Pinnacle Leadership Challenge Workshops

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2018-19 Workshops:

2019-20 workshops TBD.


Talents, Teams, and Strengths: Unpacking your Gallup Clifton’s Strengths for Students

Presented by Andrea Davis (RSW), Student Services Manager, Gallup Certified Strengths Coach at the Students’ Association of Mount Royal University

Session dates (mandatory for all Pinnacle participants, must choose one session):

Tuesday, October 16 | 4:00pm – 6:00pm

Thursday, October 25 | 4:00pm – 6:00pm

Friday, November 2 | 12:00pm – 2:00pm

Location: Programming & Volunteer Room, 2nd floor of Wyckham House (Z204)

Andrea Davis is passionate about creating learning conversation opportunities between people. She is currently in a volunteer logistics role internal to the Students’ Association, helping to on-board new volunteers, build volunteer systems, and create opportunities for volunteer relationship building within the organization. In the 6 years and 10 months in her role as the Student Advocacy Coordinator at SAMRU, she coached individual students here at MRU to become their best self-advocates through a strengths-based, anti-oppressive focus. Andrea is a registered Social Worker with the Alberta College of Social Workers (ACSW) and holds two degrees; one in Social Work, and the other, a Bachelor of General Studies with a minor in Communications from the University of Calgary, with post graduate professional development work in conflict resolution. Andrea also brings seven years of management experience in both banking and retail operations as well as a variety of experiences in human services; a complimentary blend of both for-profit and not-for profit sector experience.

In 2017, Andrea completed her certification requirements through Gallup, to become SAMRU’s own Gallup Certified Strengths Coach. Completion of her coaching certification further enhances her assistance of students in post-secondary with understanding their talents and strengths in thriving both academically and in the workplace. Gallup’s Clifton Strengths testing is used internationally across sectors and is an evidence-based instrument proven to be both valid and reliable in its results over time. For more information on how Clifton Strengths for Students is currently being used in post-secondary, visit Gallup’s website.

Trusting Yourself to Lead

Presented by Dona Mader, Certified Life Skills, Career Development Coach and Personality Dimensions Facilitator

Thursday, November 8 | 4:00pm – 6:00pm | Programming and Volunteer Room, 2nd floor of Wyckham House (Z204)

Dona Mader has over twenty years of leadership, management and team building experience in the private and non-profit business sectors. Early in her career she started and sold a successful Insurance Agency. Most recently she was employed at MRU as a Life Skills Instructor in the TVP department. Dona has trained in program and workshop development, as well as classroom management and facilitation. She has an exceptional ability to build trust and connect with people from different age groups cultures and backgrounds including those with developmental disabilities. Dona is enthusiastic, open, approachable, creative and committed to job excellence and life- long learning. She volunteers as a Parenting Course Facilitator, Parent Political Advocacy Committee Member and Personal Coach. Family is the most important thing in her life, especially her role as a Grandmother.

Dona is a Certified Life Skills, Career Development Coach and Personality Dimensions Facilitator. She holds certificates in Conflict Resolution and Mindfulness/Meditation.

Medicine Wheel and Drumming – Aboriginal Teachings on Leadership

Presented by Chantal Stormsong Chagnon, Singer, Drummer, Artist, Storyteller, Educator and Activist

Thursday, November 1 | 4:00pm – 6:00pm | Programming and Volunteer Room, 2nd floor of Wyckham House (Z204)

Chantal is a Cree Ojibwe Métis Singer, Drummer, Artist, Storyteller, Actor, Educator, Workshop Facilitator, Social Justice Advocate and Activist with roots in Muskeg Lake Cree Nation, Saskatchewan. She shares Traditional Indigenous Songs, Stories, Culture, History, Arts, Crafts and Teachings. Chantal has presented at Conferences, Conventions, Galas, Fundraisers, Community, Social Justice Events and in Classrooms from Preschool through University. She has performed at the National Music Centre, Jubilee Auditorium, Jack Singer Concert Hall, and many other stages showcasing Traditional and Contemporary Aboriginal Music, as well as Modern Music in Collaboration with various Bands and Artists. Chantal aims to entertain, engage, enlighten, educate, and inspire everyone she meets.

A single mother of two boys, she understands societal struggle first hand. Chantal has been an activist, advocate for her community, professional performer and a staunch crusader for causes close to her heart. She is active within many social justice causes, including Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women (MMIW), Women’s Rights, and Environmental Initiatives. She regularly organizes events and shares, singing, drumming, speaking, presenting, and teaching within the community, with a focus on building allies and alliances. Chantal Chagnon is passionate about building awareness and sharing understanding of aboriginal culture, spirituality, social justice and political issues. She creates opportunities for cooperation, education, and empowerment everywhere she can.

Building Relationships

Sprouting Ideas: Turning Your Ideas Into Action

Presented by Ravi Thaker, Founder of Paddle Station & Kaylee Houdu, Business Coach

Friday, November 30 | 12:00pm – 2:00pm | Programming and Volunteer Room, 2nd floor of Wyckham House (Z204)

Ravi Thaker is known as serial entrepreneur. Born and raised in Zimbabwe, he moved to Calgary ten years ago and is the founder of seven start-ups. He recently completed his MBA at the Haskayne School of Business in 2018 and founded Paddle Station this summer. Paddle Station allows you to book a kayak and/or a camp kit online, and retrieve it at your reservation time from the respective self-serve locker, hassle-free, at multiple locations in Calgary. Ravi hopes to one day to expand Paddle Station across the province and country. Also MRU alumni with diverse experience in entrepreneurial work, he has worked in for-profit and non-profit industries such as Scotiabank, Imperial Oil and the Calgary Interfaith Food Bank. His best advice for budding entrepreneurs is start with the core of your business and make it sustainable.

Kaylee Houdu is committed to what she calls her “3 C’s” of communication, collaboration, and creativity when using solution-focused coaching techniques to inspire her clients towards action. Navigating through professional turmoil herself during the Oil and Gas downturn through 2015-2017, this authenticity driven coach knows what it is like. Kaylee’s credentials include a life coaching certificate from Erickson Coaching International, a Bachelor of Commerce with a minor in Psychology from UBC’s Sauder School of Business, and 5+ years of corporate Human Resources and Recruitment experience. Throughout her career she has coached thousands of employees and leaders through change management, job amplification, and recruitment related strategies. Overcome career dissatisfaction and build a life you love with Kaylee Houde!

Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership

Presented by Courtenay Smart, Peer Learning Coordinator & Tash Reynolds, Manager of Operations and Administration for Mount Royal University Residence Services

Friday, November 16 | 12:00pm – 2:30pm | Programming and Volunteer Room, 2nd floor of Wyckham House (Z204)

In this session, students will have a chance to explore their journey as a leader through the lens of Kouzes and Posner’s (2012) Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership: Model the Way, Inspire a Shared Vision, Challenge the Process, Enable Others to Act and Encourage the Heart.

Tash works as the Manager of Operations and Administration for Residence Services and teaches the ‘Being a Leader Course’ at MRU. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Global Studies and is currently completing her Master of Education in Post-Secondary Studies at Memorial University of Newfoundland. In her spare time, Tash owns and operates an online business called Peppermint + Pine and volunteers as mentor in the Harry G. Schafer Mentorship Program.

Courtenay is currently the Peer Learning Coordinator with Student Learning Services and has a passion for instruction and leadership. She holds a BSc in Nutrition and Food Science from the University of Alberta, and more recently, completed her Master of Arts in Leadership through Royal Roads University. When not working with students, Courtenay can generally be found doing anything active – especially running, hiking or biking.

Reference: Kouzes, J. M., & Posner, B. Z. (2012). The leadership challenge: How to make extraordinary things happen in organizations (5th ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Tapping into your Leadership Strengths

Presented by Kelly Wood, Faculty Banff Centre’s Leadership Institute

Friday, October 19 | 12:00pm – 2:00pm | Programming and Volunteer Room, 2nd floor of Wyckham House (Z204)

Kelly Wood is a strengths- and solutions-based life coach and facilitator. She is faculty at Banff Centre’s Leadership Institute and coaches and facilitates with businesses, non profits and individuals through her own business. She designs experiences that challenge, inspire, create and explore with outcomes of empowerment, awareness, awakenings and forward movement.

Her super power is communication, working through conflict and helping clients look through a values-based perspective. You can find her at, or on Facebook at KellyWoodCoaching.



Present Your Idea like a TED Speaker 

Presented by Kurt Archer, Chair TEDxYYC & Co-Founder WordCampYYC

Wednesday, October 24 | 12:00pm – 1:30pm | Programming and Volunteer Room, 2nd floor of Wyckham House (Z204)

Let’s go beyond the elevator pitch and connect your idea directly to the audiences you wish to reach. The workshop will reveal the TED talk speaker preparation process to help you craft your talk to make an impression.

Kurt is known as connector, collaborator and ideas guy. He has started two global non-profit organizations, and coached youth across Canada, Latin America and South Asia. Based in Calgary, Kurt is the Chair for TEDxYYC and a co-founder for WordCampYYC in addition to working on various social campaigns. He sits on the AIESEC MRU board and the Morpheus Theatre board. His current business, Archetype: Orange, focuses on empowering entrepreneurs to grow their ideas. When he’s not building his business, he’s often found acting or directing in community theatre.

Leading from the Margins

Presented by Eddy Robinson, Student Leader

Tuesday, November 13 | 4:00pm – 5:30pm | Programming and Volunteer Room, 2nd floor of Wyckham House (Z204)

Eddy Robinson is a fifth year student at Mount Royal majoring in Ecotourism and Outdoor Leadership in the Bachelor of Health and Physical Education (HPED), and minoring in Anthropology and Women and Gender Studies. First as a volunteer for SAMRU and now as a part time employee, they worked hard to create opportunities for thierself. They are currently working as the Pride Centre Administrative Assistant, as an Academic Representation Volunteer and as the VP of the HPED Student Association.

Their leadership experience includes roles in various organizations related to working with marginalized communities. They were Centre for Sexuality’s co-coordinator of camp fYrefly an LGBTQ youth camp, after being a volunteer for three years. Before that they were an ecoschool facilitator at Camp Chief Hector, working with students from all around Calgary. Through their postsecondary education, they have lead multiple expeditions, and through academic involvement also had the fortune of speaking at many events and in classrooms. 2 years ago they were the winner of the SAMRU Gender and Sexual Diversity award and outside of school, last year they facilitated a workshop at the Alberta GSA conference.

They are passionate about accessibility and advocacy for marginalized communities like the queer community, because of their own intersecting identities. For example, many queer folks have negative experiences with being outdoors or participating in physical activities. These are two worlds Eddy is passionate about and hopes to bring together.

Speak Up & Stand Out

Presented by Ravi Chung, Toastmaster, Two-time winner of MRU’s Campus Transformation Challenge

Monday, October 29 | 4:00pm – 5:30pm | Programming and Volunteer Room, 2nd floor of Wyckham House (Z204)

Join Ravi in this workshop to explore how to speak with charisma, deliver with confidence, answer questions with composure, and much more.

Ravi graduated from Mount Royal University with his Bachelors of Business Administration in Human Resources and Supply Chain Management in 2017. Since graduating from MRU, Ravi has been working as a Compensation Analyst with the Wynford Group, a Management Consulting company in Calgary which specializes in developing Total Rewards strategies for clients in a broad range of industries.

Ravi currently sits on MRU’s Human Resources Partnership Council and is a member of the HR Breakfast Organizing Committee. Ravi is also a member of Toastmasters, a non-profit educational organization devoted to promoting communication, public speaking, and leadership skills.


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