Tips & FAQs

 Brescia auditorium with question marks overlaid

Logistical FAQs

Where does Take the Lead take place?
  • Brescia University College is located at 1285 Western Road, London, ON N6G 1H2
  • The contest is held in the Auditorium and various classrooms throughout the Mother St. James Building.
  • Here is a link containing a map to Brescia, as well as a campus map (scroll down):
Where can I park?
  • Bresica has parking lots accessible from both our Western and Sarnia Road campus entrances that will be open and available to participants, their families, and guests (see the campus map at the above link for exact locations).
  • Parking will be free of charge.
How much is it to register?
  • Registration is free.
Who should enter?
  • YOU! …as long as you are a female high school student in Grade 11 or 12.
Do I have to be from Ontario or Canada to participate?
  • No. We welcome girls from all provinces and nations to compete, although your speech must be in English.


Speech FAQs & Tips

What is the topic again?

Speeches in Take the Lead are to be about:

A woman or women whose leadership inspires and empowers others.
  • Participants can choose to speak about a woman/women from the past or present, someone famous or unknown, a leader in your locality/personal life or someone who has influence on a global scale.
  • In other words, this could be anyone from your grandmother to Malala Yousafzai to Cleopatra!
  • Or you could speak about a group/organization of women like our Canadian Olympic Women’s Soccer Team, Big Sisters of Canada, or your synchronized swim team.
  • You are can choose to speak about a woman/girl who is fictional. If you have been inspired by the leadership qualities embodied by a female character (like Hermione Granger, Supergirl or Anne of Green Gables, for instance), let us hear why and how that character empowers you!
  • Note of caution: sometimes when researching amazing women leaders you can become so inspired that you want to include all of them. Don’t do that! If you choose to include more than one individual woman in your speech, make sure there is a common thread between them. For instance, don’t speak about your grandma, Malala and Cleopatra as they are unrelated, but you could select women like Golda Meir, Indira Ghandi, and Kim Campbell as they were each the first female Prime Minister of their country (Israel, India, and Canada respectively) and as such, have a common link.
How long should my speech be?
  • Your speech is required to be between 5 and 6 minutes (specifically it must be no less than 5 min. 0 sec. and no more than 6 min. 0 sec.) when timed.
  • Each speech will be timed by an official timekeeper during the contest.
  • Should you go over or under that time, significant points are deducted from your score and it will be very difficult to move on to the Final Round. Please see our Scoring page for detailed information.
  • Also, remember that nervousness sometimes causes people to speak faster, so we recommend that when you time your speech at home that it is at least 5 minutes 10 seconds, just in case.
Are notes allowed?
  • Yes, you can bring any notes that you want, although we do recommend using cue/index cards and do NOT recommend using your phone.
  • Good public speaking, however, should include lots of eye contact and not reading from a script. You will be scored on this (see our Scoring page under Platform Skills).
  • Spend time practicing your speech in front of friends, family or even a pet to help memorize most, if not all, of your speech.
Can I use visual aids?
  • Yes, you may bring a small prop.
  • Technology of any kind (i.e Powerpoint, video, etc.) is NOT permitted.
  • Please keep in mind that with the speech is so short in length, these aids should be used sparingly, if at all.
Will there be a podium or lectern that I can use?
  • Both the Preliminary and Final Rounds will have a podium available, however you are not required to use it.
 How will I be judged?
  • A panel of judges will score your speech using the scorecard provided HERE.
  • For the Preliminary Round, participants will be divided into small groups and you will each deliver your speech in front of a panel of five judges in one of Brescia’s classrooms. (Friends and family are welcome to join you in the classroom).
  • Preliminary Round scores will be tallied during the break and those with the top scores will advance to the Final Round.
  • The Final Round takes place in the Auditorium with the winner being decided by a new panel of judges who have not yet heard any of the speeches.
  • We hope that all participants and their families stay and watch through to the end of the event!
Who are the judges?
  • Take the Lead judges are women leaders from a cross-section of the London community and beyond, who volunteer their time to this event.
What are the prizes?
  • Firstly, let us say that participating in this contest has benefits beyond the prizes. Participating in this contest means that you are a leader! It means that you are willing to put your ideas out there and do so in a public way. This is a lot of what it means to be a leader and we look forward to seeing you do this!
  • First Prize: Full academic tuition plus a free room in Brescia’s luxury residence for one year valued at over $15,000!! This prize cannot be converted to cash. You must apply and be admitted as a student to Brescia to be eligible to claim the prize. The first place winner will also receive the Take the Lead trophy engraved with her name to display at her high school for one year.
  • Second Prize: $500.00
  • Third Prize: $250.00
  • All participants will receive certificates of recognition and a gift bag stuffed with goodies.
  • Speaking of prizes – you could win something before you even arrive! Submit the video of your speech by our early bird date: Monday January 9th, 2017 and you will be eligible to win the $100 Lululemon gift card!
Links to Tips on speech writing and delivery:
Have we missed anything?

If you have any other questions about this contest, please feel free to contact Kimberley Milani at 519-432-8353 ext. 28273 or

Good luck with your speech and video filming!