Farewell Note as Curator (2016–17) of the Montreal Hub, Global Shapers Community

By Renjie Butalid
Curator (2016–17)
Montreal Hub, Global Shapers Community
World Economic Forum

Renjie Butalid, Montreal Hub Curator (2016–17) facilitating a Meet the Leaders session with Robert Greenhill, Founder and Executive Chairman of the Global Canada Initiative, and former Managing Director, World Economic Forum — Maison Jeanne Sauvé, Montreal, May 18, 2017

Today — June 30, 2017 — marks the end of my one-year term as Curator of the Montreal Hub of the Global Shapers Community. I wanted to take a few moments to share some highlights and lessons learned over the past year while also introducing the incoming Curator and Vice Curator of the Montreal Hub for 2017–2018.

While I have been a Global Shaper since 2013, 2016–2017 marked the first time I served the Global Shapers Community in a leadership capacity. It has been humbling to lead and build capacity within the Montreal Hub alongside my Vice Curator Viva Dadwal this past year. We have expanded the Hub’s reach and connected with a ton of amazing people and organizations throughout Montreal.


3 Lessons Learned as Curator of the Montreal Hub

As my term comes to a close, here are three lessons I’ve picked up along the way that I’m happy to share:

Lesson 1. As Curator, it’s not about you, it’s about the community

As Curator, I found that it was my role to create the space for Montreal Shapers to thrive as members of the Hub. To do so, we had to build processes and channels that allowed us to communicate effectively with one another to leverage our collective talents, resources and networks for the benefit of the Montreal Hub (i.e. our projects) and our own professional development.

Shapers are some of the most engaged and highly motivated individuals in their respective communities. This presents both a challenge and an opportunity for any Curator to manage. A challenge because time (in terms of availability) is almost always a limiting factor given how packed our schedules are. However, this is also an incredible opportunity to leverage given the diverse range of (potential) projects, perspectives and networks that each Shaper brings to the table that strengthens the culture of the Hub.

Outcomes from 2016–2017:

1. a) Montreal Hub Retreat: We held our first Montreal Hub retreat at Maison Jeanne Sauvé in February earlier this year. Similar to many Hubs around the world, we plan on holding these Hub Retreats on an annual basis moving forward. This exercise in team and culture building allowed us to clarify our mission, vision and goals for the upcoming year, i.e. our themes and focus areas, which include: refugees, women empowerment, diversity, inclusion and combating racism.

1. b) Monthly e-newsletter

As Curator, I started sending out monthly e-newsletters in March shortly after our Hub retreat in February. In doing so, I realized the act of curating news stories on the activities and accomplishments of individual Montreal Shapers not only strengthened our culture, but also elevated the profile of the Montreal Hub as a whole. Simply put, when one Montreal Shaper succeeds, we all succeed.

Sign up here if you’re interested in receiving our monthly e-newsletter straight in your inbox.

1. c) Slack + Whatsapp + Google Docs

Similar to many Hubs around the world, we’ve adopted Slack and Whatsapp as our main channels of communication. We use Google Docs to host important files and co-create documents and presentations. This has reduced our collective email activity significantly while increasing the effectiveness (and timeliness) of our communications overall.

1. d) Visiting Shapers Form

Montreal is an incredible city to visit, especially in the summer when there are a ton of festivals and activities taking place all over the city. As a result, we’re always delighted when Shapers from other cities come to visit.

Taking a page out of the San Francisco Hub playbook, we’ve created our own version — the Montreal Visiting Shapers Form — for Shapers to fill out prior to visiting Montreal. This allows us as a Hub to coordinate welcome dinners and drinks, and also helps us figure out how we can best be helpful in terms of introductions, accommodations, or anything else.

1. e) Piloted projects and events throughout year

It’s been fun and highly engaging to pilot a number of events and projects over the past year, including:

  • #RDVMTL: a monthly speaker series that ranges from intimate social gatherings in different neighbourhoods across Montreal, to larger events open to the public in collaboration with other community organizations; the goal is to get to know and engage with different communities across the city at the grassroots level
  • Meet the Leaders: Hosted most recently with Robert Greenhill, Founder and Executive Chairman of Global Canada Initiative, and former Managing Director, World Economic Forum; the goal is to engage in dialogue with different leaders in our community, including elected officials in government, heads of public institutions and private corporations, and leaders of civil society organizations
  • #popscope: an urban movement that is short for “pop-up telescope”; the goal is to reconnect diverse communities to the night sky and to each other by hosting free, “pop-up” astronomy nights in public spaces

Lesson 2. Build for the long-term

“We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten.” — Bill Gates

As Curator, there is only so much you can accomplish in a year. While a year may feel like a long time, the reality is it will be over before you know it.

Working in tandem with my Vice Curator Viva Dadwal, our approach this past year was to focus on the fundamentals: build leadership capacity within the Montreal Hub by creating the space for Montreal Shapers to thrive, and build processes and channels that allowed us to communicate effectively with one another.

Based on our outcomes for 2016–2017, I believe we’ve been able to accomplish this (and more) over the past year!

Interested in becoming a Global Shaper with the Montreal Hub? Join us on Thursday, September 7, 2017 from 6pm-8pm to learn more about the Global Shapers Community and the World Economic Forum.

Speaking of growth, recruitment for the 2017–2018 cohort of the Montreal Hub is right around the corner in the fall, with our first Recruitment Social scheduled for September 7, 2017. If you’re interested in joining the Montreal Hub of the Global Shapers Community, sign up to attend!

Location TBD in Montreal.

Lesson 3. Leverage the global network that is the Global Shapers Community and the World Economic Forum

Canadian Curators (from L-R representing: Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa, Halifax, Victoria, Toronto, Vancouver & Montreal ) at the Annual Curators Meeting 2016, World Economic Forum in Geneva, Switzerland — August 19–22, 2016

My personal and professional networks have expanded this past year in ways that I could have only imagined. This stems from having attended SHAPE North America 2016 in Minneapolis in July and the Annual Curators Meeting at the World Economic Forum in Geneva in August last year. We welcomed Visiting Shapers from all over the world to Montreal and had countless meetups with Shapers in Ottawa, Halifax, Boston, San Francisco and Washington DC to name a few.

As a Global Shaper if you haven’t already, attend as many regional SHAPE and/or World Economic Forum events as you can, and reach out to the other Forum communities including the Young Global Leaders, Global Agenda Councils Network and the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship.

There is an instant bond of trust and sense of familiarity when you come across Shapers from other Hubs in different cities around the world. Leverage these connections and see where these serendipitous collisions may lead you. Overall, I feel privileged to be part of this global community.

SHAPE North America 2016 in Minneapolis, MN — July 22–25, 2016

The Road Ahead: 2017–2018

On that note, I’m excited to introduce Viva Dadwal and Nirushaa Senthilnathan as the incoming Curator and Vice Curator for 2017–2018 respectively, beginning July 1, 2017.

Building on what Viva and I have been able to accomplish together as a Curator and Vice Curator team this past year, I know she will be incredible in her role as Montreal Hub Curator for 2017–2018.

Join me in wishing Viva and Nirushaa all the best this coming year. Learn more about Viva here and Nirushaa here.