Conferences are wonderful “tools” for networking and learning from others who have tried methods and succeeded and/or tried and failed. Experts in their field share their positive and negative experiences so that others can learn.
In February 2009, I had the opportunity to attend a Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) conference in Seattle and interview 1991 alumnus.
On the final night of the three day conference, my co-worker, Dianna Ducs, and I were ready for some final networking and went to an amazing closing night banquet. We stood with a group of fellow post-secondary alumni, advancement and marketing professionals, discussing how we were all going back to our respective institutions inspired and refreshed! One member of the group heard “Selkirk College” and immediately told us that he was a grad from Selkirk.
I have been the Executive Director and Chief Advancement Officer at Lethbridge College since March,2007. In 1990 I was working in Calgary, AB as an assistant manager of a local ski shop. I loved to ski and found myself working in ski retail. That year I decided to pursue post-secondary education. A lover of the ski industry, I had a choice of two schools to train in Ski Resort Management, Selkirk or Humber College. I chose Selkirk College.
Selkirk was really laid back and very practical. I particularly enjoyed Bob Falle’s style of teaching. He was a great ‘relationship guy’. It was one of the most life-changing periods of my life. I was young; I experienced my first year away from home and my first international experience (a four month practicum in Japan).
So, how could a graduate of Selkirk’s Ski Resort Operations and Management program be at the CASE Conference in Seattle representing Lethbridge College Advancement Department? I changed careers. Although Selkirk was the foundation for everything I had become, nudged on by friends and mentors, decided he wanted to use his management skills beyond the ski industry. He now holds an MBA from the University of Alberta, a Bachelor of Management from the University of Lethbridge and a second business diploma from SAIT Polytechnic.
After an excursion into private enterprise in California with a friend, Steven moved back home to be with his family. He landed a position at the University of
Alberta in the School of Business as the Executive Director of the Business Family Institute, a world-class teaching, research and executive education institute.
He worked very closely with the Advancement Department, helping to raise close to $5 Million to support new program development and research.
During this time Lethbridge College knocked on his door and offered him the opportunity to join the Senior Executive as their first Executive Director of Advancement. Steven has held the title for two years. During that time his department has seen a huge growth in staff, from five to 23. Steven is ready to lead
his team in the largest fund raising campaign in the history of Lethbridge College-$100 million.
Whether I am in Vancouver, Calgary or even Seattle, I seem to hear about or meet a Selkirk alumnus. Students come from all over the world to attend Selkirk College and have had positive learning/life experiences.
“We came from the west and the east-all the way across the country,” said Steven. “My academic journey started at Selkirk; it planted a lot of seeds. It was the stepping stone to my success.