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Profiles in Leadership: Annie Simpson May 21, 2012

Posted by Crystal in Leadership.

Annie Simpson, Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering (St. George)

Annie Simpson discovered her passion for teaching during her time in college. She knew that she wanted to worked with university aged students and help guide them through the most exciting time of their life. The Coordinator of the Leaders of Tomorrow Program and Asisstant Director of the Institute for Leadership Education in Engineering believes that in order to achieve, students must take care of themselves in order to reach their highest potential, and Annie wants to be there to help them along the way.


What is your definition of leadership?

Leadership is the confident expression of one’s gifts and talents in service of other’s growth and contributing to an equitable and sustainable world. It is also a process of people working together to effect positive change.

What made you choose to work in student life?

I discovered my love for teaching when I was at George Brown College and knew that I wanted to design a curriculum and work with university aged students. It’s such a special time in life when there is so much transformation happening and a real opportunity for exploration of self and the world.

Were you not working in a campus, where could you see yourself?

I think I’d be teaching in a classroom or else I’d be working in some other context on behalf of the environment, strong relationships, self-awareness and beauty creation.

What are your favourite campus events?

I love many of the events held at Hart House. I am inspired by how they offer programming in the arts, social justice, faith based discussions, literary speakers etc. The multi-disciplinary programming appeals to me. I also think that what we do in engineering is pretty great.

How do you maintain balance of your work, campus events and other responsibilities, especially at busy times of the year?

I think that many people struggle with this. I try to prioritize sleep and self-care so that I can sustain myself and enjoy all of the amazing opportunities that I have. Regular time out of the city and time in nature helps me keep balanced. I also create deliberate ‘downtime’ to recharge.

Any tips for students who might be struggling with the balance between their studies and their involvement on campus?

Push yourself to be involved in at least one thing outside of class – this is where some really important learning happens and relationships are formed. For those student leaders who are super involved, make sure you are meeting your basic needs for sleep and nutritious food.

What accomplishments are you most proud of, either as a student or as a student life professional?

For a number of years I was coordinating the Leaders of Tomorrow program while working towards a PhD at OISE. It was a lot to juggle but I feel really fortunate to have had the opportunity. I am also really proud of putting my heart into what we have built here in engineering. The Leaders of Tomorrow program is inspiring to me… check out our website!

Any advice for students who feel they want to get involved, but don’t know where to start?

Ask yourself what you care about and what kinds of activities or issues you enjoy engaging in. Do some research and talk to people (staff, fellow students) about clubs and certificates that are available to participate in. Take one small step and then the next. Be courageous.

Do you have a favourite quote?

“Life shrinks or expands according to ones courage” – Anais Nin

Interview by Redon Hoxhaj, 2011-2012 Communications Assistant, Office of Student Life


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