Posted by Julia Gille - Guest Writer |

The Future is Bright With Toronto's Next Gen Leaders

During this past summer, I was part of the MEI International Business program to earn two credits before going into my last year of High School. During the five-week program, we visited some of the biggest and most influential global hubs; New York, London, Paris, Hong Kong, Beijing, and last, but certainly not least, Toronto. While traveling through these impressive cities we learned and examined commerce and the international marketplace through interactive competitions and case-studies. It was an extremely valuable experience that teaches students about the real world in a different approach than a regular school environment does.
    
Back in Toronto, it became evident that this region can easily measure up with the other influential, global cities. The easy access to the U.S. market, the renewed trade agreements with both Europe and the U.S., but especially our large availability of talented and skilled people. The Toronto Region is home to a great talent pool — whether we are talking about skills, knowledge or experience, Toronto can offer it all. This is one of the appealing reasons foreign companies choose our region as their international hub in North America.
 
But are we able to keep up with the rest of the world? And how about the future? Are we ready to offer the same competitive advantages in the coming generations? The answer is yes!
Not only are we strong competitors against the rest of the world cities, but we might also just be ahead of the curve altogether.
 
In September, my father represented Toronto Global at WebSummit, the European version of Collision, which is coming to Toronto in 2019. At the summit, he met Jennifer Brown, who is the Director of Partnerships at a remarkable organization called The Knowledge Society. The Knowledge Society, or “TKS,” which it is mostly known by, is an emerging, informative leadership program designed for children aged 13 - 17 years old. The program is designed to replicate learning environments like MIT, Stanford, Google, and Facebook. Participants tackle exciting and complex problems with teams while being exposed to the most important topics of their generation. Throughout the program, TKS students have access to exclusive conferences and events, internship opportunities, deliver presentations, engage in debates and discussions, and build their professional portfolio, including their LinkedIn profiles, one-pagers, and slide decks.
 
Recently, I interviewed TKS CEO Nadeem Nathoo to learn more about the program. He and his brother started the program to give motivated, intelligent teens the opportunity to develop new technology, solve world-pressing problems and most of all, to learn about things that they love.
 
The two brothers were inspired to create the program by the fact that, when they were growing up, there was no such thing available to them. They are looking for bright-minded students who have intellectual curiosity, take initiative and are committed to their passions. The students learn about more than just their chosen interests. Public speaking, leadership, effort, teamwork, and commitment are all qualities that are instilled within the TKS students.
 
“They are coming in as regular kids,” Nadeem said, “And after a year they are achieving things they could have never imagined.”
For example, one of the alumni, Jay Parthasarathy, was exposed to Artificial Intelligence and Robotics during TKS, and is now using his knowledge in those areas to disrupt the agriculture industry. Or, take Ayleen Farnood for instance, who is active in the field of Brain-Computer Interfaces. This technology enables humans to control machines with brain signals, and Ayleen is presently an intern at Microsoft. On the TKS website, you will find numerous examples of what the Alumni of TKS have accomplished already.  
 
While the external metrics of TKS are important, Nadeem explains that the internal metrics are just as, or even more valuable to the students. “I ask the kids why they wake up every day, and usually the answer is along the lines of, ’to go to school.’ We want to change this, shift the mindset, and help them become the best version of themselves.” He believes that it all comes down to ensuring the happiness, confidence, and health of a child. TKS can do so and help driven students reach their full potential.
 
Besides this, TKS is currently talking to universities who are interested in replicating the program because of the unique approach of problem-solving and using the full potential of kids. In the future, TKS is hoping to introduce their program to an even younger target group, expand into the global market, and find more ways to support students that are motivated to solve world problems.
 
When asked why they decided to start their organization in the Toronto Region, Nadeem said it was definitely not a coincidence. He believes that as Toronto is growing, TKS can grow with it. “There is a unique mix of appetite and growth as an ecosystem.”
 
The Knowledge Society is an example of the fact that Toronto is incubating smart world leaders right in our backyard. Encouraging and protecting the most brilliant minds of future leaders that are going to be solving problems that the world has yet to face. If you look at what these bright minds can do and the problems that they solve at such a young age, there is most definitely a lot more in store for the Toronto Region.
 

About Author

Julia Gille - Guest Writer

Julia Gille - Guest WriterStudent, Country Day School - King City

Julia Gille is a Grade 12 student at the Country Day School in King City and went on an International Business trip with MEI last summer, which fired her interest in business. Her father, JanWillem Gille is a Director at Toronto Global covering Western Europe. Julia is hoping to go into either business or creative writing next year in University.
 

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