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Just back from the 2015 BTA Conference and one of the highlights of the event was the awarding of the first annual John Tackaberry Future Leaders Award, named after our departed friend and brother, to the apprentice in attendance who wrote the essay on leadership that was chosen by the selection committee as the best. Anyone who knew John, knew how strong a leader he was and how much he valued mentorship and supporting our apprentices, so this award is exactly the kind of thing he would have wanted, and we are all sure that he would have been proud of the efforts of all entrants. Below is the winning essay, written by Rosemary Curran-Pipestem, an apprentice from Ironworkers Local 725 in Calgary. Look her up and congratulate her for such outstanding work.
Leadership is not a position or a title, it is action and example.
I believe in leading by example
I am a 23 year old ironworker in the second year of my generalist apprenticeship. I am a Tsuut’ina Nation member and a Trade Winds to Success program graduate. I love my ironworking career and believe that it provides me with platform to succeed in life as there is many options to grow and climb the column to successes. I plan on achieving my Alberta Red Seal in 2017, followed by my Blue Seal. Thereafter, I would love to run a company or possibly even start my own company. A personal achievement of mine would be to obtain my Gold Seal.
Last year, I volunteered with the creation of IW725’s Curtain Wall training structure. This was important, as I believe in supporting my Union’s activities, especially when they help apprentices learn safe and efficient ways of the installation of curtain wall.
This June, I was honoured to be the only apprentice asked to attend the Brookfield Place mock-up in Miami. I was chosen to help lead my company with the intention that I’d help to lead my team with the curtain wall layout and installation on site. While there, I was challenged by the unfamiliar blueprints and I worried that my lack of ability would harm our team. However, my co-workers were very supportive and we were able to overcome the challenge. Dismayed by my poor showing, I am now registered for a blueprint reading course. In all aspects of my career and life, I believe in finding solutions to challenges. Even if I am not able to address at challenge at the moment, I will work hard to find a solution to ensure a strong future.
I believe that one of the greatest aspects of leading by example is that there is always a set of eyes on you, there will always be another generation of apprentices watching and learning. By setting a good example you are not only keeping yourself safe but also teaching other apprentices how to complete a job safe and efficient.
I also believe that a positive attitude is very important in a leader. Part of how I create a strong sense of team is by drawing out co-workers’ positives attributes and building relationships, this creates an environment conducive to achieving company goals. Also, the positive atmosphere encourages team members to voice their ideas. I am leader by being an active member of a team. I am a leader because I see opportunities everywhere. I am a leader because I am not afraid to ask questions and seek council when needed. I am a leader by learning from my past and seeking to continuously improve. I am a leader because I enjoy taking responsibility, trying new things and even if that means taking the job no one wants. I am a leader because I’m not only open to criticism but I learn from it.
I’m a young woman starting an amazing career with the Ironworkers of Local 725 who has the drive to succeed and will continue to be an example to future leaders.