[Read Part 1 Here]
A few years ago, I had a moment in time that truly shaped the person and career professional that I am today. Prior to this “ah-ha” I took a leap of faith and competed in my local Fair Ambassador competition.
The annual competition is well-known within my community and the honour of competing in the competition, let alone winning, is a shining moment for anyone who runs to compete for the title. Since our rural fair draws thousands of people from across the province and has become a staple in everyone’s Thanksgiving weekend, the chance to be picked as the Ambassador for the fair is a huge honour. I remember as a child walking by the display case in one of the Fair buildings that proudly displayed the pictures of the former winning Fair Ambassadors from previous years and deciding at that moment that I wanted to compete for the title one day when I was old enough. As I got older, I realized the tremendous benefits and opportunities that could come from competing in a competition like this. It wasn’t a competition based on looks– it was all about public speaking abilities; knowledge of your community, fair and agriculture; and how best you could present yourself with poise, confidence, and charisma and be the best person possible to represent the fair. These are all traits that any leader needs in today’s workforce to be successful.
I was fortunate enough that Saturday in late August, to be named the winner of the Fair Ambassador competition and I am proud to say I will forever be a part of the history of the Norwood Fair. But this defining moment did not stop here.
Not only was I given the opportunity to represent my fair on the local stage for the entire year, I was also given the chance as the Fair Ambassador to compete in the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) Ambassador of the Fairs competition, which brings together 80-100 Fair Ambassadors from across the province of Ontario, to compete to name one person the Ambassador of all the Fairs. The competition seemed like a longshot as all Ambassadors had clearly displayed the ability to win at their respective local fair. All were great public speakers, poised, confident, well-adverse on current events.. really looking back, anyone could have won.
But, that day in late August, only a few weeks before I was to begin my first year at University of Guelph, I was named the 2005-2006 CNE Ambassador of the Fairs. It was a truly a life-changing experience and really one moment that “transformed me.”
The opportunities I had throughout that year— visiting other rural fairs across the province; giving presentations on my time as the CNE Ambassador; delivering impromptu speeches at any given time; meeting people from all walks of life; educating urban audiences about rural life and agriculture; truly bridging the gap between rural and urban; and at the same time, building confidence in myself, were instrumental in shaping who I am today as a career professional.
Everyone has that one “tipping point” or moment in their life that transforms them as Malcolm Gladwell says in his book Tipping Point. So now that I have shared my moment that ‘transformed me’ as part of my “Where did my Passion Grow” series, share with me what moment truly “transformed” you… I’d love to hear from you!