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Dementia Care is Front of Mind

 

 

Sandra Gordon cares.

“I became involved in the area of dementia care within health care in 2000 when I became the clinic coordinator for the Specialized Geriatric Consultation Team at Rockyview General Hospital,” says the MRU Dementia Care instructor.

Her primary work there was the assessment of older adults, and her findings were significant.

“I would say that over 50% of our clients were living with a dementia,” she adds, “The issues for them, their care providers and families became of interest to me as a nurse.”

Gordon is an Associate Professor in the School of Nursing and Midwifery. A nurse with a Master’s degree in Gerontological Certification, she’s currently working to add a PhD to her credentials, researching how health care professionals understand dementia.

“Most recently,” she states, “we launched an Advanced Knowledge for Dementia Care series for Health care Professionals working across the care continuum.” This MRU Continuting Education program has the goal to increase knowledge and skills for health care professionals who may be in positions to influence how decisions are made about dementia care.

This is a gap that, in her research, she believes needs to be filled.

“I believe there is very little for direct care providers outside of ‘inhouse’ learning,” noting that, “Many organizations provided education for families and family care givers, but not so many for direct care providers and health care professionals.”

Gordon acknowledges that, despite being a course that it of interest to students who are thrust into the position of care-giver for a family member afflicted with the condition, “This is not a ‘how to’ course, the focus is person-centered care that is relational.” She explains, “When one is practicing in an area with vulnerable populations the more we know about best practice approaches for care, the better the care for persons living with a dementia and their families.”

It is Sandra Gordon’s belief that, through courses like this, “Those working within dementia care can influence systemic issues such as poor communication between supportive living and acute care, primary care and long term care.”

Through her instruction, Gordon is offering some positive piece of mind for the industry.

– JLove

 

 

 

 

 

 

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MRU Kids Steps Up Its Game

Kevin Gilbert (centre) with MRU Kids staff 2016

If summer camp teaches one thing, it’s ‘be prepared’.

Kevin Gilbert, MRU Kids’ Program Coordinator, models that strategic preparation.

“The website’s going live a month earlier so parents can plan their summer with the camps and dates.” He shares, “when registration goes live on February 21st, then they’ll have a plan.”

There’s a lot of planning that goes into the diverse offerings of fun and learning that MRU Kids gives campers each summer, and the programs are always changing.

Gilbert beams, “We have a new camp called Dynamic Gamers.” As he starts to spout out technical achievements the campers will explore like the science behind the trending video games for fans, it’s clear he’s passionate about this. “I’m looking forward to that camp as well,” he confesses.

Along with Dynamic Gaming, MRU Kids is introducing new sports-oriented camps. Gilbert concurs, “We have a new Junior Fieldtrip Camp for sports where we’re hoping to have a different (sports) venue every day,” he rolls into, “we have a new bike and play camp to teach bike and safety skills.”

A new cultural development, Gilbert and his team are working with the Iskim Centre this year. “We’re developing some exciting First Nations Programs. It’s amazing,” he claims of the valuable addition to MRU Kids’ experience, “the culture… the storytelling… it’s going to be great.”

Elementary campers (age 5-8), Junior campers (age 9-14) and Youth campers (14-17) will thrive with the myriad of options for their summer in some spectacular on and off campus facilities.

The older campers have a chance to explore some higher-level programs like Entrepreneurship Camp and Junior Leadership Camp where campers are taught to be leaders in the community.

Gilbert adds a sidebar, “We also call it ‘Counsellors-In-Training’. The program has been around for 2 years now and last summer, we hired 3 previous Junior Leadership students as summer counsellors.”

Returning campers will also recognize established favourites like Conoco Phillips Camps for Science, always a popular choice.

In collaboration with MRU Conservatory, MRU Kids will run a 6-week Music Makers Camp for 5-8 year olds. “It teaches different musical genres and instruments.” Gilbert notes.

Preparations are still in the works for many of the finer details. Gilbert says, “We’re hoping to have an Open House at the MRU Kids office in June where you can come visit, see the office and ask questions.”

Until then, if you have questions, check the newly launched website.

So this summer, be prepared for adventure with MRU Kids!

-JLove (Summer Camp Enthusiast)

Happy Campers
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MRU Diversifies World Languages to Better Suit Local and International Demand

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For those interested in World Languages at MRU, a conversation with Post Media might have been lost in translation.

Due to the changing demands for Language courses, MRU Continuing Education is strategically diversifying its offerings to be conscious of its impact to both the local and global marketplace.

Mount Royal University’s response to the needs of the student population is to move to a more customized model. As a result, some language courses will no longer be offered in the form of open enrolment registration.

“Where we’ve seen a shift in demand has been in subject-specific language education. Customized courses such as English for Flight Dispatchers or Italian for Travel have been successful ways of implementing the teaching skills of our language experts into tangible industry-specific target markets,” says Jenelle Peterson, Director of Business Development and Marketing at the Faculty of Continuing Education and Extension at MRU.

Those looking for basic language training options can look to our partner institution the University of Calgary, which we’ve worked closely with to ensure that quality language training is readily available in our city. In alliance with Adult Learning, Languages and Liberal Arts at the University of Calgary, the agreement was made for the two institutions to strategize their combined offerings.

Leigh-Ann Duke, former Program Administrator, World Languages at MRU says, “Both institutions weren’t making minimum registration so they had to cancel.”

“We, too, have struggled with enrolment levels in the past few years,” claims Dr. Sheila LeBlanc, Director of Continuing Education at the University of Calgary, “so we wanted to work with MRU to ensure we weren’t competing or cannibalizing each other’s programs. A business decision was made to continue to service the needs of our collective students.”

The University of Calgary still offers open enrolment language classes.

Mount Royal University will add value to these options with customized language training.

Where MRU is seeing a considerable increase is in English language training. In Calgary, there are countless new Calgarians, including many refugee families, to whom these courses have been catered. In addition, there are foreign trained professionals who have the skills of their occupation, but require the language and cultural instruction to successfully integrate into their field here in Canada.

Globally, MRU has become a leader in building relationships with other post-secondary institutions to offer English language training to experienced teachers and professors who are now required to offer their courses in English to meet the demands of the world.

Juan Manuel Lopez is a professor Art and Entrepreneurship at the University of Guanajuato in Mexico. He was one of a ten-student classroom of teachers from the four campuses of his institution who spent the last two weeks at MRU training to offer their courses in English.

“We are receiving students from all over the world,” Lopez says, “We want to offer them a quality education.”

Globally, like the University of Guanajuato, many institutions are required to teach their courses in English to meet the international demand and to further globalize their programs. With customized language training opportunities like this, Lopez notes, “We are able to teach multicultural classrooms.”

This reorganization of MRU’s Languages program has been advantageous for Language instructors at MRU. Peterson explains, “No loss of staff has occurred. Our contract instructors are, in most cases, receiving more hours per customized course, so it’s a mutually beneficial move for both students and staff.”

“We believe we have found a wonderful niche in English training,” concludes Peterson. “All in all, this strategy allows both Mount Royal University and the University of Calgary to run more language courses while remaining service-minded for our students here and abroad.”

Find out more information about Customized Language Training at MRU.

– by JLove

Juan Manuel Lopez (back row, far right) and fellow University of Guanajuato professors learning how to teach in English at MRU

 

 

 

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Space Invader: Chris Hadfield First Canadian Astronaut to Walk in (our) Space

The Darkest Dark
(photo Olaf Blomerus)

“If you want to know what it’s like to play guitar in space…” says famed Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, “You go into a nice room in your house, put the guitar on the ground, stand on your head for about 2 to 3 hours, and then pick up the guitar and play while standing on your head. That’s what it’ll feel like.”

Hadfield was the first astronaut to walk on the Bella Concert Hall stage this past week.  What’s more… he brought his guitar.

As an observation of subtle genius, his guitar strap was populated with pixalized forms from the early video game Space Invaders. His presentation was filled with anecdotes from his arctic explorations, personal family history and stories from space. But, this wasn’t a typical PowerPoint presentation, he told these stories through music.

As the foremost innovator of music in space, he’s not always used to being so grounded when he plays. “For the guitar,” he explains that in the weightlessness of space, “there’s no point in having a strap. I’m pinching it underneath my bicep.” For everything there is a logical scientific explanation. “If you’re trying to bar-chord up and down the fret board, you don’t have any weight to your arm. Your cues are wrong, so your muscle memory’s wrong. Therefore, you miss chords all the time.” The specificity of the observation leads him to a calculated course of action to overcome the challenge. To conclude, he identifies, “You have to relearn.”

Learning is key for this engineer/fighter pilot/astronaut/space station commander. He has more ‘firsts’ on his list of accomplishments than Wayne Gretzky has hockey records. All of it has come from the need to innovate to accomplish his chosen mission.

The first human to record an album in space, Hadfield released Space Sessions: Songs from a Tin Can on Oct. 31, 2015. It’s a compilation of fifteen songs written about and from his space adventures. He notes, “I flew in space 3 times and served as an astronaut for 21 years. So, a lot of the inspiration comes from the legacy of the things I did in the past.” He flashes forward, “A couple of the tunes I recorded had been partially written beforehand. Some of them were completely from scratch.”

Just how did he accomplish this on such a limited schedule while commanding the International Space Station in its continuous orbit? He admits, “There’s not much free time on a spaceship, but just before bed every night when the big schedule said ‘sleep’, I would play guitar for a while.”

While he played, the whole world listened. Hadfield was the first person ever to have the entire globe as his engaged audience on social media. “We had slow internet up there,” he confesses, “Twitter was perfect because it takes such little bandwidth, so I could communicate using social media like we never done before. And the reaction was amazing.”

For all the scientific breakthroughs, it seemed that the best way to explain the almost unexplainable, the feeling of weightlessness or the boundless eternal darkness was through art. It’s what humans do. “Space flight is a wildly different and richly stimulating environment, a very new one for humanity. You can start to get a feel for what it means to you and then hope to explain it to other people and use technology to show them.”

In the closing question period to the sold out audience at the Bella Concert Hall, he emphasized his positive and progressive outlook on striving. Using audience members’ questions to frame his scenarios, his message was one of overcoming challenges, pushing boundaries and lifelong learning.

It wasn’t a technical presentation. As he notes, “Machinery enables, but people are interesting.” Expressing that his followers on social media have more than doubled since he landed back on his home planet, he outlines, “It’s not just the space flight that was interesting to other people. It was the human observation and impact of it and perspective that interests people… self included.”

Chris Hadfield remained in the lobby signing books and taking photos with his devoted co-earthlings until 11:30pm, a true testament to how much he values and commits to personal connection.

– by JLove

Space Invader
Home Planet Storyteller
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Beer, Bears and Mentorship: How Manjit Minhas Became Fearless

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“Despite what the world might think, no one is successful on their own. It’s done with a support group.” Says beer baroness Manjit Minhas.

Minhas was the keynote speaker that MRU Continuing Eductaion presented at this year’s PMI-SAC (Project Management International – Southern Alberta Chapter) conference at WinSport this past week. In a capacity session, her words were welcomed by local project managers, many of whom are trying to find their next step in a difficult economy.

Minhas admits to having many mentors, but it’s not a formal contract, “I don’t think you need a title for those people in your life. Mentors in life in general are important to help guide you.” She emphasizes, “How better to learn than to get support from people who could affect the trajectory of where you could go?”

She and her brother Ravinder started the Minhas Brewery with $10,000 she raised by their combined savings and selling the car she was driving to her university classes. Now with an estimated net worth of $200 Million, her entrepreneurial ventures are keynote worthy.

In her address, she shared an influential insight to the origin of her success.The catalyst to their fearlessness dates back to a trail in the Rocky Mountatins where the siblings encountered a black bear. Minhas recalls, “It was so awe-inspiring to us that we weren’t able to move.”

Frozen on the path, they realized that, “There are lots of things in life that you have no control over.” She explained, “We were so small. What was going to happen around us was going to happen whether we wanted it to or not.”

The siblings returned unscathed, but not unchanged.

She recounts the moment, which felt to her like hours, “To stay, observe and reflect… and enjoy is not something we do enough in life.” From that point on, she employed this newfound confidence, as well as her engineering training, into a business that they were both passionate about being the best in… beer.

“Engineering and beer have so much in common.” she acknowledges, “Behind the scenes, it’s a business and manufacturing process. We are what we are because we manufacture and we get that right.” At the end of the day, what the whole room found it had in common is that, despite challenges and set-backs (of which she recounted many) to success and gambling (which her company has experienced much of) from Minhas’ perspective, “It’s project management.”

She still takes courses. She advises, “I’m learning every single day and with those tools, I’m making decisions.” She and her brother haven’t risen to the heights they have without adapting. “The world around you is constantly changing,” she says, “What you do with it (learning), you may not do with it the next day, month or year, but I promise you it all comes into play.”

Passion is a huge part of the equation for her. Entrepreneur, venture capitalist and celebrity, being one of the stars of this season’s Dragon’s Den on CBC Television, Minhas knows a good pitch. “First and foremost, it’s the person standing there. I feel passion in what they’re talking about, whether they’re knowledgeable about it and whether they’re willing to stand by whatever is going to happen.”

As a Dragon, she has to be decisive. When she is considering a product or service, she has a gut-instinct that responds to personal passion, “I want to know that whomever is behind it, they’ll adjust or pivot to whatever comes their way, because nobody’s path is a straight line, but they will stay true to the mission and the vision.”

That same message is the inspiration she hopes the room of PMI project managers walked away with.

We have a copies of Manjit’s book “Brewing Up a Damn Good Story” to give away. To enter the draw, please sign up here.

  • by JLove
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Do More With Less: A Project Management Challenge

 

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Project Management Institute – Southern Alberta Chapter (PMI-SAC) is offering two days of professional development opportunities to ensure you can do more with less.

“The theme for the conference is Peak Performance,” says Luisa Cruz-Millette, Program Coordinator for Business and Professional Education at Mount Royal University’s Faculty of Continuing Education and Extension.

“They’ve done a great job with how the program is laid out,” she explains, noting the high level of networking, sessions and range of engaging speakers. “As participants take the different sessions, they’re getting PDUs (professional development units) from PMI.”

In two days attending this conference, they can earn up to 12 PDUs.

That’s getting more for less.

Among the speakers are a few of MRU’s own including:

Diana Nada“Executives and Project Managers: Bridging the Disconnect – Why Do We Do What We Do?”

Laurel SimRaising Personal and Professional Performance through Social Media”

Jenelle Peterson – “BYOB: Build Your Own Brand”

…and more.

Mount Royal University Faculty of Continuing Education is pleased to present the keynote address of beer baroness Manjit Minhas. Her presentation entitled The Minhas School of Beer Business Success closes the event on Wednesday (Nov. 23). Her Minhas Creek Brewing Company success has skyrocketed her to entrepreneurial stardom as one of the ‘dragons’ on popular business show “Dragon’s Den” on CBC Television.

Minhas is a good fit, according to Cruz-Millette, “She represents the women entrepreneurs out there so I think that’s cool.” But speaking to the whole demographic, Cruz-Millette states that her entrepreneurial spirit might be just what those attending this conference need, “I think a lot of the project managers that are consultants are entrepreneurs themselves.”

In a time where managers are being asked to do just that, the job market landscape according to Cruz-Millette is, “very competitive.”

“My (industry) instructors,” she starts, “some of them have been laid off. They’re having a hard time getting back into the workforce.” Ironically, due to the quality of education in MRU’s Project Management, Cruz-Millette notes that, “They’re almost competing with some of the students they’ve been teaching.”

But there is hope for those looking to transition to a new place in their career and it starts with education. “Other booths might have something sporty to coincide with the Winsport venue, but we have an interactive game. The three areas we thought were important for peak performance are:

Wellness, which talks about our massage and yoga therapy program areas, Passion, which ties in to Manjit’s story and Education, where anyone can come in to MRU to get the PDUs and courses you need to move forward. We tied it all together to showcase that we have something to fill in the gaps for everyone.

Among the program offerings are 18 Leadership sessions, 14 Strategic & Business Management sessions, and 14 Technical Project Management sessions, so there are ample learning opportunities.

In an effort to help offer more for less, there’s a special incentive for our MRU community. If you register using the code MRUAFFILIATE, you save $100!

The PMI Southern Alberta Chapter 2016 Professional Development Conference is happening on November 22-23 at WinSport, Canada Olympic Park.

  • by JLove
Luisa Cruz-Millette
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Growing Changemakers with Social Innovation

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Meeting urgent and complex challenges such as climate change, food security, and urbanization requires new knowledge, skills, and approaches. Social innovation is about finding ways to introduce lasting changes at all levels to increase the resilience of vulnerable people and the planet. Social innovators – people we like to refer to as changemakers – come from every sector and discipline, and they may or may not identify with the language of social innovation. What they do share is a commitment to taking on complex social, environmental, and/or cultural challenges to create meaningful change.

At Mount Royal University, we’ve been working in association with MacEwan University to develop a Social Innovation Certificate Program. We started by connecting with people from across sectors who are involved in the social innovation space as entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs, funders, and scholars to ask their advice about what is needed in social innovation education in Alberta. Then we approached people who know a little something about social innovation to design the courses. Fabulous folks like Kate Letizia (Calgary Can, The City of Calgary’s Climate Program), Mark Cabaj (Here to There, Tamarack Institute) and Ben Weinlick (Think Jar Collective, Skills Society Action Lab) are sharing their expertise and wisdom as course designers.

One of the goals of the Social Innovation Certificate Program is to strengthen the growing network of changemakers in Alberta and beyond. Therefore, we’ve chosen a blended delivery model, which means that each course will have in-person and online components. The courses will be offered synchronously in Calgary and in Edmonton, so that we can connect people from the northern and southern parts of the province and offer opportunities for pan-provincial collaboration. Additional instructors will be joining the designers to deliver each of the four courses that make up the core of the program, and we have been inviting other inspiring changemakers to contribute their insight through video and in-person appearances during the courses.

The courses themselves are designed to provide a shared foundation for social innovation and then to dive more deeply into systems change, social impact, and the social lab space. Together, as learners, we will explore social innovation frameworks, resources, and tools to further change initiatives that learners are already involved in or are considering. We will study examples of successful social innovation and highlight current issues with this approach. We will take time for inward reflection and to form outward connections.

Have we got the formula right? We don’t know for certain – this is a learning journey for us, too. What we do know is that learners will develop a deeper understanding of themselves as changemakers, of the social innovation landscape – locally and further afield, and of tools and resources required to further their own work. Moreover, learners will connect with others who are also making meaningful change – those still exploring what their contribution may be and those whose contributions may have already created significant impact. We invite you to join us in January 2017 as part of the first Alberta-wide cohort of changemakers participating in the Mount Royal University & MacEwan University Social Innovation Certificate Program.

  • Guest blogger Jill Andres, Changemaker in Residence, Institute for Community Prosperity, Mount Royal University
  • A closer look at Mount Royal University and MacEwan University’s Social Innovation Certificate Program helps learners understand the program’s goals and approach, and assess its potential to further their own personal and professional social innovation objectives.
  • Register for our upcoming social innovations webinar

 

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Find What’s Next for You at MRU Think Talks

 

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Plan A doesn’t always work.

For those who identified with their career path early and sought to plug themselves into their vocation, put in a good few decades with incremental raises and notable achievements and bow out into retirement at the top of their game, 2016 is a slightly different landscape.

Businesses, too, are having to scramble to stay on top. They’ve had to toss out their existing 5 and 10 year plans because they didn’t anticipate the magnitude of the boom/bust cycle. Mount Royal University Continuing Education is here to help people abandon Plan A and start exploring the rest of the alphabet.

On October 20th, 2016 at 2pm in the Bella Concert Hall at MRU, 3 speakers, Eliot Hoppe, Judy McMillan-Evans and Dwight Boehm, will help guide people towards finding what’s next.

MRU Think Talks is an opportunity for us to engage and provide our community with resources they need to re-position,” says Jenelle Peterson, Director of Business Development and Marketing with MRU Continuing Education. “We’ve created these talks to share the expertise of our instructors, start conversations that inspire people to create change and facilitate a space to network with peers and education providers. We’ll be able to connect with those in attendance, then post this content online for students to access worldwide.”

The three speakers selected are pleased to be a part of this event with this inspirational mandate.

Eliot Hoppe is a seasoned speaker and instructor for many business seminars at MRU. He will present Body Language Influence: A Better View of The First Impression. With over 80 annual speaking engagements, audience members will likely get a great first impression of his observations on the impact of non-verbal communication on relationships. This is an ideal set of skills for those trying to reinvent themselves in their workplace, perform better in interviews or to confidently transition to another field.

Judy McMillan-Evans follows with Tactics for Challenging Situations, where she guides participants to take stock of who they are, what skills they have and what they may need to do to succeed in taking their next step.

McMillan-Evans, a 25-year veteran instructor with MRU whose popular courses in Entrepreneurship, teaches people the self-realization and self-reliance needed to step out on their own. “There are no guarantees in life,” she notes, “And challenges arise constantly. Rather than let challenges cause stress, it is wise to learn strategies to handle these challenges effectively.”

Her presentation’s tone is well reflected in her personal outlook, “Opportunity surrounds us every day, in every economy. The challenge is recognizing the opportunity and stepping towards it.”

Dwight Boehm, an influential Supply Chain Management instructor at MRU, responds to the corporate side of this issue with his presentation Why is Simple so Hard? In it, he demonstrates how building effective processes set companies up for long-term success.

“Sadly,” Boehm confides, “Mentors are not being sought out as much as they once were and fewer people are willing to share their time and their talent.” Proving a worthy exception to that, Boehm’s mentorship in the classroom has spanned a decade and counting, “The most valued commodity in life is consistency and to achieve that goal, your processes have to be simple so you can repeat them.”

He acknowledges the role of peoples’ hard work and education in reaching their goals, “Once they accept their success is directly related to the effort they make, this will take them on the path of learning more and doing more.”

Boehm emphasizes effective solutions for companies and reminds his students to strive for more, “The sweetest fruit is at the top of the tree so be prepared to make some effort to achieve your life goals.”

MRU is excited that all three presentations will be filmed for future release online and in select broadcast opportunities. “We’ve put together some complimentary and relevant speakers for our target audience,” says Dimitra Fotopoulos, Program Director, Business and Professional Education at MRU Continuing Education. “Each of these instructors are well-respected in the classroom and in their industries. We think that the tools they can provide in a presentation will be valuable suggestions to those who must reframe their goals.”

Part of the experience for those in attendance is the networking opportunity that follows in the lobby of the Taylor Centre for the Performing Arts. “That’s where a lot of important connections happen,” Fotopoulos says, “where everyone finds out that they’re not alone and that commitment to learning something new or taking a new accreditation might be the key that unlocks the door to a new chapter for them.”

“What’s more,” adds Peterson, ”is that admission is free.”

That’s a welcome perk for anyone, especially those affected in this economic climate.

So, for those looking to find their next step, make MRU Think Talks a part of your solid Plan B.

To register, simply go to mru.ca/thinktalks

– by JLove

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Goals & Assists

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Jemma Young first hit the ice in Lindsay, Ontario.

“I started in boys’ hockey, then switched to girls until I went away to school,” she says.

Growing up admiring the likes of Canadian hockey legends Hayley Wickenheiser and Cassie Campbell gave Young role-models who understood perseverance in practice and gold-medal achievement.

As the Manager of Social Media with Hockey Canada, this life-long learner values her MRU teammates’ support , and still tries to, “get on the ice at least a couple times a week.”

Before she landed her current position, Young chalked up many assists. She worked at MRU in the careers office as the Work Experience Coordinator finding placements for MRU students, and then as Marketing Coordinator who supported those providing these work terms. She strategized, “One of the perks of being an employee is getting access to some of the courses.” So, she thought she’d take a shot at it. After all, as the Great One, Wayne Gretzky noted, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

Young recounts, “I enrolled in the Social Media for Business Certificate and I also completed the Public Relations Extension Certificate as well.” Completing the coursework as fast as she could, she finished both certifications within two years. Like any good hockey game, her future success came down to the final push.

“In the final project,” she says, “I was randomly paired with Hockey Canada which, for me, was awesome because I played hockey when I was young.” Each of the students was to create a social media strategy for their non-profit partners. Hockey Canada wanted to promote their grassroots hockey and so Young and her team ‘dug down deep’ and set to work.

It seemed the timing was right. “I was able to showcase some of my skills and build some relationships there.” She stated, “They were looking for somebody to work with their social media and…” it seems like, with her off-ice performance, she became Hockey Canada’s first round draft pick.

Young now manages 56 social media accounts for the organization. Like a true professional, she acknowledges the team effort, “Because we’re managed by the government, we have bilingual accounts. I oversee daily posting and working with sponsors on co-branded campaigns. I’m not bilingual, but I work with a translation team.”

What are the 3-stars in her education experience? She’s quick to decide, “I think the flexibility of the timing for any full-time working professional, it’s great to have that.

Another major benefit is being surrounded by other working professionals; people generally working in the industry.” And finally, “All of our instructors were knowledgeable and working in the industry, so they not only had the academic knowledge, but real-life work experience as well.”

Her work supports all of Hockey Canada’s events from the grassroots level to the Olympics and the World Cup. Many of hockey’s greats have gone on to become community leaders, role-models and coaches. Young is no different. She has recently been added to MRU Continuing Education’s faculty roster.

“I am that ‘model student’” she says, counting herself among the MVPs that have gone right from the farm team to the big leagues. Now that much of her strategic work is being done from the bench, she says “It’s funny being on the other side… so to speak. But having been there (as a student) before is a definite benefit.”

A grassroots success story for MRU.

A gold-medal achievement for Hockey Canada.

Whatever side Young is on, she’s winning.

 

-by JLove

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Education: A Renewable Resource

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Farah Kaleem, Project Coordinator – Stakeholder Relations, The Talent Pool

 

It’s all too familiar a story; someone is laid off from the energy sector and scrambles to find a job in a climate where there are fewer and fewer opportunities in their industry.  The body of the story is a montage of trials, interviews and realizations that a change needs to be made to achieve success. The end of that story has yet to be written for some, but for some proactive others like Farah Kaleem, the next chapter has begun.

Farah moved to Calgary two years ago from Pakistan. “I was working with CAPPA (Canadian Association of Petroleum Production Accounting) as an Events Coordinator.  With the economic downturn, our sponsorships were drying out and we didn’t have budget to do events.” She admits that the writing was, indeed, on the wall, “After the annual conference, they decided to let me go.”

“It was my first winter in Calgary,” she says. That foreign chill embodied her internal struggle.

Like many who were let go late last October and afterwards, she had to make use of her new found time, “For the first few months, I was too busy looking for work, but the market was brutal. It took me a while to realize I had to do something constructive.”

So, she enrolled at MRU Continuing Education.

“I was referred to MRU Cont. Ed. by a friend doing his Supply Chain Management Certificate,” she admits. “He said why don’t you look at their courses. They have really good instructors and the class sizes are small, so you get adequate level of attention from the instructors.”

On this recommendation, she signed up for an introductory course on Marketing and Strategic Communication. While taking the course, she says, “I really enjoyed my experience. The teacher was very focused and open in terms of sharing ideas and listening to our ideas and experiences.”

As she delved further into the certification from late February through July, the perks only got better, “I got exposure to professors from different industries doing similar types of work I was doing,” she explains. This allowed her to reach into these different industries for employment.

Just this week, Farah Kaleem started her new job as a Project Coordinator – Stakeholder Relations at The Talent Pool, which supports businesses in search of skilled professionals. She is optimistic about this role, which reports to a supervisor Farah describes as, “very accomplished, cooperative and I am looking forward to learning a lot from her.

Having successfully navigated the waters of career change during an economic downturn, it seems like she’s the perfect person to assist others in their transitions. She chimes, “It’s exactly what I wanted and needed.”

And so, the story’s conclusion is a new beginning, a continued new life in Calgary with an exciting new opportunity. “I love it here.” She says of her new hometown. With the transitional help of MRU Continuing Education, things are looking up for Farah.

– by JLove

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