7 Closing Workshop

Sania Azim; Tiana Bressan; John Donald; Matthew Curtis; Colleen O'Toole; and Technical Editor: Nicholas Yip

WORKSHOP WRAP-UP                                                                                                                                     

The past 6 workshops have expanded on the traditional view of Engineering Leadership, and positioned engineering in the 21st century, outlining the growing demands for Sociotechnological Leadership. If you feel the need to review any of the past topics, they have been listed below, and each workshop can be revisited at your own pace.


GUEST SPEAKERS                                                                                                                                              

As this series of workshops come to an end, Matthew Curtis and Colleen O’Toole, two guest speakers and alumni of the University of Guelph, are here to give their experiences with Engineering Leadership in their own professional lives.

MATTHEW CURTIS                                                                        

Matthew Curtis graduated from the University of Guelph in 2018 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and a minor in Business Administration. During his time at Guelph, he served as a vice-president of external affairs in Guelph’s Engineering Society and volunteered for several events, such as the Guelph Engineering Competition College Royale. Since graduating, Matthew has pursued a career in medical device sales, dealing with orthopedics and laparoscopic technologies in Toronto. In this video, he would like to share with you some of his experiences in Guelph that helped in his professional and personal development, which shaped his perspective on the field of engineering.

KEY TAKEAWAYS                                                                                                                                                

  • Spending the time to develop and maintain your personal network pays off in the future, as you have more people you can reach out to for advice and help.
  • You have to push yourself to constantly learn new things, as these things may open up different paths for your future and career that would have been unknown to you.
  • As an engineer, you must be able to communicate and relate to others. Without being able to empathize or understand the challenges that others face, you will have issues coming up with adequate solutions to their problems.
  • Being adaptable allows you to tackle unfamiliar opportunities, giving you more room to learn new skills and grow.
  • Understanding your personal biases allows you to take a step back and evaluate the problem from different perspectives. Often, engineers are eager to approach problems from a technical perspective, but it is very important to first consider how the issue affects others before trying to develop a solution for it.

COLLEEN O’TOOLE                                                                       

Colleen is an Environmental Engineer who has been working with Kerr Wood Leidal, an engineering consulting firm in BC, since 2008 after graduating from the University of Guelph. In her time at KWL, she has become a trusted advisor to many municipal and Indigenous clients through understanding the importance of people-oriented problem-solving. She excels in her position by understanding the importance of building multidisciplinary teams with high community engagement, to better reflect the culture, values and traditions in the communities she serves.

KEY TAKEAWAYS                                                                                                                                                

  • Know who you are in the world. These core values will help guide your decisions, and help you better empathize with and understand others.
  • We can’t change the world on our own, we need a community which we can rely on and contribute to, to help us learn about and correct assumptions we have about the world.
  • Understand and manage your privilege. By listening first, and educating yourself on topics you are uninformed about, you can help to mitigate any unknown assumptions you have about anything in life.
  • Learn from making mistakes, and learn to “fail forward”. Being afraid to make mistakes can prevent you from ever starting things. Instead, learn to be accountable and make amends after failure, and keep trying so you can improve.
  • Know what you want to leave behind, and take steps towards building your legacy. When trying to make changes, you will face many challenges and hard conversations. In such times, you should choose courage over comfort, as you will always need courage to make important changes.
  • Communication is key in being reliable and ensuring you don’t overpromise. Managing all the different aspects of your life is difficult, but good communication enables you to clearly express your own personal limitations in any role.


CLOSING REMARKS                                                                                                                                          

Thank you for taking the time to go through these GEL workshops. The skills and experiences gained through these activities will surely be useful to you in the future as they not only facilitate good teamwork and cooperation, but also serve as valuable skills in the engineering industry. Hopefully you enjoyed the time spend with us pursuing personal and professional development, and we hope to see you again in future workshops.





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Guelph Engineering Leadership Workshops 2021-22 Copyright © by Sania Azim; Tiana Bressan; John Donald; Matthew Curtis; Colleen O'Toole; and Technical Editor: Nicholas Yip is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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