The Emerging Leaders Program (ELP) Blog Series is designed to share key insights from our ELP program with the entirety of our membership. After each program session, we will share key highlights and resources for those interested in delving further into the topic.

The final module of the Emerging Leaders Program was led by the Honourable Andy Fillmore, Member of Parliament for Halifax and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. He is also the first city Planner to ever be elected to Canada’s House of Commons.

Andy led participants through a candid discussion on the importance of the profession today and how ELP participants could chart their course, as they consider their career and business trajectories.

The session began with Andy grabbing the attention of participants by stating that Planners are at the forefront of change management and are the future of our communities and planet. “What a time it is to be a Planner”, he stated – something that ELP participants have come to know well, as they nurtured their leadership development over the past year.

Pre-Session Readings
Prior to the session, participants took to the Jamboard and answered the question, “What is one thing you need to do to get from where you are in your career today to where you ultimately want to be”. Responses included, build professional networks, set clear goals, gain confidence, make a plan, get experience, and take risks.

Speaker Presentation
Andy drew from his professional experience to inspire participants, particularly on aiming high and taking risks – recurring themes throughout the program – and provided the following key takeaways:

  1. Starting solo is a challenge. Gain experience as part of a team early and then take what you’ve learned to a solo career. It’s the best way to establish creditability and trust in your professional abilities.
  2. Go where your experience is valued or desired. Know your worth!
  3. Never sell out your ethics or beliefs. Your integrity is a non-renewable resource. Take care of it.
  4. Love what you do. It’s the most important thing.
  5. Have great mentors. They are a key part of your journey. They can help you navigate problems or just listen for support.

Early in the ELP program, participants learned about the importance of teams, effective communication, and empathy. Andy being from Halifax, revisited this theme by reminding participants of a civic campaign that appeared following the Halifax Explosion of 1917 that said, “We shall never rebuild Halifax unless everybody works”, and discussed how nothing can be achieved without communities sharing a vision and coming together to execute that plan.

This session was truly inspirational and the perfect end to the ELP program. We thank Andy for his advocacy in planning issues at the federal level and continued support for our profession.