On Thursday, I presented at the inaugural CAIS IT Conference, which was spear-headed and co-hosted by BSS and UCC in Toronto. Over 65 people attended from seven provinces, and there was a palpable energy in the room that opening night.
I always get a little bit nervous before speaking, which I happen to think is healthy. But when I was introduced to the speaker who was scheduled to speak after me, I got really nervous. He was from the Horizon Report and was releasing a sneak preview into future trends. Here is what was going through my head – what if I give my presentation on National Trends and they are not aligned with his presentation on Trends? Maybe I should ask to speak after him, so I can adjust my presentation as he presents, just in case?
I had that imposter feeling; I figured that today is the day that it will be revealed that I am not qualified to do my job. Worse than that, the confirmation that I have no knowledge of trends will be public, in front of this lively audience. Maybe you saw this month’s issue of The Atlantic, which featured this exact topic? The Confidence Gap resonated with me. Even after ten years and over 150 independent schools in nine countries, I still worry that I don’t know enough.
But what could I do? My opening slide was on the board and someone was hooking up the microphone. I had to launch into my presentation and be held to public scrutiny.
During the break between the two presentations, he approached me. Here it comes, I thought. But he was smiling, and said three words: You nailed it. He actually said that he wished he had gone first since he preferred some of my slides.
Now as I write this, I struggle with the other typically female challenge – I think I am bragging and I don’t want to show off. But you know what? I will brag for a moment, because I want to give credit for nailing the National Trends. I happen to surround myself with really smart and passionate leaders who work hard at understanding trends. At the moment, Kevin McHenry is chairing the Online Learning Steering Committee review; David Hadden is researching financial sustainability to present next week to the Business Officers; Sarah Daigneau and Janice Crampton are researching enrolment management trends to present to the Admissions Professionals next month; and Suzanne Heft is researching trends in governance and advancement for this month’s Governance Bulletin.
The fact is, together we nailed it, and together we are serving our schools by sifting through everything that is happening out there, and narrowing in on what will have most impact on our current – and future! – students.
p.s. I believe that brand is what others say about you, so here are a few twitter comments in support of the IT Conference:
Charles Fowler, IT Director at Royal St George’s College, Toronto:
- Spooky alignment between @AMKeeCAIS and K-12 Horiz Rpt on threats to trad. school model from online and blended learning
Jason Rogers, incoming Head of Rundle College, Calgary:
Martha Perry, Head of St. Clement’s, Toronto:
- Listening to @AMKeeCAIS at #CAISit14 shift in education with emphasis on character, moral and values now at the forefront.
- Think about the following re: tech: potential, personalization and people