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Our emerging leader students celebrated

March 14, 2016 — 

On Wednesday, March 9, at the annual Emerging Leaders Dinner, Gabrielle Scrimshaw – the Indigenous advocate, activist and entrepreneur – shared a personal story about how a small gesture can have a powerful impact on another person. Addressing a crowd of 180 students, staff, faculty and guests, she shared a story of three simple chance encounters (a conversation, a postcard and a phone call) that really encouraged her to want more for herself and her future. She went from being a lost and lonely fourteen year old to later graduating with a bachelor of commerce and being the first in her family to earn a post-secondary degree.

Also over the last twelve years, she has travelled to 20 countries on five continents, moved from Northern Saskatchewan to Toronto to work in finance, founded a non-profit (The Aboriginal Professional Association of Canada), and now she’s pursuing her MBA at Stanford University in California. Through her powerful story, she gave our students valuable advice:

  • Remember that every moment has impact
  • Summon your courage
  • Surround yourself with champions

When asked about the keynote speech, Julia Minarik, a 2016 Emerging Leader Award (ELA) recipient said: “Gabrielle was one of those speakers that left you absolutely captivated throughout her entire speech and I think she said a lot of things that a lot of students really needed to hear.”

In addition to Gabrielle – four of the 66 Emerging Leader Award Recipients also spoke: Mikayla Preete, Shayne Reitmeier, Brayden Harper, and Gagan Sidhu. Collectively they emphasized messages of perseverance, acceptance, curiosity and respect. They each shared anecdotes of their own experiences as leaders, and highlighted their personal challenges and accomplishments along the way.

When it came to the event itself, Mercy Oluwafemi, Faculty of Science undergraduate student, and award recipient said, “The Emerging Leaders Dinner was a memorable symbol of the accomplishment my peers and I are capable of, and I walked away from the night thinking of the many great things I would still like to accomplish at the university and beyond.” Laura Thompson, recipient and PhD Candidate from the College of Medicine said that for her it was “an incredible opportunity to meet other student leaders from a diverse range of faculties, fields and backgrounds.”

In addition to attending the dinner, Emerging Leader Award recipients are also presented with a framed certificate. Kapilan Panchendrabose, undergraduate Faculty of Science student and recipient said that “Being a recipient of the 2016 Emerging Leader’s Award empowers me to continue to take on endeavours in order to help better our community here at the university and abroad.”

Introduced in 2006, the Emerging Leaders Dinner recognizes students who are committed to furthering the university’s educational mission by contributing to the social, cultural or economic well-being of communities on and off campus, while encouraging cross-cultural understanding and demonstrating sustained leadership and initiative. In 2014, the Emerging Leader Award was introduced to create an enduring way for the students to be recognized. There have been 220 Emerging Leader Awards presented in that time.

This year, 66 emerging leaders were celebrated at the March 9 event.

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