Project Give Back Connects, Episode 19- Leading by Example

Project Give Back Connects, Episode 19- Leading by Example


Welcome to our final episode of Project Give Back Connects,  Season 1. This episode was about leading by example and the power of giving.

If you have one person who looks up to you, admires you and watches you carefully, as a model for their own actions, then you are a leader. Leading well is a HUGE responsibility. It carves out not only your future, but the future of others as well. When your actions can put a smile on one person’s face, you have led that person in a positive direction.

Today’s guests all lead through their actions as well as their words. They are esteemed – a word that isn’t used often, but filled with praise, as esteemed means respected and admired. To earn that title takes grit, compassion, empathy and understanding to the needs of others. Each of our guests leads by example, and one of their secret weapons, is the power of giving.

Our first guest, really needs no introduction. You have seen him day in and day out working tirelessly, caring about us and making our lives better, even in a crisis. As Mayor, we can’t even imagine what it must be like leading the people of our city, not only every day, but during a Pandemic. The best gift anyone can give is the gift of time. We have witnessed Mayor Tory give and give and give and here he is again giving his time to be with us and share some inspiration. 

Mayor Tory spoke about the importance in giving back, whether big or small, for everything makes a difference. He shared when he was in Grade 5, on Christmas day, his grandmother took him to Meals on Wheels to serve meals to the vulnerable. To this day, he still remembers the look of appreciation on people’s faces, when he showed up. It’s a look he would never forget. Fast forward to just last week, when he went to a supportive housing project, to provide housing for vulnerable communities; he saw that exact same look. 

From all those times in between, Mayor Tory has determined that the best you will ever feel, is when you give back. As he says, giving back helps you to build up your city/community, to build up others, and build up yourself. So, do a good turn for someone everyday, even if they are just small things, like opening a door for others. 

We thank Mayor Tory for his inspiring words of wisdom. He leads by example and we are so grateful for his devotion and love that he has for us all and our incredible city, Toronto.

Our next speaker was esteemed leader Jordan Banks. Jordan is the President of Rogers Sports & Media. He is responsible for over 4000 employees, 23 conventional and specialty TV Channels including Sportsnet, 29 local Televisionstations, 54 radio stations, 2 podcast networks, Today’s Shopping Choice, to name a few. He was named one of Canada’s 50 Most Powerful Business People by Canadian Business magazine, one of the 25 Most Influential Innovators in Canada by Financial Post magazine. Before this impressive gig, Jordan was the Former Managing Director of Facebook and Instagram Canada.

One quick Jordan story, which involves the bracelets that Ellen makes. They are a moral compass, to remind us about the lessons that Jakey taught in his short but impactful life. Jordan had ordered a dozen bracelets. Ellen made him 12 women’s bracelets and one for him as a gift. He called immediately right away, to say there was a mistake, that he ordered 12 men’s bracelets, because he wanted these constant reminders always and in case one breaks, he wanted more on hand. This is who Jordan is. He leads by example. The rules on the bracelet are – to be positive, to live in the moment, to be understanding of others, and to be grateful. Jordan is all that!

Jordan began by thanking Mayor Tory for his leadership and went on to speak fondly about his many family connections to Ellen. Both his mother, Debby and Sister-in-Law, Penny are volunteers in our PGB classes.  Then, Jordan spoke about the responsibility and power of giving back. It was at university, through his fraternity involvement with Big Brother, where he learned to appreciate the commitment of giving back his time. He said that “when you give back, you get back.” It’s not selfish, it’s giving!

Jordan gave the analogy; if you were offered a wonder drug that guaranteed a happier and healthier life and would make the world a better place, for just $100/month, would you take it? He went on to explain that we all get that exact experience at no actual cost, just by giving back. Giving back makes Jordan full of energy and healthiness. Being helpful to others also provides confidence, self esteem and a natural sense of pride and accomplishment. 

Studies found that giving back makes you live healthier and longer. For Jordan, giving back has allowed him to meet the most important people in his life, improve his life skills and work skills. In fact, it’s one of the first things he looks for in his interviews and hiring policies; people coming together for the benefit of others. Giving back also inspires others to do the same and he used Ellen and Project Give Back as a prime example. 

So, where to begin? Start by asking yourself, what or who do I care deeply about? Jordan asked himself, “If I had a magic wand, what would I fix?” For him, based on personal experience, it may have been Alzheimer’s. He said, the best gift you have, is your time and your brains and told us to take what you know and align that with a cause or a charity. Community service is the rent we all should pay for living in the greatest country in the world. 

One of the best gifts that 14 year old Jules Halpern has is her incredible talent. Jules was on hand to share that gift with us tonight, by performing an original composition called, ‘Sing’. 

Next up, was a cherished Project Give Back students from this year. Lily Tannenbaum had passion for her chosen cause that shone through in her presentation and we invited her to share her story. As a Grade 4 student, Lily helped to promote an incredible initiative called, ‘Phone Connect Project’. Dr. Andrea Somers, a family friend, coordinated this cause, which is to provide cell phones and communication to communities without. 

The collection and distribution of old cell phones are provided to the homeless. It was a way for some to get invaluable communication, like test results from hospitals, that may not have been possible without. It has served as a literal lifeline, especially during COVID, when it was sometimes the only way for crucial information to be shared. Thanks to Lily for sharing her project with us. In an episode dedicated to leadership, we have no doubt that Lily will be an effective leader of tomorrow.

We had final words from Lindsay @One2Giveto. Lindsay recalled all the meaningful ways the collaboration between One2giveto and Project Give Back Connects have successfully allowed this community to give back. Here are just a few examples of some of the things that were achieved: Baking and donating food to food banks, writing letters, collecting socks, buying school supplies, and collecting bikes. If we give a little it means a lot, for all these small things add up to make a big difference and a huge impact. As society opens up, we will continue to look out for those who have been hit the hardest and continue to be a kindness connector, whether it is through donations or time. 

Thank you to our audience for sharing your time with us this season and for being a part of our Project Give Back Family. Thanks to Mayor Tory, Jordan, Jules, Lily and Lindsay for being our featured guests. The messages that they shared with us tonight were a true summation of Project Give Back itself; our logo and its boomerang effect. When you throw out kindness, it comes back, even more powerful.  Remember that we all have it in us to provide that boomerang effect, by giving to others.