Engineering leadership celebrated at ILead luncheon

ILead group photo

Leading by example: attendees from the Institute for Leadership Education in Engineering’s leadership luncheon. (Photo: Jamie Hunter)

Corporate partners, alumni, faculty, and students gathered on Friday, April 15, at Massey College for a luncheon to celebrate the success of the Institute for Leadership Education in Engineering (ILead).

The first institute of its kind in Canada, ILead offers courses, and co-curricular programs to help students excel in the work force. Students develop skills in four domains of leadership: self, team, organization and society. ILead’s various courses and initiatives address each of these domains, equipping students with the skills to lead change to build a better world.

Attendee David Colcleugh (ChemE 5T9, MASc 6T0, PhD 6T2), a professor at ILead, has seen first-hand the positive impact that leadership skills can have at a company. For more than 40 years he has worked for and consulted with a wide variety of for-profit and non-profit organizations.

He said that well-managed, conventional organizations can achieve good results, meet their goals and survive in a steady state of status quo — which is the case with many companies.  But the companies that grow at especially high rates have found ways to integrate leadership principles and functional engineering expertise. Their engineers innovate, build high-functioning teams, create new products and processes, satisfy existing customers and seek out new ones.

“Engineers solve problems in conventional organizations,” Colcleugh said.  “But engineering leaders influence people to seek opportunities to change things and sustainably grow high-performance organizations. It seems reasonable that engineering education could and should be enhanced by introducing the idea of the positive effect of learning to become competent in leading. This is the ILead mission.”

The luncheon also served as an opportunity for alumni and business executives to exchange ideas with some of the brightest and most engaged engineering leadership students currently enrolled at ILead. ILead routinely calls on leaders in industry to share their experiences and insights with students — opportunities that students say are among their most inspiring and best university experiences.

Ernesto Díaz Lozano Patiño (Year 4 CivE + PEY), the outgoing president of the Engineering Society (EngSoc) and recent Gordon Cressy Student Leadership Award winner, was one of the ILead students in attendance. He said that the lessons he learned from discussions with Professor Doug Reeve (ChemE), the Director of ILead, his classmates and guest speakers proved to be invaluable in his role at EngSoc.

“ILead made me reflect on the concept of leadership,” Diaz Lozano Patiño said. “It allowed me not only to understand how to be an effective leader, but also how to apply leadership skills in an engineering environment.”

The Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering established ILead to advance engineering leadership education. While the Institute was founded in 2010, leadership education within the Faculty has a rich history that began in 2002 with ILead’s predecessor, the Engineering Leaders of Tomorrow program (LOT).

Visit ilead.engineering.utoronto.ca to learn more about the Institute’s vision, mission and values.

View photos from the ILead luncheon on Flickr.

— Jamie Hunter


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