Recapping the Waterloo Innovation Summit

Waterloo Innovation Summit

Recently, the University of Waterloo held their annual Waterloo Innovation Summit, this year held at the McKinsey & Company space in downtown Toronto. This one proved to be a pivotal meeting point for young visionaries positioned to redefine the landscape of innovation, and that’s not because I was part of the exciting line-up of speaker. The theme of this year was Next-Gen Talent, a series of panels and talks that was enriched with diverse perspectives, transformative ideas, and a shared commitment to my generation’s and I talent in our rapidly changing world.

Next-Gen Leaders through Experiential Learning

 

Among the three different panels and two presentations, the panel I was part of focused on the experiential education in a changing world. The panel was facilitated by Norah McRae, the Associate Provost, Co-operative and Experiential Education, University of Waterloo. I was on this panel with my fellow panelist Stephanie Davis, a master of public service Student.

We explored the impact of experiential education on shaping the careers and values of young innovators. I shared how if it honestly was not for co-op I would have found an alignment with the work I do because of the opportunities it gave me to explore the work that Young Eye Initiative does. The panel delved into how co-op experiences allow students to not only identify their core values but also to envision and carve paths that lead to substantial impacts in their communities and beyond. This discussion was not only reflective but also forward-thinking, assessing how potential employers can begin to work with Gen Z to create work spaces that allow them to thrive while providing value to their organizations.

The Young Eye Initiative

 

Of course I had to represent and speak on the behalf of the Young Eye Initiative. I reiterated our mission with a focus on the three organizations (Young Eye Foundation, Young Eye International and Young & Restless): to ensure that the needs, interests and aspirations of young people are not just heard but are also integral in shaping the future. It was great to see an growing appetite for different individuals and organizations to support and work with us on this journey.

The Heart of Innovation

 

Networking is the backbone of such summits, and this was a space to exchange ideas and foster collaborations that could shape the future. I was able to engage with a myriad of professionals, from various facets of the Waterloo ecosystem, to investors from California and beyond. Each conversation, whether it was a brief exchange or a detailed discussion, sparked potential collaborations and deepened my understanding of the diverse approaches to innovation.

A special thank you goes to Sherry Hugh, who attended the summit as my guest and as a representative of the Canada Children’s Hospital Foundation. She is always there to support and for that I am grateful!

Forward-Looking

 

The summit was not only a chance to reflect on the work done but also to project the growth we hope to achieve. Meeting and listening to my peers as they discussed their initiatives and ambitions was motivating and inspiring. Their dedication to their causes was as a reminder for me of the power of collective effort and the impact it can achieve.

My team and I at Young Eye are thankful for the continuous support from the Waterloo community, which has been instrumental in advancing the initiatives my team and I are passionate about. As we look forward, I am filled with anticipation for the new developments around our collective work.

Continued Action

 

The Waterloo Innovation Summit served as a reminder of our shared responsibilities and capabilities. It called on each of us to continue to work together, inspire one another, and push the boundaries of what we can achieve. It emphasized the importance of giving GenZ the chance to showcase what we can do, because of work speaks for itself. Our adaptability, creativity, and collaboration in navigating the complexities of our modern world are a testament to that.

I left the summit more committed than ever to the Young Eye Initiative’s mission, but also cautious about certain spaces and how to navigate them well (Shot at AI) – a story for another day. Here’s to more such gatherings that challenge, inspire, and equip us for the future we aim to build.

The University of Waterloo created an incredible highlight reel of the event and I think you should check it out!

Recap

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