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Empowerment Blueprint: Classroom of the future?

One class. Six entrepreneurs. Seven students. Genuine spirit of selfless giving back. Mix them all together and the atmosphere can only be described as magical! Is what learning environments of the future will look like?

Thank you Fariha, Armin Shafee, Gi Zella, Zain and Shorupan for investing your time in something that is bigger than all of us individually. You made a difference yesterday!

I firmly believe that the best way to spend time on this planet is in acts that empower people. I also believe that empowerment at scale is only possible through collaboration of academia, industry, government and students.

Yesterday, I saw part of my vision come to life in an atmosphere that can only be described at magical. I teach a continuing education class at Sheridan College. I teach this class to help students that just need a bit of advice, resources and direction to land their dreams. The class is razor focused on lessons and leaders who are at the front-lines of executing the ideas. The lessons are real. In addition to my experience, I bring in guest speakers who are successful in this businesses and are executing the theoretical concepts every day in the real world.

Yesterday, we had 5 incredible entrepreneurs join the session to share their journey. Their successes and more importantly their failures. The short presentation sessions were followed by a group discussion in the ratio of 1 mentor to 2 students. I asked each student to bring one question to the table , ‘My biggest perceived fear to land my dream is….. ‘. Three hours flew by and when we ended the session at 10 in the night, we had to take this picture to capture the moment.

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I encourage learning environments both in the corporate and academic settings to try this out. You will be amazed by the results. The blueprint is simple:

  1. Objective: Help students/employees remove roadblocks that are preventing them to shine to their full potential.
  2. Duration: Three hour workshop on a focused topic.
  3. Format: Low ratio of mentor & mentees – perhaps 1:2 if possible. Limited presentation time (10 to 15 minutes each depending on number of speakers) and longer conversation time. The intent is the take success away from the pedestal and make it more achievable through conversation.
  4. The magical ingredient: Empathy! Choose your leaders such that they are doing it for the right reasons. To ensure they are there not there for themselves but for the people who are looking for guidance. As the workshop leader, guide the conversation so it remains real. Remains true. Remains magical.
  5. Sit back and enjoy the results! There is something incredible about a space where everyone is there not because they have to but because they want to!

In a world where every type of information is at the fingertips of students – they need more help than ever before to filter out the noise and focus on what is truly important. The role of corporate and academic learning environments needs to evolve to give people confidence in their ability to execute, help them visualize success, address their deepest fears that prevent them to act. In summary, leave them with a perspective which empowers them to use the existing sources of endless internet knowledge to learn what they need to learn to be successful. Only then, will the student walk out of that experience truly empowered.

I am going to take this concept to a whole different level at the Expo on 17th September and then at a very special gala designed to connect mentors with mentees on 21st October. Check out the leaders attending the breakout room that represent the upper echelons of the business and public sector world.

A BIG THANKS YOU to our entrepreneurs who spent their value time investing in something that is bigger than all of us individually. You made a difference yesterday!

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