Measuring social impact, innovative business strategizing, creating solutions and ideation were key takeaways from the Enactus Connects Conference held in Ottawa in September. The tools and insight provided were worth the trip alone, but it is the friendships that we made with other Enactus members that made the real difference.
Lyndsey Cirotto and I made the early morning trip from Kingston to downtown Ottawa with high hopes. The word “conference” led us to imagine a huge room filled with people, bustling with activity. We imagined ourselves disappearing into the crowd, as we were only two people from a relatively small school. To our surprise, the room was quite intimate and there were only around twenty members there. We introduced ourselves to the other schools and quickly got to socializing.
To hear their stories of success and struggle, similar to our own, was a relief. Although we usually meet other Enactus members in a competitive environment, there was no feeling of competition or ego between anyone.
Throughout the icebreaker, business model planning, ideation sessions, and presentations, I began to imagine how to apply this knowledge and these techniques to the projects and programs that we have created at St. Lawrence College. The various exercises provided me with a new way of thinking that I know will help me prepare and manage the data surrounding the projects that I lead.
Highlights of the conference were the icebreaker, where our team traded a paperclip a few times with people around the uOttawa campus and ended up with a $5 Starbucks giftcard, walking around the ByWard market, and bringing the extra pizzas to the local homeless shelter.
I implore any present or future Enactus members to attend as many Enactus-lead conferences, competitions or mixers as they can. Not only is the information provided incredibly applicable and relevant to projects, but the opportunity to network with likeminded individuals (in the sense that we all want to better our communities) is invaluable.
I look forward to seeing my new friends again at Regionals!