Incontro Romano Canada 2019 “THE TRANSFORMATIVE POWER OF WORK”

The seventh Student Conference on Life Skills and Service took place on February 2, in downtown Toronto. During a morning of talks, participants had the opportunity to hear about creativity and purpose, two aspects of human work that make it capable of transforming self and others. “While improving the technical aspects of your work can make you a better worker” one of the speakers said, “working for a noble purpose can make you not only a better worker, but also a better person. This is why purpose-rich jobs are so fulfilling”. A panel explored the transforming power of work from three different perspectives: the home, the school and the work place. Julianne McKernan, a nurse from The Hospital for Sick Children, shared how her work has helped her shape her character. Liz Rebello, a mother and homemaker, stressed the importance of materializing affection in details by properly looking after everyone’s needs at home. This creates an environment where each family member can develop and be transformed into a healthy and happy human being (both physically and psychologically). Anna Park, Media Production student, focused on the transforming power of relationships forged through work, and on how different working environments can be a source of richness given that we are social beings who need each other to grow.

The morning ended with the keynote address by Lisa Matarea, Director of Human Resources at The Ritz-Carlton Toronto. Citing the hotel’s “Succeed Through Service” program -where employees volunteer to mentor students and refugees-, she stressed the importance of having a constant attitude of service and respect towards every person. She said that an essential benchmark of professional performance is the care for detail in one’s work. Mrs. Matarea invited participants to re- think their notion of success by suggesting that traditional metrics (like marks, number of degrees, etc.) are not really accurate predictors of professional and personal success. When looking to hire the top 1% in the industry, she looks for attitudes such as spirit of service, teamwork, and the willingness to self-sacrifice when it is about making others happy. After an elegant sit-down lunch, participants broke up into small groups for the hands-on sessions where they had the opportunity to work with a pastry chef, learn the basics of fashion from an expert, and discover some bedroom make over ideas. As the day progressed, ideas began pouring in for next year’s event: from talks on change management to hands-on sessions on public speaking and gardening. We look forward to next year’s conference on February 1, 2020, where we will continue to work towards a deeper understanding of the impact that work and service –especially the one provided at home- have on individuals, families and society as a whole. For more details, check