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One Word to Describe the Lang Students’ Association Inaugural Lang Sustainability Conference

Updated: Dec 3, 2019


Repost from Brien K. Convery

This weekend I had the unique and distinct pleasure to host the Lang Students’ Association Inaugural Lang Sustainability Conference, RBC Farmers 4.0 Case Competition and Gala with the local RBC Guelph team and family.

The conference started as a dream and a plan 9 months ago for Danielle Tyl Lang School of Business and Economics - University of Guelph, Bachelor of Commerce, Marketing Management (Co-op) and Director of Lang Sustainability Conference | Lang Students Association. This past weekend that dream became an empowering experience for all who attended and took part in 3 days of some amazing programming, fruitful discussions and healthy debates addressing the current social, environmental and economic challenges facing our world and our country. 

Instrumental to RBC getting involved with this Conference was due to my meeting Nick Durban, Lang School of Business and Economics - University of Guelph, Bachelor of Commerce, Finance and Economics (Co-op) and Director of Corporate Relations | Lang Students Association at the Spring 2019 Lang Students Association Leadership Transition Meeting and Networking Event.

Nick later joined the RBC Corporate Real Estate team this past summer where he shared with me the upcoming Lang Sustainability Conference. Nick had me at "sustainability" as I knew this would be a great fit with RBC Future Launch, Early Talent Acquisition, our business focus on banking, agriculture | farming and with our recent RBC Farmer 4.0 thought leadership publication from the Office of the CEO the stage was set.

From November 7th-9th, 2019, the Lang Students’ Association hosted its inaugural Lang Sustainability Conference in partnership with RBC. This conference invited delegates from across Canada to engage with speakers and workshops around the topic of business sustainability. The delegates participated with enthusiasm, asking tough questions of business leaders and discussing business solutions to the environmental, social and economic challenges facing our world.

The conference culminated in a case competition, where the delegation broke off into teams to develop business solutions to a case problem presented by RBC. The RBC judges Joseph Upfield, Anne Borgijink, Cayle Littlejohn, Michael DeBorger, Carson Burtwistle, Danielle Clarke (all University of Guelph grads) and two University of Guelph professors | judges (Kathleen Rodenburg and Ruben Burga) met on Saturday morning to do a quick tutorial on the Riipen platform for judging and to review final logistics.

Big thank you to Dave Savory and the Riipen team for hosting another flawless experience for RBC and for the Lang School of Business and Economics - University of Guelph!

With the RBC Case Competition Judges

with Will Hyndman, Lang School of Business and Economics - University of Guelph, Bachelor of Commerce, Marketing (Co-op) and Vice President – External Affairs, Lang Student’s Association

The case was based on a recent report released by RBC – Farming 4.0: How the Coming Skills Revolution Can Transform Agriculture. The report identifies future obstacles in the Canadian agricultural sector, which include an aging workforce and a widening skills gap. If corrected for, the agricultural sector could add another $11B to Canada’s GDP. Case teams were challenged with developing feasible business solutions that could overcome these obstacles.

A wide variety of solutions were proposed, including applications of RBC Future Launch, to massive industry overhauls. Ultimately, the 6 judges from RBC and 2 professors from the Lang School of Business and Economics cast their final votes to name the top 3 teams of the Case Competition.

The Grand Finale of the weekend was the Gala Globe Reception, Closing Keynotes, Dinner & Delegate Awards at the Grand Guelph Banquet & Event Centre.

with the RBC OnCampus University of Guelph Team Shawn Chen and Chelsea Suggitt

"Let’s talk People. You. Me. Us. The Us in Inclusion. To foster humanitarian and social sustainability growth we need people, we need skills and we need diversity of thought. We all need to celebrate our differences in the name of diversity and inclusion and promote wellness by fostering Belonging. We know Diversity is a fact. We know inclusion is what you do. Belonging is what someone feels."

and the winners are...

Third Place: Team 8 - Allena Arnold, Caleigh Heck, Michelle Kozdras, Robert Bryce Dozois and Morgan Lunney

Second Place: Team 16 - Amanda Sarellas, Eva Sukhija, Alex Ulgiati, Mary Burke, Christine Hoang

First Place: Team 4 - Matthew Gauthier, Liam Ireland, Sabrina Jazic, Heather McGeer, Rachel Provis

This team delivered a solution that leverages RBC’s thought leadership in the agricultural sector and youth empowerment to develop a labour force pipeline equipped with the skills and enthusiasm to work in modern agriculture. RBC awarded this team a first-place prize of $3,000 and each member a guaranteed interview for a job of their choice.

Thank you Mary-Anne Moroz, Manager, Career Centre & Employer Partnerships Gordon S. Lang School of Business & Economics at University of Guelph for your continued partnership and the really cool Lang socks! How did you know I like socks?
Thank You to the RBC Team who made all of this possible including Jamie Clinch, Jennifer Santamaria, Scott Dickson, Fabiana Sutter, Vishan Persaud, Shawn Chen, Chelsea Suggitt, Joseph Upfield, Anne Borgijink, Cayle Littlejohn, Michael DeBorger, Carson Burtwistle and Danielle Clark

To the Lang Students’ Association

Congratulations on your Inaugural Lang Sustainability Conference!

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