In November, I was invited as a kickoff speaker for the Canadian Conference on Student Leadership. This outstanding group of students encompassed visionary, energetic and promising young leaders from across the country, and illustrated diversity in perspective, background, and experience despite attending the CCSL for the same reason: to "Press Play". 

The conference was focused on the theme of "Press Play", encouraging these young leaders to pursue their dreams, keep learning, and continually evolve their perspective and development in every facet of life - whether personal, professional, or community elements. In speaking to the group, I stressed the importance of community, recalling my university years and the power of networking. Those I met in my classes, in the faculty, from other business schools across Canada, and even through international academic competitions, have stayed with me today. I am privileged to count some very remarkable young leaders as friends, and the connection - this international community we've built - all started in university. 

Further, one concept I stressed to delegates of the CCSL was that as years go on, each one of their network connections - and even themselves - would experience something others call failure. Failure, as a concept, is a label others bestow on us. This includes incomplete work tasks, crumbling relationships, or perhaps not meeting a community fundraising goal. No matter the experience, each person has or will experience a moment or stage of failure. In these moments, I urged delegates to take a step back; to spare judgment and instead maintain grace, patience, and unconditional support to see their peers through difficult situations - the inevitable moments in life that happen to all of us. We live and learn, and is it an acceptable experience to undergo. The key is how we learn, how we reflect and strengthen, and how we move forward. 

I am a firm believer of resilience, humility, and optimism as key pillars of successful leadership, and that leading by example - showing all others grace, dignity, and humility - is the secret to successful businesses and communities.