6 December 2018

In communities big and small across Canada, local leaders are making a meaningful difference in their communities. Yet, ensuring leaders get recognized and their work celebrated on the regional or national stage can be easier said than done.

In Charlottetown, dozens of leaders from a variety of organizations and sectors gathered for the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation’s Future Forums to consider the themes of Inclusive Excellence and Engaged Leadership.

“There is high engagement in places like this,” said Michelle McCallum, Director of Cultural Development with Innovation PEI, noting that many participants are already on a first name basis.

“We already have a lot of trusting relationships built in our community and we are always seeking to learn new ways, new things, and new discussions.”

Being in a tight-knit community has its advantages, as leaders are better able to collaborate with a variety of local actors. While this may be a model for leaders in some other parts of the country, for some it is a well-kept secret.

“The biggest challenge in and for a place like PEI is for people to see the kind of things they’re doing on a day-by-day and week-by-week basis as a real leadership,” said Paul Ledwell, Clerk of the Executive Council for the PEI Government, and host of the Charlottetown Future Forums, held at Holland College.

“To be able to see ourselves as leaders, and to be able to see ourselves not just as leaders locally, but also regionally and nationally is perhaps the biggest challenge.”

“Our Future Forums are meant to include leaders of all descriptions across Canada,” said Pascale Fournier, President and CEO of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation.

She says engagement and collaboration are key elements for successful leaders everywhere.
“Strong leaders are working in communities of all descriptions across the country. Hearing about leadership in different contexts and in different places gives us a much more colourful picture of how Inclusive Excellence and Engaged Leadership are already being practised.”