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    About the Community of Practice on Engineering Leadership


    The Community of Practice is a partnership between the Institute for Leadership Education in Engineering (ILead) at the University of Toronto and enterprises that employ engineers. From executive management, to human resource professionals, to junior and senior engineers, the Community of Practice engages people at all levels of partner organizations.


    Talented engineers are central to many industries. Both the Canadian and U.S. engineering accreditation boards have called for change to how they are educated. This call is echoed by many organizations that seek to fulfill the potential of their engineers, who come technically prepared, but are often less well prepared to work with people. The Community of Practice is at the forefront of this change.


    The Community of Practice offers members a forum to exchange ideas, to learn from one another’s experiences, and to build networks with individuals with common purpose. We hold multiple events to facilitate these goals for the benefit of both partners and engineering students at the University of Toronto. These include conferences, workshops, networking events, panel discussions, and other formats.

    Our History

    2010: Creation of Troost Institute for Leadership Education in Engineering (ILEAD)

    The Troost Institute for Leadership Education in Engineering (ILead) provides transformative learning opportunities so that engineering students and professionals can influence change in their lives and work. Established in 2010, ILead undertakes student programming, classroom and industry-centred research, as well as outreach to leadership educators and business enterprises. Our vision: Engineers leading change to build a better world.

    2013-2015: The Engineering Leadership Project (ELP)

    The Community of Practice originated from ILead’s Engineering Leadership Project (ELP), a multiyear research study funded by both private and public sources to examine how engineers uniquely lead in the workforce. Four organizations participated in this groundbreaking study. ILead conducted research with its partner enterprises in 2013 and concluded in 2015. 

    2015: Creation of the Community of Practice (CoP)

    Through engaging with the ELP partner enterprises, ILead discovered that there was a pressing need for organizations to have a forum where common challenges could be shared, where senior leadership could better understand the systemic problems that block their engineering teams from achieving their highest potential, where human resource professionals can learn techniques to better train and retain their engineering workforce, and where engineers themselves can articulate their lived experiences with their peers.

    The Community of Practice was launched in September 2015 to provide such a forum.

    Present Day: Expanding Membership

    CoP began in 2015 with six member organizations, and has expanded to add more voices at the table with nine current members.

    Interested in joining the Community of Practice on Engineering Leadership? Get in touch to learn about our membership options.

    Please contact: Julietta Saberian, Assistant Director, Community of Practice at or fill out the inquiry form at base of page.

    Current Members

    With the generous support of our partners, we are determined to increase the capacity of engineers to lead in the workplace and in society.

    Erco Worldwide
    Logo Vale Preferencial RGB (1)
    Peel Plastic Products Limited
    Toronto Hydro Corporation

    Benefits of Membership

    Gain a competitive advantage

    Partners are better able to recruit, retain, and develop engineering talent. This includes gaining access to a pool of excellent students at the University of Toronto, Canada’s top engineering school, and also increasing brand profile with students committed to leadership development.

    Access Exclusive Network

    Partners connect with like-minded people from other organizations, forming an association of progressive organizations who want to learn from one another’s insights, challenges, and successes.

    Partners have access to educators and researchers at the leading edge of the emerging field of engineering leadership education.

    Succession Planning

    The Community of Practice is as much about preparing the next generation of engineers as it is about providing tools to the current one. Members have unique opportunities to meet our students, expose them to industry perspectives, and to participate in panel discussions, interviews, or in-class discussions, thus helping students grasp the nuances of organizational life.

    Knowledge Creation

    Partners are invited to contribute to research by engaging in conferences and forums where we share findings and create a space for interpretation, questioning, and feedback. Some partners will also be asked to invite their employees to be research participants in future studies. In all cases, this engagement supports the process of discovering and applying new knowledge to benefit not only members themselves, but the next generation of engineers.

    Alumni Engagement

    We are grateful to our Alumni Community for sharing their time and expertise to empower the next generation of engineer-leaders.

    We welcome Alumni from all backgrounds and years of career progression to engage with our students through a diverse portfolio of co-curricular student programming.

    Please complete the intake form below to join our mailing list and stay up to date on enriching volunteer opportunities throughout the year.

    NICKEL Community

    Making leadership a core part of the Canadian engineering identity requires changes to engineering education.

    The National Initiative on Capacity Building and Knowledge Creation for Engineering Leadership (NICKEL) connects faculty and program leaders across Canada so that leadership becomes part of the core of engineering education.

    Launched in 2016, The NICKEL Community hosts an annual pan-Canadian conference each year as well as regular, online Community Meetings to exchange learning and insights about how to best provide leadership learning experiences for engineers.

    Visit the NICKEL website to learn more and to sign-up for the mailing list.