Past, present and future: Spotlighting 3 EWB chapter presidents

As the school year comes to a close, EWB’s chapter network is transitioning presidents and other leadership roles for the next Fall semester. Being a University chapter president is a huge leadership-building experience in many different capacities and allows for both personal and professional growth.

We asked three chapter presidents – all at different stages in the role – what leadership opportunities being president brought them and their personal growth through Engineers Without Borders. Get inspired by Taya, Édith and David, below!


Continuing EWB Chapter President,

Taya Triffo, University of Regina

Hi! I’m Taya, and I am a fourth-year undergraduate student, majoring in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. I’m incredibly excited to be returning to the University of Regina EWB chapter as co-president for the 2018-2019 school year!

I remember so many little moments when I felt like I really belonged in EWB, and felt encouraged to be a systems change leader. One moment came when I first discovered an organization that was challenging the root causes of poverty. Another came when I volunteered for my first EWB event, and yet another when I took on my first leadership role as our food systems lead.

And I think that’s the skill I’ve developed most as president: learning how to shape those moments for my chapter. Last year, our chapter was very new. By the end, I saw a first-year student whose passion for law had transformed into an active role with EWB’s advocacy venture. Two new EWBers stayed late after our last 2017-18 meeting, enthusiastically brainstorming ways to revive our youth engagement venture. Our current and returning junior fellows are eager to take their experiences in Ghana and use them to engage and educate our chapter.

For me, being president has been an exercise in recognizing people’s potential. More importantly, it’s encouraged me to be active, vocal, and persistent in helping people recognize that potential in themselves.


Nouveau Président,

Édith Ducharme, Université Laval

Je m’appelle Édith et je suis nouvellement présidente de la section de l’Université Laval d’Ingénieurs sans frontières. J’entamerai à l’automne ma quatrième année en génie physique.

Je suis vraiment enthousiaste à l’idée d’être présidente de ma section pour ma dernière année de baccalauréat. C’est une belle façon de clore mon parcours universitaire (au premier cycle du moins). Comme présidente, j’espère former de nouveaux partenariats avec plusieurs associations étudiantes de l’Université Laval, ayant des valeurs communes à ISF.

Une des difficultés que j’ai eues auparavant comme leader est de rallier et d’inspirer des personnalités aux traits de personnalité plutôt opposés aux miens. Je suis une personne extravertie. J’aime réseauter, me créer des contacts, rencontrer de nouvelles personnes… Ces qualités de leadeuse ont été développées par des personnes ayant des personnalités similaires à la mienne. De plus, les différents leaders que je connais ont aussi ces traits. Ainsi, j’ai de la difficulté à aider les personnes ayant un profil plus introverti à devenir des leaders de changement systémique. J’espère qu’ISF saura m’aider.

Je plonge dans ce nouveau défi d’être présidente avec beaucoup d’attentes. Mais comme à chaque occasion, je suis persuadée qu’ISF saura les dépasser avec brio !


Exiting EWB Chapter President,

David Boroto, University of Toronto

The EWB UofT Chapter was my baby. As chapter president, the buck stops with you.  I felt responsible for every success, every failure, every event, every member and every experience that occurred during my tenure. Accepting responsibly for my entire chapter, 150 members strong, and overseeing all our initiatives was in itself a leadership development experience that I benefited greatly from. And that experience came with its own successes, failures, learnings, and growth. Personally, one of my favorite experiences as chapter president was mobilizing my chapter and UofT community around our Run 2 End Poverty campaign, raising over $3,500 (a chapter record) and having over 10 runners participate.

On top of my own personal growth, the greatest satisfaction I felt as a chapter president was seeing the growth in my executive team and chapter members throughout the year. The process of guiding my chapter members, challenging their ideas, asking tough questions and then watching them execute their initiatives and then sharing in their success was fulfilling beyond any other experience. Seeing the growth in my chapter members is probably the greatest feeling of all. Seeing members that you mentored and shoulder tapped to step up to assume leadership positions within the chapter has been a proud moment as chapter president, specifically seeing our chapter’s incoming president Stephanie Marton, and our new executive team built almost exclusively from retained talent in our chapter.

 

There are many ways to get involved with supporting our massive network to continue to make a change:

  1. Invest in young leaders like DavidÉdith and Taya! Chip in $10 to help us continue our work to create these engaging events to increase the development of our young leaders further!
  2. Join our community of changemakers! Stay in the loop on all-things EWB via our e-newsletter!
  3. Follow all the Presidents’ Retreat action on EWB’s Instagram and Twitter!
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