Words of wisdom and experience

05 Jul 2017

Each year, the Emerging Leaders conference sees hundreds of Year 12 students from schools all over Canterbury converge on College for an immersive learning experience, designed to give them the opportunity to hear inspirational speakers, participate in interesting workshops and network with their peers. Many of them are about to step up and take on leadership roles in their schools. Emerging Leaders enables them to draw on the skills and experiences of others, and encourages them to think about the type of leader they want to become.

Keynote speaker, Australian adventurer and storyteller Tim Cope, told of his epic journey traversing the Eurasian steppe, from Mongolia to Hungary on horseback, and what he learned during his three year odyssey about himself, about the people he met, and about life. Tim learned to “tackle and embrace” the problems he faced, came to appreciate the savage beauty of the wilderness and the kindness of strangers, and discovered our “most precious capacity as humans is to make connections.”

Former Christchurch Boys’ High School Senior Monitor Jake Bailey was diagnosed with Burkitt’s Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma shortly before he was to deliver his valedictory speech at the school prize-giving in November 2015. Jake shared the shock he felt and outlined the rollercoaster of treatment, remission and recovery. His experience taught him to embrace each day. Jake now believes happiness is about “how quickly and successfully you are able to bounce back from adversity.”

Manager of the Pinnacle Programme and former Silver Fern Netballer Bernice Mene talked about her pathway to leadership and shared her recipe for success, summed up in three words: dreams, risks, humour. She advised students to dream big and work hard to make those dreams a reality, push outside their comfort zones, and cultivate a positive “can do” attitude.

Paralympian Adam Hall shared Bernice’s advice to dream big, but with the caveat to be realistic. Born with spina bifida, Adam discovered his passion for skiing and snowboarding at an early age and, with hard work and determination in spades, achieved his dream of representing New Zealand on the international stage. He is now preparing for his fourth Winter Paralympic Games, which will be held in PyeongChang, South Korea, in March 2018.

In the afternoon, participants attended workshops run by various leaders in their respective fields, which focused on different aspects of leadership and good citizenship.

Emerging Leaders 2017 was held on Tuesday 4 July.