When Jillian LeBlanc was growing up in Prince Rupert, she said it wasn’t easy to find an opportunity to stay in the north. After graduating from high school, she moved to Ottawa and eventually discovered her passion for politics in the nation’s capital.
Now, on June 10, LeBlanc will be back in Prince Rupert for an event she’s organized for graduating high school students. The LeBlanc Scholarship Women’s Leadership Training will be open to 2018 and 2019 graduates who are interested in leadership, not just politics.
“I just wanted to provide an opportunity to show there are young women leaders who do live in the north, and to give them the same opportunities other people have in more urban areas, to get that training and get that experience to push them to the next level,” LeBlanc said.
During the five-hour event, participants will learn how to pitch themselves and hear from a heavy-hitting roster of local leaders.
“I found something that was really important when I was in Ottawa is when you’re around people who might want to hire you or you want to intern for, those people are quite busy and have a short amount of time. It’s important to have an elevator pitch about yourself,” LeBlanc said.
The first speaker will be Joycelynn Mitchell, who will talk about her work as a Metlakatla Treaty Negotiator. Mayor Lee Brain, MP Nathan Cullen and MLA Jennifer Rice will each speak about their experiences in politics and how they got there. Then LeBlanc will facilitate a session on what it means to be a leader and find your leadership style.
“This isn’t just for if you want to go into politics, these are political leaders, but they are leaders first and foremost in their communities,” LeBlanc said. “They come from very different backgrounds. Nathan Cullen has lived overseas before, Lee Brain has a strong tech background, Joycelynn has a background in negotiation and policy.
“Leadership skills are completely transferable.”
It’ll be a candid conversation, LeBlanc said, with plenty of time for questions.
The event, which will be held in the PAC 10 room of the Museum of Northern B.C., will be free. To register, an application will be available on the LeBlanc Scholarship for Furthering Women Leaders on Facebook.
As for LeBlanc’s scholarship, which she announced in January, the first student she will mentor has been selected. The winner will be announced at the Charles Hays graduation ceremony.
“I’m very excited, and I hope that she is as excited to receive it as well,” LeBlanc said.