Building a valuable network

Cole Mason

We caught up with Cole Mason, VP of Strategy at Arcane, and past participant of the Ivey Leadership Program (ILP). One of the most important benefits of the program for Cole was the opportunity to learn from fellow program participants. In the two years that have passed since Cole attended ILP, he remains in contact with many of his classmates.

How has the peer network you’ve built from the program helped you in your current role?
While I'm still in contact with 10 to 11 of my classmates, I keep in touch with two to three individuals from the program at least monthly, if not weekly. It’s a result of building strong relationships that can only be built from being immersed for more than 12 hours each day together for a week. That experience builds trust. 

Following the program, my company went through some significant organizational changes. So I reached out to one of the participants from the program who I knew to be positive and outgoing, and I knew he would make me feel better just by talking to him. He’d gone through significant change in his own organization, and was able to give me the advice that I was looking for – the kind of advice I knew I could expect from him – as a result of spending the amount of time I did with him for a week. 

Another participant who I met was involved with a tech conference that I really wanted to attend, but was sold out. I connected with him and he was able to get me tickets. Not only did it afford me the opportunity to network with people in my industry, but I was able to reciprocate his kindness by providing some content he could use to help market the conference.

The Ivey Leadership Program typically attracts a diverse group of participants from different geographies, industries, and cultures. Were your classmates able to provide a perspective on challenges you have in your own industry that you wouldn’t normally be exposed to?
The participants who worked in government and in the public sector would make decisions that were so different than what any of us would do in the private sector. It was amazing – even with some of the group work, we would end up in real situations that are similar to the ones I deal with at work. Through the course of solving a problem, so many different backgrounds and perspectives would be uncovered.

Most importantly, working through problems together helped me recognize my own gaps as a leader. While I went to school for finance, I forget everything I learned because I haven’t had to use it in 15 years! So I’m going to do the three day program on finance and accounting to get caught up.

Can you tell me what the dynamic was like between the program participants and how it benefited your learning?
The program broke down a lot of barriers between participants with the way it was structured, from the seating in the classroom to the social activities. Everything was planned seamlessly and you didn’t have to worry about anything. 

I think the biggest benefit for me was being able to learn with like-minded people. Everyone is there with the same objective. What I was impressed with was how seriously everyone took the program over the course of the week. While we were up late every night, nobody was ever late in the morning. Nobody left to take calls, even those who are C-level in hyper-growth companies. Everybody has the same objective – to engage and learn from each other. That was really important to me.


Learn more about Ivey Academy's powerful peer network by visiting our alumni benefits page. For more information on the Ivey Leadership Program, please download the program brochure.


About The Ivey Academy at Ivey Business School
The Ivey Academy at Ivey Business School is the home for executive Learning and Development (L&D) in Canada. It is Canada’s only full-service L&D house, blending Financial Times top-ranked university-based executive education with talent assessment, instructional design and strategy, and behaviour change sustainment. 

Rooted in Ivey Business School’s real-world leadership approach, The Ivey Academy is a place where professionals come to get better, to break old habits and establish new ones, to practice, to change, to obtain coaching and support, and to join a powerful peer network. Follow The Ivey Academy on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.