadership in February 2017.
Wishing all of you a safe and happy holiday filled with all the things your heart desires. We look forward to seeing you in the new year and working with you to continue building strong, inclusive communities together.