Odette building
Odette Sculpture Garden

GOLS 2016 Observations


The Georgie-Odette Leadership Symposium just wrapped-up their best year ever! Prominent key-note speakers in the business industry inspired, motivated, informed, shared new perspectives, shared new ways of doing things, changed attitudes! Below is a reflection from students who attended, sponsors, and keynote speakers.


Alex MacLean (East Coast Lifestyles) with Connor Hasegawa


Once again, Dr. Peddie and his team has outdone themselves with the GOLS 2016 event. Every year the speakers are inspirational and I wonder how GOLS will possibly outdo itself next year? Well, Dr. Peddie is always ready for the challenge and consistently selects the individuals who embody the true meaning of leadership. About Alex MacLean….I was particularly, pleased to see a youth representative as one of the speakers.  Seeing an entrepreneur that young achieve so many great things is very motivating. As a social innovator myself, I learned a lot from his experience and it provided me with more motivation to keep reaching for the stars. His story really demonstrated that anything is possible as long as you stay true to yourself and your message. I am very excited to see which speakers are chosen for next year's GOLS event. 

Cessidia DeBiasio, 4th year BComm and  Founder, The Addolorata De Luca Leadership Scholarship 


The app was a smash success story according to the audience, sponsors, speakers, and team. During GOLS 2016, we had 400 downloads of the app, 250 Profiles created, 6000 active sessions, 400 total questions submitted, 200 downloads of Coffee with Sergio pictures and 300+ total interactions (messaging, photos, comments). Many people expressed how useful and convenient the application was and that they all hope to have the app next year, and refer back to all the great posts/quotes that were made at GOLS 2016.

Vito Giovannetti, MBA Candidate 2017, also part of the organizing committee 


Dr. Sergio Marchionne with Dr. Vincent Georgie


My name's Hanh Huynh, 3rd term student in Masters of Management program. The symposium  was a great experience to me and to other students who attended that day, I believe. I was very inspired by the success of all great speaker especially young entrepreneur Alex MacLean who has been steadily growing his business in over 3 years. I have learned many valuable lessons from Justine Fedak and Ferio Pugliese. I admire the leadership roles of all the speakers and will always remember "magical words", "keep your heart clean" from Dr. Marchionne. I really appreciate the professional organizing of this event and would like to recommend it to all of my friends to attend next year.

Hanh Huynh, 3rd term student in Masters of Management

Nuha Khalaf with Marnie McBean

GOLS2016 was an experience that made me feel extremely proud to be a part of Odette and the University of Windsor as a whole. Young business minds coming together like that created an energy in the room that has changed the way I feel about business and my future career. A sense of excitement and inspiration hit me after hearing the stories of the selected speakers. Alex MacLean instilled a new perspective in me as a young entrepreneur and Marnie McBean enhanced that perspective in me as a young woman in business. GOLS truly impacted me this year, for the first time in 4 years at Odette, I feel motivated to create my own successful story and follow my vision without holding back. "Stay Humble, have a clean heart"- Sergio Marchionne.

Sonia Coccimiglio, 3rd year BComm


Working in speaker acquisition provided me with the opportunity to interact with world-class leaders, which helped me develop communication, negotiation, and other leadership skills. As an event, GOLS showcases leadership in many different forms, and I believe that this year’s lineup managed to effectively demonstrate the diverse career options and opportunities available to students….. 2nd year student also part of the organizing committee.

Connor Hasegawa, 2nd year BComm, also part of the organizing committee


Thank you for having me as one of your speakers. I have to say I was extremely impressed with the event and more importantly to focus on the business students.

I really enjoyed the day and it brought about my pride in being an alumni of your school.

Tom O’Brien, Speaker GOLS 2016, founder Cooper’s Hawk Vineyard


GOLS 2016 was an unforgettable experience on both a personal and professional level. As a member of the organizing committee I had the chance to see the event go from formative ideas to execution, which gave me an immense insight into the work that goes into events like these. Being Ferio Pugliese’s handler gave me the unique opportunity to connect with a business executive from the highest level. Being able to talk about various topics, ranging from hockey to Hydro One, gave me a special look into his brand of leadership and line of thinking. It was amazing to have the opportunity to learn from him through talking to him as well as seeing how he interacted with others. I especially appreciated his willingness to field tough questions about his line of work and even encouraging people to ask him certain questions so he could address difficult topics. This openness and desire to speak about anything that concerned people impressed me the most and really showed me what leadership looks like. Getting to introduce Ferio on stage was an honour and running his Q & A in front of the audience was an experience I will never forget.

Ian Stecher with Ferio Pugliese

The most powerful leadership lesson I learned at the event came from Mr. Pugliese. In his talk he spoke on how leadership isn’t always about creating the best idea yourself, sometimes a true leader has to identify someone else’s work or solution as the best and become the ‘first follower’. By being a ‘first follower’ you help to make the solution more approachable to others and convince them to fight for it until it is accepted as the course of action. Standing up for something you believe in, even in the face of adversity, is a true sign of leadership. The lessons I learned at GOLS 2016 and the connections I made will last a lifetime and I am thrilled I had the opportunity to be part of the event.

Ian Stecher, 3rd year business, also part of the organizing committee


Being a part of the GOLS organizing committee was such a valuable experience. Not only was I able to work with an amazing team of people and be a handler for a speaker, I was also able to listen to what I think was the strongest group of speakers GOLS has ever seen. I was so incredibly humbled, inspired and blessed to be able to share the stage with Michael Rossi, President of adidas Group Canada. To be able to introduce and interview someone who is so accomplished yet so down to earth, and shares similar leadership to myself is something that I will never forget.

Christina Rosati, MBA Candidate 2017, also part of the organizing committee


I would say that this year went way above and beyond my expectations, for sure. The decor was outstanding, the signage did a great job of making people aware of the event, and the handlers did an amazing job up on stage. Our speaker lineup was incredible and they all did a fantastic job speaking about leadership and their own experience in the field. It was inspiring to see a wide range of ages, and the different paths in order to achieve success. As an audience member all the speakers did an amazing job at keeping the audience engaged, and we ended up giving great questions. The app ended up being a hit on the day of the event and I think that it ended up being worth the money just from all the pictures collected alone. The leadership lesson I learned was from Ferio, and was somewhat surprising to hear. I remember him saying, "One thing to remember... Leadership is not about you." We all need to remember that the first follower transforms a lone nut into a movement. It's about the movement and a movement can make or break a product or service. 

Luke Cameron BComm, Candidate 2018, also part of the organizing committee.

Another great GOLS and it was a pleasure to again be a sponsor. We look forward to next year.

Mike Gibson, Area Developer, Crestcom Eastern Canada

This year, GOLS was incredible. Everything about the event was enjoyable. From the decor to the stage setup, the app to the speaker lineup, I thoroughly enjoyed myself. This was not an ordinary speaker event. It is clear to me that careful thought went into who would speak this year. I was very impressed at the calibre of talent and those individuals' abilities to speak about leadership in engaging and entertaining ways. The wine and cheese reception featuring Coopers Hawk wine was a fantastic touch which capped an otherwise awesome day. Thank you for your hard work in making the event happen - I gained plenty of insight and knowledge about being an effective leader. 

Shawn Quigg, MBA Candidate 2018

This was the first time I attended the Georgie Odette Leadership Symposium. Going into the Symposium I had heard good things about past years, but I always had other events. This year I was free so I made sure I attended. The speakers I was most excited to see at the symposium was Alex MacLean the creator and CEO of East Coast Lifestyle, a clothing brand out of Halifax Nova Scotia. I was interested in seeing Maclean because I wanted to find out how someone around the same age as myself could already be so successful. He had a great speech and he came across as a really down to earth guy. He seemed as if I could have a class with him next semester. One of the most important things I took away from MacLean’s presentation was his advice on whether or not to hire friends if you decide to start your own business. His advice was simple “Do not hire your friends to work for you.” He gave context to this statement saying he actually did hire his friends. Some working out better than others, but he advised against it. I defiantly plan on going to GOLS next year, as a third year business student, it was probably the most I’ve ever learned for 10 dollars!

Simon Runciman, BComm Candidate 2018


GOLS 2016 was a tremendous opportunity to learn about event planning as well as the different logistics that are involved to making a successful event. The energy and enthusiasm the team demonstrated throughout the planning made leading up to the event, and on the day of the event easy and enjoyable. I would highly encourage students to take this class as it shows you how things work in the real world. This year’s event was different from the other symposiums we had as it took place in one room. I personally liked this set-up better as a spectator because the presentations felt more engaging because of the bigger audience. The leadership lesson I took out was from Justin Fedak; To get out and about as well as how we should turn life’s weaknesses and challenges into our strengths.

Kurvin Soobrayen, BComm Candidate 2017


My experience being involved with GOLS as a speaker handler has been nothing less than spectacular. Through experiential learning, I was able to apply the business knowledge I’ve acquired in Odette in a real life application. As Justine’s Fedak’s speaker handler, I was truly inspired by her story of positivity to overcome adversity as a leader. Through her selfless nature, Justine continuously empowered me to lead with passion to truly showcase what I represent, on and off the stage. As a spectator, I was inspired, time after time, with what each new speaker conveyed and represented as leaders. From Michael Rossi’s lessons on humble ambitions to Ferio Pugliese’s story on find your purpose, I look forward to my leadership journey to come. 

Mandy Lei, BComm Candidate 2018



GOLS 2016 Speakers:


Justine Fedak – Sr. VP and Head of Brand, Advertising, and Sponsorship, BMO Financial Group
Alex MacLean – Founder, East Coast Lifestyle
Dr. Sergio Marchionne – CEO, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
Marnie McBean O. C. – Olympian, Author
Tom O’Brien – Founder, Cooper’s Hawk Vineyard
Ferio Pugliese – Executive VP, Customer Care & Corporate Relations, Hydro One
Michael Rossi – President, adidas Group