Thanks to support from members of the Grande Prairie Regional Innovation Network and generous sponsors in the community, 16 GPRC students from the Business Administration program were able to attend the 9th annual Growing the North business conference this year. Terrilyn Parent was one of these lucky students. Here’s what she took away from this unique learning experience.
“I was sponsored by the Swan City Rotary Club to attend the Growing the North Business Conference in Grande Prairie on February 21 and 22. As a current GPRC business student, I thought this conference was such a huge success and has been one of the best things I have been given the chance to experience firsthand.
The entire conference, start to finish, was very informative and inspirational. The speakers were all incredibly knowledgeable in their fields and great at public and motivational speaking. The catering provided by Evergreen Park was also a great bonus.
My favourite quote that will forever change the way I look at the world was when keynote speaker, writer and community builder, Chris Fields mentioned, “We need to be the pink shirt at a table full of white shirts.” This really made me look at my own self and no longer judge my creative skills, even if my ideas are different from those of my peers. I learned that it’s okay to allow my creativity to come out in my personal and professional life and not to fear my differences.
During this conference I was given the opportunity to network with so many business professionals as well as members of the Chamber of Commerce and local government leaders. This networking gave me a bigger perspective on how the economy is running in Grande Prairie and how businesses are trying to recover after the recession we just had. I also got to see how the economy has affected local businesses in all industries and was given some great tips on how to strategically survive through future recessions.
Many of the speakers touched on the topic of fearing change and how fear can inhibit professional and personal growth. This really hit home as I often fear changes in my own life and find I thrive best in routine. Changes often throw me for a loop, but now I see these moments of change have also brought about the most growth in my life and have shown how resilient I can be when it feels as if the world is crashing down. The speakers have influenced me to believe it’s okay to be brave during these challenging times and push through, even though I may not know what the result will look like.
One final takeaway from this conference that really hit home was a quote by Bruce Vincent, President of the non-profit organization Communities for a Great Northwest. He mentioned in his speech, “The world is run by those that show up and when people lead, leaders follow.” This reminded me that showing up in life is half the battle. Whether it’s class, work or some other area of my life, the important part is that I show up and give my best in all that I do. I also took this to mean that I need to look up to and follow those that stand out of the crowd if I want to one day be considered a leader in my own career.
Overall, I really feel like this conference has changed my perspective on life and will have a great impact on my future. I will be using this newfound knowledge and change of perspective in April as I embark on a new journey to pursue my business hopes and dreams. If you are given the opportunity to attend this conference, do not let the opportunity pass you by. It is worth the commitment and the time spent.”
– By Terrilyn Parent, GPRC Business Administration Student