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Practicing Leadership: Re-imagining Learning to Lead™ in 2020

Practicing Leadership is a three-week blog series featuring members of our Youth Advisory Council as well as participants and mentors from the Learning to Lead™ program. The series explores how young women leaders are managing during COVID-19 as they navigate disruption in routine, maintain social connections, and put their leadership into practice at home and in their communities.

When re-imagining, in a matter of weeks, a program that took years to create, it is invaluable to have subject matter experts working alongside you.

Lucky for us, we have 13 members of our Youth Advisory Council who are extremely passionate about the Learning to Lead™ program. Initially conceived as a space for young leaders to connect and share insights into our work, the council members quickly moved to action when the COVID-19 crisis hit.

To help us identify and retain the valuable components of Learning to Lead™, we asked our youth advisors to share what motivated them to apply, their favourite moment, and key learning that they have continued to put into action.

Here is what they had to say.

  • Learning to Lead came at such a crucial time, at the brink of senior year, when I was making important decisions about my future. It gave me the chance to learn more about who I was and who I might want to be. Mandy, L2L 2017
  • I knew that the program would enable me to learn from like-minded girls my age and become inspired by their efforts and initiatives. The program did just that and I began my leadership journey! Romina, L2L 2019
  • I wanted to improve my leadership skills and meet amazing young female leaders from across BC (which I did!). Alyana, L2L 2018

 What was your favourite part of the program?

  • Being surrounded by women of all ages who support one another no matter the circumstances. The Den Mums were compassionate, and kind and we were all able to make strong connections with them. Becca, L2L 2019
  • I met my best friend and soul sister at Minerva. She lives on the Island and I bawled my eyes out when she got in that cab to go home after Learning to Lead was over. Jay, L2L 2019
  • Developing friendships with many inspiring young women. Hearing them speak about their goals and dreams reminded me that the future of female leadership is bright. Michelle, L2L 2017
  • Meeting so many empowered female leaders from across BC. I remember feeling so inspired throughout the weekend and am fortunate to have made strong connections that still stand to this day! Monika, L2L 2017

 How does the program continue to impact your life?

  • I had a chance to delve deep into my strengths, weaknesses, and truly reflect on who I want to become. As a result, self-awareness is something I continue to pay more attention to in my everyday life. Monika, L2L 2017
  • We were taught that confidence is simply a thought followed by an action. Now, whenever I am unsure of my abilities, I just remind myself to follow through and keep going. Malika, L2L 2019
  • Asking others for support, help, and advice when I need it. Leadership is a collaborative process, so it is especially important to work and collaborate with those around you in order to achieve maximum success. Romina, L2L 2019
  • I keep challenging my fear of speaking up to advocate for myself as well as people around me. Manseen, L2L 2019
  • Learning values-based leadership completely changed my perspective on what it means to be a successful leader in the world today. As a university student, I have implemented this leadership style in the leadership positions I am involved with on campus. Michelle, L2L 2017
  • To always be open to new things, which doesn’t just mean stepping out of your comfort zone to do something new that scares you, but also being willing to listen to other’s ideas and expand your mind by standing in someone else’s shoes. Rosemary, L2L 2018
  • An increase in confidence and a better sense of self-worth. After L2L I began to feel much more self assured and have used this confidence to be happier and more successful in school, work, relationships, and any leadership activities I take on. – Liv, L2L 2019

It has been wonderful to hear the personal impact of this special program, and it is even better to see it demonstrated. Thanks to the guidance of these young leaders, we have successfully re-imagined the program as an online experience.

On May 4th, we will meet the first of over 150 new Learning to Lead™ participants. We are excited and a bit nervous to deliver one of our favorite programs in an online format.

We are incredibly grateful to our Youth Advisory Council, who will serve as program moderators and interviewers, for their leadership in helping us move forward.

Content for this blog series was collected between April 2 and April 9, 2020. Some responses were edited for clarity and brevity, but core messaging was retained.

Learning to Lead™ is an interactive leadership program for Grade 11 girls. All program costs are covered by donors and sponsors who believe in the leadership potential of youth. We are grateful for the support we have received in 2020 from Shaw, RBC, PwC, FLUOR, Cottonwood Foundation, Enbridge and many individual donors. 

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Minerva BC is a Vancouver-based charity that is
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We acknowledge that we work on the traditional territory of the Coast Salish People.

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