Youth mentoring youth: recognizing and investing in each other’s leadership

Mentorship within chapters plays a big role in the development of young adults into leaders for their peers, community and even across the globe. Third-year engineering student Tanner Shirakawa stepped up last year to become the University of Alberta chapter’s vice president of member learning (a regular workshop and discussion group for chapter members to explore a topic or system in more detail). After just a year as a general member, Tanner took on the responsibilities of preparing bi-weekly member learning sessions, organizing regional retreats and coordinating activities for National Engineering Month.

Chapter President Sara Kardash encouraged Tanner to take on the role. She saw his engagement in member learning sessions and overall confidence grow during his first year with the chapter. Sara also wanted to pay forward the guidance, mentorship and personal investment she received from previous chapter leaders.

“Leaders who were part of the University of Alberta Chapter helped me discover new skills and confidence, and I wanted to provide that leadership for others and help shape their experience.”

The work Tanner led over the past year is a defining program within EWB’s chapter community. Member learning sessions are key convening opportunities for members to explore complex topics at the core of the organization’s mission, such as systems change, impacting investing and more. Tanner invested in the journey of the University of Alberta’s members toward becoming global citizens with critical thinking skills. As the member learning vice president, Tanner also gained a lot of knowledge and skills from researching the topics, presenting the information and facilitating engaged discussions.

Tanner, Sara and the hundreds of other members like them make up the EWB’s pipeline of smart, passionate and engaged young professionals to sectors that can change the world.

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