This will only take five minutes but by the end of my story, you will understand why I am so passionate about leadership and empowerment education.

“You can get out of gym and get free food.”  

That’s all I heard on that fateful day in my Grade 10 gym class. Athleticism was not my thing, I was an introverted kid, who got bullied most of her high school life. 

Little did I realize what happened next would completely alter the course of my life. For the next year I was immersed in intense leadership training: team building, leadership, personality styles, conflict resolution, anger management, public speaking and so much more!

We were a part of a pilot program for peer education.  After all the intensive training we developed five 1-hour interactive presentations which we would later deliver to elementary & junior high schools. Each group had four people; one main presenter, one secondary and two supporters.  

“Hannah, you will be the main presenter for your group.”

I instantly began to cry.  By this point, I was being bullied everyday and suffered extreme abuse.  Suicide was at the top of my mind. I could not imagine being in front of people, being judged and possibly laughed at. 

But she saw something in me, she believed in me and she mentored me. That program gave me some incredible leadership skills that lead to a diverse career and a hunger for personal development. 

Once I graduated from high school, I became the Youth Program Manager for that same program and it had grown into several different schools.  I had the opportunity to speak in front of thousands of people, be mentored by thought leaders, plan events, conferences and speak to government and city officials.

We pioneered the first ever youth opinion poll and presented it to city council.  That opinion poll was the catalyst in six youth centres being built. I was also given two awards by the province for my youth work over the years. 

My career quickly became focused on leadership, training, writing and communication.  It has taken different forms over the years but it was all because of that one moment where I wanted to get out of gym!  

I know that giving youth and young adults these types of learning opportunities can be life altering.  I know it, because I am a living example. 

Now I see an opportunity to grow again, to be a catalyst, to propel a movement to greater depths. 

Recently, we have been holding roundtable discussions with students, adults and companies and they are communicating there is a gap in real experiential learning.  They don’t want one-off workshops; they want the information and support over a period of time so they can grow with the learning plus receive feedback and support.  

We want to empower people to be leaders in their personal and professional lives.  What this world needs is more people that are inspired and we need to create a supportive environment to encourage it. 

We have been so excited by the initial conversations we've had with national and local organizations in Calgary.  They have all voiced their support for experiential education that is focused on building talent and businesses through leadership & entrepreneurial thinking.

We believe there is an opportunity to create a groundbreaking solution in experiential education.  The research shows that experiential learning is key in emotional intelligence, which creates life long changes in behaviour. 

Our vision is to create a holistic program focussed on five key components: 
•    Leadership
•    Entrepreneurial thinking
•    Mentorship 
•    Internship 
•    And giving back

We look forward to speaking with you more about this incredible opportunity we have to support youth, schools, adults and our communities. 

Thank you for your time, 

Hannah Cree

Director of AcceleratorYYC
403 850 5121