Recap of 21inc Summit and How to Build Leadership

Last week, I had the honor and priviledge of being part of this cohort of 50 young leaders from across Atlantic Canada. It was a powerful and intense experience. After the week, the 50 of us were blown away and came way enthusiastic about Atlantic Canada’s future. See leaders here

At the time, I didn’t really know why my experience was so powerful. I just knew that it was. This post aims to explain my analysis of the program and how I think 21inc is having a great impact on building a better Atlantic Canada, and therefore, why all readers should care!

Note: These are my impressions and not the official accounts of the 21inc organization.

On Atlantic Canadian Challenges

This is the big picture. The “challenge” to tackle. We hear often about the tremendous challenges facing our region: unemployment, out-ward migration, aging population, lack of innovation, declining primary industries.

We are also facing unprecedented changes in our world landscape, geopolitical, technological, environmental, etc. How is a little region supposed to do? Enter 21inc…

The key Elements: New Perceptions and Tools

For me, there are three main ingredients to bake a  “transform a region” pie: 1) Beliefs 2) Tools and 3) Network.

1) The Foundation: Beliefs and Choice

I believe the #1 value-add from 21inc is to change our beliefs and perceptions. The starting point of any movement is a powerful belief. As a rule of thumb, I think that what we believe comes true. If we say, we are a “have-not” region, it’s true. On the flip-side, if we say that our region has tremendous potential, that’s also true!

Through workshops, facilitated discussions, and speakers, I believe the biggest take-away, for me, is that Atlantic Canada is not only NOT doomed for failure, it has a LOT going for it!

That allows us to look at things from a much more powerful perspective. Our future is not pre-ordained. We now, have a choice to create the Atlantic Canada we want to see in the world. The question becomes: What do you want to see happen? And then, what are you going to do to make that happen?

We are all leaders, creating every day (more on that in another post!)

2) Building It Up: The Tools

To implement our beliefs and our choices, there exist tools, systems, processes, etc, on how to actually lead change. This is also covered in 21inc.

There are many good examples, but one that stuck for me is the session from David Alston & Greg Hemmings on how to use movies and  storytelling to build a movement and bring about social change. They demonstrated how a video from Venezuelan kids playing classical music, and how telling their touching stories inspired a group in NB to start a youth classical music program.

Read more here. Awesome stuff!

Other tools, include purpose driven leadership, the “Millenial” shift, emotional intelligence and many other skills that we will use in our professional and community endeavours.

3) Going Forward: The Network 

The third crucial ingredient, is the network. Once you graduate you are part of a network. Now we have a network of positive, forward thinking people to support each other in our endeavours to make better work places, better NGOs, better government, better lives and a better Atlantic Canada.

So folks. For those who wanted to know more about 21inc. That in short is my recap.

I wanted to speak more of the purpose and the importance of 21inc. I hope this has opened some eyes and piqued some curiosity. If anyone has specific questions on workshops or on 21inc, I am always open to share!

Also, for those other 21incers, please share your own thoughts/reactions.

What is 21inc? 

The purpose is to build the next generation of leaders that will find opportunities in the challenges that face Atlantic Canada in the 21st century.  It’s an organization that offers intensive leadership trainings for 21-40 year olds.

3 thoughts on “Recap of 21inc Summit and How to Build Leadership

  1. Well said Mathieu! I believe 21 Inc is a movement in itself as we move forward in building an abundant future as a collective! I am honoured to be part of such a movement!


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