Ten Profiles for Fusion’s 10th Year: #4 – April Howe, Knightsbridge Robertson Surrette
A Q&A with April Howe
April Howe is a partner with Knightsbridge Robertson Surrette with over 15 years of experience in consulting, coaching and facilitation. She is a Certified Career Coach, and is a member of the International Coaching Federation, Nova Scotia Chapter. She’s worked with Fusion as a guest speaker at many events. This year, we welcome April as a guest speaker to the Atlantic Leadership Forum. As an active community member and volunteer with Fusion Halifax, we asked April a few questions about our last 10 years, and what’s in store for the next 10.
Q: What’s been your involvement with Fusion in the past?
A: I’d heard about Fusion long before I became involved. Many of my colleagues have participated with Fusion – sitting on boards and leading events over the years. But it wasn’t until I was asked to speak at a conference that I fully appreciated how Fusion is impacting the life of young professionals. Since then, I’ve been happily pulled into different Fusion events as a participant and a guest speaker.
Q: You’ve actively given back to the community as a mentor. Why do you believe mentorship is so important for young professionals?
A: I feel having a mentor is a key component in developing as a leader over the course of your career. Most Fortune 500 CEO’s have had mentors – many still do. I’ve had the opportunity to have several mentors over the years and they’ve been extremely diverse. I understand the value these relationships have brought to my career so I encourage young leaders to find a mentor. Having a mentor can be a game-changer in a career. If someone is willing to give of their time to offer you valuable advice, seize that opportunity. It’s worth it.
Q: How would you describe Fusion’s impact on our city in our first 10 years?
A: The momentum that Fusion has gained over the last 10 years is striking. Fusion Halifax has established a strong reputation in the business community. You have succeeded in engaging senior and emerging leaders with great opportunities for networking and development. Halifax is becoming more diverse and Fusion plays a strong role in creating connections between diverse groups. I also believe that young innovative leaders have something to teach established leaders. Both groups have a lot to learn from each other. Fusion is absolutely leading the charge in that area.
Q: As keynote speaker at ALF this year, what are you most looking forward to at that event?
A: I’m looking forward to speaking to all of the awesome people that attend and the fantastic leaders that take part. The energy the group brings is not easy to describe; it’s almost palpable. I feel this overwhelming sense of optimism and positivity when I participate in Fusion events. I want to hear from young people. There’s an honesty that you get at the ALF that’s useful and real; it’s unvarnished.
Q: What challenges will young people in Halifax face in the next 10 years?
A: As the world is becoming more innovative, it will be challenging to make ourselves indispensable. Innovation is important but it can also make roles obsolete. Thought leadership and critical thinking will always be needed and this is important to keep in mind with looking to the future.
Youth are also challenged with finding their place within the business community in our region. Progressive youth want opportunities to grow and develop as well as flexibility. Organizations need to find ways to accommodate this more or youth will go other places. On the flip side, youth need to get creative about pursuing the work and experience they want. The growth of virtual teams and remote work means young professionals can carve their niche in the world from here to anywhere.
Q: Looking ahead to the next 10 years, what advice would you give to young people?
A: STAY! Stay, stay! That’s my advice! I think Halifax, while conservative in nature, is on the cusp of truly transformational change. The Ivany Report was an important eye opener for those of us in the business world. Organizations want to keep that momentum going. Halifax is a hub for IT innovation and Ocean technology. There’s a lot of opportunity here. I work in career transition – helping people figure out their next career opportunity – and from my perspective, the outlook for the next 10 years is quite positive. If I had a word of advice for any young person it would be ‘give Halifax a shot.’ There are a lot of great things going on here.
Q: What role do you think Fusion can play in our community’s future?
A: I think Fusion already plays a very important part in our community’s future – providing a platform for leaders (either upcoming or current) to learn and grow as individuals. It’s a forum for people to talk about what’s working, what’s not working. As for the next 10 years, like every organization, you’re going to want to continue to up your game. Stay on top of emerging trends in business and emerging industries so you can continue to serve this community even better than you currently do.