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How Leadership Niagara Helped Me Recognize the Leader Within

Sharon Reeds, Co-Founder at Intuitive Shipping

A year ago, I felt lost & scared.

I was 6 months into my upstart, Intuitive Shipping, and I recognized that the universe was inviting me to play on a bigger stage. As a new mom still trying to shake postpartum depression, I didn’t feel that I was emotionally or mentally ready to conquer the challenges that come with a rapidly growing company. Not quite knowing what to do or where to go, I applied to Leadership Niagara’s Accelerate Civic Leadership program.

In my application, I wrote

I hope to develop more confidence in being a leader. I’m a confident person, but things have moved so quickly for us and I’m still young, so sometimes it’s hard for me to accept in that I’m someone that others are looking up to and looking for answers. From the outside looking in, I have everything together, and I’m hoping that this program can help me feel this way on the inside as well.

This piece still resonates with me in my core.

A year later, I am damn proud of myself. As I am writing this I; am on the cusp of turning 30, have onboarded an exceptional team at Intuitive Shipping, and can say from the bottom of my heart that I am confident in myself and my ability to lead.

This would not be possible if I didn’t make the personal investment into Leadership Niagara’s Accelerate Civic Leadership program. 

The program is specifically tailored to Niagara and gives a well-rounded view of the issues that we are facing as a community. Each tailored workshop (Learning Day) takes you through a different topic and is designed to help you learn more about yourself and the type of leader you are. Closer to the end of the program, there is a profound Learning Day, ‘Building Inclusive Environments’, that can (if you are open to it) guide you to face your deepest thoughts and insecurities. This day quite literally changed my life, and I am excited to implement pieces of it with my team so that we can all be better, more understanding people.

The most time-consuming and emotionally difficult component of the program was the Community Project, but it gave me the most insight into who I am as a leader. It was a tough 7 months, but our team of 7 all learned how to blend our styles together to create significant community impact and a lifelong friendship. Together, our team helped our Community Partner, The Distress Centre, secure a $10,000 CAA Community Boost Grant, provided insight into how the Partner could increase volunteer recruitment, and one of our team members used her connections at the NHS to have a social media blast and a story about the Partner’s desperate need for volunteers into the St. Catharines Standard.

Accelerate Civic Leadership
2019 Passion Project Team
Team Passion Project. (From Left to Right) Sharon Reeds, Arienne Good, Catherine Rice, Heather Habgood, Kelly Sauriol, Andrea Forgione & Ashley Dunbabin.

As I sent myself to the program, I have a unique perspective; I am the employer and the employee. As an employee, I encourage you to try your hardest to convince my boss to send you. The professional and personal development one can accomplish in 9 months is exceptional. As an employer, I will be sending every Intuitive Shipping team member to Leadership Niagara, no exceptions. It is our responsibility to make ourselves, our community and our teams better, and I wholeheartedly believe Leadership Niagara is the best place to start.

Sharon Reeds
Co-Founder at Intuitive Shipping

June 4th, 2019