This November marked yet another successful ELNstudio, and, for the first time ever, ELNstudio went virtual! ELNstudio: Future Proof Me brought together ~100 rising leaders from across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) for two days of engaging workshops, panels, networking sessions, and solution building, with the goal of future proofing our leadership skills to build a more inclusive and resilient region.
On November 20th, we kicked off the first day of ELNstudio with some inspiring opening remarks from Leslie Woo, CivicAction’s CEO and Zabeen Hirji, the former Chair of CivicAction, followed by a motivating keynote address from Mohamad Fakih, the CEO and President of Paramount Fine Foods. As a leader in both business and philanthropy, Mohamad shared the importance of leading with authenticity and empathy. We learned about his three guiding principles: the Three P’s of People, Planet, and Purpose. Check out a clip of Mohamad’s address.
The first panel of the day, City-Building Goes Virtual, brought together four incredible community leaders who drove impact virtually throughout the pandemic, featuring Sam Reusch from Apathy is Boring, Sabrina Craig from Vaccine Hunters, Matthew Lombardi from Grocery Hero and Mita Hans from Caremongering. The main takeaways from this engaging discussion were to start small, don’t try to do everything alone, and let people help you.
From getting people vaccinated, to getting the vote out, to bringing groceries to the doorsteps of essential workers, these leaders stepped up big time.— Alyssa Lai, APR (she/her) (@alyssaglai) November 20, 2021
Great to hear from @GroceryHeroCA @VaxHuntersCan @CaremongeringTO @apathyisboring at @elnonline #ELNStudio2021 pic.twitter.com/y33LnFVomI
The afternoon panel, Proactively Planning for Change, featured futurist strategists Dr. Zayna Khayat, Brianna Croft, and Tori Edgar, who shared their insights on how to go beyond reactivity and towards proactive planning in an ever-changing world. Dr. Khayat identified the two new core competencies of a leader as the ability to both future-proof and shock-proof, with shock-proofing being key to resiliency.
Participants had the opportunity to choose between four workshops through the day, including Having Tough Conversations on Race led by Dr. Christopher Taylor, Reconciliation in Action with Elijah Williams, Preventing & Healing Burnout with Meghan Watson and Intrapreneurship: Making Change from Where You Are with Chryssa Koulis. With words of wisdom, thoughtful reflection questions, and interactive activities, these workshops helped us to become more inclusive, adaptive, resilient, and responsive leaders.
I am always humbled when Indigenous educators share their perspectives on truth and reconciliation, and how each one of us can be effective allies. Thank you to Elijah Williams for sharing this with us today. #ELNstudio2021 pic.twitter.com/FWOdSjGfca— Andrea Carmona (She/Her) (@accarmonaosp) November 20, 2021
With a morning coffee break, virtual lunch tables, and a mindfulness session, we also had the opportunity to form new connections with rising leaders from across the region!
We closed the day with a final address from the 2020-2021 ELN Co-Chairs, Letecia Rose, Idil Burale, and Dani Saad, who shared their highlights from the last two years and thanked the ELN Executive Committee for all of their hard work and support. With every ending comes a new beginning, and everyone was excited to meet for the introduction of the new 2022-2023 ELN Executive Committee!
A smaller group of 50 rising leaders gathered the following Saturday, November 27th, for the ELNstudio: Design Jam to collaboratively design solutions to foster a more resilient, future proofed region. Guided by design-thinking facilitators from IBM, we worked together to apply our new future proofed leadership skills to support TAS, an unconventional impact company that promotes connected neighbourhoods and caring communities, to better understand and measure social capital (e.g. inclusion, engagement, and quality of life) in communities across the GTHA.
This was a really cool event. Interactive in a new way. Shifted my perspectives about community engagement and belonging. Will change how I approach stakeholder mapping in the future. Thanks @elnonline @tasdesignbuild @IBM #ELNstudio2021 https://t.co/C0vTWzZig4— Carley Lennox (she/her) (@CarleyLennox) November 27, 2021
Thank you to everyone who joined ELNstudio: Future Proof Me, to invest in your own leadership journeys and to build a better, more inclusive region. We can’t wait to gather again for ELNstudio in 2023!