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#PressforProgress: Greetings from Eleanor Finger, Director, Alumni Relations

Dear Mount Royal alumni,

From here in Calgary, we celebrate International Women’s Day with all of you around the globe.

Reflecting on this year’s IWD theme, #PressForProgress, and with the successes of the Pyeongchang Olympics fresh in my mind, I thought it was the perfect time to share stories of alumnae who are blazing a trail in the field of sports. We hope you enjoy the stories of Jacquie Hertlein, Grace Dafoe, Marianna Raguz and Corinne Ethier.

We’re proud of all our alumni who are changing our world for the better every day. How do you wish to #PressforProgress this annual International Women’s Day? Share your ideas!


Eleanor Finger
Director, Alumni Relations

#PressforProgress: Grace Dafoe

Grace Dafoe, Health and Physical Education, Physical Literacy, ’15)

“Sport and recreation gives me the confidence to pursue my dreams and goals outside of sport and motivates me to open more doors for females within sport – at a coach and athlete level,”

Did you know girls drop out of sports at six times the rate of boys in their early teens?

Grace Dafoe, MRU alumna, physical literacy advocate, and 2022 Olympic hopeful in Skeleton, is part of a movement of inspirational female role models that intends to put a stop to this mass exodus of girls from sport.

Dafoe participates in events several times each year to mentor girls as part of Fast and Female, a non-profit organization that has a mission of keeping girls healthy, happy and active in sports through their teens. As an early specialized athlete in figure skating, Dafoe understands first-hand the pressures girls experience while participating in sports.

While she competed as a figure skater throughout her childhood and teenage years, Dafoe made the difficult decision to focus solely on her education during her first year studying Physical Literacy at Mount Royal University.  Between hours of skating on-ice and conditioning off-ice every day, learning choreography, maintaining an athlete’s diet and dealing with the pressure of being a competitive athlete (all while trying to maintain good grades and a semblance of a social life), it’s no wonder that at the age of 18, she’d had enough.

It wasn’t long after she quit figure skating that she was invited to try skeleton for the first time, a sport that instantly appealed to her. Dafoe is now one of the top female competitors across Canada in the sport, making her a pretty remarkable role model for young girls facing challenges as they participate in sport.

“Sport and recreation gives me the confidence to pursue my dreams and goals outside of sport and motivates me to open more doors for females within sport – at a coach and athlete level,” said Dafoe.

Given the many projects she has on the go at any given time, it’s clear that she has the confidence to pursue anything she sets her mind to. As she goes forward in her career and her sport, there is no doubt this Mount Royal alumna will continue to #PressforProgress, empowering women at all levels.

Julie Macdonald
March 2018

#PressforProgress: Marianna Raguz

Marianna Raguz, General Studies, ’96

I needed to get healthy for my life. That was when I started believing that you need to be fit for you and live life the way you see yourself.

No stranger to hard work and perseverance, Marianna Raguz is well aware of what it has taken to achieve everything she wanted in life. Being a first generation Canadian, Raguz understands that sometimes it takes great sacrifice to see results. Since her time as a student, she has set her goals and stopped at nothing until they were accomplished – no scholarship, no other support, just her.

As a Mount Royal student, she worked midnight shifts at the post office to pay her tuition, while maintaining her grades and doing what she loved most – playing basketball. Her hard work paid off when she tried out for the Croatian National Team in 1999. From there she played across Europe for 11 years and was recognized as the best defender in Europe.

At the peak of her career, Raguz found herself at an impossible crossroads when she incurred a severe back injury. Her choices were grim: choose between surgery with an eight-month rehabilitation period, or forgo the surgery and run the risk of the injury reoccurring.

Terrified by the reality of months of rehabilitation in a Croatian facility, Raguz knew what she had to do.

“Screw sports,” she said, “I needed to get healthy for my life. That was when I started believing that you need to be fit for you and live life the way you see yourself.”

This was the turning point in her career. Raguz moved to Israel to complete her rehabilitation in the comfort of a warmer climate and with access to her old team’s facilities. Soon enough she was ready to get back in the game and went on to play successfully for another six years.

Despite her many achievements, Raguz looks back at her time playing college ball at Mount Royal as some of the best years of her life. As someone who had always looked up to Karla Karch (current Director of Cougar Athletics who herself represented Canada in basketball at the 1996 and 2000 Olympics), it was a natural move for Raguz to come back to Mount Royal to coach the women’s basketball team.

Raguz continues to #PressforProgress as she strives to understand her players, their needs, and the spark that drives each one – using her experience to propel them to achieve. Surprised at how much she has learned and is still learning from her team, she is more motivated than ever to be the role model of female leadership they deserve.

Maggie Agbojo
March 2018

#PressforProgress: Corinne Ethier

Corinne Ethier, Applied Business, Sport and Recreation, ’08

“Sport builds community by bringing people together.”

That’s why Corinne Ethier, current Manager of Event Volunteers at Hockey Canada, has channeled her passion for sport and athleticism into a career of bringing people together at every level in a traditionally male-dominated industry – building the success of athletes from the grassroots player to the high-performance professional.

Ethier’s niche role and relentless work ethic has allowed her to embrace opportunities to plan and deliver national and international championship sporting events, as well as advise Olympians, Paralympians and national team athletes on career, education, transition from sport, and the development of a national workforce plan.

Through her firsthand experience from her own concussion history, Ethier was also able to create specific programming for a large number of athletes experiencing concussions. At the Canadian Sport Institute, she built support groups and provided athletes with the structure they had been so accustomed to while training.

Continuously moving forward, Ethier recently joined MRU’s Harry G. Schaefer Mentorship Program and began mentoring another fearless alumna, Grace Dafoe, as she begins training for her athletic career.

Ethier continues to #PressforProgress by modeling success in the world of sports management to young women following in her footsteps.

Justine Farago
March 2018

#PressforProgress: Cougars Alumna Jacquie Hertlein leads by example

I’m a first generation of the soccer girls so we didn’t have any mentors, and that’s why I give back and to the community. Sport is just a piece of it, but building good character and good people is more important.

Despite a prestigious athletic scholarship awaiting her in Florida, Jacquie Hertlein couldn’t turn down the opportunity to become one of the first members of Cougar Athletics’ alumni when she was invited to play striker for the inaugural Mount Royal College Women’s Soccer team in 1994. Mount Royal’s small class sizes and niche criminology program complemented the excitement of joining the team by providing a promising career beyond the athletic experience – all in her hometown.

“When I look back to my journey as a Cougar, there were a lot of interesting dynamics within this new, competitive women’s team led by a male coaching staff. The coach was learning, we were learning and I think I gained a ton of personal growth on how to manage people, manage myself and make sure I was leading by example. I was the first to get to practice and the last to leave,”  says Hertlein.

Mount Royal was the right path for her academically, athletically and personally. At the time, student athleticism was highly recognized in local media and Hertlein fondly remembers participating in interviews that documented her success as team captain, tournament All-Star and highest goal-scorer throughout her Mount Royal career.

The challenges and rewards of Hertlein’s experience as a student athlete helped develop her ambitious skill-set that led her to achieve many levels of athletic success and serve an 18-year career as a local police officer and sergeant. Hertlein has paved pathways to help young women navigate male-dominated industries and continues to do so; for example, Hertlein is the current coach of Alberta’s U13 Girls South provincial soccer team, coach of the SAIT Women’s Soccer team, a member of the Development in Women’s Soccer Committee and is the first woman on the Technical Committee of the Alberta Soccer Association.

Ultimately, what is it about Jacquie that motivates her to operate at this level? Her drive to give back and be a positive mentor for young women.

“Being that role model for younger girls that I didn’t have. I’m a first generation of the soccer alumni, so we didn’t have any mentors and that is why I give back to Mount Royal and to the community. Sport is just a piece of it, but building good character and good people is more important.”


Justine Farago
March 2018

The secret to effective professional branding using social media, Part II: networking online

Networking Online

Now that your image is on point you can start networking online. It is important to first clarify your top objective for social networking. This will guide your activities and help you to grow and refine your network. Determine what it is you are after: for example, a local job, relocation, or visibility in a professional community. Once you have determined your goal you can begin to look at your existing network. Stay in contact regularly with your current connections and ask them for referrals and prospects to meet your objectives. In determining your objective you can begin to narrow down where your focus should be by asking yourself these questions:

  • Which websites, groups, subscriptions, publications and feeds do the people I want to connect with use?
  • How much time will I set aside to network?
  • What tasks can I reasonably undertake during that time?
    • Scheduling 10 to 30 minutes a day is enough to connect meaningfully online and stay up to date on industry trends, business news or people you follow

Online networking follows the same best practices as traditional networking, but there is more opportunity to meet others outside of your network. Best online practice guidelines include:

  • Try once; if they do not accept move on.
    • People use online networks for different reasons at different stages of their careers; not all group members, colleagues, clients or professionals you try to connect with will accept.
  • Your reputation is based on your activity; be sure to make meaningful contributions.
    • Comment positively on professional posts, tweets, or in chats.
    • Write a reference or testimonial for someone who has helped you grow professionally.
    • Connect at least one person monthly with an opportunity, article or someone else in your network.
    •  Initiate discussions with people who inspire you.
    • Build a network of professionals inside and outside of your industry.
  • If you are employed, find out about your company’s policies regarding use of Internet, online networking, and electronic devices, as these vary. For some, staying in touch with colleagues and clients electronically is encouraged. For others, strict policies regulate what is acceptable.
Check List

Answering “yes” to the below checklist will keep your social media professional and up to date.

  • I have searched versions of my name and online aliases, including images on multiple platforms (such as YouTube, Flickr, etc.) comparing what I find to my desired professional image, noting changes needed.
  • My personal information – including address, age, family members’ names, and schedule – is not easily found online, safeguarding my home and privacy.
  • Each social network site, blog, photo sharing or Twitter feed (even non-professional sites) conveys an image I would be comfortable for a prospective employer to see, including:
    • pictures
    • profile
    • comments, tweets and posts
    • group membership/people followed

Digital dirt

  • I have a professional email account – ideally a professional version of my name – and I use the same professional image across all platforms so visitors start to recognize me.
  •  I have ensured my privacy settings are appropriate.
  • I have untagged inaccurate or unprofessional content and images and have contacted others who have posted unprofessional content or pictures requested they remove or untag me.
  •  I have prepared what I will say about content I cannot delete, if asked about it.

Building a solid foundation

  •  I have done a keyword search for the work I am interested in pursuing and I have a plan for incorporating these keywords into my profiles.
  • I have articulated the experiences and achievements that are relevant to my career direction – including work and volunteer projects and related extracurricular and community activities using keywords and descriptors found in my keyword search – to clearly explain what I can contribute.
  • I have established a consistent profile across all websites, ensuring content on one does not contradict content on another
  • I continue to check job boards on which I have posted my resume, have deleted or updated outdated profiles and am comfortable with the privacy policy of each site.
  • I have made a list of past classmates, friends, acquaintances, volunteer/work colleagues and instructors and invited them to connect with me on a professional networking site.
  • I have evaluated my current network and identified individuals I can honestly and genuinely recommend.
  • I have identified my ideal audiences and have a targeted list of related companies, industries and individuals I would like to follow.

 Growing a network

  • I invite contacts whose business cards I have collected at professional activities and in-person networking events to connect with me on LinkedIn, always maintaining a professional format.
  • When attempting to connect with people I do not know, I ask for introductions from a mutual connection, identify some common ground and clarify my intention for connecting.
  • I have evaluated my current circle of contacts and have noted gaps I would benefit from filling, such as recent graduates who specialize in my field or work in the companies or industries with which I would like to connect.
  • I have identified communities relevant to my studies and professional interests, reviewed user guidelines for each and noted etiquette and tone before contributing positive, professional comments and questions.
  • Knowing that networking is a reciprocal relationship, I share with my contacts, including professional achievements, upcoming professional events.

Keeping vigilant

  • I have set up an alert to be notified when something about me, my name or those with similar names appear.
  • I understand that privacy settings may change unexpectedly so routinely check my privacy settings on all social media and other online accounts.
  • I recognize that no information on the Internet can be private and I only post that which I would be comfortable being seen by prospective employers, clients, campus administrators and colleagues.
  • Online and offline, I always interact with my professional reputation in mind.

For further information, read the full tip sheet available on the Mount Royal University Career Services website.


Content for this blog was adapted by Arla Ewing, Career Services Work Experience Coordinator, from source document: “Online Professional Presence – Focus Tip Sheet”, written by Elaine Balych, Career Education Coordinator, Mount Royal University Career Services. 

Mount Royal Career Services offers services to graduates of Mount Royal University credit certificates, diplomas, bachelor degrees and applied degrees.

The secret to effective professional branding using social media: Part I – building your brand

What is professional social networking?

Professional social networking is the use of social websites and applications to interact with people in your field of work.  It’s the fastest growing form of connecting and sharing. Social media has not only changed the way we communicate but also the way we are perceived. Everything that you share online will form a perception in a potential or current employers mind—this is your online brand. It’s valuable to develop a positive, strong, personal and professional social media presence to leave a positive lasting impression.

Building and managing your online brand           

Most organizations recognize that the reputation of their staff can impact their business. Recruiters, employers and prospective clients commonly check a candidate’s online presence as part of the hiring due diligence to safeguard their corporate reputation. Maintaining a good reputation and brand on and offline will impact your career.

LinkedIn is the number one professional site that recruiters will first seek out when shortlisting a candidate. In Quarter 2 of 2016 LinkedIn reported it had a total user base of 450,000,000+ members worldwide in over 200 countries. Recruiters sometimes go a step further and look into personal social pages such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Use these tips to ensure you are presenting a positive online brand:
  • Search yourself to see what comes up: past photos, comments, posts, tweets and interactions can all show up
  • Ask friends and family to remove tags, unprofessional posts mentioning you or pictures inconsistent with your professional image
  • Set up an ‘alert’ for your name to stay on top of what is posted about you (or others with a similar name)
  • Keep in mind information and images are ‘cached’ so never really disappear
  • Become active on professional networks to push new content to the top of search results, moving less professional material further down
  • Avoid negative comments and controversial subjects
  • Ensure privacy settings for accounts are high
  • There is no way to completely control who sees information so be professional
  • Using a nickname does not always ensure privacy
  • Connections can be uncovered through groups, e-mail addresses, schools attended
  • 25 per cent of LinkedIn users still do not know about the setting that allows them to hide their connections, this is an important feature for those using LinkedIn for competitive research or to connect with competitors
  •  Use a professional head shot, ideally across multiple platforms
  • Identify two to three niche topics in your professional field that you would like to stay current on, and create alerts on these topics
    • More than three topics require more time than most people are able to consistently commit to

Establishing and maintaining a professional online presence takes time and requires regular attention. As a rule of thumb, consider all information online as public information that will be seen by past and present colleagues, supervisors and prospective employers. It should be factual and match your resume.

Read Part II of this post next month. Now that your brand is on point it’s time to start networking!

For further information, read the full tip sheet available on the Mount Royal University Career Services website. 

Content for blog was adapted by Arla Ewing, Career Services Work Experience Coordinator, from source document: “Online Professional Presence – Focus Tip Sheet”, written by Elaine Balych, Career Education Coordinator, Mount Royal University Career Services. 

Mount Royal Career Services offers services to graduates of Mount Royal University credit certificates, diplomas, bachelor degrees and applied degrees.

Some takeaways from “Use LinkedIn for Career Success”

Alumni Relations at Mount Royal is all about helping our alumni reach their full potential while connecting them back to the University. As the coordinator, alumni outreach,  part of what I do is listen to our alumni in order to find out how we can support them in meaningful ways.  The number one thing alumni ask for? Career support. You want to make connections in your industry, improve your personal brand, move into a new field or find a job. We decided to turn that listening into action and hosted a learning session on how to “Use LinkedIn for Career Success.” Did you know half of the Canadian working population is on LinkedIn? Just one of the things we learned at the session—read on for more.

What we learned about LinkedIn:

Profile box:
  • Above the scroll is prime real estate (digital version of above the fold from the newspaper word). Make sure to have a professional photo (which we provided for free at the session thanks to our partner Lifetouch photography) and a descriptive headline.
    • Professional photo: it should represent the industry you work in or want to work in. No half couple pictures with your face cut-off…please.
    • Descriptive headline: the automatic setting is your job title but you can change it to better represent your expertise.
  • Don’t put “looking for opportunities” it looks desperate.  Instead use a phrase like “experienced designer”. It’s code to recruiters that you’re looking.
  • You can customize your profile URL to to make it shorter and better for including in documents such as your resume.
Summary section:
  • Your summary is most important.
  • Highlight in your summary not just what you currently do but what you aspire to do in your career.
    • Paragraph 1 = What is the problem you solve?
    • Paragraph 2 = Build your credibility.
    • Paragraph 3 = Additional interesting information.  Add some personality and include who should/how to contact you.
  • Please don’t write your summary in the third person! It comes off insincere and a bit strange.
Skills section:
  • Your skills with the most endorsements automatically go to the top.
  • You can rearrange your skills to better reflect the industry you are in or want to enter.
  • Try to come up with at least 50 different skills.
    •  20 technical skills (social media management, accounting, event planning).
    • 15 soft skills (interpersonal communications, leadership, public speaking).
    • 15 IT (Photoshop, Excel, HTML).
What to know about Groups:
  • Groups are a great tool for sharing what you know
  • Posts/comments can show up in Group members’ home feeds whether or not you’re connected with them.
  • Keep it two ways: ask questions and comment on other people’s posts.
  • Join the Mount Royal University Alumni Group to find alumni in your industry or an industry you want to enter and invite them for coffee.
  • Take advantage of your existing alumni community. Pose questions, share an interesting article and comment in the Mount Royal University Alumni Group.
LinkedIn Alumni feature:

A newer cool feature on LinkedIn is the Alumni feature. If you go to, it will populate a list of other MRU alumni on LinkedIn. You can then filter the list by job, city, place of employment, industry, etc. This is a great tool if you’re planning a move and want to make connections with other MRU alumni in a new city. Take advantage of the fact that you’re both Mount Royal alumni and reach out. Maybe invite them for coffee?

Other things to consider:
  • Be wary of going overboard with information. You want to leave people guessing and wanting to approach you to find out more. If you put too much out there, you risk them seeing something that turns them off.
  • It’s not what you know or who you know; it’s who knows what you know. So write about what you know—try out the blog feature.
  • Being on LinkedIn does not equal networking. LinkedIn is a networking tool. Having lots of connections isn’t beneficial.  Interacting and engaging in conversations on and off LinkedIn is where the real value is.

Special thanks to our coach Eric Pye, professional networking strategist and career advisor at CPA Alberta.

This post was written by Tierney Edmunds, coordinator, alumni outreach at Mount Royal University. If you’d like to see more sessions like this one or have other learning ideas, email Tierney at, or even better, ask to have “Tea with Tierney” and chat about your ideas in person.

The truth about “NETWORKING”

The word ‘networking’ gets loosely thrown around at recruitment events, employment classes  and professional business functions – which could lead to the view that everyone has become an expert in networking. But the actual truth is that there is an art to effective networking. It’s not just something that you should do, but a key skill set that all professionals should have in their repertoire.

A common misconception is that networking is all about calling or meeting with strangers when you need a job. We think it’s collecting lots of business cards, that truthfully, we do nothing with afterwards!  In reality, most of us merely scratch the surface of networking.

By definition, a network is an extended group of people with similar interests or concerns who interact and remain in informal contact for mutual assistance or support. Many people use networking as a means to build a database that will add value to their business or service, or to try and find a way into a company for employment purposes. To gain the full benefit of networking there should be benefits or mutual assistance between both parties.

It’s a well known fact that we like to do business with who we know!

According to a study released by Connect Canada, “Networking, whether direct or indirect, was credited in providing over 61 per cent of new jobs and clients obtained of those surveyed. These results show that most organizations and educators are now including networking in their curriculum and their programming.”  Further, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “70 per cent of all jobs are found through networking.” This statistic takes into account the number of jobs that are available but never posted (internal hires), as well as positions filled by someone the employer knew. The Canadian job market is no different in this practice.

The key is to foster professional relationships that have mutual benefits for those involved in the network – even if you are in search of a new job or a new client base!

Are you networking effectively? Try this quiz and see where you are at!

I have developed a brief introduction to clearly and concisely describe my professional interests
and goals in 15 to 30 seconds that can be used in a casual setting, on the phone or to focus
a conversation.
Y / N


I have a process for keeping my professional contacts database up to date including current contact
information, last contacted, common topics of interest, areas of expertise, people referred and contact history.
Y / N


I have identified individuals I want to connect with regularly to keep them informed of my career
development and others I will connect with occasionally.
Y / N


I have identified organizations and associations which are relevant to my career interests
and have a plan for volunteering and attending a minimum number of functions this year.
Y / N


I have built an hour a week into my schedule to stay in contact with my network members.


Y / N


I have a specific goal for each networking event such as the type of people I’d like to make contact
with or the number of follow-up meetings I will finalize.
Y / N


Too many nos? That’s the reality for most of us! Here are some tips for turning those nos to yeses.

Practical steps for effective networking


Networking isn’t something that needs to take a lot of additional time. It can be done by phone, e-mail, online or in person. There are four broad types of professional networking.

  • Informal Networking: Everyday interactions, community, volunteer and personal activities can be used for informal networking. This is the easiest way to begin a professional network. Develop a script describing your professional interests clearly and concisely and asking a clear question to open conversations on ‘professional’ topics with people you know.
  • Formal Professional Activities/Events: In every field there are organizations, meetings, conferences, committees, events and trade shows. If you are a new member or not yet a member, volunteer to help out at such events. This provides opportunities to meet and talk to professionals of all stages working in multiple settings. A great place to start is getting in touch with the Mount Royal University Alumni Association.
  • Arranged Networking Appointments: While much networking can be done through events, calls and e-mails, it is worthwhile to arrange occasional one-to-one face time to really connect. Be aware and considerate of busy times when arranging appointments, lunch or coffee.
  • Social Media Networking: It is becoming increasingly valuable to develop and maintain a strong professional online and social media presence. Websites such as LinkedIn, including the Mount Royal University Alumni LinkedIn Group, provide great opportunities to grow your professional network. Each social media site has its own etiquette but when in doubt, use what would be your best professional in-person behavior as a guide. Remember, nothing is as personal as ‘face-to-face’ interaction. Be aware that information on  social sites such as Facebook and Twitter may be seen by potential employers/colleagues. Ensure these reinforce your professional image rather than negate it.
  • Practice. Talk to friends, people you work with, club members or the person who regularly sits with you on the bus about what they do and what you enjoy doing right now. People in all businesses and those not recruiting have information, resources and contacts, too. Consider everyone as a valuable potential network member to explore.
  • Make a list of people you already have a connection with: current/former co-workers, relatives, friends, neighbors, instructors and people from volunteer, community and religious activities. Identify five people from your current network you would like to consider as part of your professional network.
  • Develop specific strategies to prioritize building ties and be a dependable resource. Monitor your activities and the growth of your professional contacts.
  • You do not have to know exactly what you want to do to start to network. Seek information from friends of friends. This is easy and the most common way professionals network every day. Before calling, do some research on their company, position and questions you’d like answered to provide a solid starting point to put both you and your contact at ease.
  • These are just a few examples. Don’t expect contacts to remember you or be part of your network if you only contact them once or twice. Occasionally relationships develop quickly; most take longer. To develop professionally rewarding relationships, build goodwill through multiple contacts.

Networks are important to people in positions of responsibility who don’t like to take risks when they do not have to. An unfamiliar worker can be a risk, so employers often hire people they have met through their professional networks. For job seekers, knowing about a group, department or organization ‘from the inside’ can help you identify hidden ‘unadvertised’ opportunities, and target positions that best align with your qualifications and experience.

  • Let your established network contacts know you are looking for new opportunities and would appreciate leads or contacts. Update them on your search efforts.
  • Make it easy to help. Ask for advice, suggestions, leads or industry feedback on your resume rather than if they know of jobs.
  • Email a thank you and tell them about results from leads or suggestions they provided.
  • If you are interested in a particular company or department, ask established contacts if they are able to provide you with an introduction.
  • Ask contacts you have worked on projects with if they would serve as one of your references.
These steps are just a starting point! Below are some additional resources and information links.

For more information on effective online networking, check out our next post coming in July!

Blog content adapted by: David Babaganov, marketing assistant, and Patsy Valenzuela, Career Services.

Original content: Career Services Focus Tip Sheet: “Networking” written by Elaine Balych, career education/career development coordinator

Mount Royal Career Services offers services to graduates of Mount Royal University credit certificates, diplomas, bachelor degrees and applied degrees.