Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada

Opportunity to grow as a leader: StFX hosts Frank McKenna, XTalks, and fourth Leaders Summit @X

January 22nd, 2018

An action-oriented, practical and inspirational weekend. That’s what on the agenda for student leaders at the Frank McKenna Centre for Leadership as StFX hosts the fourth Leaders Summit @X Jan. 26-27, this year in conjunction with the John C. Friel XTalks.

The summit, co-hosted by StFX Students’ Union, the McKenna Centre for Leadership and the Maple League of Universities, will be off to a special start as StFX alumnus Frank McKenna, former New Brunswick premier and former Canadian ambassador to the United States, is back on campus on Friday, Jan. 26 for a fireside chat as part of the John C. Friel XTalks, which also features talks by student leaders Annie Sirois, Sam Gan and Nicky Barona in the Schwartz Auditorium at 7 p.m. This event is open to the public.

StFX student leaders, l-r, Annie Sirois, Sam Gan, and Nicky Barona will speak about leadership as part of the John C. Friel XTalks, which launches the Leaders Summit @X

Saturday will be a full day for participants, including a broad and diverse cohort of StFX, Maple League and some select high school students, with motivational and informative talks, hands-on workshops and their own action planning and commitment declaration sessions.

“It should be a wonderful launch. Student voices will be leading it off and then we will have a very prominent alumnus in Frank McKenna in a fireside chat. It will be an exciting, dynamic, hands-on weekend,” says Senator Mary Coyle, finishing her position as executive director of the Frank McKenna Centre for Leadership before taking on her new role in the Senate of Canada.

“The McKenna Centre for Leadership is interested in promoting leadership in every sphere and helping students navigate those opportunities,” she says.  

“We always try to put our students forward. Students have been very involved in organizing the event.”

She says Xaverian Weekly co-editors-in-chief Claire Keenan and Ian Kemp will be emceeing the entire event and interviewing Mr. McKenna as part of the fireside chat. “They have been very instrumental in the planning of the summit.”

Mr. Kemp and Ms. Keenan say they are proud to be involved in this endeavour and to be working with a team of driven and diverse people.

“It's great to see the different facets of the StFX community come together to enhance student life,” they say. “The Xaverian Weekly is always delighted to see students enhancing their voices throughout campus and it is heartening to see the enthusiasm towards promoting student leadership. We are excited to emcee the event and look forward to hearing the student speakers and interviewing Frank McKenna.” 

Ms. Coyle says StFX students, staff and faculty are all involved in the workshops and leaders in actions sessions.

StFX Students of African Descent Advisor Kelsey Jones and Gender and Sexual Diversity Student Advisor Breanna O’Handley will lead a session on inclusive leadership; Brianne Peters, teaching staff at the Coady International Institute, will present ABCD – The Strength Based Leadership Approach; and human kinetics professor Dr. Angie Kolen and Athletics Director Leo MacPherson will lead a session entitled, “How good do you want to be?” exploring how young people can transition from leading themselves to leading others.

Ms. Coyle says another highlight will be Halina St. James of Podium Media & Communications Coaching providing a keynote address focused on Public Speaking, a Skill for Leaders followed by a workshop by Ms. St. James on public speaking, being authentic, building confidence, being a total communicator, and connecting to the audience.

In the leaders in action sessions, Ms. Coyle says a large part of the afternoon will be devoted to students identifying their priorities within the theme of leadership and working in small groups to develop action plans and declarations going forward.

“It’s not meant to be done on Saturday, Jan. 27,” Ms. Coyle says. “Students will carry forward with them the skills and knowledge they gain, and they will carry forward the agenda that they have identified for their future action.”

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