The picture is of me, centre, with Dana Ng, the past Festival Director and incoming Curriculum Director of Peace by PEACE, left; and Stephanie Wong, the past Executive Assistant and incoming Festival Director, right, at our 100 in 1 Day event on June 9, 2014.
I define leadership as equipping other people to become leaders. It’s not enough to accomplish all your goals – your team should be able to set and accomplish their own goals by the time you’re done.
My first volunteer position was with Peace by PEACE, which I joined in my first year because I had actually participated in the program as a child. I applied for the executive because the people who ran it were enthusiastic and efficient. Nothing motivates me more than seeing other people work hard for the same cause.
Student leaders are responsible for a lot of the co-curricular learning at UofT. We have an excellent academic faculty but I think it’s the students, with support from offices like Student Life, who teach and motivate each other to develop non-academic skills and interests. I would say that for many people, non-academic skills are just as important as classroom knowledge. Student leaders taught me how to run an event, design a poster, network, collaborate with team-mates, raise money, set goals, and do pretty much everything that put me in a position to receive a Cressy Award. If you want to get involved, look for the people who have the most to teach you.
My impression from meeting some of the other Cressy recipients is that they have similar philosophies about learning and teaching. They got involved early and developed the skills that qualified them for higher leadership positions. But more importantly: they shared those skills, and some of the people they shared with will go on to become Cressy recipients as well.