My main reason for to applying to this year’s Ted Rogers Management Conference (TRMC) was to see if might open my eyes to what career I should pursue. In addition, of course, I wanted to have a weekend getaway for fun with my friends.
To be quite frank, I had low expectations internally in terms of what my goals were for the conference and what I hope to gain and achieve from it. Going into TRMC, I had zero university conference experience and hardly any case competition experience. As a result, my main concern was whether I could contribute to my case team, stay actively engaged with the workshops and enjoy the various panels of the conference. Looking back on the weekend, I am so happy I decided to attend.
Day 1: Ryerson Business Forum and Denim Night
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to attend the conference introduction and the Ryerson Business Forum (RBF) due to class obligations. However, I only heard positive reviews from other delegates and TRMC members. This year’s RBF was about gathering industry leaders who are change-makers in their fields. They ranged from venture capitalists, to the railway sector and to innovation in the accounting field. The panelists gathered to share their insights and experience on how to successfully spot opportunities where others might normally overlook them.
After the RBF, students went back into their hotels to get ready for Denim Night at Sterling Ballroom. I was able to attend the event and can personally attest to the fact that the social that night was, as expected, a “LIT” time.
Day 2: Workshops and Multicultural Night
Day two commenced with workshops. Students had the opportunity to choose two of four workshops to attend. The two workshops that I selected to attend were the Gerry Lewis communication workshop and the Allyson Hewitt Social Innovation workshop.
Gerry Lewis’ workshop was about the importance of effective communication skills and how an individual’s career aspirations are determined through their success at communicating. A key quote that resonated with me from the workshop was: “The goal should not be to be the best, it should be to get better.”
Allyson Hewitt’s Social Innovation workshop was next. The workshop was about how the trend in business is currently is to be both social (charitable) and financial (commercial). It is possible for a business to be both, and as Canadians, social innovation is considered a cultural norm through aspects such as peacekeeping and universal healthcare. Hewitt concluded that in order for us to be social innovators, we need to “get to it, time is too short and do not focus on pessimism.”
The launch panel followed and I found it insightful and relevant. It showed the audience not only how fortunate we are to have come this far in terms of equality in the workplace compared to other countries, it also discussed what else needs to be done and what women in particular can do to get past that “glass ceiling” to advance their careers. One key quote from the launch panel by Annette Verschuren that resonated with me was, “It is not the hours you put in, it is the outcome.”
After the panel was Multicultural Night, which was by far one of my favorite events of TRMC. Dressing up in my Middle Eastern clothing and seeing everyone else dress in their cultural clothing really inspired me and made me feel grateful to be Canadian and live in a country as diverse as ours. The level of multiculturalism exhibited that night from different performers to students all coming together to do the African dance really exhibited an amazing level of acceptance and inclusiveness.
Day 3: Case Competition and Gala
Day three was the big day for the case competition. For that hour and a half cutting the case, my teammates and I worked well together and everyone was able to contribute. There was tension of course, but our team was happy with the presentation we came up with. After presenting in the preliminary rounds, our group felt confident. However, when our team was originally not named a finalist, we were happy regardless with what we produced.
Amazingly, the judges announced a fifth team would be added in the final round and it was our team! I have never felt more excited and eager in my life. Our group presented and when we were named second place, I feel this is one of my biggest accomplishments during my time as a student at TRSM. The case itself made me realize and confirm my goal that my career path needs to lead me to a career in politics to solve municipal problems such as public transportation and affordable housing.
Lastly, we had the gala…need I say more? The venue, everyone’s attire, the table settings, the food, and the people. I think Ted Rogers would be proud of the way TRMC commemorates his legacy year after year.
I honestly feel like it was fate that led me to TRMC. Year after year during my undergraduate career, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to participate in a lot of different initiatives. My time at TRMC will be something I will cherish and never forget as my first external conference, and I am honestly looking forward to “The best is yet to come”.
I would like to thank the TRMC organizing committee as their level of hard work led directly to the conference’s incredible success.