Leadership program promotes idea that ‘anyone can become a leader’

Algonquin College students and professors gathered for a presentation about the Mindtrust Leadership Development Program (MLDP) at the AC Hub on Dec. 1. Founded in 2001, Mindtrust is a charity that is focused on providing youth leadership development programs. With other programs run by Mindtrust, such as the Youth Leadership Program and the Mentorship Program, […]
Photo: William Bailey
“Learning about leadership is a great way to get involved with the community and help grow self-confidence," said Miti Akhani, a student in the Mindtrust Leadership Development Program’s 2023 session.

Algonquin College students and professors gathered for a presentation about the Mindtrust Leadership Development Program (MLDP) at the AC Hub on Dec. 1.

Founded in 2001, Mindtrust is a charity that is focused on providing youth leadership development programs. With other programs run by Mindtrust, such as the Youth Leadership Program and the Mentorship Program, the MLDP dives into the basics of what it truly means to be a leader.

“The program itself is a hybrid program, with seven modules total,” said Matthew Haw, Mindtrust’s director of programs and technology.

“Modules one, four and seven will be delivered in person, at the University of Ottawa, Carlton University and Bayview Yards respectively. The other four modules will be delivered through Zoom. As long as you have some interest in leadership, this program is for you.”

The first module is a launch session, where students learn about the characteristics of a leader.

Module two dissects this further by teaching what makes a great leader.

The third module focuses on communication and how can one’s influence lead others.

Module four is all about team collaboration and how to work effectively in groups.

The fifth module teaches about balanced leadership and how to maintain a work/life balance.

Module six consists of learning how to use leadership skills to manage conflict.

In the final module, students present leadership statements to the class, stating what being a leader means to them.

Although the MLDP stresses attendance and active participation, one’s success of this course is not determined through evaluations or letter grades, but through feedback.

“It is important to realize that this is not management, this is leadership,” said Jason Abt, Mindtrust’s director of funding.

“In management, you’re a line manager and people are reporting to you from an organizational standpoint. The MLDP has nothing to do with that. This is about helping a group of people trying to achieve some kind of common goal. Whether you’re a designated line manager of an organization or not, it makes no difference at all. But through our lives, we have the opportunity to help people around us and that’s by showing leadership in our professional or personal lives. Every leader can be a manager, but not every manager is a leader.”

Miti Akhani, a student in the MLDP’s 2023 session, believes anyone who signs up will be in for a life-changing experience.

“Anyone can become a leader,” she said.

“Learning about leadership is a great way to get involved with the community and help grow self-confidence. Being in this program has helped me break boundaries and be more vocal than ever before. It’s tiny changes like this that can really make you feel better about yourself.”

Thirty spots are available for Algonquin College students to sign up for the 2024 session, but you must be within six months of graduating to be eligible. The first module will be covered at the University of Ottawa on Jan. 19.

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