We all have the potential to be great leaders.

You don’t need a fancy title or big salary to take the reigns and lead the way.

Leadership is not about creating more followers but creating more leaders, says David Courtemanche, chairman of the Northern Leadership Summit steering committee.

“Whether it’s an employer, a team, business or family, it’s about creating a culture of leadership that engages and supports everyone in increasing their capacity to lead,” says Courtemanche, who serves as Greater Sudbury’s mayor from 2003 to 2006.

It’s time to think differently about leadership and create an environment where everyone has an opportunity to “step up.”

That’s the premise of the Northern Leadership Summit, hosted by the City of Greater Sudbury and Laurentian University with the sponsorship of the magazine, Canadian Government Executive. About 150 delegates from across the North will converge in Sudbury Oct. 16 and 17 for the summit.

The event’s keynote speaker Oct. 16 is Stephen M.R. Convey, New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-selling author of the Speed of Trust and son of the late Stephen Convey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

Other speakers include:

  • Kerry Pond, assistant deputy minister for the Centre for Leadership and Learning, Ontario Public Service.
  • Jennifer Deal, senior research scientist and the Centre for Creative Leadership and affiliated research scientist at the Centre for Effective Organizations at the University of South Carolina.
  • Dr. Rosie Steeves, founder and president of Executive Works, an organization that helps leaders transform their organizations through effective leadership.
  • Attendance at last year’s inaugural event is a good indication there is tremendous interest in leadership development and the creation of a leadership institute, says Courtemanche.

Part of the experience of the summit is to hear from leading edge thinkers from around the world and their ideas around leadership development.

A pre-summit workshop geared to new and inspiring leaders will empower these young participants with a stronger voice and encourage them to take a place in their community.

“I think there’s a real diversity of ideas and perspectives on leadership itself that cuts across all ages and all sectors,” said Courtemanche. “One of things we’re trying to do is bring that all together, really trying to understand by listening to experts in the field that are doing cutting edge research around leadership development. What we know now is that a lot of leadership development comes from experience and connecting that experience with leadership development programs that could be offered by either an employer or post secondary institution like Laurentian.”

A good example of such a program is the Northern Leadership Project, a yearlong professional development project. Spearheaded by Science North the program combines leadership training, mentorship and community engagement to generate innovative solutions.

Last year’s Northern Leadership Summit explored the idea of whether leaders are born.

“There was some general agreement that yes, there were some general attributes that people came into the world with, but great leaders are born learners,” says Courtemanche.

And so mentorship, programs and experience can help people become more effective leaders. And this could be a made-in-the-North solution. There’s no reason why this type of professional development couldn’t happen here.

“While the summit is an event, there’s a vision to create a leadership institute that would help augment experiential learning so that people across Northern Ontario don’t have to venture off to Toronto or some of the bigger centres for leadership development programming,” says Courtemanche.

Lifelong learning defines Greater Sudbury’s Learning City Initiative. And so the development of a leadership institute along with other initiatives to encourage leadership development would help to strengthen its purpose.


To register for the Northern Leadership Summit go to: laurentian.canadiangovernmentexecutive.ca/speakers/