Kristine Canniff -Research Project Manager, Niagara College
Kristine Canniff is an energetic and collaborative leader with progressive experience in the food and beverage sector. As Research Project Manager at Niagara College’s CFWI Innovation Centre, she has a successful track record managing complex projects with responsibility for end-to-end execution, financial and human resource management.
Kristine is a graduate of Brock University and is a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach who has conducted personal and executive coaching and workshops. As an instructor, she has taught marketing at Niagara College and coaching skills at the Toronto Learning Annex. She is passionate about helping people to achieve their dreams.
Kristine’s volunteer experience includes Women’s Place of South Niagara, Pelham Panthers Basketball Association, Toronto Co-Active Coaching Community, and Big Sisters of Toronto.
How do you define community leadership?
I define community leadership as an act whereby a participant leverages their skills, competencies, networks and time towards the betterment of their community.
“I am now seeking new opportunities
to serve and I want to devote my energy to
causes that help the community
in some manner.”
Why are you personally motivated to explore community leadership?
I am motivated to further explore community leadership because I enjoy helping others and have much to give in the areas of non-profit management, innovation, life coaching, fund-raising, marketing, governance, and networking. I also want to meet other aspring leaders in order to learn from them and collaborate.
I have devoted much time and energy to family and career activities over the past five years and I am ready to take on new opportunities. For example, five years ago I went through a career change that has resulted in securing a full-time position at Niagara College that I love. In addition, I have just finished serving 4 years as a Board Member for Women’s Place of South Niagara, which was a rewarding experience. Here I was able to use my leadership and management skills in helping to raise funds, govern the organization, and advocate for the cause. Lastly, as a parent with children who are nearly out of the teen years, I have some extra time to devote to a worthy cause. I am now seeking new opportunities to serve and I want to devote my energy to causes that help the community in some manner.
What, in your view, is the most significant issue/opportunity facing our community? Why?
Some of the issues our community faces are poverty, lack of affordable housing, unemployment, drug use, crime and domestic abuse. I am particularly interested in tacking root causes of some of these issues which can include lack of self worth, lack of experience, loneliness, discrimination, and/or low self-esteem. I believe that if people are presented with education and leadership opportunities to that utilize their skills and abilities it will help them to grow in these areas.
I am interested in win-win situations where two or more parties get together to do something that creates results that are mutually beneficial, where 1 + 1 = 3 (or more). I would like to identify groups who could benefit from each other’s offerings and create a structure to facilitate positive change. I’m not sure what this looks like yet, but an example could be pairing up at-risk youth with older adults in need (who are seeking companionship, help with errands, etc.). Perhaps some sort of structure could help these youth and the older adults find meaning and purpose in life, which could result in many benefits for both parties.
I believe that if people are challenged to engage in new experiences relating to other people it can result in positive change for everyone involved, which will indirectly help with major issues affecting our community.
In your view, what’s the most important attribute of a leader?
There are many important attributes of a good leader including passion (enthusiasm), authenticity, honesty, integrity, fairness, respect, tenacity, fearlessness, good communications, and commitment to the cause. I would argue that leadership is a combination of several of these attributes, however, to choose just one attribute I will speak about integrity. Integrity is the quality of being honest and making decisions based on strong ethics and morals. A leader with integrity generates trust from his or her followers, which is essential for strong teams. It is especially important when times are stressful and important decisions need to be made. It is comforting for teams to place their trust in a leader with integrity because it allows them to focus on their tasks, resulting in greater performance and more likelihood for team goals to be reached.
What individual attributes do you hope to develop or expand upon?
Personally, I would like to further develop the attributes of fearlessness and commitment to the cause. I would like to choose a new goal, or cause, that will help to improve our community, and create a plan of action that I will put energy into, that will make a positive difference. I sometimes have sparks of ideas with respect to this, but as of yet I have not implemented these ideas. I think that networking with other passionate people will help me to gather more fearlessness and commitment, and then to take action.