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Blog 5: Twenty One Months Later: Reflecting on where we've come.

By Ashley Mascarenhas, Team Procyon

Team ProcyonAs I sit here at the Closing Banquet table surrounded by familiar faces, I am filled with a flurry of emotions; happiness, sadness, satisfaction, and uncertainty. The people I am with are friends that I have grown to care for deeply and who are some of my closest confidants. The last 21 months have gone by so quickly, like a blink of an eye.

I sit back in my chair and I am just amazed at how much we have accomplished. We each have grown in different ways, but it has only happened through the support of the cohort. We have gone through changes as leaders. We have recognized our faults and how to manage them, worked so hard to learn to work on our weaknesses, and it was due to the support of our teams which eventually helped us stay confident. We also helped strengthen one another by complementing each other’s strengths and weaknesses. A great example of this is how I am challenged by being articulate in my writing and one of my colleagues complement my weakeness by reconstrucings my ideas into a cohesive document that clearly identifies what I can express verbally.

We all raise our glasses like we did at our Orientation dinner  in August of 2015 and yell out “cheers!.” However, this time it is not to celebrate for what is to come in the program, but for what we have experienced, accomplished, and how this will lead to our future successes. Today is the end; the final goodbye for our cohort. This closing banquet marks the end of another major milestone in all our lives. The path that we all have taken to get here has been the same but the experience along the way from that first dinner together have all been different. We all have had our unique challenges; perhaps with a colleague on our team, a professor that we could not relate to, or a particular course that challenged us intellectually. However, in the end, we have all made it here to the last night where we are no longer worker bees in academia. Along the way, we all have recognized new things about ourselves that have led to us to being better leaders.

As I look back, I can recall some days where it felt like we slept in the caserooms at the Centre for Executive Leadership, while on other days we could not wait to break out of there and grab a pint together. Despite this, I think we all are going to be longing for days when we can get together as alumni to reminisce about the past and share the joys of our future.

Class of 2017 at Orientation, August 2015I can just picture my team all white-eyed from overstimulation during Mike Miles class Management Skills I class. These green horns with idealistic views of becoming a great leader like Steve Jobs, Nelson Mandela, Sir Winston Churchill, and Tobi Lütke all sit around and try to understand who these new people are and their stories. Now we all see each other not as becoming great leaders, but being great leaders in our own rights. We have all learned that to be a good leader, we also need to be a good follower. We don’t need to be the one standing on the podium, but we can be the one behind the scenes making things happen and addressing the challenges confidently.

I look over at Andrew. A friend from high school and now we are once again going to dawn robes and hats for another ceremony to celebrate the successful completion of our education. This time it feels different, it does not feel like we are moving on to new things like it did in high school when we both were moving on to different schools. This time it feels like we are being indoctrinated into a tribe that we will be part of for the rest of our life. Not leaving our family to head off to the new futures outside of the small town of Cornwall, but joining a new family that will continue to support, provide strength and guidance for years to come.

For you, the reader, this program is for those who want to expand the box not go outside it. If you do, we, “Class of 2017”, look forward to seeing you at the next alumni event.

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