President's Corner is a regular column from President Deep Saini.
Dear Dalhousie Community,
I recently had the opportunity to participate in two invigorating discussions on leadership that allowed me to interact with some of our future leaders as well as alumni who have already made significant achievements on a national scale.
First, last week I had the chance to take part in a virtual alumni event with two of Dalhousie’s esteemed graduates: The Honourable A. Anne McLellan, our former Chancellor and a distinguished Canadian politician, hosted the event, and Dr. Bonnie Henry, British Columbia’s Provincial Health Officer, took the time out of her relentless schedule to share insights with other alumni. The conversation focussed on leading through challenging circumstances, and I cannot think of many better positioned to speak to this than Dr. Henry, someone who has been so central to leading her province and our country through the COVID-19 pandemic for the past 14 months.
The event was recorded, and I encourage you to watch the full discussion here, or attend a future event if you are interested. What resonated with me most was Dr. Henry’s unwavering commitment to leading with authenticity, transparency, and compassion, even when constantly required to make and be the face of very difficult, and sometimes even unpopular, decisions. I believe the pandemic has forced everyone in leadership positions to deal with complex and urgent issues that have no easy solutions, including all of those tasked with leadership within our university community, from our senior leaders to our faculty and staff.
Then, this week, I had a chance to join a group of our graduate students for a virtual seminar on career development and leadership. While I shared lessons learned through my own experiences, the most rewarding part of the class was the interactive discussion that followed and hearing the leadership aspirations and advice shared by these students.
Thank you to the organizers of both events, from the Office of Advancement and the Faculty of Graduate Studies respectively, for helping facilitate these conversations. I am impressed by the innovative approaches both teams have taken to continue to provide meaningful engagement opportunities for their own communities during these difficult times.
As I’ve mentioned before, I have especially appreciated being able to get back into the virtual classroom and talk to students about a topic so near and dear to my heart, and I am looking forward to continuing to do more of this in the months ahead.
We must never lose sight of the fact that our students are truly tomorrow’s leaders. Especially as we wrap up the academic year, and look ahead to our online Convocation celebrations in June, it gives me great pride to think about the future “Bonnie Henrys” or “Anne McLellans” reaching this milestone, and the formative role their time at Dalhousie might have played in their own development as up-and-coming leaders.