Technical savvy, global vision key to future – Sen. Oliver


A new style of leadership characterized by global vision, technical savvy and corroborative inclusiveness, is becoming an increasingly valuable commodity and one in which Black leadership can shine like a beacon and open up a bright new future, says Senator Donald Oliver.

Speaking to Ryerson University students at an event organized to discuss ways in which Black students can hone their skills to become successful leaders, Oliver said that ongoing global changes will require young people to acquire a global point of view and a need to constantly hone their technological skills in their quest to become leaders.

“You must become astute at not only knowing how to use technology, but in knowing what technology can do, how it can connect people and things and how it can change what we do and how we do things every day,” he said. “That is the only way that you will be able to keep on top of technological innovations and the only way that you will be able to understand how to use it to your advantage and to the advantage of your employers.”

Oliver told the students they will also need an unparalleled ability to collaborate with people from different backgrounds and cultures.

“Our world, our country and our cities that we live in now are dramatically pluralistic,” he said. “Consequently, an understanding of, and the ability to relate to, a diversity of people have become essential. What is more, success in business or in government won’t come just to those who outperform everyone else. Today, success is all about teamwork.

“In short, the only way to become successful today, globally aware and intimately collaborative, is to continue to learn and that means you must constantly seek out new knowledge and continually reach out to other people. This requires that you be very demanding of yourself and you must set personal goals and objectives and, above all, you have to work hard. If you do that, I firmly believe that you will gain a brand of leadership required for success in a brave and new interconnected and pluralistic world that is now our reality.”

Oliver, who recently raised CDN$500,000 to lead the first-ever national study conducted in Canada that definitively proves the business case for diversity, said that outstanding leadership in this era is defined by a high degree of intelligence and a clear understanding of the “bigger picture”.

“They are the leaders who can make decisions quickly and effectively, even in times of great uncertainty and constant change and they are the collaborative leaders who appreciate the value of open communication, inclusiveness and compassion in all their relationships.

“In many ways, I believe this is the caliber of leadership embodied by Barack Obama.”

Oliver travels extensively to advocate the urgency of fostering diverse and inclusive organizational cultures.

In introducing Oliver, Ryerson University president, Sheldon Levy, noted that the esteemed Canadian lawyer and statesman is someone the university admires and respects because of his strong and passionate advocacy for diversity.

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