Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

July 23, 1999

Leadership challenges of 21st century focus of U of G conference

A unique interdisciplinary conference at the University of Guelph Aug. 5-7 will bring together representatives from the public, private and voluntary sectors to discuss the leadership challenges of the new millennium.

"The Leadership Challenge: A Conference on Effective Organizations in the 21st Century" will include keynote addresses, workshops and paper presentations featuring high-profile government and business leaders, faculty and officials from non-profit agencies.

Discussion topics and themes include the global economy, challenges in the public sector, collaboration and partnership, leadership in a technological age and managing change. The event, sponsored by the College of Social and Applied Human Sciences, was initiated by political science professor Richard Phidd, who is serving as conference chair. "Issues surrounding effective leadership know no boundaries," Phidd said, adding the event is open to professionals from the public, private and voluntary sectors. Media are also invited to attend.

"We felt the University would provide an appropriate arena in which discussions of the issues could cross all three sectors and ideas could be exchanged," said Maureen Mancuso, chair of political science. "Business could learn from government, government could learn from the non-profit sector and so on, and we would help facilitate the dialogue."

Effective leadership is a key concern for organizations worldwide, Mancuso said. The future holds new challenges such as expanding technologies, increasingly competitive foreign markets and separated workforces. "The quality of leadership is a critical factor," she said.

John Walsh, faculty of management associate dean and hotel and food administration director, added: "It has been said that leadership can be learned, but I am not sure it can be taught. We wanted to focus on facilitating that learning. The University of Guelph has a rich tradition of interacting with the public, making our research applicable and available to the community. This is a prime opportunity. In the future, there will be a great need for leadership in all types of organizations and at all levels. It builds the foundation of a strong economy."

Conference highlights include a 10:30 a.m. session Friday on the global economy presented by Simon Cooper, president of Marriott Hotels of Canada; a 12:15 p.m. keynote address by Art Daniels, assistant deputy minister (communications), Ontario Public Service Restructuring; a 3:45 p.m. panel discussion featuring David Stewart-Patterson from the Business Council on National Issues; and an 8 p.m. keynote by Peter Harrison, head (deputy minister), The Leadership Network.

Saturday's highlights include a 9:30 a.m. keynote by Edgardo L. Perez, CEO of the Homewood Health Centre and a noon keynote address by Phil Geldart, president of Eagle's Flight, an international leadership company based in Guelph. All events will be held in the Whippletree, located on the fourth floor of the University Centre in Guelph.

"This dynamic conference will be an exchange of ideas and strategies -- an opportunity to meet professionals, to develop, to learn and to embrace these challenges together as we enter the new millennium," said Michael Nightingale, dean of the College of Social and Applied Human Sciences. The conference is being supported by the departments of political science, psychology, consumer studies, and economics, along with the school of hotel and food administration, faculty of management and Office of Open Learning.

For registration information, contact Kelly Parkinson, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 8939, or e-mail, Conference information is also available on the World Wide Web at

Contacts: John Walsh, Faculty of Management (519) 824-4120, Ext. 6118

Maureen Mancuso, Department of Political Science (519) 824-4120, Ext. 6503

Note to media: Presenters will be available for media interviews. To arrange a time, or for media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 3338.

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