The world is at a time in its history where humanity can no longer rely on the role of the dice to alleviate its problems, says the anchor and senior editor of The Agenda on TVO.
“We can't just rely on the 'great leader' to come forward with a plan to cure all that ails us,” said Steve Paikin, one of two speakers to kick off the inaugural Leadership Summit on Oct. 24. “We need all hands on deck, meaning everyone has to contribute.”
Paikin, who will be installed as LU's second chancellor Oct. 26, was invited to speak to the more than 150 people who gathered at Science North for the first night of the summit, with the goal to encourage and mentor Sudbury's next generation of leaders. Also on the agenda was Dr. Lance Secretan, university professor and author of 15 books about leadership, emphasizing the connection between high performance and the heart, mind and the soul.
The world, while a beautiful place, is messed up at the moment, Paikin said.
“I'm not pretending to be an expert on the topic of leadership, but a lot of leaders went to sleep over many years, which, in part, allowed a lot of the mess we are in to happen,” he said.
“Start with the great recession we've been going through for the past five years, and you can build from there. When you have strong, intelligent and capable leadership, a lot of the problems the likes of which we are trying to clean up never would have happened in the first place.”
While no expert on leadership, Paikin has interviewed presidents and prime ministers, corporate executives and teachers, social workers and premiers — people whose job it is to lead every day.
“One of the things you learn quickly is that, yes, if you want to make big changes in the world and you've got some leadership abilities to make that happen, no doubt it's a beautiful thing to be the president of the United States of America. But the good news for the rest of us is, you don't have to be the president to lead, or the prime minister of Canada (to affect change).”
Everyone has something to contribute, regardless of their ideas surrounding leadership.
“I'm hoping to persuade people through this summit that they think about what they can do to lead and to nurture that culture of leadership,” he said.
Sudbury is doing a great job leading the way by hosting the leadership summit, he said, and wonders why every community doesn't have something similar to nurture future leaders.
“Young people have a lot of issues to deal with,” he said. “They're graduating from their post-secondary education with lots of debt without the jobs to go to. I am hugely optimistic when I see the quality of graduates, the skills they're developing, and the desire they have. This is a good generation — I think they understand the task at hand, and I think they want to get out there and get it done.”
As a self-described “mad tweeter,” Paikin said he will use social media to spread the word about what's happening in Sudbury.
David Courtemanche, one of the summit organizers, said leadership development is a big part of the city's future. By bringing in the next generation, today's leaders are able to share their experiences and learn at the same time.
“We may hold an idea or definition of leadership that may not be true for the next generation of leaders,” he said.
“The summit brings to the table many people with a tremendous amount of leadership expertise and experience, but leadership is still a fairly new body of knowledge ... and there's still a whole lot we don't know about it. What we do know, is that it's important, and it makes a difference, and that's why this summit is designed to be an experience that will allow us to explore and engage together.”