LEADERSHIP SUMMIT: Leaders in training urged to do their homework

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A leadership summit, with successful current leaders speaking to future community and business leaders, provided area up-and-comers a chance to cull insights they can apply to their own lives. The panel of experts put together by the Future Ready Leadership training program was questioned for several hours by about 50 people who have been participating in the monthly leadership days since September. "I didn't really develop leadership until I became a judge," Justice Gethin Edward told the attendees. "But I was ready for it because of a series of events." Edward explained that, even though he didn't realize he was being trained in leadership, his father, a farmer and landscaper, had raised him to take on certain responsibilities when he reached certain milestones. The judge, who was appointed to the Ontario Court of Justice 18 years ago, talked about how his position has allowed him to take up causes he believes are important. He used as an example his fight to get security at the entrance to the Ontario Court. "I was at a conference in 2005 and we still had the notion that Canada was beyond such things but there was virtually no impediment to anyone walking into our courthouses with a loaded shotgun and letting fly." Assuming that the police would listen to a judge, he made his case to the police board and was politely dismissed. "Lesson: don't think your title is going to carry the day! There's no replacement for doing homework," he said. Edward went on to do research, visit other courts with security, view confiscated weapons, talk to stakeholders about the situation and work with The Expositor to bring the issue to the forefront. "Then you have to have patience. I started that in 2005 and the police board has agreed to have increased security starting this month or by February at the latest." That resonated with Shirley Bomberry, the human resources manager for Six Nations band council. "I'm picking up bits and pieces that are helping me pay more attention to what I'm doing and that was a good point we had discussed about doing your research before you act on things." Bomberry is one of the Brantford, Brant and Six Nations workers who gather once a month for the seminars, which are aimed at keeping workers and helping people to develop their leadership potential. According to research, the vast majority of people advance in their careers by leaving their employers and getting promoted elsewhere, moves that cost the organizations that have trained them and are left having to search for and train new hires. The course is run in partnership with Mohawk College Enterprise and this is its third year. Similarly, it's run for Brant and Norfolk counties, working to develop critical thinking skills and behaviour that will prepare workers of all ages for management. Other panellists were: Matthew Wilson, a lawyer who was born and raised in Brantford and has been named one of London's "Top 20 under 40;" Kelly Isfan, president and CEO of Norfolk General Hospital in Simcoe; and Robert Jones, an organizational consultant who was named a Distinguished Citizen of the Year for Hamilton in 2002. susan.gamble@sunmedia.ca @EXPSGamble