Updated: Jan 27
I attended the 2022 LYP program and it provided the clarity that I needed at the cusp of a new career in Canada.
By Adetola Oladimeji, LYP Content Contributor
At the time I write this article, it has been 2 months since I attended the LYP Women's Leadership & Career Development Program, and I still have not recovered from its impact. When I attended the program in November 2022, I had only been in Canada for 2 months, having just moved from Nigeria where I had lived all my life.
Immigrating had been a huge decision to make in many aspects, especially career-wise, because I had started to build a growing career in global health over the past 9 years. My career trajectory, at the time, seemed pretty defined. Moving to Canada meant rebuilding a career and in a new environment. It meant I would need to reinvent myself. Over the course of my 9-year career in Nigeria, I had frequently transitioned across industries, but I was conflicted about where I wanted to go and who I wanted to be. So, my greatest need was clarity and, in this regard, the LYP program delivered.
I registered for the LYP program in November, having heard about it from a connection I had just made in Canada. Apparently, she had attended when she first moved and had only good things to say about it. When I attended, it was a 3-day event with multiple sessions spanning November 26 – December 3, 2022.In this article, I will share summarized highlights from the most impactful sessions for me.
First were the pre-work assessments and introspection we were required to do,which helped me get into the right frame of mind. As I mentioned already, my goal was to understand what direction I wanted my career to go based on my experiences, skills, and interests. I found that doing the pre-work the night before the first day of the event centered me and it was easier to get into the flow. This was fortunate as we started with a visualization exercise.
I believe the soul-searching I had done the night before answering some of the questions in the workbooks helped me see clearly where I wanted to go and what I wanted to achieve over the next few years in my career. It was surreal to me – I think I almost cried.
The second highlight for me was the work we did during the class to identify and articulate our core strengths. I had done this kind of exercise in the past, but it had been a while since then.It was therefore revealing how I had changed in terms of areas in which I had grown and all of the ways I had exercised my strengths leading to success at my previous job. With Lilit’s help, I could see how those skills would be valuable and how I needed to leverage them for success in my current and future roles and relationships.
I also learned a lot from the very practical session we had on personal branding and networking. Jean was our facilitator here and she helped me see how to build a personal brand from the inside out, starting from clearly articulating my highest self and ideals. Practically, I visualized in specific terms the woman I wanted to be known as, and the characteristics that she would be known for and how to embody that online and offline. I even walked away with a few personal styling tips from Jean!
If you asked me if I was good with networking before the program, I would have said a flat no. I did not think I had great networking skills. After completing a comprehensive assessment however, I began to see the various dimensions and skills involved in networking, and how I already excelled in some dimensions of networking! This was important to see because I could then pinpoint skills I could transfer across different settings. I also gained useful tips I could leverage in online and offline settings. I will always remember how we practiced giving each other a firm handshake (with a lot of hand sanitizers involved though!).
While I gained a lot of new knowledge and skills and was reminded of many things I already knew, a key attraction and bright spot from the program was the sisterhood that we could see forming in the room.
It seemed to me that every woman in the room brought their authentic selves to each conversation we had and with the help of our facilitators, we could bond over our very similar challenges and define our personal roadmaps. The contributions from everyone in the room was very enlightening for me and I found myself nodding a lot, taking notes, and saying, ‘I am going to try that.’
All in all, LYP was fantastic for me, and I have no doubt that as I build a new career here in Canada, the knowledge I gained from the program will prove helpful in my journey.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Adetola Oladimeji is a medical doctor and a global health leader who is deeply interested in the use of digital health technologies for optimizing population health outcomes. She is committed to lifelong learning, continuous personal development, and intentional community building. Check out her research and other publications here.