A message about being a President, by Phil Everson (Current EntSoc President).

Over the past year I’ve had the privilege of being one of the presidents of the Entrepreneurship Society at UWaterloo (EntSoc) – the only student run organization dedicated to entrepreneurship on campus.

Towards the end of August, I’ll officially relinquish my position as a President of EntSoc, making room for another student to lead EntSoc with my current Co-President, Simon Sun. To understand why I’m moving out of EntSoc’s leadership with 2 terms left in my undergraduate career, you need to understand what I think is the biggest challenge for any student run organization – maintaining continuity between executive teams.

When you break it down, an academic term at UWaterloo is 12 weeks long. Due to varying co-op cycles, recruiting our student exec team happens within the first week of a term, leaving about 11 weeks for selected students to actually “be” in their roles before they become focused on exams and/or their next work term. This makes things like knowledge transfer, stakeholder management, and long term planning really hard.

One of the things we’re doing internally to address this is ensuring there’s always some continuity at the president/co-president level of our executive team. In a perfect world, a new President will always come into the role with a co-president who’s previously been in the role. Looking at the time left in my academic career, I can add more long term value in an advisory role within EntSoc, rather than as a President.

For me, it’s bittersweet. I genuinely believe I have one of the coolest student roles on campus (which I’ll miss), but I’m even more excited to find the next student to lead EntSoc through future terms and to watch it grow.

Being a President of an organization like EntSoc isn’t easy, but it presents an invaluable opportunity for a student to grow as a leader. For me, this looked like learning how to have tough conversations, how to manage external relationships, and how to structure a student group so that it sustains a reputable brand without full time staff. Learning those things, and others, has been hard (I’m almost afraid of what I have left to learn this term), but it’s also been a ton of fun. It’s given me the opportunity to mentor students looking to dive into entrepreneurship, advise growing startups, and see first hand what an amazing community we have here in Waterloo Region.

If you’re a student, and genuinely interested in helping/encouraging other students to start companies, check out the complete posting and please get in touch. You might not be the right fit right now, but the earlier you’re in our pipeline, the better. If you’re not a student, but think you might know a student who’s a good fit, please reach out – we’d be happy to meet them, share more details about the role, and let them determine if they might be interested.

Who’s the next president?

Photo courtesy Kapil Haresh, UW Imprint.