Mike Perry was thrilled when he received the news. The Trent University Ph.D. candidate from the Frost Centre for Canadian Studies was selected to join a group of international professionals in the annual Emerging Leaders program at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in November.
The executive education program is geared to teaching, training, and inspiring future leaders to enact positive change in their countries. For Mr. Perry, the opportunity to build his leadership skills and gain a better understanding on how to handle issues that will face people his home community of Kawartha Lakes in the future was an exciting one.
“The program really spoke to me about how to help people and communities when the usual ideas and solutions that we know don’t seem to work,” says Mr. Perry. “We have new, harder problems these days and I wanted to be as equipped as possible to help tackle them.”
Over the course of the week-long program, Mr. Perry says that learned a lot about not only how to lead community efforts in ways that makes a difference in the world today, but also how to lead in situations when it seems that every option has failed. To be able to learn new solutions to hard problems is something Mr. Perry says is essential to any form of community work.
“I wanted to learn about how to move beyond the point in our community work when we are at an impasse and don’t know what else to do,” explains Mr. Perry. “I don’t like falling back on the same old ways when they clearly aren’t working. I know we can all find that easiest sometimes because it’s what is known and familiar.”
Mr. Perry says that his time as a student at Trent University has been pivotal in making him a leader that can think differently and make a difference by building his ability to have a new perspective on issues and problems.
“Trent has helped me get back to challenging assumptions and looking at things in a new way, trying to see my own biases and work to venture around them,” says Mr. Perry. “I think that’s fundamental to leadership; being able to see what isn’t working and having the courage to name it and move forward.”