CCAL’s Lunch with Leaders: The Virtual Experience

Student perspectives on how the Lunch with Leaders program helped them connect with leaders and peers

At the Canadian Centre for Advanced Leadership in Business, many of our programs this year had to pivot virtually so that we could continue to connect our students to our amazing community members here in Calgary, across Canada and internationally.

The Lunch with Leaders program was no exception and we held these leadership conversations virtually. The Lunch with Leaders program is designed to give Haskayne School of Business students an opportunity to engage in meaningful discussions about leadership over a semi-casual session with an established leader. Students are invited to ask their questions and get feedback in real-time from leaders across various sectors.

These hour-long leadership conversations between Haskayne students and business leaders have the potential to completely transform a students’ perspective on what everyday leadership looks like in their personal and professional lives. These conversations are a starting point to a larger reflection for students on “What does leadership look like in my own life?” and “What type of leader do I want to be?” For some students this is even the starting point to see themselves capable of being a leader

The leadership conversations that happened this fall through Lunch with Leaders particularly impacted two students who took part in these events.

Sohil Agrawal is a first year undergraduate student with Haskayne. Here is his experience:

“My experience with the Lunch with Leaders Program was a profound and eye-opening experience of leadership within the business world. Coming into a first-year, online experience, I was always seeking new opportunities to get involved as I wanted to take advantage of the online setting. When Lunch with Leaders was recommended to me by my peers, I was eager to jump on the opportunity, and reflecting on it, I am so glad that I did. I came in not knowing what I signed up for but eager to learn about leadership in society as well as the successes and failures of those prominent leaders. To my surprise, the event was very interactive and the leaders encouraged participation as opposed to the formal setting I was used to, which created a comfortable environment! Each leader brought something different to the plate, with no Lunch with Leaders event being exactly the same as another. This unique quality is why I would recommend this program to my fellow peers, as it provides a different experience every time for everyone that can’t be obtained elsewhere. Overall, CCAL provided me with an invaluable opportunity to better myself through the Lunch with Leaders program and I am very grateful that I participated within the program!”

Elaine Yang is a fourth year Undergraduate student at Haskayne.  Here is her experience:

“CCAL has been a great supporter throughout my undergrad. Among all, I’d like to highlight Lunch with Leaders (LWL) program. I signed up for the opportunity to connect with industry professionals as I’m in my last semester of my undergrad and looking for career path direction. It turned out to be beyond what I expected from LWL events. LWL events are very interactive and engaging in that leaders lead the conversation with inspiring questions and topics. Students are offered opportunities to ask questions related to the leaders’ background. Other than interacting with leaders, peer engagement also brings new ideas and perspectives. I’ve since connected with a couple of leaders and peers outside of sessions. The fact that industry professionals care about young leaders is inspiring and brings confidence to professional development. By leveraging LWL to expand your connection and get inspired, you’re doing yourself a favor in becoming a future leader.

Both these student experiences highlight the importance these leadership conversations can have on an individual’s time at Haskayne and in their own leadership development. As we continue our Lunch with Leaders program in 2021, we are looking forward to reaching more students and engaging with a greater number of business leaders to host these leadership conversations with our students.

If you are interested in learning more about the Lunch with Leaders program please reach out to us at Students can also sign up for our LWL mailing list to receive advanced notice of these events.