I was recently invited by my alma mater, the University of Calgary Business School, to be a part of a group of panelists to discuss the topic of leadership with their MBA students. I have to admit I’m a bit of a nerd and quite liked school (especially now that the nasty bits are fading in memory….exams, papers, boring but necessary classes), so I jumped at the opportunity.
Shortly before the event, I received details including the names of the other panelists. It was then that my nerves kicked in. I would be rubbing elbows with Calgary’s “corporate superstars” such as Clive Beddoe, Co-Founder and Chairman of Westjet, Nancy Knowlton, CEO and Co-Founder of SMART Technologies, and Jim Dinning, the new Chancellor of the University of Calgary. And then there was me.
The other panelists have too many accolades and accomplishments to mention. I found myself amongst this group of inventors, entrepreneurs, politicians and brainiacs, in front of a bright group of students, hoping like hell that I answered my question correctly!
I got to go first which I thought was probably a good thing. The students wouldn’t yet have any lofty expectations set by the others, and if I missed the mark, perhaps they’d forget about it by the time we got to Panelist #6. I could only hope and pray.
Well… I did it! I survived, answered the question of whether leaders are born or “built” (it’s a combo, if you want to know my answer), and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I learned a lot, and best of all….got to go back to school!
Yours in the pursuit of higher learning and other good stuff,