The Leadership Exchange is a 5-day excursion (during Fall reading week) to Ottawa, where U of T students can learn about different leadership styles, theories, and practices by visiting different settings in Canada’s capital.
I had the pleasure of interviewing the Team Lead, Bushra, to learn more about this year’s exchange. She shared with me some of the highlights:
- Learned about different types of leadership styles
- Government @ Parliament Hill
- Non-profit @ The Glebe Neighbourhood Activities Group
- Education @ UOttawa
- Corporate @ Shopify
- Stayed at the Jail Hostel
- Pre- and post- experience sessions to discuss hopes, dreams, and fears; what was most effective and what skills were developed
I also asked Bushra some questions on her own leadership and how this experience has shaped it.
How did the planning help inform your leadership?
I gained more programming skills which transfer to the Represent conference that I am also planning. I’ve learned how to develop workshops and create curriculum.
How did the trip inform your leadership?
Last year, I was a participant, so this year, I wanted to develop it more and focus more on pre and post experience. Coming back as a team lead, my perception was different, and I really wanted (the participants) to reflect. I developed more facilitation and communication skills. Managing a team of leaders, they are more aware of boundaries and guidelines. Communication is clearer, and they were an introspective bunch, making connections. My goals were to get better at communication, leading at discussions, and to connect with individual participants to create an environment that helps them to foster their own leadership skills.
What was the most memorable part of the experience for you?
Our day visiting the Glebe community centre. I enjoyed the community setting, and that they ensure that everything works well. They focus on community well-being, and physical activities. I think it resonates most and can apply to the U of T community, working in team settings, checking in on each other, and working towards a common goal.
Here’s how some of this year’s participants described their experience:
“I learned about different forms of leadership that I could apply to my studies and work life.” – Chantal
“Definitely one of my most cherished and memorable experiences in university! Not only did I learn about the way leadership works in different sectors, but I got to move out of my comfort zone, explore the capital city, voice out my opinions, discover my own strengths, and make some great friends during the experience!” – Perlyn
“The Leadership Exchange allowed me to learn a bit about how leadership works in different work areas and I was able to meet new people!” – Arabelle
“This great opportunity helped me learn that leadership, no matter in what kind of settings, is about getting along with people. It was also an amazing memory in Ottawa with a lot of great new people I wish I could stay friends with.” – Echo
“Exposure to a variety of settings helped me recognize that the forms of leadership may fundamentally differ from one place to another and that as [future] leaders, in order to have a cogent sense of issues and problems, we need to be actively and empathetically aware of these differences.” – Tina