Internship Spotlight: Mariama Barry - Force Leadership Africain

Over this past summer, I had the incredible opportunity to intern with Force Leadership Africa in Montreal. As a third-year economics student, I was excited to jump into the world of international conferences, communication strategies, and collaborations. My time at the internship was a fantastic experience that unexpectedly expanded my academic horizons. During the internship, my main focus was creating a detailed conference report. This wasn't your typical assignment – I had to distill discussions, insights, and potential investment opportunities from a crucial conference about Canadian investments in Africa. The event brought together professionals, scholars, and entrepreneurs keen on strengthening economic ties between Canada and Africa. By carefully summarizing these discussions, I improved my writing skills and gained a deeper grasp of the financial dynamics linking continents. But my involvement continued beyond summarizing conference highlights. I was lucky to play an active role in organizing the conference itself. From handling logistics to coordinating with speakers, I learned a ton about meticulously planning to pull off major events. This hands-on experience taught me the importance of teamwork, adaptability, and attention to detail when tackling big projects – skills that will undoubtedly benefit me in my academic and professional journey. One of the most exciting projects I got to work on was creating a communication plan. This required me to strategize how best to spread the word about Force Leadership Africa's mission, events, and initiatives. Crafting messages that resonated with diverse audiences sharpened my communication skills and deepened my understanding of how effective communication influences decisions and garners support for important causes. A particularly fascinating aspect of my internship was collaborating to involve high-caliber athletes in next year's conference. This project aimed to give athletes a platform to invest in Africa's growth and development. This intersection of sports and economics showcased the unique opportunities that emerge from unconventional partnerships. Brainstorming ways to engage athletes in conversations about investments helped me think creatively and appreciate the various applications of economic principles.

I had biweekly meetings with my supervisor throughout the internship, which were incredibly valuable. These sessions allowed me to discuss progress, seek guidance, and refine my ideas. The constructive feedback I received motivated me to push my limits and strive for excellence in everything I did. The mentorship I received during these interactions nurtured my personal and professional growth, leaving a lasting impression of the power of mentorship in shaping one's journey.

Another aspect of my experience was contributing to the translation of previous documents. This underscored the importance of cross-cultural communication and understanding in our interconnected world. Navigating language and cultural nuances made me realize how essential it is to bridge these gaps for effective collaboration between individuals from diverse backgrounds.

Looking back on this transformative summer, I'm amazed at how much this internship enriched my journey as an economics student. Beyond the technical skills I gained, I developed a deep understanding of how economics, leadership, and collaboration intersect globally.

As I enter my third year of university, I carry the lessons and experiences from my time with Force Leadership Africa. The conference report I worked on, the collaborative projects I led, and the insights from my supervisor have all contributed to my well-rounded growth. Armed with a sharpened skill set, a global perspective, and a solid commitment to impactful collaboration, I'm more enthusiastic than ever to continue my academic journey

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