Four distinguished women leaders at Trent inspired students to push boundaries and take smart risks as they begin their careers during a recent virtual event coordinated by Gzowski College, the Trent School of Business and the Trent University Alumni Association.
The event was part of Life After Trent Online – a virtual networking series that connects students with alumni at various stages in their career to meet, mingle and support each other along their professional journey.
CEO-in-Residence, noted alumna, and staff featured
The panel featured four highly accomplished Trent community leaders and distinguished women.
Dr. Katie Taylor, Trent’s first-ever CEO-in-Residence, Rhonda Barnet ’87, president and chief operating officer of AVIT Manufacturing, Dr. Dawn Lavell Harvard, director of the First Peoples House of Learning, and Julie Davis, vice-president of External Relations and Advancement, joined the panel to discuss the qualities of successful leaders and share insights gained from their own career experiences.
“It was truly inspiring hearing from such strong and independent female leaders. Being a part of the session as a student moderator allowed me to thoroughly engage in their stories and advice,” shares Lindsay Warne, fourth-year Psychology and Business student and Gzowski College student ambassador. “Learning from women like them makes such an impact on students like me who are just starting to search for their career.”
The event’s student organizers also received positive feedback from students who attended.
“The Women in Leadership event was a success. It always feels good at the end, especially when students reach out and thank you for providing such an amazing opportunity for them,” says Manpreet Panaich, a fourth-year Business student specializing in Accounting and Gzowski College student ambassador. “Planning and engaging with students through social media outlets has been difficult this year. This event was a true success because of the effort this team made to connect with students.”
Reflection, getting out of your comfort zone key
When asked to give students a piece of advice, the panelists highlighted the importance of reflection, getting out of your comfort zone and the need to be a leader that reflects your true self.
On the recurring theme of getting out of your comfort zone, Dr. Taylor shared, “There are these moments of truth where you’ve got to put yourself out there. Get prepared and go do it.” Ms. Barnet remarked that “growth happens when you take yourself slightly out of your comfort zone and you keep doing it.”
Dr. Lavell Harvard remarked on the importance of reflection. “Instead of always looking forward, you have to stop and look backwards. You can only know where you are going, if you know where you’ve come from.”
Rounding out the dialogue, Ms. Davis highlighted that leadership can and should look different. “To be a leader, you don’t have to speak first, or the loudest. But you do need to have the ability to continue to learn from yourself.”
At the end of the discussion, Ms. Barnet was honoured with Trent University’s Distinguished Alumni Award from the Trent University Alumni Association.