Ontario Economic Summit engages NC students

Pictured above: Students from NC’s Public Relations graduate certificate program Ryan Strang, Courtney Charette, Jordan Ammendolia and Graham Lowe were excited to participate in the 2012 Ontario Economic Summit.

Several Niagara College students had the opportunity to rub shoulders with some of the top political and business leaders in the country at the 2012 Ontario Economic Summit this week, and gain some valuable experience in the process.

The summit, hosted by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, was held at White Oaks Conference Resort and Spa from Nov. 6-8. The high-profile event engages leaders from across Ontario to build a prosperous and competitive economy.

To participate in the event, students from the College’s Public Relations graduate certificate program had to be approved through a selection process. While there, their role was to observe the summit proceedings, assist the Communications team from the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, and to formulate strategies for getting young people to get more involved in the issues raised at the summit.

“These four university graduates came to Niagara’s PR program for applied training in the practice of PR,” said professor and co-ordinator of the Public Relations Graduate Certificate program Nancy Geddie. “At this summit, they’re having an opportunity to see the movers and shakers in the province up close, to watch how PR contributes to an organization’s success and to contribute to the success of future summit.”

For the students, some of the highlights included attending a Next Generation Leadership event moderated by John Tory, chair CivicAction and a conference with Premier Dalton McGuinty. They were inspired by what many of the speakers had to say.

“There was a strong focus on engaging young people at the summit and I heard how many jobs of the future haven’t been created yet,” said Jordan Ammendolia. “It inspires me to think creatively.”

“There were young people on the panel that were already successful in their careers and it was interesting to hear their vision for the future,” said Courtney Charette.

“Five years from now, it could be us on that stage,” said Graham Lowe.

They also seized the opportunity to network while at the summit with business leaders and entrepreneurs that they may never have had a chance to meet otherwise.

“It opened the door for internship opportunities,” said Lowe.

The students valued the learning experience that their participation in the event offered them.

“The speakers at the summit were saying that young leaders need to get outside the classroom and gain hands-on, practical experience – and that’s exactly what we’re doing here at the summit,” said Ryan Strang.

The students were also excited about their voices being heard. Following the event, they will complete a report about how the summit can increase the participation of young professionals.

“We are very excited to see the reports the students are pulling together so we can improve future summits and make changes that will allow us to have more emerging leaders involved,” said Jessica Doan, manager, Marketing and Event Production, Ontario Chamber of Commerce.

Eighteen students from the School of Business, Hospitality and Tourism division also had the opportunity to participate in the Summit. Dawit Eshetu, professor and coordinator of the College’s Bachelor of Applied Business: International Commerce and Global Development program, and International Business Management program, said that through the formal and informal interaction with participants representing various industry, students gained insight into the opportunities and challenges facing Ontario. They were invited to speaker sessions and also had the chance to network and get inspired by leaders in the region and the province.

“The students were very happy about how well they were received,” said Eshetu.

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