My fascination with the study of leadership began in 2005 when I was nominated for a national young leader’s award for the Canadian Credit Union system. I was honoured that my CEO considered me a leader, yet unsure of what the word ‘leadership’ meant exactly. In preparation for the ‘Apprentice’ like competition, I researched the meaning, and wrote a paper titled “Am I a Leader?” In the paper, I explained why I thought I was a leader, grounding my theory in the impact of my accomplishments on our organization. When I presented my position at the session, which was judged alongside the other nominees, I spoke with passion and emotion. I felt that I made an impact because of the heartfelt message I delivered with conviction, not necessarily because of the laundry list of the things I had accomplished. When I accepted the award in front of 1,500 plus people, I again spoke from the heart. The response was unlike anything I had ever experienced. Many people came up to me after accepting the award to share with me how inspired they were by my perspective and passion. I’ll never forget one older gentleman who seemed quite emotional when he said to me “I feel confident knowing the Credit Union system will be in the hands of people like you”. No pressure! Similarly, when I competed for an international young leader awards in Rome Italy that same year, I spoke from the heart. I was honoured to receive this prestigious award, and the opportunity to attend the following year’s conference in Ireland. At that conference in Dublin, we were asked to speak about our key takeaways in front of 2,500 conference attendees. I spoke from my heart again, and challenged the credit union system to reflect upon its values, and the purpose of credit unions individually and collectively.
Following these conference experiences I dove into leadership studies and completed my master’s in leadership and followed that with a Certification in Expectative coaching. It has been 8 years since I began my leadership studies and I am still a passionate learner and practitioner particularly as it pertains to the power of leading with questions: The coach approach to leadership. There is so much more to share on this subject! Stay tuned.