Thank you CTAM Canada for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attend the CTAM U Fellowship at Harvard Business School. As I reflect on the intense and transformational week, I feel fortunate and inspired to do and be better. The lessons I learned will inform my strategies and decision-making throughout my professional and personal life. While it is difficult to summarize any immensely satisfying experience, I would like to to highlight some of my takeaways in hopes of inspiring others to get involved with CTAM Canada.
- 1) The Professors: One of the reasons Harvard has earned its esteemed reputation is the quality of its professors. They are nothing short of academic rock stars. Not only were their approaches fresh and inspired, they were all warm, funny, charismatic and integral to our overall learning process. One professor inspired me to take an interest in areas I had previously avoided (finance). I was energized by their brilliance, and genuinely humbled to be in their classrooms.
- 2) The Classmates: Outside of the classroom setting, I benefited greatly from the group meetings and discussions with fellow students. You can never underestimate the power of connecting and learning from seasoned executives and leaders within the industry. There was an overarching sense of community and support that was instrumental throughout the week’s journey. We all learned, laughed and even cried together!
- 3) Leadership Skills Matter! In working through the case studies, the importance of strong leadership was a reoccurring theme. Most employees who leave their jobs are actually leaving their bosses, instead of their position. This is a sobering realization to many at management level: we need to lead better and connect on a human level to retain valuable employees. Talent is often the differentiator for success, and it is our most valuable resource.
- 4) Higher Education: A lot of us promise to make continual learning a personal priority (it’s always one of my New Year’s resolutions!), but few of us actually follow through. What I learned from this week was that challenging myself outside of my comfort zone is incredibly gratifying. I need to prioritize continual growth and education as an investment in myself.
- 5) Location! Location! Location! Boston and Harvard are beautiful. The school is located in Cambridge and you just feel elevated by its stature and history. The city was a perfect backdrop for my inspirational journey! This experience went above and beyond my highest expectations, and was the most worthwhile academic and professional experience of my career. Thank you again to CTAM Canada for this incredible honour.
Read Julie’s fellowship winning essay here. Watch for the 2018 Fellowship opportunity early next year.