A letter to my past self

Dear Khanh of 2018,

This is your future self – Khanh of 2020. I’m writing this letter to let you know about an interesting concept introduced at DECA Leadership Development Academy today. It has really opened up new perspectives for me and I believe for you as well.

Remember how back in grade 11, you thought that holding executive or leadership positions is the way to go to develop leadership. Well, that is true. However, what I learnt today will amaze you; you can demonstrate leadership almost anytime anywhere!

Hear me out here, will you? Leadership is not only about leading others. Think about it! There’s so much more to leadership. Leadership is about communicating, collaborating, and solving problems to achieve your goal. Do you know what that means? That means leadership can be developed in any situation!

Since I came to School of Accounting and Finance, I have encountered many opportunities to improve leadership: Fellowship, ambassador program, networking nights, etc. However, the opportunity that I enjoy most is definitely case competitions. So far, I have joined in-house case competitions such as University of Waterloo Accounting Conference Launch event, DECA Launch, CPA Case Competition, and so on. At these events, I have the opportunity to tackle, analyze and present a case study to judges as part of a team. My tip is to sign up individually so that you can be put in teams with members that you many not have worked with before. This helps you develop the adaptability to collaborate with members with diverse backgrounds. If this is not leadership development, I don’t know what it is!

These experiences can definitely help build your resume. Case competitions really gives you the exposure to real-life business situations and more importantly, build that 21st century skillsets: leadership, communication, collaboration, problem-solving, etc. What’s so great is that School of Accounting and Finance have an abundance of such opportunities!

So Khanh of 2018, I wish my high school self had known sooner that there’s so much more to leadership. Of course, there’s something about being an executive member but there’s also a lot about being engaged in volunteering, case competitions, studying… literally anything! Find opportunities where you can collaborate, communicate and use critical thinking. Those are leadership opportunities. They can be found anywhere, anytime!

Keep that in mind, Khanh and I wish you all the best. It’s still a long journey until you get to where I am now. But I know you’ll have as much of a blast as I do now in School of Accounting and Finance.

With much love and wishes,

Khanh.

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