By Lucy Juneau
If you’re putting on a conference called SOAR!, having astronaut Chris Hadfield there to speak is about as appropriate as it gets.
Carleton University’s SOAR Student Leadership Conference will welcome Hadfield as keynote speaker at their fourth annual conference in January 2018. SOAR! focuses on strengthening leadership skills and challenging previous ideas about leadership while engaging students during a full day of activities.
“We chose Chris Hadfield because his leadership experiences will allow students to learn, reflect and challenge themselves as leaders,” says Teddy Kozela, the Mentorship and Transition Support Co-ordinator at Carleton University.
Hadfield was the first Canadian to walk in space and was the voice of mission control for 25 space shuttle missions. For him, the essence of inspirational leadership is pushing people’s limits.
“It’s a challenge and delight to provide perspectives and ideas to broaden people’s horizons,” said Hadfield. “If you truly want to inspire someone, you need them to somehow see a reality or future they haven’t imagined possible before.”
Telling Compelling Stories
His key objective is to tell compelling stories that are memorable enough to stick in people’s minds. He is hoping the messages he shares will occur to people at the right moment when they need leadership guidance.
Hadfield also wants to reinforce the privilege of a university education. Canada has the highest number of post-secondary educated people worldwide, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s report, Education at a Glance, in 2016.
“We lose perspective on our privilege. With privilege comes responsibility. With leadership comes responsibility,” said Hadfield.
“Universities like Carleton give opportunity, freedom, the time and the peace to study and pursue our own interests. This is necessary for advancement of the human condition, but with it comes a civic responsibility and a recognition for good citizenship.”
The conference will also feature presentations from students, faculty, staff and Carleton alumni. The goal is to enhance personal leadership philosophies individually, as opposed to following a cookie-cutter notion of what it means to be a leader.
“Students who attended the conference last year said that the experience allowed them to learn how to use their strengths, get out of their comfort zones, and set goals to become a better leader,” says Kozela.
Lessons in Leadership from Chris Hadfield
The SOAR! Leadership conference is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018. Registration is at SOAR!’s website. The day will will include informative and interactive workshops on a variety of trends and topics delivered by engaging speakers.
SOAR! is hosted by the Student Experience Office in partnership with Housing and Residence Life Services, the Office of Student Affairs, Carleton University Students’ Association and the Carleton University Alumni Association.
In 1992, out of 5,330 applicants, Col. Chris Hadfield was one of four Canadians selected to become an astronaut. He was the voice of mission control for 25 space shuttle missions. From 1996 to 2000, he was chief astronaut for the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and later NASA’s director of operations. On his spacewalk in 2001, he installed the Canadarm2, the Canadian-built robotic arm, on the International Space Station (ISS). He served as chief of robotics at the NASA from 2003 to 2006 and became the first Canadian to command ISS in 2013. He is a New York Times bestselling author. For more information, visit his website.
To learn more about Hadfield’s current projects, visit his YouTube channel.
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