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.
“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
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.
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.