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Unleashing the Leader Within: A Journey of Growth


In the world of sports and community engagement, my journey has been an incredibly fortunate one. What started as a two-year working holiday in Canada became a fulfilling career with the Vancouver Whitecaps. I had the privilege of being part of their business development team and now the Canucks as the Director of Premium Sales & Experience. I firmly believe that sports organizations should be pillars of their communities, using their influence to drive positive change. Reflecting on my professional growth, I can confidently attribute a part of my success to the transformative experience of GVBOT's Engaged Leadership Program.

When I completed high school, my aspirations gravitated toward healthcare. I had a genuine desire to help people. However, circumstances steered me away from that path. Nonetheless, my inclination to make a positive impact persisted, leading me to pursue opportunities where I could contribute to improving others' lives. The Engaged Leadership Program appealed to me as an opportunity to learn from some of the most exceptional leaders in the province who have made careers, bettering their communities and exploring how they prioritized the well-being and success of their people.

One of the program's greatest benefits has been the resurgence of my passion for leadership. The Engaged Leadership Program rekindled my enthusiasm for leading others and instilled a renewed sense of confidence in my abilities. As leaders, there is always more to learn, and this program provided a platform for continuous growth and development. The connections I forged with like-minded individuals have also been invaluable, enriching my personal and professional network.

Among the program's enlightening sessions, a few stand out as my favourites. The private roundtable and online sessions with esteemed leaders such as Sue Paish and Keith Henry were an unparalleled experience in a competitive business landscape where time and attention are precious commodities; being able to interact with these accomplished individuals and listen to their stories, successes, failures, and invaluable lessons felt like reconnecting with old friends. The authenticity of these exchanges and the wisdom shared during these sessions left an indelible mark on my leadership journey.

When reflecting on the most crucial lesson I gleaned from the Engaged Leadership Program, it undoubtedly revolves around introspection and personal growth. Before this program, I found myself in leadership positions almost inadvertently, without giving much thought to the nuances of effective leadership. This transformative course challenged me to delve deeper into what makes my leadership style unique and identify areas where I can continue evolving.

Now that I've completed the program, my perspective on great leadership has expanded. While numerous qualities contribute to exceptional leadership, the Engaged Leadership Program highlighted a few key attributes shared by the remarkable leaders I encountered:

Authenticity: Great leaders stay true to themselves, embracing their unique qualities and perspectives.

Genuine Care: They genuinely care about the people they work with and the impact they can create together.

Vulnerability: They understand the power of vulnerability, recognizing that openness and honesty foster trust and collaboration.

Optimism: They possess a remarkable ability to seek opportunities and positivity in every situation and individual.

Courageous Advocacy: Great leaders are not afraid to speak up when confronted with challenges or shortcomings, demonstrating their dedication to improvement.

The Engaged Leadership Program has been a transformative journey, propelling me toward a greater understanding of effective leadership and equipping me with the tools to make a lasting impact. It has reinforced my belief that leadership is a choice, not merely a position and that every leader has the power to influence the lives of those they lead positively. As I continue to grow and navigate the dynamic landscape of my career, I am committed to embodying the qualities I have learned. I look forward to shaping a brighter future both within my organization and in the broader community.

About the author:

Tom Dunn is the Director of Premium Sales & Experience for Canucks Sports & Entertainment (CSE), a National Hockey League team based in Vancouver, British Columbia. Dunn has a genuine passion for people, sports and hospitality and served as the Senior Manager for Business Development at the Vancouver Whitecaps FC before his role at the Cancuks. He firmly believes that successful selling requires passion, persistence, bravery, common sense, and a desire to improve things.

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