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.
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
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.
One of the advantages a Human Resources (HR) program has over any other is no matter where your career ends up you will always have to interact with people. The fundamentals and principles you learn through HR has the ability to make you a better employee, supervisor, manager, owner… heck, a better person.
Studying human resources you are exposed to gain a working knowledge of: Strategic Planning, Leadership/Management, HRIS HR Technology, Recruitment, Terminations, Administration, Metrics, Performance Management, Training and Development, On-Boarding and Orientation, Succession Planning, Exit Interviews, Mentoring, Health and Safety, Position Descriptions, Recognition Programs, Benefits, Disability Management, Conflict Resolution, Retention, Compensation, Policies and Procedures, Satisfaction Surveys/Culture Surveys… to name a few.
The majority of students are hung up on receiving a position that contain the words ‘Human Resources’ in their job title. But, the wonderful thing about studying and implementing ‘Human Resources’ is that you can do it in any position and at any level.
I make this point at the beginning of any course I instruct as approximately 50% of my students are professionals brushing up their education and 50% are wanting to get into HR with no previous experience. My advice is, regardless of your position, to start doing what you learn in class right now!
At the end of one of my class a student (let’s call her ‘Eve’) came up to me. This is how our conversation went.
Eve: I’m a waitress and I deal with customers all day, how am I supposed to practice HR with my customers?
Adam: Who screens your resumes, selects candidates, interviews and orients them?
Eve: My manager, and he does a terrible job. He is always busy so he just hires whoever.
Adam: Why don’t you offer to help screen some resumes so only the candidates you feel would be a good fit will be hired?
Eve: What? I don’t get paid for that!
Adam: You are missing the point, you have no experience, only a good educational foundation, if you don’t use it you’ll lose it, start applying what we are learning in class now and help out your manager. How else are you going to get practical experience?
Eve: … (stunned silence)
By the end of the course, Eve was screening resumes, interviewing candidates, training and onboarding. She became a better employee with her existing company and was gaining practical experience for her upcoming dream job in human resources.
Another advantage of an HR education is you get to learn the inside scoop on how people get hired. Getting a job in the current market can be very challenging. I have seen many students struggling with this and have created a web series to help. With informative topics like The Modern Resume, Interviewing, Networking and Accessing the Hidden Job Market, there’s a lot of important information you need to find your next job. You can access it here: goo.gl/aaKrdG.
These are among the advantages an HR education has over any other program. You can essentially apply it anywhere, anytime, in any job. It’s up to you how to find the best way to use these skills to forward your career.
- Guest Author Adam Czarnecki
Adam Czarnecki, CHRP is a member of the Senior Management team of a heavy duty truck dealership group in Alberta where he is responsible for HR, H&S and IT. He is a past HRIA Board Member and a HR instructor at the Mount Royal University.
These are the first things to come to mind when Dr. Brian Fleming, Associate Professor of Supply Chain Management at the Bissett School of Business, Mount Royal University is asked about how the industry is changing.
When it comes to streamlining the delivery of products from production to distribution, these innovations are game-changers. Fleming, a veteran in the industry, recounts that, “Fax was the expediter. Back then 6 or 7 days for snail mail was appropriate. But in today’s world, you get text messaging and apps that enable sales people to get into factories to check inventory and determine production schedules in real time.”
Regardless of the timeline, Fleming recognizes that, “The concepts behind Supply Chain Management are fundamentally the same.” It’s finding the most efficient way of getting things from production to consumption. But, with a change in technology comes a new demand for the players.
From the clients’ perspective, “In today’s world, you can order one item.” With lot sizes of one, suppliers have been forced to look at things differently. “Everyone used to want zero inventory,” Recalls Fleming, “But that’s not the case now.”
As a sign of the times, MRU has been able to offer some flexibility to Supply Chain Management students. “By taking our 9 Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) courses online with our agreement between Mount Royal University Continuing Education and the Bissett School of Business, our BBA students can now be working on a co-op position and still move forward.”
Thus expediting the time it takes to go from A to B.
“Supply Chain fits into any industry.” Fleming instructs. “Oil is the big dog in Alberta. It pays well. But, I can work for Calgary Food Bank, YWCA, transportation, warehousing…” his list goes on.
As for opportunity, he suggests that with flexible online course offerings, students these days are getting a global reach, “One student in Brazil has completed two courses, while another working with Volkswagon in Germany has completed a course.” He continues proudly, “Two other students are working in Kamloops in the mining industry and a varsity hockey student will be graduating the BBA through the online components.”
Supply Chain Management is becoming an increasingly important and rewarding part of many organizations. Trained and qualified people are needed to research, develop and execute the next innovative efficiencies. According to Fleming, he forecasts that the future is not far off, “Amazon is currently testing drones for deliveries.”
For registration information, click here.
- by JLove
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
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.
“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.