Excellence was the theme of the evening at the Junior Achievement of Newfoundland and Labrador’s Awards of Excellence on April 28, 2015 in St. John’s, N.L. Brent Janke, vice president, East Coast, gave a keynote address on behalf of platinum-sponsor Suncor. He provided his personal view on two of the most important ingredients of excellence: vision and perseverance.
Brent referred to the renowned Renaissance painter, sculptor, poet and engineer Michelangelo, whose vision – his ability to see in a block of marble what others could not – led him to create the iconic sculpture “David” and the timeless frescoes on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome.
“I think having a vision of what you want to do and where you want to be is an enormously important step towards personal success,” said Brent.
Brent also referred to the famed inventor Thomas Edison, whose perseverance enabled him to perfect the incandescent light bulb after several years and more than 10,000 attempts. “We must not give up in the face of challenge; we must work even harder, as Edison did, to reach our goals and dreams.”
He concluded by advising the students to “never stop learning” and to build his or her own “personal libraries of excellence” from the writings of leaders like Gandhi and Mandela. And to reflect on the concept of Excellence as portrayed by the ancient philosopher Aristotle, who said:
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”