By Gwyn Chapman
Rhiannon Rosalind is by far one of Canada’s most relevant and conscious leaders. She is the CEO of the Economic Club of Canada, an organisation with an impressive record of presenting a platform for North America’s top decision makers, in politics, social development, and business.
Rhiannon has hosted an event with First Lady Michelle Obama, and is now hosting a conversation, with President Barack Obama. Part of her goal is to create the opportunity for marginalised, First Nations youth and young leaders to be in attendance.
She is convinced that the upcoming conversation with President Obama would be a great learning experience young people, so it is important for them to attend.
Rosalind was raised by a single mother and came from humble beginnings. Her family struggled financially and otherwise. She struggled in school and had difficulty overcoming the challenges of drugs and alcohol. These experiences gave her deep perspective on such issues that many young Canadians face. “Our society isn’t always very understanding or forgiving of struggle or failure. I was able to overcome my obstacles and turn them into something positive and I believe everyone can do this, no matter what the circumstances,” she said.
She looks beneath the surface of what people present and makes it a point to see the truth in them. “We are all good at our core, looking to be loved and make valuable contributions. When life deals us a seemingly unfair hand, we can forget our own goodness. I’m deeply motivated to help people see their own potential.” She believes her purpose in this life to make bridges, to connect people, to help people remember who they actually are.
Rosalind has learnt her greatest lessons from her role as a mother. “It’s taught me patience, gratitude and love. The greatest challenge for us women, as mother’s is to remember our own dreams. I want to show my boys what a woman can do. It may be unconventional, but my happiness is the greatest gift I can give to them.”
In an industry dominated by white male, she is fearless, and did hold back on challenging those in power, who she believes can bring progressive and meaningful change.
According to Rosalind, having the younger generation contribute to Canada’s national dialogue is not an act of charity or kindness, it is just good business. “We face many difficult challenges as a nation, as an economy and I believe good ideas can come from our youth. I want them to see themselves as leaders. At times young people have a narrow vision of what success looks like; thinking it’s about job titles, money and prestige. The truth is the most valuable leaders don’t necessarily have any of those things. Rosalind believes the more struggle faced in your life, the more important your role is in shaping the future. “If you’ve lived through a challenge, there’s no better person on the planet than YOU, to solve it.”
Her advice for youth who have just given up on life itself, “take it one day at a time. Each day, do one small thing different. If you’re isolated- reach out to someone for help. Life is a series of very tiny decisions all piled up together. Sum up the courage to take one small step at a time; it will build momentum for other positive things to enter your life.”
Rhiannon Rosalind is co-founder with her partner, Dr. Jeff Overall of the Global Institute for Conscious Economics, an organisation created to produce impactful events and initiatives in 2020.
As we embark on celebrating Legendary Civil Rights leader, Martin Luther King’s birthday, may we be encouraged to embrace this poignant and fitting quote, by one of the most courageous leaders of our time, ” Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?”
A Conversation with President Barack Obama will be held at the Toronto Metro Convention Center , January 23rd, 2020. See ad on back page for details.