On a sunny Saturday in November, 2019, Cape Breton University held its inaugural Leader’s Edge Conference, showcasing top leadership experts with the goal of to inspiring future CBU graduates. The conference was the first of its kind in Atlantic Canada and motivated participants to connect with their passions and to help them achieve their dreams. Presenters included Cameron Hughes, Alexander Zorychta, and Yves Boudreau, among many others. Keynote speaker and Alumnus, Ikdeep Singh. Ikdeep spoke to a full room in the Royal Bank Lecture Theatre and captured the attention of the audience with his story of resilience.
Originally from India, Ikdeep Singh moved to Cape Breton as an international student to pursue his engineering diploma in 1994 at the then, University College of Cape Breton (UCCB.) Ikdeep joined his sister Harman Singh, who was already living in Sydney. He quickly learned that the people of Cape Breton Island were genuine, warm and welcoming and he immediately felt a special connection from his professors and the entire CBU community.
Ikdeep Singh is currently the President of Giorgio Armani Beauty, part of L’Oreal USA, and now calls New York City home. During his time at CBU, he worked at the campus library part time, and was quick to become involved in other activities on campus which resulted in long-lasting friendships. CBU not only brought Ikdeep these lifelong friends, but it also provided the foundation for his success, instilling in him a sense of community and the need to support others on their educational and professional journey.
For Ikdeep Singh, coming to CBU in 1994 from India was the first step to the rest of his life, and that proved to be an inspiration for all in attendance at Leader’s Edge.
“I think you already have a first step in the door through choosing to purse your education, and now you just have to hold the doorknob and push the door open to grasp all the opportunities that are waiting for you.”
After leaving CBU and Cape Breton, Ikdeep studied and worked in various parts of the world, including Taiwan, China, the United Kingdom and now the United States. Fast-forward to 2020, Ikdeep is working for L’Oreal and investing in small start-up companies, especially those created by young entrepreneurs. He has a special desire and passion for helping them grow their business.
Wherever he lives or works around the world, he always returns to Cape Breton to visit family and enjoy a few rounds of golf at Cape Breton’s world-famous courses. Now, with his own young family, he looks forward to being able to share his love of the Island with his wife Cathy, and young son and daughter. When speaking about his family, Ikdeep commented,
“We love Cape Breton Island as the island and its people have given us so much and have welcomed us with open arms. We are proud to be part of this special place and it will always have a place in our hearts.”
Ikdeep’s advice to current and future international students, “Seize the moment. I think it’s a tremendous opportunity to be in Canada. It’s a blessed country; it’s very peaceful, it’s very safe, it’s a country with a lot of resources and even more opportunities. You are a part of the fabric here and will gain an education that is recognized throughout the country”.