Tomorrow is McGill24 – an amazing opportunity to reflect on your McGill journey and what you’ve learned so far. McGillians are sharing on social media why they’re #McGillProud to help raise funds for scholarships and opportunities during a 24-hour period.

Derek Arcuri, who is a student in the Graduate Certificate in Leadership program, spoke with MACES about his McGill journey and what makes him proud. Get to know your fellow students at the School and their unique perspectives to expand your McGill experience!

MACES: What led you to enrol in the Graduate Certificate in Leadership program? Was it always a subject of interest?

D.A.: I see leadership as a soft skill that never formally made it into Undergrad or Masters level programs. You can’t major in leadership, it’s not something you often see. There might be courses in some programs. It was an area that I really wanted to study and understand with the hope to be a good leader that can adapt to any situation I’m in. At Genetec, where I currently work, I’m new to team management. I’m able to apply what I’m learning in school to my day to day to life.

MACES: Do you think participating in fundraising events, like McGill24, is a good opportunity to practice leadership?

D.A.: In a way, good leadership style is to empower others to achieve a common goal. McGill24 is a good opportunity to empower others to get access to education that they might not have or have been restricted from in the past through scholarships and other opportunities.

MACES: How have your educational experiences impacted your life and work life?

D.A.: I just started the program, and I’m starting with organizational behaviour. I’m learning about team dynamics, how individuals are motivated, and how teams collaborate. These are things that we all know, but when you get into school, you learn the terms behind that phenomenon. It also gives you the opportunity to bring up issues that we’ve experienced and get some thoughts from the professor and classmates. The ability to network with like-minded individuals and learn from my peers to implement strategies that can help me delegate my leadership is important. When I was looking at different programs, I looked at online courses, and I thought I wouldn’t get as much out of it as would if I were to study locally in Montreal with a reputable school.

MACES: Are there any particular McGill learning moments that stand out for you?

D.A.: McGill taught me that supervisors might do the work themselves instead of properly delegating. Employees might work differently or on their own schedule, and it’s good to not look at that as a potential weakness. I saved myself a lot of time and energy. Empowerment was something that McGill taught me. I have four steps for building empowerment in employees. The first is placing confidence in employees, the second, creating opportunities for them to take part in decision making so that they feel valued, the third, removing bureaucratic constraints that stifle autonomy, and lastly, setting inspirational or meaningful goals.

MACES: What makes you McGill Proud?

D.A.: I am proud to be part of McGill. I’m thankful because I’ve had the opportunity to share specific experiences I’ve had with classmates that are like-minded, but with different backgrounds and industries. It’s been a big time commitment, but I’m already seeing a direct payoff in my professional life.