Expanding my capacity for leadership: Reflecting on my experience in the Emerging Leaders Program

22 July 2021 | Hamilton, Ontario
Contributed by Jake Howran

Before the Emerging Leaders Program, I was getting prepared for a summer of studying for my MCAT. After finishing up a long and tedious online school year, I was feeling worn out and needed some down time before I started studying again. I was hyper focused on my academics and had been struggling to maintain any sort of consistency in my schedule. When I was first introduced to the ELP, I watched the testimonials from previous graduates and knew immediately that this program could offer some new tools for restructuring, and that I could genuinely change the course of my academic career.

As I grew to understand more about the program, I recognized how specific – yet widely applicable – many of the ELP topics were going to be to my academic, professional, and personal life. The main concepts I foresaw being the most important to me had to do with building rituals, facilitating sustainable conflict resolution, and prioritizing unambiguous boundaries for myself and others. Throughout the week, these topics were injected into stories, conversations, teamwork, and lived experiences. I could feel that as the days went on, I was not only opening up more to the topics I really wanted to learn about, but also to topics I was uncomfortable with. Every conversation contributed something new to my perception of leadership and how it is fundamentally developed from within.

Jake (bottom left) poses for a photo with his team during the Spring 2021 Emerging Leaders Program.
Jake (bottom left) poses for a photo with his team during the Spring 2021 Emerging Leaders Program.

I didn’t really expect a week-long program to have this much of an impact. Despite the move to a virtual platform, the HLA team worked with incredible resolve to integrate the critical features of health leadership into an 8-day online experience. Through group workshops, keynote speakers, individual coaching sessions, and independent reflection, the program worked through some of the core tenets of leadership in health, and offered some powerful insight into introspective techniques for building a leadership toolkit.

Beyond the conversations also came practical tools and actionable tasks that I have been able to experiment with since the program finished. This experimentation has helped me reorganize my time management skills and has lent itself beautifully to the timeline I have been developing for my academic career. My passion for medicine has not changed, but my understanding of how to use and communicate this passion, and do so persuasively, is a direct result of the Emerging Leaders Program.

If you are a student or young professional with the goal of supplementing your leadership skills like empathy, communication, decision making, and design thinking, then I would highly recommend you consider the Emerging Leaders Program. The diversity of insight and expertise that is offered is profound, and I cannot think of any other time I’ve felt such a boost to my professional and personal development.

Jake Howran

Health, Engineering Science, and Entrepreneurship Student Level IV

Emerging Leaders Spring 2021 Cohort Graduate

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