Being CEO for a day: What it means and takes to be a successful leader

Monday, April 4, 2022
by Jia Lei, AFM student

I was selected as one of 50 student finalists to participate in the CEOx1Day Future Leaders Summit! I had the unique opportunity to learn business and leadership skills from top Canadian executives.

Photo of Jia Lei
Attending the CEOx1Day Future Leaders Summit hosted by Odgers Berndtson on February 25, 2022, was one of the most profound experiences I’ve had the pleasure to be a part of. This year’s edition of the CEOx1Day program provided leadership development and career insights from some of Canada’s most exemplary CEOs and CHROs to bright third and fourth-year post-secondary students from across the country.

The event was virtual and provided a valuable opportunity to connect with passionate C-suite leaders as well as ambitious students aspiring to be among the next wave of emerging leaders. I felt grateful to be chosen to attend the Summit and learn from the executives’ personal journeys and perspectives about the future of work, along with how their organizations plan to evolve with it.

The diversity of executives, organizations and students involved in the Summit provided a great variety of insights. There were organizations represented from many industries across for-profit and non-profit sectors. Despite the differences that inherently exist between the organizations, all executives highlighted the need for them to be grounded in their mission and vision during the CEO panel discussion. The need to do so is fundamental to be forward-looking as the future of work continues to evolve in an increasingly remote world. Also, I really appreciated how open and candid all five CEOs were when answering questions and sharing their own experiences. Each of the CEOs had inspiring stories about how their backgrounds and paths led them to where they are today. They all credited other people, including mentors, as a pivotal reason for becoming who they are now. This highlights the importance of being surrounded by people who are supportive and motivate us to reach our full potential.

Overall, I had a great time at the CEOx1Day Future Leaders Summit. The event expanded my understanding of what it means and takes to be a successful leader. I would highly encourage any upper-year post-secondary student who seeks leadership development and a special opportunity to meet incredible people to apply!