Giving kids a competitive future career edge
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Jan 31, 2013  |  Vote 0    0

Giving kids a competitive future career edge

Arts education teaches valuable leadership skills: author

Etobicoke Guardian

Leadership skills gained through arts education can give today’s youth a much-needed competitive edge in the now-global job market.

Toronto author and blogger Lisa Phillips argues this in her new book, The Artistic Edge: 7 Skills Children Need to Succeed in an Increasingly Right Brain World, released in November and available on and as a Kindle eBook.

Education in the arts should not be reserved for the talented few, Phillips says, but promoted as a means for all children to develop skills in creative thinking, confidence, problem-solving, accountability, relationship building, communication, adaptability and dreaming big.

“Recently, I’ve had the opportunity to consult with very well-known business leaders who are talking about what’s needed in the emerging global marketplace. Creativity and innovation is huge and leadership goes along with it. How to wow a client. How to compete in global markets.

“Learning accountability, relationship building, problem-solving and confidence will make young people a much more desirable asset to companies. They can build great relationships with clients in any industry.”

Phillips will offer insights into her message and her new book on Saturday, Feb. 9 from 3 to 4 p.m. at Kingsway College School.

CEO and founder of Toronto-based Canada’s Academy of Stage and Studio Arts, Phillips hosts the company’s March Break and summer camps at Kingsway College School. Canada’s Academy provides training through specialty workshops, private coaching, camps, arts-focused leadership courses, as well as arts school administration coaching.

The Washington Post recently published two articles Phillips wrote for Americans for the Arts: Why We Love Artists but not Arts Education and The Top 10 Skills Children Learn from the Arts.

Her book, The Artistic Edgeexplores why leadership skills taught through the arts are what young people need most to be successful in life.

Hundreds of kids apply each year for camp jobs with her company. What she saw inspired her to develop a 110-hour arts leadership success program for high school-aged youth, which teaches them the principles in her 133-page book.

“The number of kids not able to sell themselves in job interviews, who don’t know what their skills are, the percentage is very high,” Phillips said. “It’s not their fault. No one taught them how. They’ve been thrown into the job world without having practised the skills...

“We all need to practise something to become proficient at it. We’re not giving kids the kinds of opportunities they need to practise leadership skills.”

To that end, Phillips said she encourages parents to make a shift in their thinking, to realize that creativity and leadership skills go hand-in-hand, to the great benefit of young people and their future career success.

Arts education instructors must also be intentional about teaching leadership skill within the curriculum, she said.

“Parents putting their kids in an arts program isn’t about the child becoming an actor or a dancer,” Phillips argued. “Great if they do. But there’s a deeper level of skills development that will benefit them in the long-term. A 10-year-old isn’t thinking about that when she wants to take a dance class.”

Tickets are required to attend Phillips’ talk at Kingway College School, however admission is free. The school is located at 4600 Dundas St. W. west of Royal York Road in Etobicoke.

Visit to RSVP for the talk or for more information on Phillips’ book.

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