Tear-jerk stories at Jobs of the Future Youth Summit

Divine at Jobs of the Future Youth Summit

The Hilton Toronto on 145 Richmond Street West, opened its doors to Toronto youths last Saturday, for the inaugural Jobs of the Future Youth Summit. The event was put on by the government of Ontario, in conjunction with the Jr Economic Club. It was an all-day affair, commencing at 8:30 am and culminating at 4:00 pm.

The event had three parts. The first,had introductory remarks fromMinister for Children and Youth, Michael Coteau.It also contained a section for the wellness and support coaches Gary and Rhiannon Traill, president and CEO of the Economic Club of Canada.

Michael Coteau and Ila Henry

The keynote speaker, Divine Lombard,founder and president of BLAK Fintech gavea speech that was appreciated by the audience, and he was followed by Kenneth Waife, an industrial designer and Nick Spina, manager with responsibilities for launch and regulatory affairs at Kepler.

A question and answer session with all three speakers followed, moderated by RhiannonTraill.

The second session of the day contained a tradeshow, professional photo op and a snack and chat with coach Gary. There was a break for lunch then a third session, which comprised of a hackathon, group presentations, an award ceremony for the top performing teams, closing remarks by Rhiannon Traill,before a networking session among participants and guest.

Rhiannon Traillspoke of her struggles growing up in a drug addicted, uneducated family, before eventually falling prey to both drugs and alcohol, until she was kicked out of school at 15 for constantly being absent.

She said, however, that one day she realized that she was perpetuating the cycle of behavior, which she abhorred and decided to turn her life around. She said she wrote down a list of goals and began her journey to fulfill them.

Rhiannon admitted that her struggles weren’t easy, but she persevered and with the help of being offered an entry-level position at Economic Club of Canada, she worked her way up to her current position. She said she was determined to make it work.

Lombard also presented a tear-jerk story. He gave a moving speech to the audience. He said he was raised by a drug-addicted mother and he became a drug dealer at the age of 14, ending up in juvenile detention. He was released and became a “successful drug dealer” for a number of years.

However, he didn’t change for the better until he was sent to prison for seven years. While incarcerated Lombard, being an eighth-grade high school dropout, decided to “self-educate”,by reading Rich Dad, Poor Dadand other publications of the like.

He realized that while being incarcerated, his family on the outside free, so he hatched a plan to keep his life straight when he got out. This led him to take an interest in technology and creating his own business from it.

Neither,Waife nor Spina came from troubled backgrounds, but they spoke of their struggles trying to find what their niche or what they were destined to do. Waife spoke of trying to turn his talent as an artist into a successful career, while Spina spoke of taking leaps of faith and breaking out on his own, unfortunately being unsuccessful but ultimately finding himself and his professional home with Kepler.

The speeches and the question and answer portion that followed proved to be very enlightening as it taught the attendees that the sky is the limit when one is determined and willing to put in the necessary work.