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Orientation Team (O-Team) 2015

Ryersons Orientation Team 2015
Jason Hang: Orientation Marketing Assistant

What is one character trait that you believe every leader should possess?

I believe that leaders should be relatable to their followers. Leaders are looked upon as someone that can guide others to their own individual success and in order to do that, they need to be relatable to each other. The leader should be viewed at the same level as the follower (e.g. student to student, human to human), and when that is achieved, they are able to open up more freely to each other and discuss. When the word ‘leadership’ comes up, the word ‘power’ often comes to mind - we should change our perspective on that and realize that everyone is essentially at the same level; the only difference being is that a leader is someone who is willing to help guide others either passively or actively.

In my leadership positions, I have always strived to have a mutual leadership relationship between those who view me as a leader or mentor. I have been blessed with many friendships that stemmed from me looking up to others, and when I was able to lead others.

Shannon: Orientation Residence Lead

How would you encourage others to pursue their leadership?

I would encourage others to pursue their leadership by getting involved in something that they are already passionate and/or skilled at, whether it be academics, sports, music, a cultural group, a hobby, etc. If someone hasn’t quite found their niche yet, I would suggest trying a whole bunch of different things to explore where they feel comfortable/confident in developing their skills! I would also encourage others by saying that their university experience can be so much more meaningful than just going to class and then back home, leadership on campus can lead to so many great things whether it’s a new friendship, or a job opportunity. 

Samuel Song: Orientation Crew Lead

How did you get started with your leadership journey? What are your reasons?

My leadership journey in university started when I got involved with Orientation last year as an Operations member. I decided to join the team because of my passion towards helping incoming students transition into a new environment. I really loved being an orientation leader in high school and wanted to continue to experience that role in university. I was also curious to see how different or similar it would be to my past leadership experience in secondary school. As a first year, I figured being a part of Orientation would help me to make more friendships and connect with people who share the passion as me.

Now my leadership journey is continuing with my current involvement in Orientation this year. I have the opportunity to further become a leader by being involved in the front line of operations for Orientation Week! I’m definitely looking forward to creating an amazing experience for our new students! 

Cathy Ngyugen: Orientation Sponsorship Assistant

How do you navigate your leadership journey?

I have a few idols that I admire and aspire to be like whether that is their influence in their industry or some other attribute. I take the time to learn about how they got to where they are now by analyzing their personality, education, experiences, failures, even personal relationships. It helps me answer the question, "What kind of impact do I want to make?" and is great for creating a framework for my future experiences, even if it completely irrelevant in comparison to what I plan on pursuing.

That being said, I also like to keep an open mind about what kind of roles I take on in my leadership journey. The world is a very tumultuous place (especially for creative types), so being flexible is a useful skill. My personal motto is "Diversify your experience". 

Melissa Nicholls: Orientation Events Lead

How do you lead through change?

Personally, change is the most difficult obstacle to overcome for me. Change can be very difficult to adjust to but as a leader you have to embrace change so that other’s may as well. As a leader, people will look to you for guidance towards direction.

Change provides the challenge to help you grow and learn from experiences that require you to move outside your comfort zone. You are challenged to adjust under times of stress and you need to be prepared to have the resources to find the answers. Leaders need to listen to the concerns of change by others and help facilitate a smooth transition. Change is unique for every single individual and what you feel may be completely different from what another is experiencing. Change can be a first year’s adjustment to attending university or transferring to a new program or even joining a new club or organization. Ryerson is known for their engaging student body and help is easy to get. There is no one type of leader and that leader can be you!

Christina Laffey: Orientation Events Assistant

How would you define leadership?

There are often pre conceived notions of what leadership is and what qualities constitute a good leader. I can say with confidence that many people think that leadership involves being a type A personality that is outgoing, loud, and has no difficulty with being in front of people. However, I believe that leadership comes in very different shapes and sizes and can have many different forms. To me, leadership starts with having an open mind that is capable of seeing through different perspectives. It means being able to work with people in different capacities in order to facilitate success. It also involves understanding that there is always room to grow and learn. I feel that leadership can also mean having the ability to create meaningful relationships. Building relationships that are genuine is the catalyst to transform from good leader to an extraordinary leader. 


When does a follower become a leader?

Everyone is a leader. Whether you realize it or not. Most of the times we consider ourselves leaders only when we’re associated with a position, title or level of importance. However, I think we have all been a leader at some point in our lives. That could be through volunteering or simply being a mentor to a sibling or friend. We often disregard our leadership status because we compare our responsibilities/roles with others.

The transition from being a follower to a leader is all psychological. Think back to a time when you made a difference in someone’s life, no matter how big or small you think it is. Evaluate the impact you had and that was your leadership moment. Acknowledging the influence you had and the change you made is the first step to being a leader.

Jessica Machado

Program: 4th year Biology undergraduate student in the Faculty of Science

Outside of being a student, what else are you involved with at Ryerson?

Currently I’m Director of RU a Changemaker (RUaC), President of Ryerson’s Water Environment Association of Ontario (RU-WEAO), a saber fencer on the Ryerson Varsity Fencing Team, and part of the core team in RySciMatch. While RU-WEAO and RySciMatch are faculty specific, most of my involvement revolves around a sense of social change and creating a positive impact. As President of RU-WEAO, I work with the committee to promote interest and sustainability in the water environment throughout campus. I’m on the Strategy & Growth team in the Bodhi Collective, a design start-up incubated in the SocialVentures Zone. I’m also working in the Office of Science Outreach and Enrichment (OSOE) as a Biology Ambassador, and focus my community work in science literacy. Essentially, trying to understand how youth connect their science education to society, and their appreciation of science.

How did you get started with your leadership journey at Ryerson? What were your reasons?

In my first year I had a hard time transitioning academically, and at the end of my first semester I was on academic probation. At the start of the winter semester there was a Campus Groups Day, and that’s where I had the chance to meet the students in RyeSERT, the Ryerson Student Emergency Response Team. I was already interested in joining, and being a part of such a supportive community helped me to build skills around time management, team dynamics, and communication. It sparked a passion for me and to give back to the community. After that, I started being more involved with student groups to help keep myself on track; my mindset was that more priorities within school made me focused to manage these responsibilities.

How would you define ‘leadership’?

I think that leadership is something that people usually discover accidentally; people tend to pursue something they’re interested in and start taking on responsibilities that they’re comfortable with. Before you know it, you might have more responsibilities and developed a lot of skills that your role in a team starts to shift. I think that someone who is a leader works with a community to make a positive impact, or to support that community. I think that often people are labelled as a leader before they feel as though they can identify as one. In exploring that leadership journey, empathy is an important factor. One of my mentors, Joe MacInnis, defined leadership as resilience and encompassing communication, endurance, and emotional intelligence. I absolutely agree and believe that regardless of what your scope of work is, it’s important to connect with your team, allow space for vulnerability and growth.

How would you encourage others to pursue their leadership?

It’s really about starting somewhere and starting small. Find something you’re interested in, or a leader you want to work with. It might be as simple as volunteering in your neighbourhood, or being a part of a student group on campus. Once you’ve found that, you can start to build on those experiences and learn what you’d really like to develop and what you’re already confident in. Definitely build your confidence, reflect on your experiences, and stay involved.

What is one character trait that you believe every leader should possess?

Empathy. The emotional intelligence and understanding leads to being able to connect with people on a deeper level. This empathetic nature includes all those whom we interact with on a day-to-day basis; from those on our team to those out in the community we’re trying to reach. Being able to communicate effectively with your team and giving time to listen to them and to their experiences is incredibly important to having a strong team dynamic.