Change is inevitable.
The content we create is ever changing. New ideas mean new conversations, debate and exploration.
The way we reach out and connect with our world is changing. In a marketplace currently obsessed with the augmented reality of Pokémon Go!, it’s impossible to imagine where new ideas will lead.
The way MRU shares ideas is changing too.
“The goal is to get people thinking about issues that impact us locally and globally.” says one of the instigators of this new initiative Dimitra Fotopoulos, Program Director, Business and Professional Education for MRU Faculty of Continuing Education and Extension. “We are looking to shine a light on some of the amazing talent within the MRU community that can speak to these issues and provide some critical insights into them, to get a conversation going and hopefully create a dialogue.”
The inaugural speaker, Joanne Leskow, is an award-winning Organizational Change Management instructor whose keynote entitled “Loving Change” captivated the audience at the exquisite Bella Concert Hall in the Taylor Centre for the Performing Arts, and promises to influence viewers online to embrace changes in their own lives.
“Joanne is so well versed in managing change and how it can be personal or professional,” says Fotopoulos, who adds, “she came to mind first because of her great expertise in the subject, the fact that she is an excellent public speaker, and most importantly that she connects so well with her students.”
It’s worth noting that many of the attendees of her session were her former students.
Moving forward, MRU Think Talks will showcase speakers and thinkers that resonate with the times, Fotopoulos explains, “We are responsive to what is happening around us and want to share our the expertise of MRU instructors, Faculty, alumni and community with others.” The hope is to amplify the exemplary idea-sharing these instructors do on a daily basis. “It’s a lot like what is currently being done in our classrooms, it’s just connecting with a larger student body online.”
Leskow offered a thoughtful presentation, drawing from her personal and professional experiences. Its roots were in reflection, not merely information. Through her guidance, the audience was compelled to take stock on how they themselves deal with change and how a shift in perception might offer a different, and perhaps more rewarding, life experience.
It’s this type of connection that Fotopoulos encourages, “MRU Think Talks will be aligned with our program offerings so participants can quickly identify what courses or training they would need if a particular topic resonated with them. “
With more scheduled to follow in the Fall, Fotopoulos and her team are excited, “We are looking forward to a dynamic and engaging series where people have an awareness or understanding of topics that they didn’t before, and they can ask themselves, “now that I know this information, what’s next for me, my job, my family
Enjoy Joanne Leskow’s MRU Think Talk.
Watch, Think & Share.
MRU Think Talks
On point. Online.
– by JLove
Good educators know our world is more interconnected and interdependent than ever. No matter which part of the globe you are from, we are facing related issues and challenges. So, how can we foster global collaboration in areas like professional learning, teacher leadership, teacher professionalism and innovation? One way is to bring international cohorts together to share ideas, innovations, best practices and resources through an international conference.
MRU Continuing Education embarked on such an initiative, co-sponsoring the 2016 International Research Conference on Innovation and Leadership in Education in partnership with Kappa Delta Pi, an international educational honor society based in Indianapolis. From July 5-7th, the Ross Glenn Hall was a meta-classroom with speakers and attendees from countries including Colombia, Australia, Mexico, Nigeria, South Africa, Russia, China, United States and Canada. There were conversations, presentations and more that prove that leaders in education are lifelong learners themselves.
In the words of several of the presenters and attendees, here the Top 3 benefits that MRU has provided to create and support global leaders in Education:
- Innovative Ideas
Keynote speaker Gloria Ladson-Billings, Kellner Family Distinguished Chair of Urban Education, thinks the networking of ideas and colleagues is imperative, “Many of us are caught up with our day-to-day responsibilities, committee work and answering student concerns… and this is a venue where we get to think about our work and talk about our work without the politics of the institution or the department structure.”
- Empowering Teacher Leadership through Technology
Ludmila Smirnova, Mount Saint Mary College, NY, explains why she is a strong advocate for technological advancement in the classroom, “Pedagogy is still lagging behind because of state regulations, testing and it forces teachers to teach to test. It’s mostly direct instruction. Technology opens doors. Technology is ahead of pedagogy. It allows students to create, interact, collaborate and produce… and teachers are not prepared for that.”
- Open Mindedness
Dr. Clelia Pineda, Associate Professor, School of Education at Universidad de La Sabana, Chía-Bogotá, Colombia tells us, “Open-mindedness. That’s the key. If you are open enough to learn enough from others. To see diversity as a positive aspect not as a negative aspect. To learn, to gain different perspectives, I think that’s the foundation for good leadership.”
Universally these educators and researchers were pleased to come together to learn. Keynote speaker Dr. Pineda says, “We were so used to fragmentation. Now, there’s a strong emphasis on creating these links.”
Though there were countless other takeaways from the international research conference, this event emphasized the significance of global partnerships, and the sharing of innovative educational practices. They came together at MRU.
The Innovation and Leadership in Education International Research Conference demonstrates MRU’s ongoing commitment to teaching, scholarship, and professional development. Follow-up activities include the formation of intercultural teaching and research teams that will collaborate and then share what they learn during forthcoming conferences and professional development courses offered by MRU’s Faculty of Continuing Education and Extension and by Kappa Delta Pi. For more information, please contact one of the conference organizers:
Dr. Charlie Webber, Dean of the Faculty of Continuing Education and Extension, Mount Royal University email@example.com
Dr. Jodi Nickel, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Education, Mount Royal University firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Peggy Moch, Professor, Math Department, Valdosta State University email@example.com
Faye Snodgress, Executive Director, Kappa Delta Pi firstname.lastname@example.org
When asked how she entered, Visser-Klaver reported, “Some friends of mine shared it on Facebook,” but was quick to add, “I usually don’t click it but… this time, I thought ‘it can’t hurt’.”
She was rewarded with a free one-week camp for her daughter Amilyn who, by her own confession is, “Five. I’m almost in Grade One.”
They arrived together at the MRU Kids Headquarters, an on-campus office decorated like a comic book superhero base, to select the camp that Amilyn will attend.
Visser-Klaver announced, “We signed up for the Field Trip Camp. They have a field trip everyday. I just heard they are going to Calaway Park and they’re going to the pool.” This choice was firmly seconded by the young camper herself who chirped in that she was most excited for, “Calaway Park for the rides.”
But for her mom, who looked relieved that the amusement park experience was unparented, she fancied the on campus facilities, “I kind of leaned towards the one with the swimming pool – and went for something that fits her bubbly personality.”
The Junior Field Trip Camp is one of many program offerings for kids aged 5-17 including Sports & Adventure, Music Makers and Tech Academy Camps.
With a smile, they left the MRU Kids Headquarters singing. “I had a little turtle… His name was Tiny Tim… I put him in the bathtub… to see if he could swim…”
With a week off for Mireille and a week of adventure for Amilyn, it sounds like summertime is here.
- by JLove
Last week, Calgary’s Kenn Borek Air flew an emergency evacuation of two Antarctic-based patients in need of medical care. The Twin Otter plane flew 2,400 km and successfully landed on it’s ‘landing skis’, ski-like apparatus resembling aquatic pontoons, on compacted snow in total darkness only to turn around after ten hours and transport the patients to Punta Arenas, Chile. The crew of this mission was made up of some courageous pilots, medical professionals… and flight dispatchers.
Sylvain Duclos is an instructor/facilitator for MRU Continuing Education’s Flight Dispatcher Certificate. “It’s a profession like no other,” he admits. “You make all the decisions. The result of your actions and decisions are felt and seen right away.”
With this recent mission, it’s obvious that these trained choices made on a day-to-day basis are actually saving lives.
Duclos says the program’s content is, “broad-base and touches on all subjects in aviation.” From the basics of how an airplane flies to specifics like, “Commercial Aviation Operations, flight planning, Air regulation and procedures, flight safety and Aviation weather and more… it is a very unique career path.”
Describing the profession as mostly, “unknown,” Duclos says the program has much merit. “It’s a great way to get ready to write the Transport Canada written exam in a hands-on, engaged, interactive atmosphere. Once the course is completed and exam written, a student/candidate can apply for a Flight Dispatcher position with various airlines anywhere across Canada. It’s not geographically binding.”
With a transitional career market, those with an interest in aviation might find their careers take off with this certification. “There is movement in the industry at the top,” he adds, noting the retirement of long-serving aviation experts, “which is felt at the lower levels as well. The long term outlook is good.”
With clear skies towards that horizon, graduates from MRU have an advantage, Duclos explains, “The local airline industry is aware of this course and has hired from this class repeatedly over many years.” So for those who have had a departure from their career or are looking to plan a new destination on your radar, Duclos confesses that it’s a rewarding field. He stresses, “There is a real sense of accomplishment…of a job well done.”
The rescued Antarctic-research patients are grateful for the aviation crew for the evacuation mission. For the flight dispatchers involved, their training and expertise saved lives. For many who are looking for a fresh start, registering on the flight-path towards a flight dispatcher career just might save theirs.
Registration for MRU Continuing Education’s Flight Dispatcher Certificate is now open for Fall 2016. Click here for more info.
- by JLove
“I hate the term ‘new normal’.” Steve Armstrong insists, indicating that change is inevitable and those in leadership positions must not be complacent. “When you’re the leader… you are always accountable.”
Armstrong is a MRU Continuing Education instructor and author of You Can’t Lead from Behind. He will be a keynote speaker at Resilience & Recovery: How to survive and thrive in a new normal on June 25th, 2016. His presentation, Organizational Resilience will offer professional advice from his experiences in disaster recovery operations ranging from the 9/11 attacks in 2001 to this year’s Fort McMurray wildfires.
“You cannot be strategic and operational at the same time.” Armstrong proclaims.
Whether dealing with natural disasters or economic crisis, he endorses clarity and risk assessment for businesses hoping to survive the situation and thrive in the aftermath. “You can’t focus on day-to-day while looking forward to the future.” He reiterates. “When I was leading giant operations, I had tactical leaders. I pulled out of day-to-day… I looked weeks and months out.” This division of resources is a luxury that many smaller businesses dealing with a struggling economy can’t afford. To which, Armstrong identifies, “You have to block out a period of time in the morning to be strategic. Try to surround yourself with folks that will help you think that way.”
To all leaders, he advises, “Be 100% focused on your objective or mission.” His military background serves him well. “The second rule is to make sure that everyone working for you knows the objective. The rest,” he concludes, “is how to get it done. You can motivate and manipulate… engage people and protect them… but always treat people with respect and dignity.”
The mission provides the foundation on which to make decisions; and Armstrong has had to make some tough ones. “If the mission is clearly articulated then employees (like soldiers) have three levels of consensus… ‘I can live with it’, I can’t live with it’, or ‘I’m all in’.” The last of which is the team all leaders would like to build; a team who pulls together and operates best in a time of crisis.
Ethos is a Greek term describing the characteristic spirit of culture. In business, that can refer to everything from the integrity of leadership to corporate culture, team-building and trust. “If an organization doesn’t have ethos,” Armstrong exclaims, “they’ll never build it in the crisis.”
In his book, he describes a time when, in service, he was asked to jump over the edge of a cliff, landing site-unseen. He was tested to place his trust in his commanding officer, and, due to the trust that had been established, he didn’t think twice about taking the plunge. This type of established trust in leadership he explains using a military adage, “Always explain the truth about what and why something is happening so they (employees) believe you when you don’t have time to explain.”
Whether he likes the term ‘new normal’ or not, he is a leader who is certainly prepared for it.
Shawn Cable has always been a team player.
The former Calgary Roughneck professional lacrosse player describes himself as always having had, “and entrepreneurial type spirit.” But he admits, “I’d be lying if I told you ten years ago that I’d be the owner of a mattress recycling business.”
His company Re-Matt began in 2014. Cable describes it as, “a mattress recycling business intent on eliminating all disposal of mattresses in city landfills across Alberta.” The idea came from a field trip his Mount Royal University Continuing Education Supply Chain Management course took to a Sears factory. “At the time, I was working in Oil and gas,” he explains, “but like many people, I didn’t know how secure my future was.” So, he pitched the idea of mattress recycling to, “a group of buddies I met for breakfasts to bring new ideas to the table so we could all work for ourselves one day.” The group approved.
Cable did some research and found out that there was no one else in this environmental and much needed niche market. “People are paying to take mattresses to the landfill already,” he gleaned, “the landfill is charging a $20 minimum. We charge $15. So, you’re saving money and keeping it green.”
Business seems to be good. In May 2016, Cable touts that, “we had our best month to date. Over 3000 mattresses.” That’s 3000 mattresses that won’t clutter Alberta landfills! Instead, Re-Matt recycles up to 95% of the materials from them. Mattresses are broken down into their original components like fabric, steel and wood. “We find places for materials to go that have a better end use.”
Existing businesses are looking for his service. He has signed partnership contracts with the likes of mattress retailers like The Brick, Sleep Country and Sears who are all trying to service their customers with a greener solution. Cable and his team just signed an agreement with Fort McMurray to bring their used mattresses down to his Calgary warehouse.
From an early analysis, “The biggest obstacle is transportation,” he says, “It can be costly.” This is merely a pothole on the road to success for Cable who summarizes the landfill landscape, “Landfills don’t like mattresses. They don’t bury well. They take up space. Now that there’s a solution, everyone’s trying to find a budget to do it (recycle).”
Speaking to his experience with Supply Chain Management at MRU, he reports, “It helped tremendously. It’s a logistics-based business. There was a lot of valuable information that I learned from the program.”
The secret to Re-Matt’s early success is something that he doesn’t lose a lot of sleep over. “It’s a little bit of craziness mixed in with doing your homework…and putting your money where your mouth is.”
Spoken like a true innovator.
“Good content marketing is about cultivating brand loyalty.” says Jenelle Peterson, Director of Business Development & Marketing at Mount Royal University’s Faculty of Continuing Education and Extension.
In MRU Continuing Education’s new Content Marketing Strategy course, which Peterson will be teaching from June 22-Jul 6, 2016, students will learn, “how social media, SEO and content marketing work together to create a prolific online strategy.”
“Content marketing is such a buzz word,” she explains, noting the success of companies like Lululemon Athletica and Calgary-based WestJet Airlines in providing some unique and successful marketing content. But the benefits of content media on a brand are seemingly becoming more universal, “it’s not just for marketers.”
“We’re starting to see people from a broader spectrum of industries taking marketing courses so they have a deeper understanding of how it benefits their company or organization.” Suggesting that it’s not just about ‘getting the sale’, content marketing is becoming more and more about building a relationship with clients, prospective clients and the community at large. “It can be an awesome tool for entrepreneurs, mid-career marketers who want to get an edge on where this industry is moving and for any business leader to have a good understanding of how content cultivates brand loyalty.”
Peterson is focusing on key elements including, “how you curate that content, what kind of content you create, who you share it with and how you’ll share it.” Using a mixture of case studies and success stories intertwined with working through strategies for organizations her students represent, the course promises to help, “build a content marketing toolkit.”
Celebrating her first year at MRU, she’s championing content initiatives from some of her MRU Continuing Education colleagues. One noteworthy example is the recent launch of MRU Think Talks. This is a video content offering that showcases MRU Continuing Education instructors, innovators and community members as they present on their areas of expertise. “It’s providing quality content that is useful to our multiple audiences,” she notes, “and since it’s all going online, it’s a way for MRU innovation to start building relationships with a global market.” It’s ideas like these that she will be sharing with students.
Describing her day-to-day prescription for content marketing success, Peterson claims, “It takes a team. It’s important for all of us to engage our subject matter experts for their expertise and assistance in bringing relevant and valuable content to our diverse audiences. It’s those relationships within our organization that allow us to build trust and loyalty in the marketplace.”
To register or learn more… click here.
Ernest Barbaric recognizes trends and changes. “In Calgary,” he explains, “We haven’t had marketing conferences. It’s nice to have a grass roots initiative like SocialWest.” Being connected with Calgary social media guru Mike Morrison of @MikesBloggity has put Barbaric once again in the speaker’s spotlight for the sold-out event.
Founder of the Social Media for Business certificate program at Mount Royal University Continuing Education, Barbaric notices that there’s a change of behaviour happening (literally) under our noses. People are constantly connected to their digital devices. His presentation, “Trends that are defining digital marketing in 2016 and beyond” on June 16th at 11am sets out to identify and explain this shift and how it affects the way businesses and individuals communicate.
“This connectivity is changing our priorities,” Barbaric suggests. “If you have a phone and it’s not connected to wifi, there’s a sense of loneliness even in areas where there are other people.” Recognizing how most have adopted this perpetual dependency on digital technology, he offers, “People would rather have someone steal their wallet instead of their phone.”
This not only changes the way people speak to people, but also drastically affects how businesses and other organizations or brands speak to people, which is why his SocialWest audience is there. “There’s a movement towards social becoming a media buying platform.” he says, “There’s more focus on paid (advertising) and a big rise in automation.” This affects the role-responsibility of a traditional marketing team for any organization. “As things progress, it changes what marketing teams do to maintain these systems.”
If a marketing team were Aretha Franklin’s band, you would have a standard line-up of drums, bass, guitar and keyboards with Aretha wailing the message to your audience. Now, with new tools and audience expectations, Barbaric explains that social media is like adding, “a triple-necked guitar with a keyboard on it that plays itself,” and ups the ante, “with a DJ who samples Aretha Franklin – and 50 other artists – and adds a light show.”
There are some for whom digital media is the bright light in an economic downturn in this city. Barbaric concurs, “Business who can sell their services online have global access regardless of where you’re from. Locally,” he touts, “there is still money, but it becomes a more competitive environment.” Survival is for those who can evolve. He identifies, “those who are squeezed out are people relying on the status quo.”
Those leaving his SocialWest presentation will glean, “a sense of what they need to do to prepare for the future.” According to Barbaric, the future has much potential and we’re not too far behind to catch up. “There’s a lag… between American and Canadian markets, between different generations and between big and small businesses.” But to those willing to make the changes, he estimates that there’s “a decent amount of runway.”
Connect with Ernest at SocialWest.
Connect with others who are growing their digital brands too.
And remember, you’re not alone… if you’re connected to the internet.
- by JLove
When Process Ecology Inc. needed corporate training for their employees; they came to MRU Continuing Education.
Process Ecology is a process engineering and emissions management company. “Basically,” HR Administrator Lindsay Baker describes, “we work with a variety of different companies to deal with benzene emissions.” Having designed and maintained their own measurement software (FlareAdvisor helps measure flaring, venting and greenhouse gas emissions for upstream oil and gas companies), it’s clear they’re a good judge of streamlined best practices and measurable results.
With a total of nine employees in their company, four of whom went through the training, any cost savings was a welcome option. Baker says, “we wanted some upscaling and upgrading of some essential skills needed in our workplace. Some employees have come to Canada having finished their studies and some need a refresher with their English skills.”
She decided to apply for the Canada-Alberta Job Grant to fund some customized language upgrading, presentation courses and resume-writing training, skills that needed to be honed to submit biographies and resumes to conferences and other presentation opportunities.
An MRU alumnus, Baker claimed the choice to go with MRU was easy. She was at the helm of the application process and was quick to sing its praises, “the needs assessment done by the MRU staff outlined the weaknesses and strengths of our systems.” Of the training itself, she says, “everyone here enjoyed the teaching methods. They worked their skills effectively and were able to apply the training immediately.”
The trainees’ reaction was similar. “It was very beneficial for the employees,” Baker says, “it’s made them more confident in themselves and in a presentation setting.”
The best part about the quality MRU training through the Canada-Alberta Job Grant to Baker was that, “Two thirds of all of our training costs were paid (by the grant)!” With these savings on exemplary courses, Process Ecology is already looking into further training through MRU Continuing Education.
Her reason is simple, “By making sure they feel comfortable, it makes them more confident in what they’re presenting, and in the company.
Lindsay has these three tips for anyone thinking of applying for the Canada-Alberta Job Grant.
- Read the 30 page document online. Everything you need to know is there. MRU Continuing Education makes it easy for you.
- Make sure you have EVERYTHING. Go through the document’s requests with a ‘fine toothed comb’.
- Choose a course or series of courses with a certification. In Lindsay’s case, preferably one that is industry and governmentally recognized.
How do we subtract and get the same results?
Let’s face it, corporate culture is a little rough right now in our hometown. People are being laid-off, downsized, ‘released from their employer’ or whatever today’s politically correct term for ‘fired’ is. Organizations in several sectors are now challenged to fill the void left by these people, re-allocate resources to maintain and change their operating procedures to move forward. How can they achieve the same results when so many of their resources have been subtracted?
“With the current economic climate, organizations need to be more productive, nimble and efficient than ever.” Says Joanne Leskow, Corporate Trainer at Mount Royal University Continuing Education. “All business outcomes are a direct result of the investment and calibre of people inside the business.”
So, if we can’t add more people, we can add value to the people that remain. “MRU Corporate Training programs reinforce good habits while exploring best practice and challenging learners to think differently.” Leskow explains.
From this place, leaders emerge. Leaders are those we turn to in this climate to provide a vision. That vision for most is merely an educated guess. MRU wants to provide the ‘educated’ part of that equation. “Leveraging a legacy of excellence,” Leskow confirms, “MRU’s Corporate Training has equipped Western Canadian businesses (and others around the globe) to meet the challenges and opportunities ahead.”
For the corporate culture, it’s bigger picture multiplication. “Corporate Training provides team members an opportunity to come together from business units and geographic regions to better understand each other and personal contributions to their team/unit and business as a whole.” Leskow continues. “It’s essential that emerging and experienced leaders take the time to step away and evaluate their own performance, build strengths and plan future courses of action. MRU Corporate Training allows them to do that, and more,” she advises.
A key factor in this climate is being able to do exponentially more with less. “One of the essential elements of retention is providing people with opportunities to learn and grow professionally. The MRU Corporate Training courses provide a wide variety of courses to grow, challenge their thinking and habits while learning best practices.”
Success is equal to the vision provided by leaders and the work put behind that vision. “A combination of practical and technical knowledge helps to shape leaders and problem solvers who tackle issues and projects in fast-paced environments.” Leskow instructs. The leaders she teaches will be empowered to face anything as she promises to give the guidance they need to, “equip their people and business to not only meet, but to exceed the demands of the ever-changing business environment.”
So do more with less. Just add education and summit together.
- by JLove