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HBA Leadership Day inspires students to reflect on their character

  • Agnes Chick
  • |
  • Sep 12, 2019
HBA Leadership Day inspires students to reflect on their character

Keynote speaker, Olympian Jeremiah Brown

Sometimes life throws you a curve ball, but it's what you do with it that builds your character and defines who you are as a leader. That's the message HBA1 students received from Olympian Jeremiah Brown, keynote speaker at this year's Ivey HBA Leadership Day.

Chasing your dreams

Brown gave an inspirational presentation about his journey: from young parent while studying business at McMaster University, to moving across the country to British Columbia to pursue his Olympic dream.

Brown first became fascinated with rowing after watching the Canadian Men's Rowing Team in the 2008 Olympics. Witnessing the team work and the gold medal victory sparked a fire in Brown, and it became his mission to stand on the same podium at the 2012 Olympics.

Lessons from adversity

Throughout his four-year journey to becoming an Olympian, Brown learned three valuable lessons about leadership development:

1. Find your coach. 

We all need recognition in life. We need to know that when we do the hard work, at least one person is conscious of it and knows the sacrifice we're putting ourselves through. Find people who will push you further than you ever thought was possible. 

2. Be there for your team.

As much as we need our teammates, you cannot earn their respect just by showing up. You must earn it over time as you go through adversity together. It's the everyday interactions you have with your team that counts.

3. Be resilient.

Resilience is finding, in difficult moments, the courage to take a small step forward. So remain in motion, no matter how small the step. You don't have to figure it all out; you just need to continue forward.

Panelists share business experience

As part of the HBA Leadership Day, we welcomed three panel members: Vince Guzzo, Dragons' Den, President & CEO, Cinémas Guzzo; Franca Gucciardi, CEO, McCall MacBain Foundation; and Jon Hantho, MBA '89, President & CEO, CBI Health Group. 

At the end of the panel discussion, each panelist shared one piece of advice for students about learning to lead.

Guzzo: As a leader, ultimately, what people want is to feel inspired. They need to feel that if they follow you, you will take them to a better path. Without inspiring, you will not keep your team welded together and sacrificing for your vision.

Gucciardi: Listen to the people who follow you and let them tell you what they actually need. Don't treat people the way you want to be treated; treat them the way they need to be treated. If you do that, they will rise, they will work for you, and they will achieve a tremendous amount if you empower them.

Hantho: One thing about the past 20 years is that I'm always learning, I'm always developing as a leader. There is no summit on the leadership journey. You are constantly learning because it's always contextual.