Kyu Bin (Sam) Jang is the youngest leader I’ve interviewed for this column – and what a leader he is. Sam is heading into Grade 12 at Kennebecasis Valley High School with a brilliant 4.0/95 per cent GPA and a long list of achievements so far: great attendance, numerous academic achievements, volunteering awards, he plays guitar in the Korean Youth Orchestra and percussion in the KVHS jazz and concert band, and – if you can believe this – he looked after 30 milking cows during the spring of 2016.
Sam speaks both Korean and English and has worked at his family’s popular Riverview Convenience Store & Gas (Wilson’s) in Quispamsis for the past three summers scooping ice cream.
This summer was a little different. Sam was chosen to attend the SHAD program at Carleton University for the month of July with 55 other students. SHAD provides an intense summer enrichment program attracting the best and brightest high school students from around the country every July. It is built on an academic foundation of science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics while fostering entrepreneurship and innovation.
On completion of the program, the students become SHAD Fellows and join a powerful community of more than 15,500 alumni, including 30 Rhodes Scholars and leaders from various industries.
Soon, future SHAD participants from New Brunswick may not have to travel far to participate in the program. Earlier this month, coinciding with International Youth Day (August 12th) the government of New Brunswick announced it will be providing $750,000 to the SHAD program over the next five years and UNB will one of the 12 hosting universities.
“Our government is committed to investing in our young people,”said Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Brian Kenny.“We are happy to support the work that SHAD is doing in New Brunswick as an outstanding Canadian non-profit organization that helps exceptional high school students recognize their full potential so they can become the leaders and change-makers of tomorrow.”
SHAD also recently announced the SHAD New Brunswick initiative, a unique pilot project, which will identify highly-motivated high school students, engage the business community to hire these individuals and ensure participants remain connected to ongoing opportunities in New Brunswick including internships and mentoring.
I had a few questions for Sam about the SHAD program, the influences in his life and where he goes from here:
Q: How did you first learn about the SHAD program and why did you apply to be a participant?
A: I was first introduced to SHAD by my friend during a post-secondary event at our school. I decided to apply to the program because it seemed like a great way to spend half of my summer productively – at a university campus.
Q: What was the most interesting thing you learned from participating in the SHAD program?
A: I found out that it wasn’t just a STEM – science, technology, economics, math – camp. I was surprised to learn that it was also a lot of fun, engaging with community leaders and participants. In addition to the extensive lectures, we also went camping, hiking, exploring caves, and played lots of fun games.
[Tweet “I was surprised to learn that it was also a lot of fun… – Kyu Bin (Sam) Yang”]
Q: You have recently been recognized for your volunteerism. What has your volunteer work taught you about leadership?
A: Most importantly, volunteering has taught me the importance of actions for leadership. If you want to lead and make a change for the better, I realized that taking efficient and productive measures were just as crucial as planning for the change.
[Tweet “Volunteering has taught me the importance of actions for leadership. Kyu Bin (Sam) Yang”]
Q: What have been the strongest influences in your life so far?
A: Volunteering for the first time at the library influenced me to become more responsible and be appreciative of the kindness of others around me. Kindness became more than just a common courtesy when you are truly appreciated. I would even say that it’s healing and essential to bring a society into a closer community.
Q: How has being involved in your family business, Riverview Convenience, helped you understand and prepare for entrepreneurship?
A: It has helped me hone my social skills and handle money which would be a great asset for understanding and preparing for entrepreneurship in the future.
Q: What do you see yourself doing in 10 years?
A: Because of my interest and skill in the science department, I see myself working somewhere in that field, being financially secure and having fun with friends.
Q: How would you finish the following sentence?“A leader’s job is to…”
A: A leader’s job is to present a clear direction and vision – a big picture for his or her team. The leader also needs to have the passion to drive to that goal based on making the best decision with the current resources you have.
[Tweet “A leader’s job is to present a clear direction and vision. – Kyu Bin (Sam) Jang”]
Q: What else have you learned about being a leader?
A: Sometimes being a leader requires finding new ways. During that process, everyone makes mistakes, including leaders. But when you find yourself on the wrong path, realize that you made a poor decision. A leader should be humble enough to admit his mistakes and brave enough to make another decision. Delaying the decision when the time is crucial would lead to a negative outcome. That is what makes the difference between a leader and the rest.
Q: How has living in two different countries (Korea and Canada) helped you most?
A: Coming from Korea to Canada has exposed me to two cultures. It also helped me realize the importance of preserving and promoting different cultures. Cultures and traditions are what keep the world from being stale, adding a little more flavour to life.
Q: What advice would you give to other young leaders about participating the SHAD program?
A: SHAD shows you the value and potential of a having an intelligent, productive and helping community that we can build together. It trains and encourages you to strive for excellence at whatever you do or pursue. It’s different from our regular school experience – no marks, tests, or essays.
[Tweet “It’s different from our regular school experience – no marks, tests, or essays. – Kyu Bin (Sam) Jang”]
You are constantly challenged to be creative, innovative and think critically. And most importantly, you are tasked to leave the world a better place than before. Yes, go for it! Carpe Diem!
Q: Is there anything else you would like to share?
A: I would like to thank my family, friends and everyone in the SHAD community that made this experience memorable.
Read more about the SHAD program at www.shad.ca
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This article published in the Telegraph-Journal on Saturday, August 27th, 2016.