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U of R 2018 Inspiring Leadership Forum: Scaling New Heights

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U of R 2018 Inspiring Leadership Forum: Scaling New Heights

On March 7, the University of Regina presented Scaling New Heights: 2018 Inspiring Leadership Forum at the Queensbury Centre to a sold-out crowd. U of R President, Dr. Vianne Timmons, was exited to host this program during International Women’s Week. “We really work hard to bring in speakers that are both knowledgeable and inspiring.” Timmons said this year’s theme of Scaling New Heights was “trying to encourage people to grab a dream and run with it.” The conference’s speakers certainly did that.

The day’s first energizing speaker, Manjit Minhas, is a judge on CBC’s Dragons’ Den. Minhas started her company in 1999 while still a university student in Calgary. Last year, Minhas Breweries, Distillery and Wineries generated more than $187 million. Manjit’s spirited talk included the following advice:

Find your passion. Choose a job you love. Be prepared to work hard and sacrifice. There is no elevator to success. You have to take the stairs. Write a business plan, but stop researching and just do it! Take a risk. Negotiate. You don’t get what you deserve. You get what you negotiate. Network; cold call; do what it takes to find mentors you admire.

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The next electrifying speaker was Barbara Stegemann, a socially conscious entrepreneur from Nova Scotia. Stegemann’s best friend was traumatically injured by the Taliban while serving in the Canadian military, so she wanted to work for peace in his honour. Stegemann began buying rose oil from Afghan farmers at above-market value to deter the planting of opium crops. The name of her fragrance company — The 7 Virtues Peace Perfumes — refers to Stegemann’s interest in Stoic philosophers. She expanded on this in her book, The 7 Virtues of a Philosopher Queen, and shared some gems of wisdom with the audience.

·         Follow your ethics and your instincts and it will all be fine.

·         If I hold an emerald in my hand and say it is less lustrous, does that change it? No. You are the emerald. What anyone says about you in no way impacts who you are.

·         Each of us was given gifts. It’s not your right to keep them to yourself. The fastest way to joy and success is sharing your gifts.

·         Strive not only for a better life for yourself, but also for others.

The Saskatchewan Leaders Panel featured more dynamic women and was moderated by Brenda Lucki. She was named by Prime Minister Trudeau the next day — International Women’s Day — as the first woman to permanently take the job of RCMP commissioner.

The final speaker, Bonnie Brooks, was the editor of Flare, has served on numerous boards, and is best known for reinvigorating department stores. In 2008, Brooks became the first female CEO of The Bay. She helped re-establish HBC stripes to iconic Canadian cultural status. Brooks shared highlights of, and wisdom from, her extraordinary career.

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Strong leaders don’t need all the right answers. They just need the right questions.
What are your competitive, compelling advantages? Why should your customers, or your employers, choose you over your competitors?
Don’t waste a minute on things you can’t change.
If you can dream it; you can do it. When you put your dreams on paper, it’s shocking what happens. Brooks calls it writing “a letter to the universe” and “crafting the vision.”

Each keynote speaker urged attendees to “dream big.” As the crowd left uplifted, Dr. Timmons had already confirmed speakers for next year’s Inspiring Leadership Forum. She invites you to the 2019 special 10th anniversary edition — Defying the Odds.



By Donna Boyle  Photos University of Regina Photography