Archive | September, 2012

Lead the Way, Oh Mighty Leader

28 Sep

I’m always buzzing around on social media websites and when I came across the above image I saved it to my phone immediately because the message reached out to me. This quote truly captures my definition of what makes a strong leader.

“Leadership is about the decisions you make, and the actions that you take each day. The world is waiting. Leadership is a choice- and it starts with you.” The quote comes from Alyse Nelson’s book, Vital Voices: The Power of Women Leading Change around the World.

There is a lot to be said about an individual who is a born leader; someone who is inherently inclined to be proactive and to pave a path for others. There is possibly even more to be said about an an individual who was not always destined to lead others, but who learns the necessary behaviours and characteristics that are required to become someone who can direct and guide others.

In my life I have had several role models who have proven to be excellent leaders; my parents, teachers, and public figures.

Throughout my childhood and teenage years, I went on a journey to find discover and develop my identity as a leader. There were several factors that prevented me from fully acting on this feeling that I had, that I wanted to make a difference for myself and others. It was initially difficult for me to lead my peers, when I did not feel completely accepted by them. Towards the end of elementary school, I knew it was my time to shine and while I was struggling with personal battles, both at school and at home, the only way that I would be able to be resilient through it all was to become the leader I knew I was capable of being.

I think that everyone experiences moments in life when we are meant to be leaders and when we are meant to be followers. I think that it is a matter of recognizing when the right time is for each role; when we must emerge into the role of a leader or allow others to guide us.

The sign of powerful and positive leaders is their path and the lives that they have touched. Alyse Nelson writes that “True leaders…have heart and noble purpose. They draw strength from within to effect change in the wide world.” It is so important for leaders to have a vision that they are willing to share with others. These visions are the driving force of a larger plan at work.

A powerful lesson that I learned in Teacher’s College, that resonates both in the classroom and beyond, is that one must work with the end in mind. In order to attain our goals, we must create a vision of what we want to achieve and plan out the steps necessary to reach these goals. In my opinion, no powerful leaders have accomplished great feats by “winging it”, and if they have, they defy the odds.

I think that a leader is an extremely brave individual, who is willing to take risks and make decisions that others are not necessarily comfortable making. This, of course, comes with consequences but a great leader knows how to recover and how to respond to failure. I italicized the word failure because I believe that there is no growth without mistakes.

A leader is not limited to being defined the actions he or she takes to guide others, but beyond that a leader should be recognized for his or her ability to take responsibility, to make decisions that affect the greater good, to foresee obstacles and be proactive, to accept consequences and turn them into a positive learning experience, and most importantly, to be true to oneself.

I’ll leave you all with my favourite Maya Angelou quote, “if we know better, we do better” and I think that this is what makes a good leader.

Lead on my friends,



Falling for Autumn

16 Sep

As I sit down to write this post, the air is cooler on this September evening. The days are still quite warm but the wind has a slight coolness to it. I know that summer is coming to an end because the air is changing and the night skies are falling upon us earlier, as the days go on.

Don’t get me wrong, summer is my favourite season and I love the sunshine, the heat and the greenery. However, there is something truly beautiful and cozy that I love so much about autumn. I know summer is not officially over yet but I’m getting into the spirit of autumn with all of the fall fashions in stores now and with the changing weather.

Once fall hits, I find that I’m always reaching for my phone so that I can snap pictures of the beautifully changing leaves. I love the red, orange and yellow foliage that paint a perfect picture every time I step outside of my house. There is something about the way the autumn air smells, so fresh and crisp!

Autumn Scene by Alexa Andra

Fall is upon us once Starbucks brings back their incredibly famous Pumpkin Spice Lattes! All of the warm, spicy drinks epitomize fall with every sip and the smell of the spicy drinks lure me in every time. There’s nothing like going for a walk in the autumn, dressed in full fall attire from a nice pair of boots to a cozy scarf, with a warm drink in hand! I had my first Pumpkin Spice Latte of the season and was on cloud nine, except when I realized that my Starbucks barista forgot to give me my slice of banana bread, but I digress.

Another favourite of mine is burning fall scented candles. The warmth from the candles themselves is comforting and filling my house with the fragrances of fall accompanies the beautiful scenery so nicely. It’s amazing how a candle can improve my mood and really create a relaxing ambiance.


What is a fall wardrobe without fabulous boots? I’m one for practicality but when it comes to shoes I often find myself not being the most practical individual. However, yesterday I invested in a pair of ankle boots that I immediately fell in love with that are equally as comfortable (for the most part) as they are trendy. Let’s be honest, many women love fall primarily because amazing we can start wearing our fabulous boots again.


Lastly, one of my favourite things that I look forward to every fall is the annual fair that is held in my hometown. The fair unofficially declares that fall is upon us, as it occurs annually on the weekend before Thanksgiving. There are several exhibitors with an array of displays, delicious eats , various shows and farm animals that we look forward to seeing every year. Oh, and you can’t forget about the ferris wheel!

 What are your fall favourites?

Remembering 9-11

11 Sep

It is hard to believe that eleven years ago today, what was supposed to be an ordinary September 11th turned out to be a date that everyone, all over the world, would never forget.

If you ask anyone old enough, each and every single person can remember exactly where they were and what they were doing when they heard about the tragic events that took place. I remember distinctly where I was when I found out. I was in grade 8 and it was during lunch when a few friends and I were sitting outside chatting. A friend had gone home for lunch and arrived back to school with the horrible news. At that point we were not sure what to make of the news as we could not grasp the severity of what actually took place. The bell rang and we proceeded to our next class. My teacher (who was in his first year of teaching) had to break the news to us in the most gentle way possible, without scaring us all and with the few facts he knew at that moment.

The 9/11 Collection from CMA’s Permanent Collection of children’s artwork

The world is a very different place than it was eleven years ago. There are so many tragic images that are seared into my mind from that day and what I choose to remember are the images of bravery, unity and pride. Today we remember and honour the fallen heroes and victims.

While the years go by, the memories of that day certainly do not fade.