The Canadian Golden Key Leadership Summit, also known as CANCON, was held in Montreal this year February 23-25, at the Marriott Chateau Champlain. The summit was co-hosted by the Concordia University and McGill University chapters.
About 125 students, alumni, and chapter advisors came in from across Canada and the U.S. and we even welcomed one member from Australia. For those that arrived early enough on Friday, CANCON started off with a team scavenger hunt around Montreal. Groups headed off with their clue sheet in hand to explore the city and get some great pictures and videos of themselves completing the tasks to earn points for their team.
The opening session was held in the famed Caf’ Conc’ theatre in the hotel that was designed to look like the French theatres of old.
The keynote speaker on Friday night was one of the McGill chapter’s honourary members, renowned human right lawyer and former McGill University professor, Julius Grey.
In an after summit survey, one attendee wrote “I think that Julius Grey shared an important message regarding leadership, especially in terms of being afraid to speak up about ideas that might go against mainstream ideology”.
After the opening session, everyone headed out to a networking social event at Thursday’s Bistro Pub nearby. It was a short walk and fun to see the group out exploring Montreal together. The networking event was held in a section of the restaurant reserved just for our group. A special thanks to the Concordia University chapter for organizing the Friday night networking event.
Saturday morning started off with a wonderful speech from Dr. Karl Moore. Dr. Moore is a professor at McGill University and he discussed introvert and extravert characteristics in leaders. His presentation was a great start to the morning. Karl is quite an extravert himself and had a wonderful way of engaging the audience during his presentation.
One attendee wrote in a post summit survey “I absolutely loved listening to the presentation of Dr. Karl Moore. He was an energetic personality that had the attention of the room the entire hour. I found his content extremely relevant and took an immense amount of notes. I found myself actually understanding more about myself from the qualities and behaviours he addressed with an extrovert.”
We then started up the workshop sessions where attendees could choose from three options for each of the three sessions. A variety of speakers presented throughout the day including a doctor discussing med school, a McGill professor talking about how he almost became an astronaut, an etiquette specialist teaching attendees about business and culinary etiquette, a presenter working with attendees on their personal brand, the McGill chapter advisors discussing learning styles of gifted individuals, a representative from Dans La Rue which is a service organization dedicated to helping the homeless in Montreal, and many more inspiring speakers.
One attendee wrote ““My favourite moment at the 2018 CANCON Montreal Summit was the Dans La Rue workshop. It truly changed my life.”
After the workshop sessions, we all gathered again in the Caf’ Conc’ theatre for a group sharing session. The attendees formed small groups to share ideas about what works at their chapters, challenges they have come across, great service project ideas, and to connect with other chapters to possible collaborate with each other. Each group then sent up a representative up on stage to share what their group had discussed and any recommendations they had for everyone. It was great to see so many connections made and to hear about all the wonderful events and service initiatives that the chapters are organizing across Canada and beyond.
We moved right into our closing session where Juno Award winning singer Kellylee Evans shared her story of being struck by lightning and what she has learned about herself through her long recovery. She also delighted the crowd by singing two songs on stage that had everyone captivated. She even got the GK members to sing along for part of one of the songs, which was a lot of fun. The closing session was very uplifting and Kellylee was a great speaker.
In a post summit survey, one attendee wrote “Funny, informative, touching, engaging. Couldn’t have asked for a better way to close out the weekend”. Kellylee is an honourary member of the Carleton University GK chapter.
After a little time to get ready, everyone gathered in the hotel lobby to walk over to Crescent Street where we had our big group dinner at Wienstein & Gavino’s. The food was very good and everyone seemed to have a good time chatting with each other and making more GK connections. After dinner, some people headed out to explore the Montreal nightlife and others headed over to the Montreal Festival of Lights, an outdoor festival that was going on not too far from the summit hotel.
On Sunday morning, a number of chapters met with Golden Key’s Canadian director to go over their plans for the rest of the year. Most people heading off back home on Sunday but few stayed an extra day to further explore the wonderful city of Montreal.
Overall, the summit seemed to have been very well received by the attendees.
Some of the comments from attendees about their overall experience at CANCON:
“I really liked the emphasis on, not only allowing opportunities to network, but teaching members *how* to network. I really liked the session that explained the different ways that introverts and extroverts operate as leaders and by extension how this affects the way that they network. Not only that, the conference allowed for these two types of networking to be explored. The conference was great in giving attendees the opportunity to network both with and without guidance.”
“Being able to connect with other chapter executives and the chapter sharing session were the most useful as they allowed discussion of common chapter issues. This allowed for collaboration between chapters to discuss potential solutions to common problems.
“Excellent session content, enthusiastic participants. Fun side-activities.”
“I found that I truly understood what Golden Key was really about this weekend. I love it.”
Congratulations to the Concordia and McGill chapter executives for helping to organize a wonderful summit. All your hard work throughout the many months of preparation is very much appreciated.
Looking forward to CANCON 2019!
For more detailed descriptions of the various speakers, please visit www.gkcancon.com. The CANCON 2018 information will stay up on the website for a little while.