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Athabasca University Faculty of Business - A magazine for students and alumni

FALL 2017

Analyzing the Smart Game The raging debate on hockey statistics

Master Pathways Two Athabasca University grads reflect on how being Canadian shaped their careers

Where in the World Athabasca University students study from all over the world

The lengths one grad went to finally get his MBA - the first in his family


For more information on our MBA: 1-800-561-4650 business.athabascau.ca/mba

“The MBA has helped me realize a more holistic view of the business by learning facets of every department from HR, to marketing, to finance, to operations. Being able to bring it all together adds tremendous value to any organization.” Len Hoang, MBA ’17 Operations Manager Nando’s Canada


FALL 2017

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ON THE COVER: Athabasca University MBA alumni Blaine Mathieu & Derek Sidebottom Photo: Nicolas Smith

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features 12 Why Silicon Valley Needs More Canada

Two Athabasca University grads reflect on how being Canadian shaped their careers

17 When Leadership is Led by Values

By putting people first, Princess Auto leads the way in Management Development

20 Where in the World

Athabasca University students are studying all over the world

22 Stress and the Student

Five things you can do to keep stress in check

24 Analyzing the Smart Game

The raging debate on hockey statistics

29 Executive in Residence

Introducing the inaugural Executive in Residence

32 For the Love of Sport, Culture, and Her People

MBA graduate helms the North American Indigenous Games

36 Your Next Read

Book recommendations by Faculty of Business professors

39 Master Pathways

One graduate’s journey to finally earn his MBA

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departments 4 Message from the Dean

A word from Dr. Deborah Hurst

6 Noteworthy News

Updates from around the Faculty of Business

11 Events and Information Sessions 19 Who Inspires You?

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Nominate an inspiring Faculty of Business student or graduate for an Alumni Award

34 Convocation

Celebrating Athabasca University’s Faculty of Business graduates

41 Class & Faculty Notes

Updates on Faculty of Business students, alumni, and faculty

46 Parting Shot Faculty of Business

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Message from the Dean

Deborah Hurst, Dean Faculty of Business

PHOTO IAN GRANT

Neil Fassina, President

WELCOME TO THE FACULTY OF BUSINESS 2017 Connected magazine. Inside you’ll find an array of thought-provoking articles about some of the wonderful things our students and alumni have been up to. I hope you enjoy reading about them as much as I have. In our 2016 edition I spoke about our Faculty’s three strategic priorities, we will continue to build on: “In the coming year, we • delivering an outstanding student will continue to work to experience; • expanding and leveraging relationships; be even more connected, • building, strengthening, and enhancing relevant, and impactful.” our reputation. – Dr. Deborah Hurst, Dean, Faculty of These strategic priorities continue Business, Athabasca University to drive our forward momentum and are critical to our ongoing success – we strive to ensure that everything we do, fits with and enhances our strategic priorities. We will continue to focus on matters that are important to you, thereby making our Faculty stronger together. Just a few of the central items we have been working on are; • AACSB Accreditation – iSER report was submitted in January, we are currently working on recommended revisions. • Creation of the Executive in Residence (EIR) program – Russell Kalmacoff is our inaugural EIR. 4

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He is a respected business expert who will act as a business resource and mentor to both our student and alumni community. • Adding additional majors to our Bachelor of Commerce program making it more relevant to the needs of our students. • Re-imagining and transforming our Bachelor of Management program. As many of you may be aware, Athabasca University has faced some challenges recently. I reiterate the words of our President, Dr. Neil Fassina “our opportunities far outweigh our challenges, and our strengths far outnumber our faults.” It has never been clearer that this is a significant time for AU and for our Faculty – a time for opportunity and to demonstrate our farreaching impacts. You, our students and alumni, are shaping the future and our world with your business knowledge and perspicuity. In the coming year, we will continue to work to be even more connected, relevant, and impactful. This is where you can be involved in shaping our future endeavours. Let us know where and how we can improve and help us to be even more connected to you, our learners. I look forward to your thoughts and how we can grow Athabasca University’s Faculty of Business, together. Athabasca University


2016-17 Faculty of Business Student Stats UNDERGRAD UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS BY DEGREE:

B.ADMN:

MBA STUDENTS BY GENDER AVERAGE SALARY OF MBA STUDENT AT START OF PROGRAM

1

%

(program has been discontinued)

52 47% 3,762

B.COMM:

B.MGMT:

AVERAGE AGE: 33

UNDERGRAD DEGREES AWARDED SINCE 1981:

$109,428

%

DBA

AFTER GRADUATING FROM PROGRAM AVERAGE AGE: 41

$164,950

MBA DEGREES AWARDED SINCE 1998:

3,580

2016-17 UNDERGRADUATE VS. GRADUATE STUDENTS

DBA STUDENTS BY GENDER

UNDERGRAD STUDENTS: DBA DEGREES AWARDED SINCE 2014:

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GRADUATE STUDENTS:

55% 45%

AVERAGE AGE: 49

Athabasca University Faculty of Business A magazine for students and alumni ATHABASCA UNIVERSITY FACULTY OF BUSINESS #201, 13220 St Albert Trail Edmonton, Alberta T5L 4W1 EDITOR Angie Zander

Faculty of Business

GRAPHIC DESIGN Charles Burke

CONTACT US Comments | Inquiries | Class Notes

Instagram @AthabascaUBiz

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Heather Bissonette, Derek Drager, Elizabeth Howell, Dr. Deborah Hurst, Chris McLeod, Deb Scaber, Heidi Staseson, Jordan Wardell , Shelley Williamson, Angie Zander

Email business@fb.athabascau.ca

LinkedIn Athabasca University Faculty of Business

EDITORIAL BOARD Marta Gomez, Dr. Deborah Hurst, Shannon Larose, Chris McLeod, Farid Noordin, Deb Scaber, Angie Zander

UNDELIVERED COPIES MAY BE RETURNED TO Phone Athabasca University Faculty of Business 780-509-7535 or toll free 1-800-561-4650 #201, 13220 St. Albert Trail Edmonton, AB T5L 4W1 GET SOCIAL Facebook Connected is Athabasca University’s Athabasca University Faculty of Business Faculty of Business magazine for students, Twitter staff, and alumni. @AthabascaUBiz All materials copyright 2017.

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Source: Office of International Studies, tableau report 2017. Data: April 1, 2016 - March 31, 2017

FACULTY OF BUSINESS UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS BY GENDER

MBA


Noteworthy News Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Supervision The Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Supervision (AEGSS) honours and recognizes an academic faculty member who excels in advising and mentoring graduate students. Excellence in Graduate Student Supervision is demonstrated by providing an enriching, supportive, and productive learning environment and by fostering intellectual, professional, and personal development of graduate students. Congratulations to this year’s recipient Dr. Janice Thomas, Professor, Project Management and Chair, Organizational Analysis Academic Department.

Happy 150th Canada!

Here at the Faculty of Business office, we wanted to commemorate Canada’s sesquicentennial by coming together and creating something lasting. Staff and faculty from our office participated in the Canada 150 Mosaic Mural, where individual pages of artwork were coloured and later assembled into one beautiful piece of artwork. The mural consists of 25 unique images that represent Canada – from

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John A. Macdonald, to the Canadarm, to Parliament Hill. During our Faculty of Business Convocation celebrations, we were able to ask some of our faculty, partners, and recent grads to share their most Canadian experience with us. Check out our YouTube channel to watch the video, What’s the most Canadian thing you have ever seen or done?

Athabasca University


By Angie Zander

Dean’s Award for Coaching Excellence The Dean’s Award for Coaching Excellence recognizes outstanding teaching by Faculty of Business graduate professors. This distinguished award for excellence is given annually in recognition of the notable achievements in the

following areas: excellence in presentation of subject matter, innovation of delivery, and exceptional standards of service to students. Congratulations to the 2017 recipient, Dr. Linda Bramble, Professor, Leadership.

Learning for Life At Athabasca University’s Faculty of Business, we believe in lifelong learning. So, what exactly does that mean? It means we will continually strive to offer various learning opportunities to our students, alumni, and the community at large. About every three months we host a free online learning webinar. So far, this year we have presented: LinkedIn Profile Tips and Financial Planning for Your Future. If you missed the sessions but still want to check them out, you can find them on our YouTube channel – we record all of our

Faculty of Business

learning webinars so they can be accessed at a time that is convenient for you! Upcoming proposed Learning Series webinar sessions include: Working with an Executive Recruiter, Moving to the C-Suite, Entrepreneurship and Start-Ups, Personal Branding, and Inclusive Leadership. Is there a topic you would like us to explore further? Let us know! Contact us at: business@fb.athabascau.ca

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Research, Teaching, and Practice in Accounting This past May, Athabasca University’s (AU) Faculty of Business co-hosted a full-day accounting conference with The Chartered Professional Accountants of Alberta on current research, teaching, and practice in the field of accounting. Presenters at the conference included AU Faculty members Fathi Elloumi, David Annand, and Tilly Jensen, as well as guests from; Texas A & M University, MacEwan University, Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, Medicine Hat College, and

the University of Alberta School of Business. Current DBA students, David Newman and Matthew Donovan, also presented their research during the conference. David presented his topic, “Severe Mental Illnesses, Stigmatization, and Discrimination: Big Four and SME Public Accounting Firm Socialization and Impression Management” while Matthew discussed, “The Influence of Cognitive Mechanisms on the Selective Acquisition of Information in Decision Making for Management Accounting.”

Chicago Mercantile Exchange Trading Challenge

L-R: O.P. Sihota, Celena Peppard, Tina Martin, Chandan Johal, Michael Jones

This year, Athabasca University sent a record-breaking six teams into the financial battlefield know as the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) Trading Challenge. For just over a week in February, teams battled it out to have the highest valued portfolio by the end of a challenging seven-day span. After preliminary rounds were completed and portfolio’s evaluated, two of our teams, The Bulls: Geeta Sainani, Chandan Johal, and Gurdeep Parmar, and Trident Traders: Tina Martin, Celena Peppard, O.P. Sihota, Scott Birt, and Michael Jones, finished within the top 10%, earning them each a spot in the final round and an invitation to Chicago for CME Group’s Day of Market Education. “A record number of students participated in this year’s Chicago Mercantile Exchange Trading Challenge so to have two Athabasca

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University teams finish in top standing is really quite a feat” said Dr. Alex Kondra, MBA Program Director, who joined the students in Chicago. “Another interesting fact to note is that Athabasca University was one of only 10 schools to have two teams finish in the top 10% – among the likes of Carnegie Mellon University, Imperial College London, New York University, and Rutgers University to name a few – so we were in some pretty elite company”. The Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) Group Trading Challenge is an international competition for business students that provides an authentic, first-hand experience trading in financial markets. It encourages students to gain and develop a deeper understanding of the interactions among trading and markets in a dynamic real-time environment.

Athabasca University


AACSB The AACSB Accreditation process is a meticulous and comprehensive review of the school’s mission, quality of teaching, research breadth and depth, and program and curriculum development. It is a voluntary process that includes in-depth evaluations and reviews by peers, committees, and school assigned mentors. AACSB Accreditation is the benchmark of quality business education requiring a serious long-term commitment of up to five years to complete. Even once a school has received accreditation, it continues to be reviewed every five years to ensure that it not only maintains the highest educational standards but that it continues to innovate. Accredited schools are considered to be the best in the world representing the highest standard of

achievement – fewer than five per cent of business schools worldwide are AACSB accredited. Athabasca University’s Faculty of Business is continually striving to be an educational leader as we develop original approaches to teaching and learning, by designing and deploying new programs, and seeking out relationships that foster innovation, quality, and performance. We will continue to work to build upon our strategic priorities; deliver an outstanding student experience, expand and leverage relationships, and build, strengthen, and enhance our reputation. We have made considerable progress on our path to attain AACSB Accreditation and are working diligently towards our goal.

NHL Draft 2017 – Chicago, Illinois

For the third consecutive year, MBA in Hockey Management and Certified Hockey Professional (CHP) students with the Business of Hockey Institute (BHI) embarked on the ultimate field trip – the NHL Entry Draft – where they had the opportunity to engage and connect with some of hockey’s biggest names in the business. On day one of the NHL Draft students had the opportunity to listen and speak to: John McDonough, President & CEO, Chicago Blackhawks; Jay Blunk, Executive VP, Chicago Blackhawks; Anton Thun, Agent & Managing Director, Quartexx/ MFive Sports; Jason Farris, Executive VP & COO, Dallas Stars; Craig MacTavish, VP Hockey Operations, Edmonton Oilers. Day two was just as jam-packed with visits from: Brian Burke, President Hockey Operations, Calgary Flames; Patrick Burke, Director of Player Safety, NHL; George Parros, Director of Player Safety, NHL; Doug Armstrong, President of Hockey Operations & GM, St. Louis Blues; Mike Johnston, Coach, VP & GM, Portland Winterhawks; Wendell Young, GM, Chicago Wolves.

Faculty of Business

But the NHL Draft isn’t the only opportunity students are given to liaise with hockey’s top executives and insiders. The second in-person opportunity is at the PrimeTime Sports Management conference, during which industry leaders meet to discuss the latest challenges facing the business of sports. “It used to be that you sold tickets to watch the game, and now what you’ve got is the franchise [as] a core asset that you’re trying to leverage in a myriad of ways,” says Dr. Michael Mauws, Executive Director, BHI. “You can’t just put a team on the ice, open the gates and charge people to walk in the door. You’re never going to make enough to pay [player] salaries doing it like that.” The MBA in Hockey Management combined with the specialized CHP courses is specifically designed and intended to focus business methodologies on the issues, challenges, and opportunities confronting executives in a rapidly changing global hockey industry.

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For more information on Leadership & Management Development (LMD): 1-800-561-4650 business.athabascau.ca/lmd

“Leadership is about visioning, inspiring, encouraging — all critical elements to making a genuine change and achieving objectives. It’s the human dimension and it’s often not given the attention it deserves.” Angela Workman-Stark, PhD Program Director, Leadership and Management Development


Info Sessions and Events 2017 EVENTS MBA Information Session-Edmonton: The Westin Hotel (September 12th, 12:00-1:30 PM)

MBA Information Session-Online (October 11th, 10:00-11:00 AM)

BComm/CPA Information Session-Online (September 12th, 5:00-6:00 PM)

MBA Information Session-Winnipeg: Inn at the Forks (October 12th, 12:00-1:30 PM)

MBA Information Session-Edmonton: DoubleTree Hilton Hotel (September 12th, 5:00-6:30 PM)

MBA in Hockey Management Info Session-Online (October 19th, 10:00-11:00 AM)

MBA Information Session-Online (September 13th, 10:00-11:00 AM)

2017 BTM TalentMash: University of Alberta (October 21st 9:30-3:00 PM)

The Art, Science and Business of Craft Beer - Edmonton: Blind Enthusiasm Brewery (September 15th,5:00-7:00 PM)

Bcomm/CPA Information Session-Online (November 1st, 5:00-6:00 PM)

AU Faculty of Business Ottawa Mixer: Joey Lansdowne (September 19th, 5:00-7:00 PM)

Business Undergraduate Information Session-Online (November 2nd, 5:00-6:00 PM)

Undergrad Information Session-Ottawa: The Westin Ottawa (September 20th, 9:00-10:00 AM)

Leadership and Management Development (LMD) Information Session-Online (November 7th, 10:00-11:00 AM)

MBA Information Session-Ottawa: The Westin Ottawa (September 20th, 12:00-1:30 PM) MBA in Hockey Management Info Session-Online (September 21th, 10:00-11 :00AM) MBA Information Session-Red Deer: Sheraton (September 22th, 12:00-1:30 PM) MBA Information Session-Vancouver: Sheraton (September 26th, 12:00-1:30 PM) MBA Information Session-Toronto: The University Club of Toronto (September 27th, 12:00-1:30 PM) MBA Information Session-Kelowna: Grand Okanagan Resort (September 28th, 12:00-1:30 PM) MBA Information Session-Mississauga: Toronto Airport Marriott Hotel (September 28th, 5:00-6:30 PM) Business Undergraduate Information Session-Online (October 2nd, 5:00-6:00 PM) Leadership and Management Development (LMD) Information Session-Online (October 10th, 10:00-11:00 AM) Manufacturing Management (MMC) Information SessionOnline (October 10th, 5:00-6:00 PM)

Faculty of Business

Manufacturing Management (MMC) Information Session-Online (November 7th, 5:00-6:00 PM) MBA Information Session-Online (November 15th, 10:00-11:00 AM) MBA in Hockey Management Info Session-Online (November 16th, 10:00-11:00 AM) Business Undergraduate Information Session-Online (December 4th, 5:00-6:00 PM) Leadership and Management Development (LMD) Information Session-Online (December 5th, 10:00-11:00 AM) Manufacturing Management (MMC) Information Session-Online (December 5th, 5:00-6:00 PM) MBA Information Session-Online (December 6th, 10:00-11:00 AM)

Stay tuned to our events page for SEASONAL CHEER taking place in a city near you throughout the month of December business.athabascau.ca/calendar

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Two Athabasca University grads reflect on how being Canadian shaped their careers in the U.S. BY SHELLEY WILLIAMSON PHOTOS BY NICOLAS SMITH

T’S A HOLIDAY MONDAY, BUT DEREK SIDEBOTTOM AGREES TO A QUICK phone interview, bookended by a 7 a.m. conference call with his team in Kingston, Ontario, as well as getting his three-year-old daughter out the door to daycare. “That’s always the best part of my day, the fun part, too,” says Derek, co-founder of consulting firm Squadley, which helps startups with key human resources decisions and logistics through software he created. Such is the start to a typical workday for the Athabasca University (AU) MBA grad, followed by a subway commute to San Francisco, to meet with clients. While his “officeless” work regimen is not unique in the Silicon Valley, a tech Mecca which took off in the 1990s thanks to the rise in popularity of the Internet, his approach to business, and even to HR, has been. He likens his business model, all stereotypes aside, to being a “nice” Canadian guy. “I feel like the diversity and the inclusiveness that is the social fabric of Canada suits an HR professional very well. In the Bay area, it’s hypercompetitive. In my case, being more of a listener and bringing a ‘nice’ world view, a tolerant and inclusive mindset suits me well. I have never been perceived as being there to sell you something. I am here to be a partner – and I will attribute that in part to my Canadianness.” The Milton, Ontario native, like many Canadians, learned the importance of honest, hard work early. He grew up on a farm, before attending classes at the University of Ottawa, then Humber College, with a focus in psychology and then human resources. “I really didn’t know human resources existed until my second year of college, psychometrics class,” confesses Derek, who was instantly smitten with the field. Derek says he saw HR as a way to make his mark, eventually branching out as an entrepreneur, but not before getting the appropriate experience with big firms, and the MBA for executives program at AU under his belt. Highly recommended by colleagues and alumni of the well-recognized alma mater, 12 CONNECTED

Athabasca University


Faculty of Business

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boasting the flexibility of not having to be in a classroom and the ability to work at his career concurrently, the choice was a no-brainer for Derek. “I started the program out of Ottawa. I did a lot of coursework out of Chicago’s O’Hare airport and a lot of flying around, which was the only option.” He adds that, in addition to online learning, the program is well-suited “Startups are kind of like to candidates with business acumen paired with ample real-life driving mini Tesla sports experience. The latter part he learned cars: they go very fast, they in the trenches at Corel, BioWare, perform well, and you’re EA Sports, Kabam, and Alcatel/ not sure they are going to Newbridge Networks, before hanging be successful – but it’s a lot out his own shingle. Somewhere more fun.” along the way, Derek says he got the – Derek Sidebottom, AU MBA alumnus “startup” bug. Lately, through Squadley, which he co-founded with his partner, wife, and fellow HR aficionado, Jennifer Farris. He enjoys the adrenalin of working with up-and-comers, “startups are kind of like driving mini Tesla sports cars: they go very fast, they perform well, and you’re not sure if they are going to be successful – but it’s a lot more fun.” His success is marked, now counting firms the likes of Virgin Galactic, HoneyBook, LendingHome, and GoPro among his clients. He also collaborates with fellow Canadian, AU alumnus, and Silicon Valley transplant Blaine Mathieu, as a “guru” in the field of HR for Blaine’s marketing strategy consulting firm. Though ever-appreciative of his Canadian roots CANADIAN ROOTS: Athabasca University MBA grad Derek Sidebottom likens his business approach to being a “nice” Canadian guy.

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(though he admittedly resists not planning outings based on weather), when not working on his business or side projects, Derek enjoys his new life in sunny California. Admittedly prone to product discussions at 11 p.m. with Jennifer (who heads her own HR company), the pair enjoys kid-friendly activities with daughter Evie or exploring wine regions of Napa and Sonoma. He also makes time for shop talk mixed with local nosh with fellow AU alum Blaine, whom he met when the pair worked together at Corel in Ottawa, Ontario. BLAINE MATHIEU WAS CHAMPING AT THE BIT TO enter business, and the world stage, when most of his peers were looking forward to playing afterschool sports. The Chief Marketing Officer and principal consultant at Chief Outsiders (the company recently merged with Clear Strategy Group, which he founded) was admittedly nerdy long before TV shows like The Big Bang Theory made it cool. Not satisfied with playing Pong in his parents’ basement, the Peace River, Alberta native had big dreams that would eventually take him far from home. “At the age of 14, I started my own company called Turning Point Software, and I wrote software applications to help large enterprises and accounting firms in Canada track clients’ assets,” he notes, with a chuckle. He even had an assistant, his mom, who would field his business calls while he wrote code, initiated direct mailing campaigns and took out ads for his business in the Financial Post. Athabasca University


Like Derek, his business philosophy has been influenced by his native Canada, despite his extensive work in the United States. “I have people all the time, ever since I have been in Silicon Valley, commenting on my Canadianness, that I am a nice guy, that I have high emotional intelligence, and that I am very welcoming,” he says. “I think they even project their attitudes about Canadians onto me.” He doesn’t mind the typecasting, though, because it’s served him well in the cutthroat world of tech companies. Using his “Canadian approach,” Blaine has grown his business to include gurus from some of the heaviest hitters in the Silicon Valley and across the globe, and is now helping tech companies to “bridge the gap between strategy and execution,” he says. He is currently penning a book, due to be released in September, Creating Profitable, Recurring Revenue Streams with a Business-as-a-Service Model, which will have an associated webinar. Blaine cut his teeth in the tech industry with stints at Adobe, Corel, and Gartner, where he got his first bigcompany gig after gaining some street cred with a blog about the ‘new economy’ and the Internet. He touts a business degree from the University of Alberta and an MBA from Athabasca University’s Faculty of Business, and was an early adopter of the Web. “All the MBA papers that I wrote were about the Internet and strategies for the new Internet economy. I wrote my thesis as a business plan for a brand-new Internet company,” he says, noting the business never made it off the drawing board, though he soon did, when the big guns to the south showed interest. “I had Amazon Faculty of Business

AU MBA alumnus and I had Gartner (calling), but I really wanted to get Blaine Mathieu uses his to Silicon Valley – so I chose Gartner.” Canadian approach to He started working with Gartner from his home in grow his business to include some of the St. Albert, Alberta, but left for California soon after heaviest hitters in netting his MBA from AU in 1999. His career has been Silicon Valley. spent mostly in the States, except for a stint with Corel back in Ottawa in the early to mid2000s – where he fortuitously met “I have people all the time, fellow Canuck, Derek Sidebottom. Over the years the two have reflected ever since I have been in on much common ground, from being Silicon Valley, commenting Canadian, to the Athabasca University on my Canadianness, MBA program, to their experiences in that I am a nice guy, that Silicon Valley. He echoes Derek’s I have high emotional sentiments about the well-designed intelligence and that I am curriculum and format, which has served him well. “It [AU] was using the very welcoming.” latest in online collaboration – Blaine Mathieu, AU MBA alumnus technologies, which appealed to me as a tech guy, the notion of an online MBA,” he explains. Blaine is father to an adult son, who is now following in his dad’s footsteps by completing a business degree and now holding a position at tech startup Houzz, and husband of 28 years to wife Wendy, who shares his love of Canada as well as his love of lifelong learning. Starting as a teacher and school administrator back in Canada, Wendy is now the Director of Product Management for Pearson Learning. Their love of technology often spills into home life, he jokes. “We spend our evenings talking about technology together, because that’s what we both do all day.” CONNECTED 15


Eric Loewen, Team Leader, Learning & Development Team with Geoff Frodsham, President & CEO

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Athabasca University


By putting people first, Princess Auto leads the way in Management Development BY HEATHER BISSONNETTE PHOTOS COURTESY OF PRINCESS AUTO, LTD.

ODAY’S WORKFORCE IS MUCH DIFFERENT THAN IT was a decade ago. It is diverse, rapidly changing, and suffused with technology. Navigating through these changes have challenged many traditional concepts of business development, including planning for future leaders. “The business environment is changing exponentially. It’s rapid. It’s evolving. We have all sorts of digital disruptions occurring, different notions, strategic planning. Long-term planning has completely evolved,” explained Dr. Angela Workman-Stark, Program Director, Leadership and Management Development (LMD) for Athabasca University’s (AU) Faculty of Business. In order for organizations to keep up with the evolution of the workforce they must determine how and what level of succession planning for leadership needs to be developed. Long-time Canadian retailer, Princess Auto, Ltd. (PAL) has always put people first. PAL has over 2,400 team members across the country operating three distribution centres, an electronic fulfillment centre, a home office in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and 44 retail stores spanning from British Columbia to Newfoundland. “At Princess Auto we lead by values,” said Heather TurnbullSmith, Vice President, Learning and Development. “These values are more than something that sit on the wall. They are the anchoring pieces for the organization and these five elements [teamwork, ownership, people, integrity, and community] are instrumental to the way the company is run.” Because of these values, primarily the company’s dedication to people, Princess Auto did something unique. Instead of enrolling high-level executives from the senior management team (typical of organizations seeking to develop leaders) they decided to enrol mid-career leaders and team members in AU’s Leadership & Faculty of Business

Management Development series, specifically their Leadership certificate of completion. “We want people to build a career here at Princess Auto,” explained Talent Development Leader, Gillian Kibsey. “We thought it was important to develop our people at varying levels to give them the ability to compete for positions and also to see that laterally there may be other positions in other departments that they haven’t even thought about.” Students in the program are leaders that were looking to grow their careers. To ensure that the students had support and sponsorship, they were teamed with mentors that were more senior in level and experience. “The role of the mentors was to provide integration to the business for their learning and sponsorship for their careers,” explained Heather. “We wanted each pair to have enough in common to develop a relationship – but could challenge each other’s views and push them to work harder and get more out of the program than if they were going at it alone.” The mentor/mentee relationship was built throughout the course of the Leadership series. Each pair was responsible for creating their own systems. One of the pairs was Aileen Boehm and Eric Loewen, mentor and mentee, respectively. Aileen is currently the Team Leader for the Regina, Saskatchewan store and offers 25 years of retail experience. In contrast, Eric works out of Princess Auto’s home office in Winnipeg, Manitoba and was only a year into his role as an Instructional Designer when he enrolled in AU’s Leadership certificate of completion. Since it was the first time for Princess Auto to enrol a large group of their people in AU’s Leadership & Management Development CONNECTED 17


series, neither Aileen nor Eric really knew what they were getting into. “I wasn’t sure what to expect because I felt like I could be a candidate for this program, but in the end, it was more about providing support and talking things through and getting different perspectives. It worked out really well,” said Aileen. From Eric’s perspective he said, “It [AU’s leadership courses] gave me an opportunity to put a certificate behind the leadership skills, some of which I had through experience.” He added, “It also gave me connections within the business and more visibility here [at PAL] to build on those connections and those “I wasn’t sure what to relationships. The mentorship expect because I felt like involvement was a big part and it I could be a candidate for helped to showcase myself through this program, but in the the project portion and set me up for end, it was more about leadership roles in the future.” Since finishing his last course in providing support and December 2016, Eric has received talking things through a promotion from Instructional and getting different Designer to Team Leader in perspectives. It worked Princess Auto’s Learning and out really well.” Development team. – Aileen Boehm, Team Leader The analogy between middle Regina, SK store managers and middle children is one that is frequently made. Both are often overlooked, neglected, and sometimes forgotten all together to figure things out on their own. After closer examination of an organization, it makes good business sense for more attention and investment to be paid to middle management. After all, as Angela states, “that’s where rubber meets the road. You see the greatest challenges and where things can start to break down with the unique nature of the role. They are analogous to the meat in Proud Princess Auto Leadership graduates with President & CEO Geoff Frodsham.

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the sandwich, they have push down from the top of the organization and push up from the bottom.” Princess Auto recognized this need and the importance to provide leadership and management development education to their team members at the middle management level. So far, it seems to be paying off. Five of the ten team members/students received either a promotion or a lateral move within the organization either during their time in AU’s leadership courses, or shortly following completion. Although the initial outcome has been positive, Heather would like to stress that the motivation for taking AU’s leadership courses isn’t strictly for succession purposes. “What it did for a lot of our leaders was to help frame a specific development plan that they had never had before,” she said. “But it’s not a guaranteed ticket to the game – just because someone has taken the program doesn’t mean that they will just get the next promotion that is posted.” For 85 years, Princess Auto has kept true to its core values. Contrary to most companies caught in the uberization of business, Princess Auto is looking inward. It is investing in leaders at untraditional levels and planning for its future. “They [PAL] saw that growth of profits comes through growth of people,” said Eric. “They are not going to get there by trimming, and cutting, and slicing. They are going to get there by developing, growing, learning, and excelling.” Although it may be too early to measure the ROI from this first group of Princess Auto team members/ students, the experience from the AU Leadership & Management Development series was so positive that the company is gearing up to enrol another group for the January 2018 intake. Upholding, once again, a Princess Auto core value: People. Athabasca University


EACH YEAR, ATHABASCA UNIVERSITY (AU) together with Alumni Relations, honours an impressive selection of students and alumni through our Alumni Awards. Recognizing our students and alumni for all of the great things they do – well, we think that is definitely something worth celebrating! For over 20 years, AU has been honouring its graduates for their outstanding achievements and their impact on the communities in which they live. In 1994, AU began honouring alumni with the Distinguished Alumni Award. In 2005, the Rising Star Award was added and then in 2010, realizing the need to also recognize current students, the Volunteer Service Award and Future Alumni Award were added. The Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes the accomplishments of an AU graduate who has brought honour and prestige to the university. The recipient of this award will be selected based on; their outstanding contributions to any field of human endeavor, extraordinary contributions to their community, and exemplary service to Athabasca University. The Rising Star Award recognizes an AU graduate who has demonstrated leadership and made significant contributions to areas of expertise early in their career or who has recently advanced significantly in their career. The recipient of this award will be selected based on; substantial contributions and demonstrations of leadership (either early in their career or immediately after a significant career change), rapid career advancement, significant success at an early age or in a new

industry, and exemplary service to Athabasca University. The Future Alumni Award recognizes the leadership, service, and potential of a current AU student who has completed a minimum of 15 course credits through AU. The recipient of this award will be selected based on; leadership in and substantial contributions to their community or career while also balancing the demands of student life, academic excellence and potential for future personal and professional growth and achievement, and exemplary service to Athabasca University and fellow students. The Volunteer Service Award recognizes an AU graduate for volunteer service that demonstrates having made a difference to the well-being of others, at home or abroad. The recipient of this award For additional information will be selected based on; a spirit or to nominate a deserving of volunteerism and community Faculty of Business student service demonstrated through or alumni, visit : active, unpaid involvement in and alumni.athabascau.ca/ contributions to their community, awards.php and a record of exceptional commitment, service, creativity, cooperation or leadership that inspires others to engage in volunteer service. Do you know a remarkable AU Faculty of Business student or alumni? Nominate them for an award! Nominations can be submitted by classmates, colleagues, friends, and family – you do not need to be an AU student or alumni to nominate someone. Nominations open in early 2018, so you still have time to think of the perfect Faculty of Business candidate!

PREVIOUS FACULTY OF BUSINESS AWARD RECIPIENTS: 2005 2005 2007 2007 2008 2008 2010 2010 2010 2011 2011 2012 2013 2014 2014

Distinguished Alumni Award:............................. Dr. Leona Makokis, ’81 Bachelor of Administration Rising Star Award:.............................................. Irene Jeremic, ’05 MBA Distinguished Alumni Award: ............................. Lorraine McGrath, ’98 MBA Rising Star Award: ............................................. Sharon Barnes, ’06 MBA Distinguished Alumni Award:............................. Melissa Blake, ’94 Bachelor of Administration Rising Star Award: ............................................. Gustavo Zentner, ’05 MBA Distinguished Alumni Award: ............................. Corrine Scott, ’06 MBA Rising Star Award: ............................................. Derek Prue, ’04 MBA Future Alumni Award: ........................................ Teang Tang, Bachelor of Management student Distinguished Alumni Award: ............................. Doug Schindel, ’05 MBA Future Alumni Award: ........................................ Heather Ruhl, ’11 Bachelor of Commerce Rising Star Award: ............................................. Denise Blair, ‘10 MBA Rising Star Award: ............................................. Moiz Bhamani, ’12 MBA Distinguished Alumni Award: ............................. Dr. Glenn Berall, ’07 MBA Rising Star Award:.............................................. Jan Reischek, ’13 MBA

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WHERE IN THE WORLD 2. Umar Kukkadi, MBA ’17 Studied from: Pangnirtung, Nunavut What was the best thing about studying with Athabasca University’s Faculty of Business? The entire MBA program is interactive, well structured with great course content, and ably guided.

2. 1. 6. Seevrani Dursun,

3.

1. Duane Ledell, MBA ‘17 Studied from: Edmonton, Alberta What was the best thing about studying with Athabasca University’s Faculty of Business? My journey with AU allowed me to grow my career while expanding my family and working full-time. The MBA experience not only opened up new career ‘doors’ but also led me down the right path.

4.

3. Nadia Akkerhuis, MBA ’08 Studied from: Portsmouth, New Hampshire (and Switzerland and France!) What was the best thing about studying with Athabasca University’s Faculty of Business? The access to fantastic teachers, who are leaders in their fields, and the international community of students providing amazing perspective and enriching our experiences, all while allowing me to continue to work and move internationally!

4. Pilar Alvarez, Bachelor of Commerce student Studying from: México City, México What is the best thing about studying with Athabasca University’s Faculty of Business? I was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2012 and had to move home to México. I needed to be close to my family but wanted to continue with my studies, Athabasca University enabled me to do that.

5.

Bachelor of Management ‘16 Studied from: Paris, France What was the best thing about studying with Athabasca University’s Faculty of Business? During my studies, I travelled quite a lot. Studying at Athabasca has not only helped me academically but it also transformed me – I developed organizational skills, time management competence, self-motivation, and so much more that will play in my favour while climbing the career ladder!

7. Charles Berry, Bachelor of Commerce ‘11 Studied from: Stuttgart, Germany What was the best thing about studying with Athabasca University’s Faculty of Business? The flexibility! AU allowed me to study Canadian material while I was working in Germany as a professional ballet dancer and touring the world. Some of my textbooks have seen the inside of the Opera Garnier in Paris, the Coliseum in London, and theatres in Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Seoul!

5. Carlos Mesa, MBA ‘13 Studied from: Bogota, Columbia What was the best thing about studying with Athabasca University’s Faculty of Business? Athabasca University opened my eyes to the world and gave me a new vision to my life, not only as a person, but as a professional. 20 CONNECTED

Athabasca University


Students from around the globe choose programs from Athabasca University Faculty of Business 8. Sarah Mulligan, University Certificate in Accounting student Studying from: Xi’an, Shaanxi, People’s Republic of China What is the best thing about studying with Athabasca University’s Faculty of Business? Independence, freedom, and support are three words that sum up why AU’s Faculty of Business is the best place to pursue higher education. I had all but given up pursuing a degree until I was put in touch with AU – I quickly realized there still was hope to further my education.

6.

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8. 9. 9. David B. Melles, MBA student

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Studying from: Toyko, Japan What is the best thing about studying with Athabasca University’s Faculty of Business? It gives an individual the opportunity to engage their potential through personal connection, collective conversation, and environmental exploration – ultimately leading to one’s own realizations!

10. Mohannad Aboelrouse, MBA student Studying from: Cairo, Egypt What is the best thing about studying with Athabasca University’s Faculty of Business? The best thing for me is learning side-by-side with intelligent colleagues with different expertise, backgrounds, and cultures than my own.

11.

11. Theo König, Bachelor of Commerce student Studying from: Singapore What is the best thing about studying with Athabasca University’s Faculty of Business? What I enjoy the most is the freedom and independence it allows me to have, as I am able to study at any time, in any place.

12.

12. Dale Blyth, MBA ‘15 Studied from: Perth, West Australia What was the best thing about studying with Athabasca University’s Faculty of Business? The flexibility – I completed over 40% of the MBA on planes or in airports to mesh in with my work travel commitments.

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Five Things You Can Do to Keep Stress in Check

TTENDING UNIVERSITY ONLINE ENABLES you to get an education while still maintaining a career and a personal life – but having to juggle your professional life, your studies, and your

BY JORDAN WARDELL

personal life can come with tremendous stress. Managing stress is something you can learn to do (yes, really!), consequently helping to avoid burnout – which leads to lower productivity, less energy, and an overall negative outlook.

KEEP TRACK OF YOUR STRESSORS Keeping track of situations that trigger stress will empower you to better handle or avoid those situations altogether in the future. If stressful situations are unavoidable, which they often are, it is important to keep your mind and body healthy. Getting enough sleep and exercising regularly are known stress busters. Keep a positive attitude about the work you are doing and try to practice some form of mindfulness, whether that is meditating, watching a movie, or spending time with your family. Getting worked up over situations that you cannot control will only contribute to your stress level.

USE ONE CALENDAR Schedule all of your professional and personal appointments as well as academic deadlines in one place. Although you can’t plan for work or personal emergencies that come up suddenly, keep in mind that these things can, and often will, occur. Be sure to allow yourself enough blocked off study time in the day to be able to adjust. Include scheduled breaks on days that are particularly busy. A typical rule of thumb for taking study breaks is one 15-minute break for every 45-minutes of work. Having allocated time in your day for everything that needs to be done will allow you to focus on the task at hand and avoid splitting your attention. 22 CONNECTED

Athabasca University


KEEP IT POSITIVE In a world where we are constantly flooded with information, photos, and social media updates, it’s easy to define your own self-worth by comparing yourself to the success of others. Be mindful of negative self-talk. Recognize when you start to have deleterious thoughts and try to replace them with something positive. Your own inner dialogue has an enormous effect on how you feel about yourself. Being aware of these negative thoughts and working to replace them with uplifting thoughts, no matter how small, can have an overall positive result on stress levels. SET TASK-FOCUSED GOALS OVER PERFORMANCE-BASED GOALS Having set goals for the grades you want to receive throughout your education is a great start, but it’s not enough to get you there. It can be intimidating and overwhelming to see how much work it will take for you to reach your goal. Having performance-based goals is common, but the goal of simply receiving a good mark may not be enough to push you to get that A+ grade. A study from the National Bureau of Economic Research says that students who set their goals on the tasks required to get a good grade, rather than just setting a goal to achieve a certain grade, performed better overall. By setting a task-based goal, you are focusing on the input of work rather than the output result. Good grades can be a major source of stress, focusing on the tasks and steps required to get to the good grade, rather than just the end result, can help to alleviate stress. CREATE A DEDICATED SPACE FOR SCHOOL WORK Designating a space in your home to focus on your studies can help to delineate study time from personal time. But wherever you choose, keep your bedroom off the list. Your bedroom should remain a sanctuary – a place of rest and relaxation, not a work space. When you go to bed, you are there to unwind and recharge. While it is important to create an environment that encourages productivity and focus, having a space that is not associated with work or school is equally as important. Faculty of Business

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BY DEREK DRAGER

PHOTO: SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY

ENJAMIN DISRAELI, THE GREAT BRITISH parliamentarian of the 19th century, reputedly divided lies into three categories: “lies, damned lies, and statistics.” This might have been the original salvo fired into a battle that continues to rage in our own century. It’s fitting then, that Athabasca University’s (AU) MBA in Hockey Management program brings a learned perspective to the ongoing debate about statistics as they pertain to the business of sport. Dr. Rodney Paul, professor for the program’s Hockey Operations course, offers a “numbers week” that delves into advanced analytics and how they can help NHL organizations evaluate player and team performance, among other functions. He leads his students through an investigation into the data currently available to hockey management, where the data can be useful, and where it can be misleading.

Dr. Rodney Paul 24 CONNECTED

INSIDERS VS. OUTSIDERS, NERDS VS. OLD PROS This reasoned, academic approach suggests that the debate about statistics doesn’t have to be an either/ or proposition, unlike Hollywood’s depiction in the Oscar-nominated, 2011 hit Moneyball. Against the objections of flinty-eyed, veteran baseball scouts, a nerdish, Yale-trained economist used “sabermetrics” to give the penurious Oakland Athletics a player-evaluating edge against their wealthier competition. (Michael Lewis’s 2003 book of the same name told the truer, more nuanced story.) Since the early 2000s, advanced analytics have gained wider acceptance in the Major Leagues, but their incursion into the hockey world has been slower. Dr. Rodney Paul acknowledges that even in 2017 there is still resistance in some professional hockey organizations regarding the newer statistics that are now used by many analysts, “There is some natural friction between old school methods and Athabasca University


new data-based evaluation. In a perfect world, you find those synergies [involving both models].” This natural friction still provides fodder for bloviating in the hockey blogosphere. For example, in a July 2017 post barking “Shots fired!”, Cult of Hockey blogger David Staples set a former NHLer’s comments about the role of toughness in the game (by implication unquantifiable) against the numbers-based analysis done by “hockey nerds” (Staples’ self-inclusive term). After much back and forth considering the merits of both sides – new stats or intangibles like team cohesiveness – he left the issue framed in a bi-polar paradigm. But in the real, results-driven world of the hockey business, that paradigm of numbers nerds versus savvy old pros, while not gone completely, is morphing into something different. Now, the synergies of which Dr. Rodney Paul speaks are providing value for many NHL franchises. Brian Burke, co-founder of the Business of Hockey Institute, (AU is the educational provider to the Business of Hockey Institute) is also President of Hockey Operations for the Calgary Flames. As one of the NHL’s arch-insiders and old-timers, Burke is nonetheless a hardnosed proponent of evidencebased decision making and proud of the Flames’ investment in the new science of analytics: “We have the best analytics guy in the league [Director Chris Snow].” Burke explains that Snow is an important voice at the table in the Flames’ operation; working with scouts, coaches and management on player evaluation, with management on contract preparations and negotiations, and with the coaching staff on tactical preparations from game to game. Other NHL organizations have gone deeper with the numbers game. In 2016, the struggling Arizona Coyotes hired then-26-year old, John Chayka, a statistics wunderkind, to be their general manager, raising eyebrows throughout the league. While the jury is still out on that precipitous move, the Toronto Star dubbed 2016 “the summer of analytics,” reporting that 20 of the NHL’s then-30 teams (there are now 31) listed at least one analytics-related employee in their staff directories. In 2017, it’s hard to tell from scanning NHL websites which organizations have invested more in analytics than others. Some show multiple employees dedicated to the function, others none. It’s worth noting that Brian Burke’s fierce rivals and immediate neighbours to the north, the Edmonton Oilers, identify no analytics specialist on their website, yet they have several staff members devoted to comprehensive statistical analysis. Faculty of Business

SMARTEST GAME, HARDEST TO ANALYZE The question that continues to dog the NHL, and hockey in general, isn’t so much about whether advanced stats can help measure player and team performance, but which stats can and should be applied. American journalist Adam Gopnik indirectly addresses this strategic challenge in his thought-provoking essay “Why hockey is the smartest game in the world” (commissioned by the CBC for the 2011 Massey Lecture series). Employing mathematical game theory, and psychological concepts such as spatial intelligence and situational awareness, he compares the frozen game to other major team sports, “Hockey approaches a more perfect balance between planning and “There is some natural reading, idea and improvisation, than any other sport.” He breaks friction between old down some of the great goals of school methods and new hockey lore, suggesting that each data-based evaluation. In one “is the result of a plan and a perfect world, you find history unknown to or beyond the those synergies [involving control of the opposition, shared both models].” among the players through their – Dr. Rodney Paul, Athabasca University’s common spatial intelligence, each MBA in Hockey Management program taking place at such high speed that the plan is invisible to all but the tutored eye.” One can infer from Gopnik’s almost lyrical praise of the game that it can be subject to empirical analysis (“planning and reading”), and yet because of its speed and team chemistry (“common spatial intelligence”), it can at times defy attempts to quantify its working parts. Brian Burke weighs in on this conundrum simply and effectively, “Baseball is uniquely suited to statistical analysis because it’s a series of identical, repetitive events. Only the pitches change. Hockey is much more random.” He says the physical element of the game is harder to quantify (even with stats on hits given and taken) and throws in his favourite term ‘truculence’ – “How do you measure that?” That’s why Burke’s Flames use analytics as one tool for evaluative purposes. Two others, which Burke ranks higher in his preference, are the “eyetest” (watching a player perform on the ice over a period of time), and character checks (references and player interviews). THE AU PERSPECTIVE Dr. Rodney Paul believes the stats he covers in his “numbers week” can support Brian Burke’s higher ranked tools. He hopes the day will come when the experts devise statistical methods to assess even the random, capricious elements of the game. For now, CONNECTED 25


PHOTO COURTESY BRIAN BURKE

PHOTO COURTESY OF KERRY MCGOWAN

though, he and his students, and the pros who work within the NHL and its constituencies, will rely on current arcana such as Corsi numbers, Fenwick numbers, the Royal Road, green goals, red goals, WOWY (“with or without you”), zone start Brian Burke, percentages, and on and on. Today’s hockey fan co-founder of the Business of Hockey maybe conversant with some of these terms, but Institute. hockey operations pros must be able to research them (through many independent databases), in some cases generate them, interpret them, and provide sound strategic counsel to senior management based on their expertise with these data. At least two of AU’s MBA in Hockey “The 24/7 sports news Management students are well versed stream has pressured in advanced analytics. Shane Malloy the business into finding works daily with analytics, ever more things to talk generating detailed data reports on about. Numbers and every NHL, AHL, and CHL player for their proponents feed Electronic Arts, the company that some of that need.” produces wildly popular pro hockey – Kerry McGowan, student in AU’s video games. The players featured in MBA in Hockey Management these games make their virtual moves program based on the data provided by Malloy. He’s also authored an homage to the work of amateur hockey scouts, The Art of Scouting. His take on analytics? “[It’s] been around in hockey for 10 years or more, but it’s still in its infancy. We’re going through the process of learning what metrics are most useful.” Kerry McGowan is a fellow cohort member of Malloy’s, and in the same vein, he’s making use of IN THE GAME: Athabasca University MBA in Hockey Management student, Kerry McGowan.

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analytics in an ancillary part of the hockey business. He’s a shareholder in the Nation Network, a series of NHL fan websites that make extensive use of bloggers who draw from analytics databases to provide commentary for hockey enthusiasts. McGowan is also the owner of an oilfield services company, and like Burke, he’s a believer in stats and evidence-based decision making. “It helps you avoid breathing your own exhaust.” As for stats and the Nation Network, “The 24/7 sports news stream has pressured the business into finding ever more things to talk about. Numbers and their proponents feed some of that need.” A SYNERGISTIC FUTURE? Kerry McGowan and Shane Malloy know both the marketing value and the strategic value of advanced analytics. The new numbers are obviously a vital and growing part of many facets of the hockey business. The combination of forward-thinking hockey executives, and academics like Dr. Paul and his students, will drive this growth into the future. The professor speculates about a time when the synergies he seeks may possibly help measure intangibles like truculence and team chemistry. He says that with a large enough database more patterns will emerge, and more collaborative use of different tools in hockey operations will continue to improve decision-making. And at least a few graduates of AU’s MBA in Hockey Management will play a role in making the world’s smartest game even smarter. Athabasca University


For more information about the online MBA in Hockey Management and the Certified Hockey Professional designation:

1.800.561.4650 business.athabascau.ca/hockey-mba Applications Deadline: MBA & CHP designation: March 15, 2018 In partnership with:

“The MBA and CHP has allowed me to bridge the gap between strategic business capabilities and its relation to the business of hockey. I am looking forward to applying the unique skills I have developed to propel my organization to new strategic and innovative heights.� Taylor Reid Student, MBA in Hockey Management Senior Client Strategist PwC


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Athabasca University


BY HEATHER BISSONNETTE PHOTO BY ALEXIS MCKEOWN

N EXECUTIVE IN RESIDENCE (EIR) IS AN AVID AMBASSADOR OF THE Faculty of Business, a well-known and respected business expert, a business resource and mentor to both our student and alumni community. The EIR is an important resource supporting the Faculty of Business in enhancing its strategic goals; to strengthen ties to industry, to stay current and relevant in our educational programming, and ultimately to produce ‘business-ready’ graduates who contribute significantly to their communities. Russell Kalmacoff is a savvy businessperson with expertise in capital markets. He is a lateral thinker who has found that when operating at forty thousand feet – dots can be connected that others often miss, and disparate ideas can be hotwired into actionable forward momentum. Russell has worked on developing a 10-step path along the Innovation Continuum that can be utilized to assist students and alumni for turning business ideas into successful business realities. As the Faculty of Business’ first-ever Executive in Residence, Russell is excited and open for the opportunity to engage with students and alumni as they journey along their path of academic and business success. Our Executive in Residence is available to provide both our students and alumni with access to valuable business insights and to expose them to realworld business experiences. The goal of this program is to encourage new thinking and to support efforts helping students as they start and grow businesses. Russell has in-depth knowledge and a vast network in the innovation financing continuum and capital markets. Any student or AU alumni starting or growing a business is encouraged to connect with Russell. GETTING TO KNOW THE NEW EXECUTIVE IN RESIDENCE, RUSSELL KALMACOFF Athabasca University’s Faculty of Business (AUFB):  What excites you most about this new Executive in Residence (EIR) position? Russell Kalmacoff (RK): AUFB is carte blanche, a tabula rasa, unlike the more mature, hidebound institutions. Business Schools are unique among their peer faculties. They are where academic theory engages with the real world. I think we can do great things here. For example, I’m happy to provide mentorship for a paper on the operation of credit unions in Alberta to look to Quebec to see what they’ve done. I envision communicating it to government and then writing policy to get results. AUFB: How are you hoping to impact AUFB students and alumni in this new role? RK: I believe passionately in business schools. The number one most important thing is research carried out by universities. From the research, it’s important to Faculty of Business

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determine what’s commercializable. Business schools have the capability to understand, discern, and communicate what’s possible to the private sector and capital markets. I hope to assist in propelling student ideas along the commercialization trajectory. AUFB :  Who or what has been the most noteworthy influence on you professionally? RK: There are two people who are as relevant today as much as ever. The first was from my time as a student at the University of Manitoba: Dean Ralph Harris. It was his course: Government and Enterprise that showed me how it ain’t black and white. Dean Harris explained really early on about the importance of nuances between opposing “Don’t ever feel that groups and how to break them down you’re boxed in or simply. This is something I still apply today. cornered. There’s The second person was a professor at the always a way onward University of California, Berkeley: Federal and upward.” Reserve VP, Robert Einzig and his – Russell Kalmacoff, Executive course Money and Capital Markets – a tour in Residence de force that brought the subject alive, with humour and a twinkle in his eye. It was under the guidance and mentorship of Einzig that I wrote my first paper to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). AUFB : What are your plans to engage with the students and alumni in this new EIR role? RK: The present state of capital markets is chaotic and confusing. I’m very excited and honoured to be involved in the development of a model that summarizes and clarifies capital markets Interface throughout the Innovation Continuum. Beginning with the entrepreneur drawing from the well of pure research, and identifying a commercializable idea. It’s been a team effort between myself and AUFB, specifically the finance professors, to define 10 steps

that can lead the entrepreneur to emerge with a viable, stand-alone public company with all the tools of the capital markets at the corporation’s disposal. I look forward to assisting and engaging students and alumni as we plug in their ideas on the ten steps comprising the Innovation Continuum. AUFB : What’s the most important piece of advice you could pass onto AUFB students and alumni? RK: Don’t ever feel that you’re boxed in or cornered. There’s always a way onward and upward. If you find yourself feeling like there is no solution, then go and do something different from what you are currently doing. Take a break and find something that excites you and energizes you. Allow yourself time to soak it in. The time away from whatever is presenting a challenge should act as a re-set button, thus providing the will to overcome the challenge. For instance, when I’m feeling ground down one thing I like to do is get on a plane and spend some time in the San Francisco Bay Area – the land of boundless optimism. I find the energy in the area reinforces my will for forward momentum. “HOW TO” CONTACT INFO Have a great idea but need some advice? Get in touch with our Executive in Residence via email. Please include the following details: • A brief introduction of what you hope to achieve by corresponding with the Executive in Residence • Your idea or plan for discussion • Business plan (if applicable) • If seeking advice on financing, where your venture sits on the financing continuum • Your current contact information including a current email and phone number Contact Russell: russell.kalmacoff@fb.athabascau.ca

10 STEPS TO SUCCESS ON THE INNOVATION FINANCING CONTINUUM

1.

SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH Alberta Innovates

6.

ANGELS National Angel Capital Organization (NACO)

2.

FAMILY & FRIENDS Canadian Association of Family Enterprise (CAFE)

7.

EXEMPT MARKET National Exempt Market Association (NEMA)

3.

ALPHABET SOUP Chartered Professional Accountants (CPA)

8.

VENTURE CAPITAL FUNDS Canadian Venture Capital & Private Equity Association (CVCA)

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INCUBATORS Innovate Calgary TEC Edmonton (CABI) Canada (NBIA) US

9.

INDEPENDENT INVESTMENT DEALERS Investment Industry Association of Canada (IAC)

5.

CROWDFUNDING National Crowdfunding Association of Canada (NCFA)

10.

COMMERCIAL CREDIT Banks Credit Unions ATB

Russell Kalmacoff, President, Rockmount Financial Corporation

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Athabasca University


For more information on our DBA: 1-800-561-4650 business.athabascau.ca/dba

“I am humbled to have received such an honourable award and be recognised by a wider audience of academic peers.� Dr. Rosalie Hilde, DBA '13 Winner of the 2013 best dissertation award of the Academy of Management Critical Management Studies division, and graduate of the AU Doctorate in Business Administration.


MBA graduate helms the North American Indigenous Games BY ELIZABETH HOWELL PHOTOS COURTESY OF MARCIA TRUDEAU-BOMBERRY

PHOTO: NORTH AMERICAN INDIGENOUS GAMES 2017

PHOTO: DAVID TUCCARO & MARCIA TRUDEAU-BOMBERRY AT AU CONVOCATION

OR ATHABASCA UNIVERSITY MBA graduate Marcia Trudeau-Bomberry, her education will help her give back to the Indigenous community in which she was raised – a place she still calls home, with her daughters, husband, and extended family. Marcia is from the Wikwemikong Unceded Reserve on Ontario’s Manitoulin Island. The larger community is about 7,000 people, with close to half living on the reserve. The band’s membership is an amalgamation of three tribal nations – the Odawa, Pottawottomie, and Ojibway – and is fast growing in population and business opportunities. “Understanding economic development is an issue that is quite prevalent in First Nations communities, so to me it was a degree that was practical rather than the other option I considered, which was more research-based,” Trudeau-Bomberry said about her MBA. She appreciated the “learn it today, do it tomorrow,” practicality of the AU MBA. “There are a lot of different areas that various First Nations across the country are interested in. They want to know how to utilize effectively not only funding that comes from government, but also creating their own sources of revenue through entrepreneurship or business development opportunities.” Marcia helmed the group hosting the 8-day North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) in Ontario, which, by all accounts, was acclaimed as a tremendous success for the community. The Host Society managed to pull the planning and preparations together in only a year, stepping in when the United States (whose turn it was to host) did not have any offers for the games. It required a lot of sacrifice. Marcia made the six-hour commute to Toronto every week because she didn’t want to uproot her husband and two daughters, who are six and three years old – but she was committed. She is aware of the disheartening statistics for Indigenous women but also knows that she can, and will, make a difference. Marcia wants to show her children that Indigenous women do have opportunities in this country and can be whatever they choose to be. Her husband, who was completely encouraging of the decision, also wanted to show their children how parents support and 32 CONNECTED

Athabasca University


nurture each other’s goals, Marcia said. “My husband knew this was a dream job, and a really unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and was very supportive of what needed to be done over the last year,” Marcia said. “I don’t think I would have been able to do the job without him, and our extended families, who helped with the girls over the past year.” It was a peripatetic journey for Marcia to become CEO of the games. She spent her early years in Manitoulin, attending school and speaking the native language of the tribe, Anishinabemowin. She explained that the language has a strong link to the land and the natural world. It’s a connection that keeps drawing her back to her community, even as her jobs and education take her all over Canada and the United States. Marcia, now 41, graduated with a double major in both communications studies and sociology from Brock University “Back then it was challenging, because Internet technology was not nearly as strong as it is now, and everybody was really only able to communicate by phone,” she recalled. Marcia found it difficult to live so far from home, but said the university’s support networks – and in particular, mentor and now associate professor, Marian Bredin – were instrumental in encouraging her and helping with her studies. One of her early jobs was at a now-defunct department of the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency responsible for border services. Marcia spent “an interesting couple of summers” as a customs officer at the Rainbow Bridge at Niagara Falls, awed by the number of cultures, customs, and languages that came through Canada’s borders every day. After university, Marcia wasn’t sure what she wanted to do next – but she always had the desire to work with Indigenous populations. She first worked in employment and training at the Niagara Regional Native Centre. From there, she moved back to Manitoulin where she helped to develop community recreation programs for Wikwemikong. It was during this time, she said, that introduced her to the need for sports and physical activities in Indigenous communities. “It just contributes to overall wellness,” Marcia said. “First Nations peoples have the highest levels of healthrelated issues such as diabetes and obesity. Everything is interconnected, and physical activity is key as well as education around nutrition, mental health, and spiritual health.” Eventually, she moved on to a consulting firm in the community, which led her to recognize a gap in media and communications. “Together with a consultant and friend from home, we developed a business plan to undertake a community newspaper. He stayed for six weeks, and I continued for about three years. I was editor, publisher, writer, and photographer,” Marcia added with a laugh. Marcia switched gears after realizing her newspaper needed to expand into digital spaces to increase its Faculty of Business

readership. Instead of pursuing that road, she took her communications experience and used it at the Aboriginal Sports Circle in Ottawa, a national organization for sport and physical activity. After three years there, she worked for aboriginal recruitment at York University in Toronto, then followed that up by consulting on the creation of the Aboriginal Sports and Wellness Council of Ontario. “I did that for about a year – that’s about the same time I learned that I had been successful in my application to Athabasca University’s MBA program, and also learned I was pregnant with my first daughter,” Marcia said. She was determined that she would power through, finishing in five years and attending the graduation ceremony with her husband and now two little girls, both born during her studies. One of Marcia’s AU highlights was receiving the David Tuccaro Award, a “Everything is bursary from Indspire – which interconnected, and allowed her to do an in-residence physical activity is key as elective course on international business and understanding legal risks well as education around hosted in Washington, D.C. Marcia nutrition, mental health, credits this course with helping her to and spiritual health.” understand how to navigate different – Marcia Trudeau-Bomberry, Athabasca laws, treaties, and customs necessary University MBA graduate for doing business outside of Canada. Marcia’s attention these days is focused on wrapping up her responsibilities as CEO of the North American Indigenous Games before deciding what to do next. Looking back over her time with NAIG, she says she was pleased to lead the group because she has always been a strong advocate for sports and physical activity. “We know the benefits of sports – on building FAMILY SUPPORT: (L-R) Saul Bomberry, character, teams, leadership skills, resilience, mental Olive-Marie Bomberry, fortitude – all these great qualities,” she said, but called Marcia Trudeauthe games “a unique movement unto themselves” Bomberry, Lauren Bomberry. because of the support from the Indigenous community.

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Celebrating Athabasca University’s Faculty of Business graduates BY DEB SCABER

ON THE WEEKEND OF JUNE 9-10, 2017, Athabasca University’s Faculty of Business welcomed graduates along with their families and friends to celebrate all of their hard work and tremendous achievements. The convocation ceremony was held in Athabasca, Alberta. Following the ceremony, a gala dinner and reception for the newly minted grads was held in Edmonton, Alberta. For numerous faculty and students this coming together has especially significant meaning as many are meeting in-person for the very first time at convocation. It is truly a special occasion to witness and be part of. Congratulations to our 360 new Faculty of Business graduates! We couldn’t be prouder to welcome you to the alumni family! And don’t forget…if you are graduating in 2018, plan to attend convocation. We look forward to celebrating with you!

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PHOTOS: (Left to Right) 1. Dr. Deborah Hurst, Dean, Faculty of Business, Dr. Charles Crawford, DBA, Highest DBA GPA, Dr. Neil Fassina, President, Athabasca University 2. 11

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Dr. Deborah Hurst, Dean, Faculty of Business, Duane Leedell, MBA, Highest MBA GPA, Dr. Neil Fassina, President, Athabasca University

3. Tara Lerer, BComm, Highest overall GPA & Class Valedictorian, Dr. Neil Fassina, President, Athabasca University 4. Dr. Deborah Hurst, Dean, Faculty of Business, Tara Lerer, BComm, Highest overall GPA & Class Valedictorian, Dr. Neil Fassina, President, Athabasca University 5. Carol Clark, MBA, and Chris Kachuk, MBA, Toast to the Families

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6. Victor Jensch, MBA ’11 Valedictorian, Alumni Toast to the Grads 7. “The Final Assignment” Steve Roosdahl, MBA, Sam Salimi Beni, MBA, Satvir Tkachuk, MBA 8. Brenda Sheets, AU Staff, Morgan Robertson, MBA 9. Dr. Charles Crawford, DBA, Dr. Kay Devine, DBA Program Director, Dr. Tanveer Ahmed, DBA 10. Rosalynn Dubon, BMgmt

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11. Dr. Deborah Hurst, Dean, Faculty of Business, Dr. Angela Workman-Stark, LMD Program Director, Dr. Lee Ann Keple, Professor 12. Dr. Deborah Hurst, Dean, Faculty of Business, Kari-Ann Gervais, MBA, Dr. Angela Workman-Stark, LMD Program Director 13. Andreas Adler, BAdmn & Andrea Creagh, BAdmn

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14. Kristin Mulligan, MBA, with son 15. Athabasca University Mace 16. Runell Viray, MBA 17. Dr. Neil Fassina, President, Athabasca University 18. Muhammad Iqbal Wattoo, MBA & Tariq AlShaikh, MBA 19. Athabasca University Staff

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20. Igor Bakracevski, MBA, Shawn Horton, MBA & Nikolas Bakracevski CONNECTED 35


YOUR NEXT READ Lee Ann Keple, Professor, Marketing & Strategy Book: Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip Heath & Dan Heath Why You Should Read It: I was drawn back to this book as I contemplated the relative power of 140-character tweets in shaping public opinion. What makes messages memorable? Why do some important theories and opinions get little attention? The authors say to keep it simple, avoid complicated statistics...and enjoy reading the rest of this engaging book to find out more. Dr. Kay Devine, Professor & DBA Program Director Book: The Endurance: Shackleton’s Legendary Antarctic Expedition by Caroline Alexander Why you should read it: If you are ever challenged by life or in your work, this incredible tale of leadership and survival will inspire you to carry on. Dr. Saktinil Roy, Associate Professor, Economics Book: Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein Why You Should Read It: This is a wonderful book about how people often make choices with simple heuristics, sometimes leading to outcomes that they themselves don’t like, and how policies can be framed and incentive schemes can be devised to nudge people into making the right decisions. Dr. Gail Johnson Morris, Professor, Ethics & Applied Project Supervisor Book: Building the Bridge as You Walk on it: A Guide for Leading Change by Robert E. Quinn Why you should read it: Leadership is an inside game. Quinn unpacks the fundamental state of leadership – the state where we focus on ‘what do I want to create?’ The answer to this question invites us into a creative, energised, and generative state. Our movement towards positive creation invites the same kind of shift in those around us. We embody the leader we have been waiting for. How can it get any better?

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Athabasca University


Book recommendations can be tricky business – do you want to learn something new, do you hope to take away some profound insight, or do you simply want to be entertained? We asked some of our Faculty to recommend books that might just be your next great read.

Dr. Linda Bramble, Professor, Leadership Book: Willful Blindness: Why We Ignore the Obvious at Our Peril by Margaret Heffernan Why you should read it: This is a must read for thoughtful leaders. Heffernan argues that we can often willfully ignore the right thing to do in favour of the most expedient. According to Heffernan, it usually happens “in the presence of information that we could know, and should know, but don’t know because it makes us feel better not to know.” She offers compelling suggestions on how to think more critically. Dr. Eric Wang, Associate Dean, Student Experience Book: The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb Why you should read it: To gain a greater understanding of why the unknowable can be more impactful than the knowable. Dr. Helen Lam, Professor, Human Resource Management Book: Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In by Roger Fisher, William Ury & Bruce Patton Why you should read it: People negotiate all the time, formally or informally. This popular business book introduces important principles for effective negotiation, including; separating the people from the problem or issue, focusing on interests and not positions, generating options for win-win outcomes, and using objective criteria. This book, used as one of the two textbooks for the Negotiation and Conflict Management course, is well worth reading even if you are not taking the course. Dr. Terry Beckman, Associate Dean, Research & Accreditation Book: The Experience Economy by B. Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore Why you should read it: This book provides an insightful approach to how companies can relate to their customers. It is not through products alone, nor through services – rather it is by creating compelling experiences for their customers. In a very practical manner, this book provides an excellent way for companies to create something their customers truly value, that ensures that in the competitive marketplace, company offerings do not become commoditized.

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It took him a half-century to get there, but once Shawn Horton took the plunge and enrolled at Athabasca University, he was soon armed with an MBA — his FIRST degree and the FIRST in his family to get one BY HEIDI STASESON PHOTO BY STACY SWANSON

IKE MANY MBA GRADUATES WITH FULL-TIME JOBS, Shawn Horton occupies a travel-heavy schedule. This past summer, his projects led him to Atlanta, Zurich, and Brussels. He’s been with his company, Wheelabrator Group, going on 25 years. Mexico is also a routine destination for the Woodstock, Ontariobased director of product development, North America. A few years ago, Shawn was tasked to lead the development of its manufacturing facility in Monterrey, Mexico. While his work disposition is typically steady and focused, in recent years, he found himself in a couple of dodgy situations in Mexico that threatened to crumple his game face — and, possibly, the timing of his AU graduation, last June. The first, happened hours before returning to Canada from Monterrey. Shawn was heading out to dinner and went to retrieve his truck. It was parked in a shopping mall lot — his laptop inside the vehicle. Or, so he thought. Turns out, a couple of thugs had lifted it — MBA notes and all. The lot was supposedly safe; manned through tower surveillance. The heist, however, was covert, planned, and happened to involve the guard ‘on duty’ that day. Fortunately, the VMware virtual machine he had purchased at the start of his program, was a lifesaver. Once he got back to Canada, he was able to run the backup to access his AU course materials from his stolen notebook. Only a couple of pages were lost in the ether. Shawn says that software was the “best investment he’d ever made.” The second fiasco happened along the Mexican highway en route to the airport when Shawn and a colleague were returning to Canada. Shawn was the passenger, his co-worker the driver. Shawn was nose-deep into his MBA notes, when, out of the blue, the pair found themselves whizzing amidst a real-time shootout between Mexican police and a getaway car. The latter was occupied by members of the Los Zetas gang, the main cartel in the region. The driver had just broken his buddy out of the jail (located four kilometres from Shawn’s company’s Faculty of Business

plant). The duo still got to the airport safely, though — the driver gunning it pedal-to-the-metal, while avoiding a spray of bullets along the way. Shawn admits he had one thing on his mind at the time: ‘Could I just get home to my family and graduate already?!’ Yet the way he recounts his Mexican mishaps, you’d think he was talking about yesterday’s lunch; he is that matter-of-fact. It’s likely because nothing really surprises him anymore; as a youth, he endured a far more distressing period — one which put his future educational plans in a holding pattern, indefinitely. BROKEN TEENAGE DREAMS Most kids don’t have to hold down the family fort before they graduate high school. But in the fall of 1985, at the age of 16, when many teens are looking forward to homecoming or hanging out with their friends, Shawn was forced to support his family of six. They were living in Oakville, Ontario, and his father had fallen into some precarious financial problems. Unbeknownst to any of them, the 40-year-old, head of the Horton house had, for some time, been swirling in tepid waters of debt that were slowly inching toward scalding. That spring, the dam finally burst. A series of bad pecuniary moves put Horton Sr., an insurance salesman, on the wrong side of the law. “He had created an elaborate ruse, if you will,” says Shawn. “It was financing everything he was doing.” One thing led to another and, says Shawn, “the only way he could see his way clear was to make an unlawful withdrawal from a bank.” It was a withdrawal that led to an almost two-year prison sentence. The household bank accounts, including that which held Shawn’s would-be university tuition, now showed up empty. His dad had also frittered away the re-mortgage of the mortgage. While he still managed to graduate from Grade 12, CONNECTED 39


Shawn and wife Lorri at Convocation 2017 in Athabasca, Alberta.

at 17 (as valedictorian, no less), his teenage dreams of attaining a college or university degree — and more importantly — of being the first in his family to ever achieve such a milestone — were crushed. “When dad went away that option went away,” reflects Shawn. “Now I had to step up and help support the family.”

BUSTING LOOSE Others experiencing similar past plights might have allowed their circumstances to get the best of them — clamping down and hampering their chances for a flourishing future. Yet, as most sagas go, there are some bright sides to Shawn’s story. First, the unsavoury chain of events from his youth are what ultimately led to his father’s eventual diagnosis of bipolar disorder — “the ruses were – Shawn Horton, Athabasca University the by-products of mental illness,” MBA graduate, 2017 says Shawn. “He had to keep them going in order to save face and stay afloat. It was the disease that drove him to do what he did.” Somehow, this six-foot tall, mild-mannered man was able to invoke his inner Hulk, bust through his restraints, and summon the gumption to forge ahead. He took a job in drafting, while his mother continued to work in her regular low-salaried retail job. Through his twenties, Shawn rose through the ranks of what essentially turned out to be a promising engineering career, seeking out valuable experiences, networks, and mentorship along the way. “I learned the ropes and the formulas I needed to

“Being the first in my family to graduate university — to hold a degree — represents a turning point for others to look upon ... The next generation of my family now says, ‘Look what uncle Shawn’s managed to do!’ “

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get by — from other engineers who already had the education,” he says. In 2011, his company offered to fund his MBA. He jumped at the chance to apply to AU’s program, but felt a bit nervous given his lack of possessing any past post-secondary education. “‘How do I write an essay?’; ‘How do I put a thesis together?’” Shawn pondered, before deciding to embark on an intensive, 12-month period of MBA ‘prep work.’ His years of work experience, coupled with letters of recommendation from senior engineering management, deemed him a good candidate. By 2014, he was enrolled in AU’s Faculty of Business MBA program. Last year, he graduated with a 3.8 grade-point average. “It was a tough go. I’m happy to say that I’m a selfmade guy. I owe nothing to anyone other than a lot of gratitude to those who did support me,” says Shawn. He points to AU’s asynchronous environment and his own self-discipline as factors for his success. He quickly learned to re-prioritize work activities like entertaining clients, saying ‘no’ more frequently, and hunkering head-down into his coursework, continually keeping his eye on the prize. He recalls the time he had to prep for his exams, rink-side, during his son’s hockey playoffs. Borrowing from Disney’s ‘Dory’ character from the Finding Nemo sequel, Shawn’s advice to future learners is deadpan and direct: “Just keep swimming.” “Being the first in my family to graduate university — to hold a degree — represents a turning point for others to look upon,” says Shawn. “The next generation of my family now says, ‘Look what Shawn’s managed to do!’ So does the previous generation. Last June, at convocation in Athabasca, Alberta, Shawn’s dad, now 74 and stabilized, reformed and content (and still married to Shawn’s mother) told his son he was “as proud as a peacock.” Most importantly, Shawn explains, is having the accreditation that accompanies a degree — something he equates to a ‘validation’ of his chosen pathway. It’s also the key message he wants to impart to his 21-yearold daughter and teenaged son — both of whom, he notes, now see the value in graduating more than ever before. Obviously a fan of the metaphor, Shawn likens completing his MBA program to ‘eating an elephant: one bite at a time.’ And though it took him a while to get to that starting point, once he took the plunge, he was ready and armed with his degree in a flash — his first — completed in two-and-a-half years, at nearly 50-years-old. Not bad for a full-time working father of two and a husband to one (Lorri, a very happy spouse). Excellent for anyone and definitely better late than never. Athabasca University


Class and Faculty Notes CLASS NOTES Patti Landry, MBA ’15, started a new role as Senior Vice President, Public Market Segment USA at Solium.

Jeremy Berriault, MBA ’13, started a new position as Director of QA for Pulse Systems Inc.

Michael May, MBA ’14, is now Vice President of Operations for Nutra Services.

Jean-Francois Vezina, MBA ’14, is now National Vice-President of sales for Randstad Sourceright.

Alison Durtnall, MBA ’02, recently became a full-time professor at Georgian College.

Yuen Ip, MBA ’08, is now the Chief Operating Officer for CPA Alberta.

Shazmin Madhani, MBA ’15, is now the Territorial Compensation Manager at The Salvation Army Headquarters for Canada and Bermuda.

Islam El Khabaty, MBA ’11, recently became Project Manager at Brookfield Global Integrated Solutions.

Alice Chan, MBA ’12, is Program Delivery Manager working with Rogers Communications. Wayne Toms, MBA ’10, is now the Director of Customer Solutions with the Education Computing Network of Ontario (ECNO) a consortium of Ontario school boards.

FACULTY NOTES Dr. Alex Z. Kondra, MBA Program Director and Associate Professor, Organizational Theory, Kai Lamertz, Associate Professor, Organizational Analysis, and Fiona A. E. McQuarrie, presented “Managing Organizational Image in a Complex Institutional Environment” at the 2017 Administrative Sciences Association of Canada annual conference in Montreal, Quebec. Dr. Kai Lamertz, Dr. Fiona A. E. McQuarrie and Dr. Alex Z. Kondra, presented “Feeling Your Way Toward Appropriateness: How Emotional Display by Individual Employees Helps Build and Repair Organizational Legitimacy” at the 2017 Administrative Sciences Association of Canada annual conference in Montreal, Quebec. Dr. Kam Jugdev, Professor, Project Management and Strategy contributed a book chapter in the recently published Cambridge Handbook of Organizational Project Management. The chapter was on “Strengthening the Connections between Strategy and Organizational Project Management”.

Faculty of Business

Dorie Pesicka, BComm ’13, is now an accountant with MNP LLP. Congratulations Christian Hutchison, MBA ’06, who was voted as a Top 10 Under 40 by Canadian Insurance Top Broker. Chase Stampe, MBA ’16, is now the Sales Operations Manager for Constellation Brands Canada. Congratulations Todd Jacob, MBA ’03, on your Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Pamela Mathura, MBA ’10, is now a Senior Strategic Improvement Consultant at Alberta Health Services. Jennifer Ladouceur, MBA ’10, is now the President & Founder of Pozentivity Inc. Scott Montgomery, MBA ’09, is now Vice President of International Business for Palm Bay International. Tammy Hort, BMgmt ’14, CPA, CGA, has started a new position as Director of Finance & Administration for Poultry Health Services Ltd. Craig Volstad, MBA ’15, has recently begun the position of Chief of Operations for 41 Canadian Brigade Group. CONNECTED 41


Jayne Davidson, BMgmt ’10, is offering consultancy to Transport for the North’s Integrated and Smart Travel program.

Anita Fitches, MBA ’16, is now the Senior Director of St. Joseph’s Home Care/Bayshore Operations.

Terri Hinkley, MBA ’05, has moved into a newly created role as Workforce Innovation Officer at the Association of Clinical Research Professionals.

Heather Negrych, MBA ’13, BAdmin ’09, has been promoted to the position of Senior Manager for Priddle-Luck Professional Corporation

Stefan Krawiec, BMgmt ’13, has recently become the Commercial IMC Manager at Microsoft.

Michelle Connolly, MBA ’15, is now a Quality Control Manager with Pfizer.

Denise Pothier, P. Eng., MBA student, has been appointed the role of Vice President, Aboriginal Relations for Stantec Consulting.

Susanne Manaigre, MBA ’04, is now Vice President, Canada Network Rail Consulting.

Eva Proctor, MBA ’07, recently moved into the role of Regional Director of Operations, Public Health Laboratories of Ontario.

Ken Lin, MBA ’12, PMP, is now Program Manager, Business Aircraft with United Technology Aerospace Systems, Landing Gear division.

Shabnam Gill, MBA ’16, has recently taken on a new position as a Senior Commercial Account Manager with RBC.

Jamie Albrecht, BMgmt ’13, is excited to move into a newly created position for Western Canada with Coca-Cola Refreshments as a Senior Recruiter.

Stefan Marinov Vasilev, P.Eng., MBA ’11, is now Operations Manager for Buhler Industries.

Sandy Ennis, MBA student, is currently an independent Business Consultant, STEME Consulting.

Jacqueline Taggart, MBA ’99, has a new role as Director, Strategic & Corporate Communications, RBC Caribbean Banking.

Rod Caroca, CPHR, PBDM ’14, recently joined Clean Harbors in Edmonton as the Director of Human Resources for their Oil & Gas Division.

Luis Hamilton Rodriguez Cotto, MBA ’13, is now the Director of Operations at Pro-Art Dental Laboratory & Institute of Dental Technology.

FACULTY NOTES On November 9, 2016, Dr. Kam Jugdev presented the following topic to graduate students in Alberta. “I’m Busy Working on My Dissertation… and You Want Me to Think about Project Management as Well?” Hosted by the Faculty of Graduate Studies, the presentation introduced students to project management concepts to apply to their doctoral studies. Dr. Kam Jugdev, along with two colleagues; Dr. Christian Cook, Mount Royal University, and Dr. Gita Mathur, San Jose State University, presented at the Administrative Sciences Association of Canada Conference in Edmonton, Alberta. At the conference, Dr. Jugdev and Dr. Cook co-presented a paper entitled “Determinants of Burnout, Engagement, Turnover, and Retention in Project Managers”. 42 CONNECTED

Eileen McNally, MBA ’07, has recently begun the position of Senior Director with INaMINUTE Ltd. Gilda Nunes, MBA ’13, CPA, CMA, recently joined Bayer Inc. as Finance Business Partner – Regional & Customer Marketing, Crop Science Division. Janet Tufts, MBA ’13, Tufts Consulting Inc. combines the experience (a half-century) of owners Paul and Janet in the education and non-profit sectors. Dr. Maureen Topps, MBA ’14, The Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, recently announced the appointment of Dr. Maureen Topps as the new Senior Associate Dean, Education.

Athabasca University


Congratulations Scott Young, MBA ’16, on being named as one of Canada’s Top 10 Security Professionals Under 40 by SP&T News. Scott is also the Senior Director, Business Development for GardaWorld Protective Services. Asa Lotoski, MBA student, PMP, has recently re-joined Clearstream Energy Services as Turnaround Manager. Jakub Kropacek, BMgmt ’14, is excited to have joined the great team at SLH Picker Service & Pile Driving. Dave Landers, MBA ’05, has been recently appointed to the position of Chief Administrative Officer for the Corporation of the City of Timmins. Calvin Kanderka, BAdmn ’03, is now working within the Procurement Services Group of Enbridge. Denyse Savage, MBA ’12, is now a National Sales and Marketing Manager at Natco Pharma (Canada) Inc. O’Ryan Hughes, MBA ’14, has recently co-founded human resource management firm Stoppler Hughes. Brad Bissonnette, MBA ’10, recently became the VP Marketing and Franchise Recruitment for COBS Bread.

FACULTY NOTES Dr. Kam Jugdev recently completed a book review on “Digital Project Management: The Complete Step-ByStep Guide to a Successful Launch” (authored by Taylor Olson and published by J. Ross Publishing, Inc.). Kam’s review is published in the April/May issue of the Project Management Journal (Volume 47, Issue 2). In August 2016, Dr. Kam Jugdev, attended the Academy of Management Conference in Anaheim California. While there she participated in a Professional Development Workshop entitled “Organizational Project Management: Crafting an Organizational View of Project Management”.   Dr. Kam Jugdev, contributed a book chapter in the just published Cambridge Handbook of Organizational Project Management. The chapter was on “Strengthening the Connections between Strategy and Organizational Project Management”. 

Faculty of Business

Wilfran Molina, MBA ’16, is a Project Engineer for Startec Compression & Process Ltd. Christina Grandish, BMgmt, ’12, is pleased to have started a new position as an Account Executive at Alberta Blue Cross. Tracey Bell, BAdmn ’00, is pleased to have started a new position as Intake and Case Management Consultant with Fleming CREW, Employment Ontario. Dr. Michael Opara, DBA ’14, (Lead author) and Dr. Fathi Elloumi, Associate Professor, Accounting (co-author) have had their paper “The Emergence of Public-Private Partnerships (P3s) in Alberta: Lessons from the Anthony Henday Highway” published in the Canadian Public Administration Journal. Dr. Michael Opara, DBA ’14, had his paper, “Effects of the Institutional Environment on Public-Private Partnership Projects: Evidence from Canada”, appear in the Accounting Journal, Accounting Forum. Alin Dan, MBA ’11, has started a new position as Assistant Director, Business Solutions and Architecture at the Bank of Canada. Peter Goldberg, MBA ITM ’04, has recently joined iconic Canadian outdoor lifestyle company MEC as their ERP Project Manager. Vijay Chatterjee, MBA ’15, is pleased to have accepted a new position as Senior Project Manager at Princeton Holdings. Mike Gilmore, MBA ’16, recently accepted the role of Operations Manager with NOR-EX Engineering. Nicola Archibald, MBA ’17, PMP, recently accepted the position of Director of Professional Services with Incognito Software Systems. Julie Miller, MBA student, has recently been appointed Director of Operations and Community Development for the Cosmos Group of Companies. Raj Perumal, MBA student, has recently joined Ducks Unlimited Canada as Director of Information Technology. CONNECTED 43


Jean Marc Leclerc, MBA ’02, has been announced as Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Honda Canada Inc. Stanley Chang, MBA ’07, CPA, CGA, has been appointed the role of Chief Financial Officer of Credit Union Deposit Insurance Corporation of British Columbia and Executive Director, Deposit Insurance of Financial Institutions Commission.

Richard Gorczyca, BComm ‘14, has recently re-joined the Department of Highways and Public Works at the Government of Yukon as Director of Transportation Planning.

Juan C. Algernon, MBA ’13, is very pleased to announce that after more than 30 years of experience working in the corporate world, he is launching his new business, Algernon Consulting.

Robert Savage, MBA PM’ 04, has recently started in the new position of Assistant Deputy Minister within Alberta’s Climate Change Office under the Ministry of Environment and Parks.

Shameer Gilani, MBA ’14, is now the Director of the Business Banking Centre at ATB Financial.

James Rennick, MBA ’13, is now the Director of Digital Marketing, Great West Newspapers.

Basil El-Borno, MBA ’11, is now the founder and president of One Orange One.

Amr Awad, MBA ’15, CHA, was recently elected to be a Vice Chairman at the Alberta Hotel & Lodging association.

Monica Curtis, MBA ’02, has become the first Chief Executive Officer of Energy Efficiency Alberta.

Jimm Simon, MBA ’01, is now the Executive Director Operations for Community Living Interlake.

Marlene Houstan, MBA student, is excited to join Infrastructure Ontario as the Vice President, Procurement.

Chris Koene, MBA ’15, has started a new position at TELUS as Senior Program Manager in the Strategy, Planning & Enablement team within Corporate Marketing.

Marion Redpath, MBA ’15, is the proud owner and General Manager of an EagleRider Motorcycle Rental and Tourism franchise in Calgary, AB. Quinn Nerenberg, MBA ’16, is excited to have joined the Capital Projects and Technology group at K+S Potash as a Project Manager.

FACULTY NOTES Congratulations Dr. Weiming Liu, Assistant Professor, Accounting, on successfully defending his dissertation from the School of Accounting and Finance, University of Waterloo. He did so with ‘no conditions’ which is fantastic! Dr. Ana Azevedo, Assistant Professor, Entrepreneurship published a new journal article coauthoured by Dr. Rocky J. Dwyer entitled “Preparing leaders for the multi-generational workforce” in the Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy. 44 CONNECTED

Ken Ferguson, MBA ’04, PMP, P.Eng., President of K L Ferguson Consulting Inc. has just started a new contract with Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada as Senior Project Manager/Change Manager.

Scott Beaton, BComm ’13, received his CPA in 2016 and recently joined Refresh Financial as the Director of Finance. Roy Howell, MBA ’13, is excited to announce the launch of a new venture, RCH Consulting. Rainie Gervais, MBA student, is pleased to have joined the team at Tyler Technologies as the Canadian Program Manager. Rodney Orr, MBA ’03, is now the Indigenous Community Outreach Manager of a new Red Cross initiative. Congratulations Tracey Stock, P.Eng., MBA’ 01, PhD, who received the 2017 Community Service Award from The Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA).

Athabasca University


Justin Fillier, MBA ‘17, is now the Director of Operations for Bird Heavy Civil.

Bakar Mansaray, MBA ’06, has published a new book, My Afro-Canadian Chronicle.

Shawn Horton, MBA ’17, was appointed to the position of Director of Product Development, North America for Norican Group.

Reece Tomlinson, MBA ’10, has recently stepped into the position of President at Casana Furniture Company Ltd.

Ryan Barrett, BMgmt ’14, is excited to have recently joined Tourmaline Oil Corp in Calgary as Production Coordinator.

Paul DeBarros, MBA ‘09,SCMP, CPPO, PMP, is excited to join the Government of Bermuda as the Principal Purchasing and Supply Officer for the Ministry of Public Works.

Areeb Faruqi, MBA student, is the Director of Business Development & Sales for Frontline Industrial Solutions Ltd.

Chris Clifford, MBA ’15, is enjoying his new role as a project manager at Canem Systems Ltd.

Michael Fox, MBA ITM ’10, has recently joined Coast Travelers Group, part of Coast Capital Savings, as VP Sales Canada.

Jennifer McGill, MBA ’15, has recently transitioned from the Alberta Public Service to work for a growing consulting company, Davis Pier, based in Halifax NS.

Cindy Ratzlaff, MBA ’05, has recently been appointed as Chief Operating Officer for Applied Computer Technologies in Bermuda.

Victoria Grainger, MBA student, has started a new position at Alberta Blue Cross as Manager of Wellness Programs.

Wes Sauder, MBA ’07, has recently accepted the role of Marketing Data Scientist at Ceridian.

Jack Berry, MBA’ 16, has recently started a new position with Alberta Health Services as Executive Director.

Anthony Grey, MBA ITM ’03, joined Nikia Dx as the Chief Information & Operations Officer and Co-Founder. Nikia Dx is a new division of Nikia LLC.

Fatima Catalan, MBA ’15, is very excited to join the Faculty of Commerce and Business Administration at Douglas College.

Peter C. Chan, MBA ’16, P.Eng., LEED AP, has recently been appointed as the President of ONEC Building Systems Inc.

FACULTY NOTES

David McPherson, MBA ’16, is now the Acquisition Integration Manager for 3M Canada’s Personal Safety Division. Iain Munro, MBA ‘04 recently started a new EPCM (Engineering, Procurement and Construction Management) company in Calgary called StarPoint Engineering Inc.

Dr. Mihail Cocosila, Associate Professor, and Houda Trabelsi, MSc., Academic Coordinator, had journal article “An integrated value-risk investigation of contactless mobile payments adoption” published in Electronic Commerce Research and Applications. Dr. Mihail Cocosila, and Dr. Norm Archer, DeGroote School of Business, McMaster University have recently had a journal article entitled “Practitioner pre-adoption perceptions of Electronic Medical Record systems“ published in the Behaviour & Information Technology journal.

Faculty of Business

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Parting Shot

CHRIS KACHUK KNOWS BUSY. He is the Director of Business Development at PepsiCo, Western Canada, a husband, a father to three girls and very recent new addition – a son born on Mother’s Day 2017 – and a brand-new Athabasca University Faculty of Business MBA ‘17 graduate. Chris travelled with his young family to Athabasca, Alberta, to attend Convocation as well as to give the toast to the

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families at the gala dinner in Edmonton, Alberta. Every student has a story. We would love to hear yours. If you would like to be featured with the Faculty of Business, please send us your story at: business.fb.athabascau.ca

Athabasca University


For more information on our Undergraduate programs: 1-800-561-4650 business.athabascau.ca/undergraduate

“The most valuable thing about AU is the flexibility. I’ve been able to balance pursuing my degree with my busy work schedule while still being able do the things I love - like travelling. The quality of the faculty and staff are second to none and despite the distance, I know that my professors are just a phone call or e-mail away.” Emma Moore current B. Commerce student


Taking your degree online is not a solitary experience. Get connected and stay connected to your Faculty of Business student and alumni network. Want us to put you in touch with students or alumni in your area? Email us, we can help!

business.fb.athabascau.ca

Connected Magazine 2017  

Connected magazine - A magazine for students, alumni & friends.