By Adriana Reyes

“Every time I attend a conference, in which I can relate with real community leaders, it empowers and inspires me with positive energy, thoughts, and hopes for a sustainable future” – Adriana Reyes.

On Thursday January 29, 2015 Durham College (DC) and the Sustainability Office, gave me a great opportunity to attend the 5th Annual Powering Prosperity Awards. My knowledge regarding this conference was very limited but as soon as I received my invitation I started researching it. I learned that the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association (OSEA) was encouraging organizations to champion sustainable energy to power, heat, cool, and improve Ontario’s prosperity.

  1. Expectations prior to the event
  2. Powering Prosperity Champions
  3. Learning Outcomes

1. Expectations prior to the event

My personal expectations prior to this event were to improve my knowledge, get more involved regarding sustainability practices from a business perspective, and to get networking with other leaders and guests. The 5th Annual Powering Prosperity Awards dinner doubled my expectations on all levels. As college students, with my colleagues Tanya McDonald and Ashley Audit, it was an honour taking part in this prestigious affair. Among the invited guests were over 500 sector decision-makers including developers, builders, manufacturers, suppliers, government representatives and community leaders. We also were accompanied by Tanya Roberts, DC Sustainability Coordinator.

2. Powering Prosperity Champions

The 5th Annual Powering Prosperity Awards began, and we had Cisco’s Dr. Rick Huijbregts as a key note speaker. Dr. Huijbregts is a recognized leader in his field with great experience as Vice President, Industry and Business Transformation and General Manager, Smart+Connected Communities. During his presentation he mentioned “The convergence of Information Technology (IT) and grid modernization, intelligent communities, and business process optimization is providing for a 21st Century platform of innovation that will have a profound impact on how we live, learn, work, and play. Sustainability is positively impacted if we embrace the role of IT for industry transformation.” Dr. Rick Huijbregts. Then, they started to announce the 5th Annual Powering Prosperity Awards. There were 20 leadership Award Nominees were 7 champions in the following categories:

  • 20/20 Leadership Award: Jonathan J. Dogterom, MaRS Discovery District
  • Aboriginal Project of the Year Award: Matt Jamieson, Six Nations
  • Community Project of the Year Award: SolarShare Co-operative
  • Developer of the Year Award: Brant Renewable Energy
  • Manufacturer of the Year Award: Celestica
  • Smartpreneur of the Year Award: Phillip Playfair, Lowfoot
  • Sustainable Project of the Year Award: Park Property Management Inc.

Now, I would like to share what I learned from this incredible experience.

3. Learning Outcomes

  1. I would like to start by saying that even I learned so much regarding sustainability business practices, I also learned that a responsible leader not only cares about their company’s profit but also of how responsible they are utilizing the natural resources. After listening to Cisco’s Dr. Rick Huijbregts, key note speaker, I realized the importance of technology to help with the development of different projects within a company. For instance, he mentioned that his company developed six times faster than before due to the efficient use of technology. Also, Dr. Huijbregts revealed for those companies which reproduce and destroy our natural resources, there is a better way to do business, taking in consideration the higher standards of quality safety. I personally agree with most part of his speech.
  2. My colleagues and I had the honour to share table with Mike Brigham, President at Community Power Capital Co-operative. He shared with us his five years’ experience in SolarShare, a not-for-profit co-operative, and how each improvement turned into an achievement. The most surprising was that his organization was one of the champions under Community Project of the Year Award category, and we had the opportunity to congratulate him. Mr. Brigham has a great and particular personality that I would always admired.


Maybe prior to the event my colleagues and I were not too familiar with the guests and nominees, but overall it was an incredible experience to share. I learned a lot, and I hope I could spread that knowledge with you. Thank you one more time to Durham College and the Sustainability Office, especially to Tanya Roberts to make it possible. This is one of the benefits of being part of Green Living, which I am proud to be involved.