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A New Year Brings New Hope

January 5, 2021
Catherine Etmanski
Woman wearing face shield and looking up

Looking ahead in 2021

The year 2020 was humbling to be sure. If ever there were doubt that control is an illusion, that doubt was dispelled as COVID-19 upturned plans and daily routines.

At the start of this New Year, I find myself reflecting back to March of 2020 when Dr. Bonnie Henry started making her (now normalized) public announcements related to the pandemic. I recall that, at that time, she was recommending families cancel any travel plans for spring break and stay home in an effort to avoid the spiking numbers we were already starting to see in other parts of the country.

I remember the decisions we, in the School of Leadership Studies, were making at that time. Do we cancel our leadership conference that had been two years in the making? Do we move our 100-person face-to-face residencies online? In retrospect, the answers to these questions seem obvious; at the time, though, they were major decisions about our programming. My how much we’ve adapted in the past year. A year ago, I never imagined we’d be where we are today.

Yet the new year brings new hope, especially with vaccinations now underway and a new leadership narrative coming from our neighbours to the South.

With the humility that comes with leading in uncertainty, I will share here a few of our School’s intentions for 2021.

Leading in Extraordinary Times Webinar Series

Leading in Extraordinary Times Webinar Series

Building on the momentum of the successful webinar series that came about as a result of our canceled Leadership Conference, we are hosting three new webinars this year:

Jan 22 - Bold Organizations Mobilizing for the Climate Emergency with Seth Klein, Joanna Kerr, Jess Housty, and Philip Steenkamp.

Feb 5 - Building Global Resilience: The Role of Social Purpose Organizations with Pablo Chamorro, Éliane Ubalijoro, and Nandita Bhatt.

Feb 19 - Healthcare Management in a Pandemic: Hearing Health Leaders’ Voices with current students in the MA-Leadership Health specialization.

Please click on the links above to register and learn more about the exciting speakers.

Continued Efforts to Centre Indigenous Knowledges

Aligned with RRU’s vision, goals, values, and commitments, the School of Leadership Studies will continue our work to implement the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and honour the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

New Programming

We are excited to launch two new programs:

An Executive Leadership specialization of our Master of Arts in Leadership. Specifically designed to attract mid- to senior-level leaders, this program supports leaders in promoting cultural change for sustained successful innovation in their organizations.

And, an on-campus offering of our Global Leadership suite of programs (Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma, and Master of Arts). Specifically designed to attract international students, this on-campus program offers the same great global leadership curriculum in a face-to-face learning environment. Our intention is to launch in October of 2021 and we will, of course, monitor the pandemic to prioritize health and safety for all involved.

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On behalf of the School, I wish you and your loved ones health and safety as we look toward a better year ahead.

Yours in leadership in these extraordinary times,


Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash