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.