During my internship at Bombardier, I had the opportunity to work with an absolutely amazing leader named Stephen L. The following text was written in 2011 to nominate Stephen to the Concordia COOP Employer Award. He played a large role as my first great mentor.
I once read a quote from Russell H. Ewing: “A boss creates fear, a leader confidence. A boss fixes blame, a leader corrects mistakes. A boss knows all, a leader asks questions. A boss makes work drudgery, a leader makes it interesting”. I can relate very well my experience at Bombardier with Ewing’s saying. Stephen is a very enthusiastic leader and love to help his team. He follows up with every members of his department and insure that the team’s chemistry and happiness is ‘top-shape’. As an intern I did not really know where I was heading during the first month. I lacked confidence on my performance and skill-set. Throughout my journey at Bombardier he kept encouraging me, pointing out my strength and reinforcing what I did right. It was basically positive reinforcement. It allowed me to go forward and gain an enormous amount of confidence. As I progressed in my project, he shared with me methods on how to manage my time and stress. His lessons have not only been very relevant for my professional life, but also my personal and academic life.
I admired his focus on his team’s health. If a team member is overloaded and overly stressed, Stephen would not hesitate to give some time off to decompress and come back the next day. His work flow was elegant and flexible. I did not feel stressed or forced to work on a project. Instead, I felt responsible for the delivery of the product. I was in charge of the project and Stephen was my guide. He pointed me towards what he believed was the right path while leaving me with the option of choosing my own paths.
Stephen’s admirable leadership had direct consequences on my life. I have never managed my time and stress so efficiently. My communication skill has greatly improved. Thus, I feel a lot more confident talking in front of a large group. After my internship, all these improvements gave me the confidence I needed to become the president of the IEEE Concordia. I use the positive reinforcement he used for my own team. ‘President’ is merely a title. I don’t see myself as a boss. I see myself standing beside my team, on the same ground as my peers.
Stephen allowed me to grow into a better and bigger person. I admire his vision and strong work ethics.