LAURIER FOR ALUMNI & FRIENDS | WINTER 2013
WILFRID LAURIER UNIVERSITY
CAMPUS Entrepreneur Mike Keriakos has startup success with health and wellness websites
DREAM ON ICE
Bill and Denise Burke give new life to an Ontario Hockey League franchise
Robert Fenton uses his insight to navigate a successful career and family life
INSURANCE PLANS Knowing you’re protected, especially when you have people who depend on you, can be very reassuring. Whatever the future brings, you and your family can count on these Alumni Insurance Plans: • Term Life Insurance • Health & Dental Insurance • Major Accident Protection • Income Protection Disability Insurance
Visit www.manulife.com/lauriermag to learn more or call toll-free 1-888-913-6333.
Get an online quote for Alumni Term Life Insurance to enter! Underwritten by
The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company (Manulife Financial). Manulife, Manulife Financial, the Manulife Financial For Your Future logo and the Block Design are trademarks of The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company and are used by it, and by its affiliates under license. Exclusions and limitations apply.
No purchase necessary. Contest open to Canadian residents who are the age of majority in their province or territory of residence as of the contest start date. Approximate value of each prize is $1,000 Canadian. Chances of winning depend on the number of valid entries received by the contest deadline. Contest closes Thursday, December 5, 2013, at 11:59 p.m. ET. Only one entry per person accepted. Skill testing question required.
contents Scoring new careers Entrepreneurs Bill and Denise Burke create a family business with the Ontario Hockey League’s Niagara IceDogs.
12 Research File
Is your boss ignoring you? Sukhvinder Obhi might know why. Plus, personal recommendations may not be as trustworthy as you think.
20 Changing perceptions
Robert Fenton is a lawyer, former competitive athlete, volunteer, technology geek, husband and father. He’s also blind.
24 Startup success
Everyday Health entrepreneur Mike Keriakos has a knack for turning ideas into multimillion-dollar businesses.
28 Homecoming Highlights
Thousands return to the Waterloo and Brantford campuses to celebrate with family and friends.
3 Editor’s note
30 Keeping in touch
4 President’s message
38 Postcard to home
6 Campus news
39 Calendar of events
12 Research file
LAURIER CAMPUS Winter 2013 1
What can you imagine? Sir Wilfrid Laurier imagined a generous, educated nation that could lead the world in knowledge, high ideals and economic growth. His legacy, a vision of leadership and generosity of spirit, still shapes the lives of Canadians. Laurierâ€™s image overlooks all those who enter our university library, encouraging greater learning and a commitment to our shared future. Your legacy to Wilfrid Laurier University, a gift in your will or a gift of life insurance, can also help shape the lives of our students and inspire their future.
Imagine the difference you can make. Making a gift now is easy. Cec Joyal, our Legacy Development Officer, will be happy to help you through the steps. Contact Cec at firstname.lastname@example.org or 519.884.0710 x3864.
What was your Laurier experience? Waterloo | Brantford | Kitchener | Toronto Volume 53, Number 2, Winter 2013 ISSN 0700-5105
Laurier Campus is published by the Department of Communications, Public Affairs & Marketing (CPAM) Wilfrid Laurier University 75 University Avenue West Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3C5 Publisher: Kevin Crowley, Acting Assistant Vice-President: CPAM Editor: Stacey Morrison Writers: Jennifer Allford, Carol Jankowski, Sandra Muir, Mallory O’Brien Design: Emily Lowther, Janice Maarhuis, Justin Ogilvie, Dawn Wharnsby
Nothing highlights the Laurier experience quite like Homecoming. When thousands of alumni converge on campus to share stories and reconnect, it shows the real value of a university education — the enduring relationships that are formed, the lasting sense of community and support, and the diverse opportunities it provides. If you couldn’t make it to Homecoming, you can see the joy and enthusiasm that enveloped the Waterloo and Brantford campuses in the images on page 28. Homecoming is a great time to catch up with fellow alumni, and it’s always interesting to hear how their university experience shaped their career paths. The plans they had as students are quite different than where they are five, 10 or 20 years later. This can be said for Bill and Denise Burke, who are featured in this issue. They met and fell in love at Laurier, and although they share a passion for athletics and business,
they never would have predicted that they would own the Ontario Hockey League’s Niagara Ice Dogs. It also applies to Mike Keriakos, who failed at his first startup attempt but went on to create a hugely successful online health and wellness company. He continues to support other Laurier students through job placements and scholarships. Perseverance, confidence, and the ability to identify opportunities and think outside the box — these are all skills that can help lay the foundation for successful and satisfying lives. We would love to hear about your Laurier experience. Feel free to share it via traditional mail, email or on one of our social media channels.
Photography: Tomasz Adamski, James May, Dean Palmer Send address changes to: Email: email@example.com Tel: 519.884.0710 x3176 Publications Mail Registration No. 40020414 Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: Wilfrid Laurier University 75 University Avenue West Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3C5 We welcome and encourage your feedback. Send letters to the editor to firstname.lastname@example.org. We reserve the right to edit all submissions.
Laurier Campus (circ. 65,000) is published three times a year by CPAM. Opinions expressed in Campus do not necessarily reflect those of the editor or the university’s administration. Cover photography: Dean Palmer Visit us online at wlu.ca/cpam
A panoramic shot of the 2013 Homecoming football game. For more photos, see page 28.
Questions, comments, rants or raves? We’d love to hear from you! Email us at email@example.com. Be sure to “Like” us on facebook. www.facebook.com/LaurierNow youtube.com/LaurierVideo
LAURIER CAMPUS Winter 2013 3
campus corner PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE
Laurier continues to enhance student experience
One of the privileges of working at a university is the opportunity to spend time with energetic, bright and enormously engaged students. I have worked in post-secondary education for most of my adult life and the vibrancy, optimism and creativity of each generation of students continue to delight me. Part of the charm is the natural vitality of youth. Most university students are in their late teens or early 20s; their perspectives are fresh, the future
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Laurier President Max Blouw, right, chat with students on the Brantford campus.
is in front of them, and their desire to explore and experience will never be greater. But the vitality of our students goes beyond the wonders of youth. Students who successfully apply to university are not just young — they have also demonstrated the discipline, academic skill and intellectual curiosity to embark on a demanding journey of learning and personal development that will shape the rest of their lives. I believe universities have a responsibility to provide students who choose to attend university with an intellectually rich and developmentally well-rounded educational experience. At Laurier, our commitment to this ideal is reflected in our institutional proposition: “Inspiring lives of leadership and purpose.” To provide focus to this mission, Laurier has developed a strategy of “integrated and engaged learning.” By this we mean the purposeful connection between classroom learning and applied experiential opportunities such as campus leadership activities, co-op, internships, collaborative research, and a range of activities that allow students and faculty to interact among themselves and with the surrounding community. It also involves making intentional connections within a discipline, between fields, between curricular and co-curricular activities, and between theory and practice. Sound familiar? I hope it does, because this approach builds on a long tradition at Laurier of
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combining academic excellence, co-curricular experience and community engagement. We have been developing integrated and engaged learning for its own merits, but it is maturing at a time when government officials and many in the private sector are urging individual universities to articulate what it is that distinguishes them from other universities in the provincial system. At Laurier, we believe that our rich student experience — founded on academic excellence and an integrated and engaged approach to learning — is one of several strengths that sets us apart from other universities. The contributions of our outstanding faculty and staff in creating this rich developmental environment for students are fundamental, and continue to be a foundational attribute of the university. The leadership of Laurier in such innovative practices is attracting notice. In The Globe and Mail’s recent Canadian University Report, Laurier was the focus of a story on “flipped classrooms,” a practice whereby the professor prepares online video lectures and content to be viewed by students ahead of class, while using traditional lecture time to reinforce key concepts and address areas in which students may be struggling. Elsewhere, in Maclean’s magazine’s most recent University Rankings issue Laurier moved up the “best overall” ladder to the Top 10 in its category nationally. Laurier also rose in the “highest quality” and “most innovative” categories. We are pleased with such validation, but we are not resting on our laurels. The university continues to enhance its strengths through such initiatives as a First-Year Experience Task Force which is examining how to improve the early engagement of our students. We also continue ongoing efforts to identify and foster high-impact learning practices. Laurier has developed into a comprehensive, multi-community university with a growing capacity for research. We define our identity and success as a student-focused multi-campus university. This identity will serve us well as we enter into government-mandated differentiation of the Ontario university system.
Dr. Max Blouw President and Vice-Chancellor
campus corner MESSAGE FROM THE WLUAA PRESIDENT
Looking forward and shaping the future Laurier’s 2013 Homecoming was a wonderful time to see old friends and meet many new ones. As always, Laurier students, alumni and friends came out in full force. The photos in this issue tell the story — Homecoming was an energetic and amazing experience. On the Waterloo campus, we enjoyed the traditional pancake breakfast, the Legends of Laurier lecture, many reunion dinners, alumni parties, dances and more. This year, we also held our inaugural SBE Alumni Awards dinner and the first annual Homecoming HawkTail Party. On the Brantford campus, we hosted the inaugural Legends of Laurier lecture, celebrated the reunion classes of 2003 and 2008, and had a great tailgate party. It was an inspiring Homecoming on both campuses, and I thank all those who helped make it such a fun event. If you missed Homecoming, autumn is still an excellent time to connect with alumni in other ways. The WLUAA provides financial support for a host of alumni events each year, and you’re always welcome to attend. Please check our website, laurieralumni.ca, and join us at an upcoming event! I would like to highlight a few savings opportunities we all have as Laurier alumni. Our group credit cards, as well as our home, auto and life insurance plans, offer excellent savings to alumni. They also allow the WLUAA to support Laurier’s students and graduates, and provide financial support to the university. We call these benefits GradVantages, and I urge you to find out more on our website.
The WLUAA not only sponsors many activities, benefit programs and student awards, but also acts as the representative voice of Laurier’s alumni at university governance meetings and student events. This year, as we confront the challenges of the rapidly changing education and economic environment, the WLUAA is recreating our vision, mission and strategic goals. We are also adapting to a changing demographic: almost 45 per cent of our alumni graduated after 2000. In the spring, we will be reaching out to all alumni by sending out a survey. We truly appreciate your feedback — on this survey and on everything we do — so we can understand the best way to communicate and be relevant to you. Please take a moment to go to our website and update your email address so the survey gets to you! In upcoming editions of Campus, you will also see details on the WLUAA Strategic Plan, giving you a clear indication of where the WLUAA is headed over the next three years, and I invite you to view the WLUAA Annual Report here: http://bit.ly/16C0g8h. I wish you all an excellent holiday season!
Marc Henein ’04 President, WLUAA LaurierAlumni.ca facebook.com/LaurierAlumni twitter.com/LaurierAlumni firstname.lastname@example.org
WLUAA 2013–14 EXECUTIVE
Board of Directors
President Marc Henein ’04
Kate Applin ’09 Fiona Batte ’96 Thomas Cadman ’87 Sarah Cameron ’87 Marie-Helene Colaiezzi ’07, ’08 Chris Hiebert ’83 Hrag Kakousian ’01, ’09 Paul Maxwell ’07 Craig Mellow ’97 Michelle Missere ’06 Andrew Ness ’86 Patricia Polischuk ’90 Helga Recek ’00
Vice-President Marc Richardson ’94 Vice-President Cynthia Sundberg ’94 Secretary/Treasurer Shirley Schmidt ’86, ’09 Honorary President Dr. Max Blouw Past President Tom Berczi ’88, ’93
Karen Rice ’87 Maeve Strathy ’10
Board of Governors Representatives Scott Bebenek ’85 Tom Berczi ’88, ’93 John Trus ’90
Senate Representatives Ashley Cameron ’86 Megan Harris ’00 David Oates ’70
LAURIER CAMPUS Winter 2013 5
campus news CAMPUS VISIT FOR COMMON READING PROGRAM
Author Richard Wagamese speaks at Laurier Richard Wagamese, an esteemed public speaker and one of Canada’s foremost Aboriginal authors and storytellers, spoke at Laurier’s Waterloo campus for the university’s Common Reading Program. The program invites all students entering the Faculty of Arts to share a reading experience. For its inaugural year, students received a copy of Wagamese’s novel Indian Horse in the summer, and were invited to participate in orientation events focused on the book. During his visit, Wagamese spoke to students, staff and faculty about topics in Indian Horse, how and why he writes, and how his personal history inspired events in Indian Horse. Wagamese is an Ojibway from the Wabaseemoong First Nation in northwestern Ontario. Echoing events in the book, Wagamese lived on the land with his family, members of which suffered abuse in residential schools. Wagamese and his siblings found themselves abandoned in the bush in the dead of winter, and had to make a harrowing journey to the railhead in Minaki, where they
were found and placed in foster care. With an adopted family in suburban Toronto, Wagamese experienced “serious, chronic abuse for many years.” “In Indian Horse, Saul watching his traditions crumble in front of him in residential school is analogous to the dissipation of our culture today,” said Wagamese. “I hope the book serves as a reminder that we still have to stay connected to what makes us who we are.”
ARTS EXPRESS CELEBRATES 20TH ANNIVERSARY
CAREER DEVELOPMENT CENTRE WINS AWARD
Camp for special needs children makes big impact
Achievement highlights centre’s diversity programming
Nearly 50 children with special needs, along with their friends and families, created and performed an original dance and musical number for the annual Arts Express recital. The recital, titled “Under the Big Top,” took place in the summer on Laurier’s Waterloo campus. This year’s production marked the 20th anniversary of Arts Express, the culminating event and Community Service-Learning placement for the Laurier course MU380E: Creative Arts for Children with Special Needs. Students enrolled in the course review theories in creative arts therapies and strategies for working with individuals with special needs. The course closes with the weeklong Arts Express camp, where students become camp leaders and put theory into practice. The campers — children aged six to 14 — experience creative music, drama, dance and art during the week. “The impact of Arts Express on both the students’ and campers’ lives is remarkable,” said Elizabeth Mitchell, a part-time instructor of music therapy at Laurier, as well as the Arts Express course and camp coordinator. “For many university students, the experience impacts them both professionally and personally.” Mitchell recalls one recital during which a 10-year-old boy went to the microphone and led his group in song. “This child’s diagnosis of autism had made the sensory experience of performing both challenging and very special. His mother later expressed that Arts Express allowed others to see her son as capable and creative.”
Laurier’s Career Development Centre received a national Excellence in Innovation award for its diversity programming from the Canadian Association of Career Educators and Employers (CACEE). The diversity category in CACEE’s Excellence in Innovation award program recognizes exceptional initiatives targeted to engage, develop or retain diverse populations. Entries are judged on the program’s need, objectives, innovation, success and ease of replication. “The Career Centre’s diversity programming has been developed to encompass an inclusive approach to serving distinct student groups across Laurier’s multiple campuses,” said Jan Basso, director of co-op education and career development. The inclusive, innovative programming encompasses careerrelated research, programming, technology, staff development and accessibility to better service students, alumni and employers. In the delivery of career consulting, the Career Centre ensures that staff have the necessary career consulting skills, combined with specific area knowledge about each respective group. It has also created a variety of career resources that reflect the interests of each of the distinct groups, such as a resource binder for LGBTQ students, and career and employment resource handouts for other distinct groups such as Aboriginal students, international students and students with disabilities.
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EDNA STAEBLER AWARD WINNER
Carol Shaben wins prestigious book award Carol Shaben has won the 2013 Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction for Into the Abyss: How a Deadly Plane Crash Changed the Lives of a Pilot, a Politician, a Criminal and a Cop (Random House Canada, 2012). In Into the Abyss, Shaben reconstructs a 1984 commuter plane crash in northern Alberta that killed six passengers and wounded four others, including Shaben’s father, a prominent cabinet minister. “It’s a stylishly written, fast-paced tale of redemption that’s more gripping and engaging than you might expect,” said Ute Lischke, award juror and Laurier professor of English and Film Studies. While the story is an expertly researched, detailed reconstruction of the crash and a call for better oversight of small, commuter airlines, its heart lies in the portraits Shaben draws of the crash’s survivors: her father, the pilot and an RCMP officer, and the prisoner he was transporting. Through interviews and written documents, she paints a haunting portrait of the bond created among the survivors and how the crash affected their lives. Shaben is a freelance writer who lives in Vancouver with her husband and son. In 2005 she left a business career to focus on her long-time passion for writing, and in 2009 she was nominated for three National Magazine Awards, winning two: a Gold Medal for Investigative Reporting and a Silver Medal for Politics and Public Interest. Into the Abyss is her first book. In addition to Into the Abyss, the shortlist for the 2013 Edna Staebler Award also included: Intolerable: A Memoir of Extremes by Kamal Al-Solaylee (HarperCollins, 2012) and A Thousand Farewells: A Reporter’s Journey from Refugee Camp to the Arab Spring by Nahlah Ayed (Viking, 2012).
CENTRE FOR COLD REGIONS AND WATER SCIENCE OPENS
Laurier a hub for water science in Canada Water: it is essential to life and covers about 362-million square kilometres of the earth’s surface. Now, thanks to Laurier’s new Centre for Cold Regions and Water Science, researchers will have 14,000 square feet of space devoted to leading-edge water research. An event to mark the centre opening took place in October at the centre’s location at 65 Lodge St. on Laurier’s Waterloo campus with remarks from MP Peter Braid, Minister Michael Miltenberger of the Government of the Northwest Territories, and Laurier President Max Blouw. Research within the centre will involve scientists from across Canada and will focus on some of the country’s most pressing questions about water, and environmental and resource issues in cold regions, with implications for policy development and resource management. The two-storey facility will house Laurier’s Canadian Aquatic Laboratory for Interdisciplinary Boreal Ecosystem Research (CALIBER); Laurier’s Cold Regions Research Centre (CRRC); and
the Laurier Institute for Water Science (LIWS). It will also house the ecotoxicology activities of the Southern Ontario Water Consortium (SOWC), including equipment and labs, sample preparation and staging areas for mobile trailers. “Water and cold regions research are clearly areas of research excellence at Laurier,” said Abby Goodrum, vicepresident: research. “Research in these areas is of critical importance in today’s world, and we are proud to have some of the leading authorities and researchers in these domains working here at our university.”
Water and cold regions research are clearly areas of research excellence at Laurier. Research in these areas is of critical importance in today’s world... Abby Goodrum, vice-president: research
LAURIER CAMPUS Winter 2013 7
SUPPORTING NEW STUDENTS
Brantford program aims to improve student success Laurier has always emphasized its feeling of community and the interaction between students, faculty and staff. This fall, students enrolled in the Honours Arts – No Major program at the Brantford campus experienced this at an even greater level as part of a new faculty/staff mentorship program. Research has shown that engagement with campus life raises a student’s academic performance. As a result, the mentorship program is designed to encourage students to take part in all the campus has to offer by pairing students with a faculty or staff member who can introduce them to individuals and services on campus. “The mentors act as guides, and, rather than simply providing answers, they will empower students to use the services available to them,” said Chris Brunskill, transition and retention coordinator at the Brantford campus. “We are among the first in Ontario to use the faculty-staff model, and we’re excited to have launched the program in the fall.” Honours Arts – No Major students were targeted as a result of their specific needs and their shared academic history and academic experience. The students in the program don’t meet the requirements for the program of their choice, but received an offer to this new program at Laurier. The goal is for students to transition successfully into a program at the end of their first year. Mentors will meet with their students at least five times over the year, three times in the fall and twice in the winter. Students will also be able to contact their mentors between meetings with questions or concerns. There are just over 100 students in the program, with between one and three students per mentor on average.
The mentors will act as guides, and, rather than simply providing answers, they will empower students to use the services available to them. Chris Brunskill, transition and retention coordinator
CONVOCATION MATERIALS ADDED TO DIGITAL COLLECTIONS
Laurier Archives and Special Collections expands online offerings The Laurier Archives and Special Collections recently completed a long-running project to add convocation materials to its Digital Collection. The collection of 439 documents, spanning 1921 to 2013, includes convocation programs, baccalaureate service programs, invitations, and dance cards. New records will be added to the collection after each future convocation period. All documents are completely searchable, so alumni can search for their names in the collection and see their own convocation program. The records include a printable PDF version. The digital collection search page can be accessed at http://images. ourontario.ca/Laurier/search. The Archives’ Digital Collection currently contains over 12,000 images and textual records from the university’s archival and special collections and is being expanded on an ongoing basis.
Laurier graduates more than 1,200 students The university graduated more than 1,200 students and awarded two honorary degrees during Laurier’s fall convocation ceremonies in October. Two ceremonies were held at the Waterloo Memorial Recreation Complex for graduates of the faculties of Arts, Music, Science, Social Work, Education, Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies, the School of International Policy and Governance, and the Waterloo Lutheran Seminary. The ceremonies also included graduates from the faculties of Human and Social Sciences, and Liberal Arts from Laurier’s Brantford campus. Laurier awarded honorary degrees to accomplished corporate leader Eileen Mercier, and medical doctor and award-winning writer Vincent Lam.
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BEST MUSIC CAMPUS
CBC radio poll ranks Laurier first
In September, CBC Radio set out to identify the best music campus in Canada. When the online voting, tweeting and blogging came to an end, Wilfrid Laurier University came out on top. “The CBC contest was an opportunity to reflect on the remarkable musical life of Laurier and on the stunning successes of our students,” said Glen Carruthers, dean of Laurier’s Faculty of Music. “With the encouragement and support of the Faculty of Music, the university and the local community, our students are
inspired to dream big musically. Because of this nourishing environment, Laurier’s musical successes are diverse, innovative and abundant.” Laurier was also recognized for the number of musical events and programs staged on campus throughout the year, including open-mic nights at Wilf’s Pub, noon-hour concerts, the new singer/songwriter Residence Learning Community, and musical theatre and opera productions.
PEOPLE AT LAURIER Laura Allan, assistant professor in the School of Business & Economics, has received Laurier’s Residence Academic Partnership award. The award recognizes faculty members who support academic initiatives within the university’s residences. Allan has been involved with the Business & Economics Residence Learning Community (RLC), one of Laurier’s themed residence environments designed to extend opportunities for learning and development into residence buildings, since its creation in 2009.
Max Blouw, Laurier’s president and vice-chancellor, has been appointed chair of the Council of Ontario Universities. The membership organization represents Ontario’s 21 publicly-funded universities. Blouw says his first priority as chair will be to champion the many ways a university education enriches lives, societies and economies, both at home and globally.
Tamas Dobozy, associate professor of English and associate dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, was shortlisted for the 2013 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. Dobozy’s book, Siege 13 (Thomas Allen Publishers, 2012), won the Rogers Writers’ Trust Award of Canada and was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award for Fiction. The book is a collection of 13 short stories about the Siege of Budapest, when the Soviet Union’s Red Army invaded the Hungarian capital toward the end of the Second World War.
Bruce Gillespie, assistant journalism professor at Laurier’s Brantford campus, is the new editor-in-chief of J-Source: The Canadian Journalism Project. J-Source is a national online project that provides news, information, resources and commentary about events, issues and challenges in Canadian journalism.
Jorge Heine, political science professor, has been named a Global Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C. In this role, Heine will join the center’s global network of scholars and experts, and contribute to research and scholarship through research, analysis and publications. He will be part of the Center’s Latin American Program. Heine was previously a Public Policy Scholar with the Wilson Center in 2011. He has written extensively on politics, Latin America, Haiti and globalization.
Rhoda E. HowardHassmann, Canada Research Chair in International Human Rights and a professor of Global Studies at Laurier and the Balsillie School of International Affairs, is the 2013 recipient of the Sir John William Dawson Medal awarded by the Royal Society of Canada (RSC). The award recognizes important academic contributions in multiple domains or interdisciplinary
research. Howard-Hassmann is an expert in the field of international human rights, including women’s and children’s rights, gay and lesbian rights, retrospective justice, globalization and human rights, economic human rights and comparative genocide studies.
Marc Kilgour, professor of mathematics, was recently awarded the 2012 Elinor Ostrom Prize for the best paper in the Journal of Theoretical Politics. Kilgour co-wrote the paper, titled “Narrowing the Field in Elections: The Next-Two Rule,” with Steven J. Brams of New York University. The article suggests a new approach to narrowing the field in multistage or short-listing elections, based on the “deservingness” of candidates to be considered contenders, or to participate in a runoff election. Instead of specifying an arbitrary criterion for success (for example, the top two or three candidates), the article proposes that the number of contenders should depend on the distribution of votes among all candidates.
Maria Papadopoulos, an experienced government relations professional and policy advisor, has been appointed to the position of director of government relations. Papadopoulos will play a key role in continuing to raise Laurier’s profile among government decision-makers. She will also advise Laurier on legislative matters affecting the university, and identify partnership opportunities that will allow the university to continue delivering high-quality educational and research programming. She will be based in Laurier’s Toronto office.
LAURIER CAMPUS Winter 2013 9
LAURIER RECEIVES $1-MILLION GIFT
SBE ALUMNI AWARDS
Donation will support student-managed startup fund
Awards recognize outstanding graduates
Laurier received a $1-million gift from Mike and Hennie Stork in support of a new Laurier Startup Fund. The announcement took place at an event showcasing the ideas and projects of Laurier’s undergraduate Innovation + Entrepreneurship program. “This extraordinary generosity will help us build a $5-million startup fund that will be managed by our business students,” said Max Blouw, president and vice-chancellor of Wilfrid Laurier University. “The Laurier Startup Fund will provide a superb educational experience for our students as they learn to assess early-stage entrepreneurial opportunities.” Supported by a professional advisory board, the student-run fund will invest in entrepreneurial activity within Waterloo Region. The fund will operate through a practicum course, under the supervision of Laurier Professor Brian Smith, who holds the newly announced BMO Professorship in Entrepreneurial Finance. Mike Stork said the decision to invest in the Laurier Startup Fund was based on the belief that the surge in innovative technology breakthroughs within Waterloo Region must be partnered with highly skilled business management. “The purpose of this investment is to provide a living-lab environment at Laurier where qualified business students will learn to make investment recommendations on real, earlystage companies in Waterloo Region,” said Stork. “The students will learn to perform due diligence and other related business analysis as they make their recommendations.”
In September, Laurier’s School of Business & Economics presented its inaugural SBE Alumni Awards to seven graduates in recognition of a consistent demonstration of outstanding achievements. “The School of Business & Economics prides itself on the successes of its students and alumni,” said Dean Micheál Kelly. “The seven exceptional alumni recipients of our awards are leaders, entrepreneurs, innovators, philanthropists, and outstanding citizens. It is truly an honour to celebrate and recognize their tremendous successes and contributions.” THE 2013 SBE ALUMNI AWARD RECIPIENTS: J. Alex Murray Alumni Award: Jim Gabel (BBA ’85), president, Adidas Group Canada, and Lynn Oldfield (BBA ’84), president and CEO, AIG Insurance Company of Canada. MBA Alumnus/a of the Year: David Yach (MBA ’88), co-founder and Chief Technology Officer, Auvik Networks Inc. Young Alumnus/a of the Year: Greg Overholt (BBA ’08), founder and executive director, Students Offering Support. Entrepreneurship & Innovation Award: Rick Endrulat (MBA ’01), co-founder, president and chief operating officer, Virtual Causeway. Community Leadership Award: Wendi Campbell (MBA ’08), executive director, The Food Bank of Waterloo Region. Dean’s Award for Community Service: Sourov De (BBA ’05), founding partner, Stryve Group.
Laurier welcomes new students with Orientation Week activities
First-year students on Laurier’s Brantford campus, left, and Waterloo campus, right, gather for a unique class photo during Orientation Week.
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LAURIER SELECTS NEW WEBSITE TECHNOLOGY
Search for firm to develop site underway The university began a website renewal process in late 2012 to develop a new institutional website that will feature state-of-the-art functionality and a fresh design based on Laurier’s new visual identity. The first phase of the website renewal process included research and consultation to assess the needs of the Laurier community, and to survey current web design and technology. This phase provided the Laurier community with a number of opportunities to give input, including discussion sessions with mStoner Inc., the university’s webstrategy consultant, and an online forum. A web strategy was developed based on the information gathered and formed the basis of a budget request during the 2013-14 budgeting process. Funding to proceed was approved in June 2013. Laurier then established Content Management System (CMS) requirements based on the web strategy document, stakeholder interviews, research, discussion and prioritization of CMS requirements.
After reviewing proposals from a shortlist of companies, the university selected the Cascade CMS by provider Hannon Hill. The CMS is the framework of the website and the system that administrators will use to upload content. With the underlying framework determined, Laurier is now seeking a firm to bring the public face of the website to life. This firm will complete a full website redesign that includes CMS implementation. Once the firm has been selected, the second phase of the website renewal process — the development of the new Laurier website — will begin. An important part of the second phase is a content audit. Working with the website team, departments and faculties at Laurier will be asked to create an inventory and evaluate existing content as well as determine what additional content needs to be generated. Future updates will be available at wlu.ca/webreview.
WLU PRESS BOOK UP FOR PRESTIGIOUS PRIZE
Book shortlisted for Governor General’s Literary Award
SBE STUDENT BREAKS WORLD RECORD
Laurier’s Rubik’s Cube speedster To Eric Limeback, it really is hip to be square. The third-year business student twisted his way into the record books in early October by solving a Rubik’s Cube 5,800 times in 24 hours. The previous record was 4,786 cubes solved. The challenge began at noon Oct. 3 in the Fred Nichols Campus Centre Concourse on Laurier’s Waterloo campus and concluded 24 hours later. Limeback, a world-class Rubik’s Cube competitor who has broken eight different national records since he began competing at the age of 14, used up to 10 different Rubik’s Cubes in his successful attempt. A team of volunteers scrambled the cubes in different configurations
following randomly generated algorithms to ensure no two cubes were alike. “I’m a little nervous,” said Limeback before the event. “I’m mostly concerned about physically staying up for 24 hours while keeping the pace. Thankfully the attempt is in the centre of campus, so I’ll have friends and family coming by all day to show me support.” Limeback is currently ranked first in Canada for solving the Rubik’s Cube blindfolded in 38 seconds. He has made appearances on television shows, including CTV’s Canada AM, The Oprah Winfrey Show and Daily Planet, and has been featured in the Toronto Star, the National Post and The Globe and Mail.
The Memory of Water, by Allen Smutylo and published by Wilfrid Laurier University Press, has been named a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Awards in the non-fiction category. Also a finalist in the Adventure Travel category in the 2013 Banff Mountain Book Competition, the book chronicles the author’s adventures around the globe in some of the wildest and most captivating waters imaginable. The book is part of the WLU Press Life Writing series. The Memory of Water probes a crucial and contemporary issue — that of our relationship to water, and the wildlife and human life that depend upon it. In the Arctic, Smutylo is attacked by a polar bear, stalked by a rogue walrus, and nearly drowns in ferocious waters. But his Arctic stories also celebrate human creativity as they recount the life of the pre-Inuit people who, hunting in a changing environment, endured many hardships and developed new technologies, such as the sea kayak, to cope. The Orenda by Joseph Boyden, 2011-2012 Laurier writer-in-residence, is a finalist in the fiction category.
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research file research file
Is the boss
ignoring you? Sukhvinder Obhi studies how a feeling of power changes the brain’s response to others by Sandra Muir
you’re feeling ignored by your boss, by political leaders, or even by a romantic partner, you may not be imagining it. A new Laurier-led study suggests powerful people may share a brain response that helps explain why those in positions of power may overlook or ignore subordinates. The study, published in The Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, for the first time identifies a mechanism in the brain that could back-up what social psychologists have previously discovered — that powerful people do not mimic underlings, while the opposite is true of those in junior positions. Mimicking another person’s hand or facial gestures during conversation is known to create rapport, and is called the chameleon effect. Using a brain stimulation technique known as Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), researchers at Laurier and the University of Toronto were able to measure motor activity in the brain among people primed to either feel powerful, powerless, or neutral. “What we found is that people in a low-power state are more likely to show high excitability in this part of the brain,” said Sukhvinder Obhi, an associate professor of cognitive neuroscience in the Psychology Department at Laurier. “People in a neutral-power state show a moderate degree of excitability, but those who were put into a powerful state of mind showed much less excitability in this part of the brain.” Obhi, who co-authored a paper titled, “Power Changes How the Brain Responds to Others,” with Jeremy Hogeveen, a Laurier PhD student, and Michael Inzlicht, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Toronto’s Scarborough campus, suggests this may be a biological response that helps to ensure survival. “Someone in a position of power already has access to resources, and therefore might not need to create rapport with an underling,” he said. “But for someone in a junior position, it would be extremely important to mimic behaviour to create good feelings to ultimately gain access to those resources. We’ve known about this pattern of mimicry for a while, but no one has ever figured out how the brain creates this state of affairs.” The research by Obhi and his colleagues is based on “mirror neurons” that fire when we see someone doing something, and then we ourselves do the same thing. When those neurons are activated, it makes it more likely that we will mimic the behaviour
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we see. The researchers hypothesized that high-power individuals would show less evidence of “mirror” activity in the brain, whereas low-power individuals would show evidence of more activity. To test the theory, 45 participants were randomly assigned to one of three groups: a low-power, high-power and neutral group. Participants in the low-power group wrote about an experience where someone had power over them. Those in the neutral group wrote about what happened to them the day before they came in for the study. In the high-power group, participants were asked to describe an experience when they had a lot of power. Using TMS, researchers then induced an electric current to the participants’ brains to measure motor excitability, also known as resonance. At the same time,
participants watched videos depicting a right hand squeezing a rubber ball between the thumb and index finger. The videos consisted of a single squeeze repeated three to seven times. High-power participants showed lower levels of motor resonance than low-power participants, suggesting those who feel more powerful may be less likely to mirror another person’s hand, body or facial gestures. “This brain response is seemingly automatic and not necessarily something that powerful people do on purpose. It could help explain behaviour such as CEOs who seem to look straight through their employees, or can’t remember a junior person’s name,” said Obhi. “Our experimental effects probably underestimate what happens in real life — imagine that,
day in and day out, CEOs or political leaders were being primed with how powerful they are. The effects we observe in the lab, I would imagine, could be magnified even more.” However, Obhi says this study is measuring a seemingly default effect of power and so the response could possibly be altered. Mindfulness workshops or special training for executives could help people in positions of power become more aware of what they are doing and potentially change behaviour to create happier and more effective teams. “There are often power dynamics in personal relationships, either because one partner holds the resources, or has the emotional upper-hand,” said Obhi. “So there are many applications for this research.”
The less you know,
the more you share by Sandra Muir
WHEN IT COMES TO PLANNING TRIPS, buying products online, or deciding where to dine, people often rely on the opinions of others to help with purchase decisions. But new Laurier research suggests that word-of-mouth recommendations may be less altruistic than people think. Word-of-mouth recommendations are typically considered trustworthy because they don’t come from a source with a profit motive, such as advertisers or salespeople. However, a study by Grant Packard, an assistant professor of marketing in Laurier’s School of Business & Economics, suggests there may be a different cause for concern when it comes to using this source of product information. “Surprisingly, we found that people who feel deficient in their product knowledge are particularly motivated to share their opinions about products with others,” said Packard. “They do this to compensate for their perceived knowledge deficiency; in short, talking about products suggests you have something useful to say about them.” Packard co-authored the research with David Wooten, a professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. Across four experiments, they found that individuals who believed their actual product knowledge fell short of their ideals were actually more motivated to write online product reviews. They also intended to share their product reviews with more people via email. “What was most surprising was that people who were satisfied
Grant Packard’s research shows personal recommendations may not be as trustworthy as you think with their high levels of expertise about products wrote significantly fewer reviews than those who believed they lack sufficient knowledge about the same products,” said Packard. How can you tell if a friend or online reviewer is trying to compensate for their lack of product knowledge? In one of the authors’ experiments, participants were asked to write a movie review. Those who believed their movie knowledge was insufficient talked more about themselves and spent more time sharing their opinion. They were also less likely to be critical about the movie. “They’re more positive about the product because choosing and using a great product reflects back on them as being a smart consumer,” says Packard. Packard says the research demonstrates dejection as the psychological state underlying the effect. People are not purposely sharing their “less-than-ideal” knowledge to be malicious, but rather to make themselves feel better because they are disappointed about not being as knowledgeable a consumer as they wish they were. “Our findings show that the growing use of and trust in wordof-mouth, such as through online consumer reviews, should be tempered by the possibility that self-interest may be motivating the source,” he said.
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story Mallory O’Brien
Bill and Denise Burke give new life to the Ontario Hockey League’s Niagara IceDogs.
PHOTO: DEAN PALMER
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On a table in Bill and Denise Burke’s home overlooking Lake Ontario sits a 35-year-old framed photograph of the couple standing on the field at Laurier’s University Stadium. Both are outfitted in purple and gold — Bill is in his football uniform and Denise is wearing a letterman’s jacket. Bill (BA ’80) was a Golden Hawks running back and Denise (BA ’82) was a hitter for the varsity volleyball team. They met in the PowderPuff football league (extracurricular winter football for women), with Denise playing and Bill coaching her team. Athletics brought Bill and Denise together, and three decades later, athletics are still an important part of their life. The couple owns and operates the Ontario Hockey League’s (OHL) Niagara IceDogs, and it’s a real family affair. The Burkes’ two sons also work for the team, Joey (BA ’10) as assistant general manager and Billy as assistant coach, as do their sons’ girlfriends, Cori Jackson (BA ’10) and Jamie Amell. The Burkes also see the two dozen young men who play for the team as their “adopted sons.” “Boy is it ever rewarding when you have a player move on from the team, and when he comes back he says he had the best time of his life playing hockey here,” says Denise, president of the team. “When we hear sentiments like that, we think, ‘Yeah, we’re doing something right.”
Years later, it sounds like fate. Bill was recruited to play football at Western University, but before heading to London, Ont., he took a meeting with former Golden Hawks football coach Dave “Tuffy” Knight, who told him, “We are just here to have fun… but I’ve never had fun when I’ve lost, have you?”
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The words resonated with Bill, who immediately phoned his father to share that he would be attending Laurier instead. (Today, he still echoes Knight’s words when he speaks to his hockey team.) “Back in the ’70s, if you had a ticket to a varsity game, you could get two extra days on homework assignments — Laurier wanted its students to support the university,” says Bill. “It was that kind of school.” Denise was recruited by York University for volleyball, but after walking across a windy, cold field on the university’s large campus, she also made a last-minute switch to Laurier. After graduation, the couple was married in the chapel on the Waterloo campus with former dean of students Fred Nichols emceeing the reception in The Turret. Mike Belanger (BA ’75), former residential services director, was also in attendance. A good friend of Bill’s, Belanger gave him a student job at The Turret and Wilf’s, joking that it was better for Bill to be behind the counter than causing a ruckus in the pubs. After their honeymoon the couple started working at Bill’s family printing business. Denise worked her way through accounts receivable, inventory and purchasing, and estimating to sales. Bill ran sales and operations. “When I started back in 1980 sales were $70,000 a month,” says Bill. “In 2006 sales were up to $4 million a month, so there was a lot of growth and we had a great deal of success.” In 2006, Bill sold the business and the couple was set for life, but they were still young and weren’t ready to settle into retirement. Their eldest son, Billy, was playing in the OHL for the Barrie Colts, and the Burkes spent a lot of time on the road attending his games. They fell in
“We had 84 days before our first regular season started, and I felt like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz — everything was new and strange, and I was living in hotels.”
love with the league after seeing how involved the teams and players were in the communities. “There’s a bit of a misconception that the league is almost like a meat market, but that couldn’t be further from the truth” says Denise. “The players are out in the community bringing awareness to social issues and visiting children in the hospital, among other things. We saw how great it was for our son when he was a player, and how great it was for the communities the OHL supported. That’s why we fell in love with the league. It’s not so much the hockey as it is the league.” In 2007, fate intervened once again. The OHL’s Mississauga IceDogs was put up for sale, and with another franchise moving into its arena, the IceDogs were homeless. The Burkes bought the team and approached the City of St. Catharines about moving the hockey club into the historic Jack Gatecliff Arena in the downtown core.
“I love the Niagara area, and we were fortunate enough St. Catharines gave us a home,” says Bill. Denise immediately moved to St. Catharines to set up the team. Initially, the transition to a new city was difficult. “We had 84 days before our first regular season started, and I felt like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz — everything was new and strange, and I was living in hotels. I had to set things up with the bank, hire staff and ushers, and find homes for all our players.” Billeting, a term for player lodging, was a new concept for St. Catharines, and families had to meet a strict set of requirements, including being close to the arena and to a school, and passing police checks. “It was the most difficult thing I have ever had to do,” says Denise. “But we did it.” Today, Denise is the only female president in the OHL. Coming from the male-dominated printing industry, she had no trouble fitting in. During the first league
Bill and Denise Burke celebrate the team’s Eastern Conference Championship in 2012.
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Game night at the IceDog’s historic 1938 arena in St. Catharines. The team will move into a modern new 5,300-seat arena in 2014.
board of governors meeting she attended, the chair told the group to watch their language because there was a lady in the room. “That lasted all of five minutes,” says Denise with a laugh. “I have a brother, two boys, eight nephews and I own a hockey team. There is nothing you can say that I haven’t heard before.” Bill is governor and chief executive officer. Sons Billy and Joey have offices nearby, and even Billy’s dog, a Bernedoodle named Motley, has a role as official team greeter and assistant mascot. “Family business is all I’ve ever known,” says Bill. “It’s a gift. There’s something special about growing old in a business where your family is around.”
Before the Burkes came along, several sports teams tried and failed in the Niagara area. When they first arrived, a woman approached Denise and said, “I’m so glad you’re here, but you’ll be gone in five years.” The IceDogs are celebrating their seventh season this year. “In the beginning, we were determined to stay long enough to get a new rink,” says Bill. “Currently, we are in the oldest arena in the Canadian Hockey League, originally built in 1938. We don’t have much in there except for a wonderful atmosphere — we sell out most nights.” Next year the team will mark a milestone when
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it moves into a new home: The Meridian Centre, a $50-million, 5,300-seat arena opening September 2014. The Burkes signed a 20-year lease with the city to keep the IceDogs in St. Catharines. The couple has succeeded where others have failed due to their dedication and community engagement. The health and well-being of their players is their first concern, and they ensure their players are out in the community supporting charities and social initiatives. The Burkes are extremely proud of the team members who are drafted into the National Hockey League, but they are even more delighted with their players’ academic achievements — the team has won academic awards for five years since being in St. Catharines. “As a business model it hasn’t worked yet, but on a family values measure I couldn’t think of anything better that I could do,” says Bill. The new arena will help immensely. After moving in, Bill hopes to grow the organization from 2,300 to 4,000 season-ticket holders. And on the hockey side, they have their eyes set on the Memorial Cup. “We’re building the team up,” says Bill. “They are going to be an awfully young but awfully talented team this year. We’re going to surprise some people. Next year, we’ll be going for the championship.” CAMPUS
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GRADVANTAGES… YOU’VE EARNED IT, USE IT! laurieralumni.ca/gradvantages LAURIER CAMPUS Winter 2013 19
A VISION FOR SUCCESS Born blind, Robert Fenton uses his insight and skills to navigate a successful career and family life THE FIRST THING you notice when you meet Bob Fenton is his big, warm grin. You can’t help but return the smile, and as you stick your hand out to shake his, you realize — in an instant — that he can’t see the gesture. But before you can retract your hand, he’s already shaking it. Fenton is legal counsel to the chief of police at the Calgary Police Service (CPS). An avid volunteer, technology geek, Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal recipient, husband and father of two, and friend to many, he is also legally blind, and has been since birth. story by Jennifer Allford | photography by James May 20
LAURIER CAMPUS Winter 2013
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was born in Sarnia, Ont., and attended the W. Ross MacDonald School for the Blind in Brantford from Grade 1 through Grade 12. As his family moved around for his father’s job as an engineer and business executive, Fenton stayed put because the school offered extracurricular sports, which can be hard to find for visually-impaired students. As well as school sports, Fenton swam competitively for Ontario and represented Canada at the 1984 Paralympic Games. He also competed in track and field at the Canada Games and the United States National Games for the Blind. Now, as director of the Canadian Blind Sports Association, he helps other athletes compete. Fenton received a Terry Fox Humanitarian Award scholarship to attend Laurier, where he graduated with a BA in political science in 1989. “I found there was more reading in Arts at Laurier than there was in law school, and even more reading sometimes than I read in a day at work,” says Fenton, whose textbooks were on cassette tape. The university’s student support services also provided volunteers to help read notes and books for him.
“... one of the most important skills in life is that you learn how to deal with failure and come back from it.” He went to law school at Queen’s University and started his legal career in private practice in 1992 before moving to the CPS in 2001. His blindness is an exclamation mark at the end of a long list of accomplishments. “I don’t define myself by my disability,” says Fenton. “I define myself by my friends, my family, my job, my activities.” Sure, getting around is a little more complicated for Fenton than it is for others. For one thing, there’s Precious, his eight-year-old German shepherd who accompanies him almost everywhere. She is his fourth guide dog. As he recalls the “roller coaster” of having to put down his last dog just days before his son was born, Precious gets up and walks over to Fenton. He scolds her gently, and tells her to lie down. Another big part of his daily life is decidedly higher tech. Fenton is passionate about technology. His knowledge of the latest and greatest gadgets and software would put most other self-described geeks to shame. “Technology is freedom,” he says. “I’m always
LAURIER CAMPUS Winter 2013
looking for stuff.” From the software that reads emails aloud to the portable scanner and accompanying software that converts printed information into speech (and once had him grilled at airport security), Fenton is a master of technology. He types 50 words per minute on his iPhone’s special keypad, leaving most texting teenagers in the dust. He can listen to — and decipher — up to 500 spoken words a minute. His wife says it sounds like chipmunks, but Fenton understands every word. “You train yourself,” says the man who has been consuming printed information audibly for decades. “You need to develop ways to read quickly to differentiate what’s necessary from the garbage.”
most people over 40 marvel at how technology has changed their lives since they were an undergrad, for Fenton, 46, the transformation is colossal. No more having someone come along to read printed information to him, and no more cumbersome cassette tapes or braille displays hooked up to slow computers. “Now I do all my research online,” he says. “If I need to access stuff that isn’t available online I pick it up, scan and read it with my scanning program or something similar.” Fenton is hopeful technology will provide him with yet another freedom most of us take for granted: driving a car. “I want to drive a Google car,” he says of the autonomous vehicles under development. “I’ll have one before I die.” In the meantime, Fenton and Precious take transit and get a lot of rides. A friend who lives in the same quiet suburb often gives the duo a lift to police headquarters in downtown Calgary. And once he gets there, Fenton works with his door closed. The police chief’s floor is a boisterous place: “I
have a lot of colleagues who are loud — they’re shouting from one end of the hall to the other,” he explains with a chuckle. Fenton needs to hear his many computerized voices giving him information about the files on his desk, from car crashes and complaints of unreasonable use of force, to wrongful dismissal claims and commercial contract work. It’s a good mix and interesting work, he says. “My job is 70 per cent politics and 30 per cent law because every issue has so many different dimensions to it,” he says. “It’s not enough to come up with a legal answer — you have to come up with the right business answer, the right social answer, the right logical answer. You’re constantly balancing priorities, and I love it.” Right out of law school, Fenton tried private practice for a few years and while he had some wins — acting for an intervenor at the Supreme Court of Canada, for one — and made some great contacts that have served him well, he had some frustrations too: not getting cases from partners because the firm was “afraid I couldn’t find the courtroom,” and having to fight to get the technology and human support he needed to do his job. But he has no such frustration at the CPS. “The fact that I am blind does not matter at all here.”
he works with the police, Fenton is reticent to talk about his family except to say he has a son in kindergarten and a daughter in Grade 2. He and his wife, Crystal, are raising them with lots of sports.
“Sport gives you the confidence of goal setting, the need to achieve, the need to push yourself and the need to be accountable, and that’s a big thing, being responsible for what you do,” he says. “I wouldn’t be who I am today without being involved in sport.” At the Canadian Blind Sports Association, Fenton helps promote elite athletes competing in goalball, a game played on a volleyball-size court with three players on each side, a ball with a bell in it and silent spectators. The Canadian teams didn’t do well at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London, but the disappointment is just spurring Fenton and the athletes to work harder. “People are so concerned when you’re blind, or you have another disability, that you don’t fail,” he says. “But one of the most important skills in life is that you learn how to deal with failure and come back from it.” Fenton has experienced his share of wins and losses over the years, and there will be more as he furthers his volunteer work and legal career. Along with driving that Google car someday, he would also like to see the day when more people focus on what blind people can accomplish, rather than what they can’t. “There are still perceptions out there that people who are blind cannot do X, Y or Z, so it’s our job to show them that we can,” he says as Precious snoozes at his feet. “If you were to ask me, and some people do, ‘Do you have to be as good to be competitive?’ I’d say no, I think as a blind person you have to be better.” And I love that challenge. Because I know I can do it.” CAMPUS
LAURIER CAMPUS Winter 2013
not your everyday
entrepreneur Mike Keriakos rides the startup wave to the top story by Carol Jankowski
At 38, Mike Keriakos is the essence of a New York City entrepreneur: fast-talking, bold, visionary and always on the lookout for the next great idea. AN EARLY FASCINATION with the potential of new media and the explosive growth in business initiatives have boosted the BBA ‘98 grad and his co-founder, Ben Wolin, to the top of the startup world with Everyday Health, the leading digital media company in the areas of health and wellness. Through strategic partnerships with high-profile experts such as wellness guru Dr. Andrew Weil, What To Expect When You’re Expecting author Heidi Murkoff, The Biggest Loser co-host Jillian Michaels and the creators of the South Beach Diet, plus a daily digest of compelling health news and advice, everydayhealth.com draws 40 million unique viewers a month. The company’s weekly ABC television series, Everyday Health, cohosted by former boxing champion Leila Ali and Survivor winners Ethan Zohn and Jenna Morasca, pulls in an estimated audience of one million viewers per episode.
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Keriakos is responsible for Everyday Health’s strategic direction, and overseas sales and business development. September brought major life and business changes: he got married and narrowed his job focus to liaising with top partners such as Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN’s medical correspondent. Keriakos courted him for a year to become Everyday Health’s globetrotting health editor at large. Today, Gupta is a vital part of the team, which includes, Keriakos says proudly, “some of the most trusted faces and voices in the country.” With Everyday Health at 550 employees and a forecast of $200 million in revenue for 2014, plus his involvement in multiple startups as an investor and advisor, Keriakos is successful by any measure, although not beyond the realm of his ambition when he graduated from Laurier 15 years ago. KERIAKOS’ first stab at entrepreneurship was a business called “campusnet,” which he hoped to develop with classmates Duke McKenzie (BBA ’98) and Andrew McCartney (BBA ’98). It was meant to be a publishing engine for student newspapers and publications, featuring services such as textbook
campus feature campus feature
Mike Keriakos, right, with co-founder Ben Wolin at the Everyday Health offices in New York City.
exchanges and a ride board enabling students to organize trips home. Although 10 universities showed interest, and Molson’s and Microsoft were on side as sponsors, they couldn’t raise enough venture capital to build the infrastructure. “We missed the piece in the middle, and that’s what sent me to New York,” Keriakos says. “It’s a good example of brain drain.” McKenzie, now major shareholder and CEO of eLUXE, a trendy Toronto-based online shop for women, considers campusnet one of Keriakos’ most inspired ideas. “I didn’t realize the opportunity at stake at the time,” says McKenzie. “We should have packed up and moved to San Francisco. I didn’t see it then, and I regret it more now than I did then.” Nevertheless, the endeavour was the start of a personal and professional collaboration that continues today for the onetime Bricker Residence dons. McKenzie particularly values Keriakos’ firmly held principles, saying “he won’t compromise his integrity even if it hurts him.” Wolin agrees: “Mike’s extremely principled. More than anything, that’s his most amazing characteristic.” In business, McKenzie adds, “He has a unique ability to look at the environment around him and put together disparate facts to come up with new ideas.” “I like building, and figuring out what can’t be figured out,” Keriakos says. He sees his greatest strength as taking a good
photo by Jill Lotenberg, Everyday Health
idea, assembling the necessary resources and motivating people to create it. “A good entrepreneur can be a jack of many trades.” BORN IN EGYPT, Keriakos was five when Nortel moved his family to Ottawa. He chose Laurier for its business co-op program and the community feeling on campus. In 1997, as vice-president of marketing, he was credited with getting a smart new website up and running for the Laurier Students’ Union. Since 2010, he has returned to campus yearly to recruit final-year students. He has hired 20 and plans for more. When campusnet failed, Keriakos joined Procter & Gamble, quickly learning a lot about business, and about himself. After four and a half months, he quit to go to New York City where the opportunities “were palpable.” His parents cautioned him about giving up a good job to gamble on a dream. However, “I was not a corporate soldier, I was an entrepreneur,” Keriakos says. “If you’re a dancer, you shouldn’t try to be a chef.” Even today though, his mom, a pharmacist by profession, “is still more concerned about how I’m eating than how the business is going.” IN NEW YORK, he took a room at a Holiday Inn and went to employment fairs. His first job was in media sales for iVillage. By 2000, he was at Beliefnet, “the ESPN of religion and spirituality.”
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“Orphan is not a word in Egyptian. There you’re a bastard if you don’t have two parents, or your mother is unmarried. The stigma goes with them forever, and their chance of going to a normal school is almost zero.” In late 2001, he had a long sushi dinner with Beliefnet colleagues Wolin and Mark Tauber. Two months later, the three men launched Waterfront Media, later renamed Everyday Health. Tauber left after 18 months to work on the West Coast. Wolin remembers that fateful dinner: “Mike was very much as he is now. He was excited and enthusiastic and he brought us together, saying there was no reason we couldn’t create a great company. Mike has tremendous energy and vision and passion. He made us think we could do it.” Keriakos spearheaded fundraising, mostly from family and friends, to buy computers, desks and chairs. “When you start, it’s a roller coaster,” says Wolin,
Keriakos and representatives from The Littlest Lamb ring the NASDAQ closing bell on Wall Street. Photo: Mickey Riad and Andrew Steuter
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who is CEO of the company. “There’s success and failure on an hourly basis. It’s hard, but Mike’s perseverance and drive kept us going. We would not be where we are without that.” Everyday Health jumped from six employees to 60 in a year. A story in The Wall Street Journal brought calls from Barnes & Noble and publishing CEOs. Random House and HarperCollins became partners. Within two years, ad revenue exceeded subscriptions as advertisers pounced on the opportunity to associate their products with fresh and reliable health news. In 2010, the company began the process of going public, then paused for the U.S. economic rebound now underway. “It’s time for the company to be more mature,” Keriakos says, predicting it will look quite different a year from now. Keriakos is also involved in other promising young businesses. He is co-founder of Qui Tequila, an awardwinning high-end, extra-aged liquor introduced with a startup mentality to the spirits sector. Launched a year ago, it already has three per cent of the tequila market. He was also a board member and senior advisor for Qwiki, a mobile app developer acquired earlier this year by Yahoo for $52 million. Then there’s his board membership on the Not For Sale campaign, an anti-human trafficking, non-profit organization. Not For Sale aims to create viable businesses with safe working conditions and fair wages in third-world countries where many jobs are the equivalent of modern-day slavery. Its first product, hatched in a 24-hour brainstorming session, is REBBL, a hibiscus mint-flavoured tonic. Made from ingredients sourced in the Peruvian Amazon, it was introduced in Whole Foods Market stores in California and is now sold across the U.S. “I’m interested in more than philanthropy,” says Keriakos, who is part owner of the product. “For me, there needs to be a mission and a purpose to it.” Such is the case of the The Littlest Lamb orphanage near Cairo where construction of a handsome residence is scheduled to be completed at the end of December. Keriakos isn’t a supporter and board member just for the sake of 200 children who will live there and receive an excellent education. The organization’s intention is to engineer a wholesale change of attitude toward the
LEFT: Keriakos participates in a panel discussion about “Giving Your Brand a Makeover” during Internet Week in New York City earlier this year. (Photo: Insider Images/Andrew Kelly). RIGHT: Keriakos with New York Knicks legend Walt “Clyde” Frazier at a charity event for The Littlest Lamb. Photo: Mickey Riad and Andrew Steuter.
estimated 10,000 children without families in Egypt. “Orphan is not a word in Egyptian,” he explains. “There you’re a bastard if you don’t have two parents, or your mother is unmarried. The stigma goes with them forever, and their chance of going to a normal school is almost zero.” One way The Littlest Lamb is battling this stigma is by commissioning an animated children’s series with Little Airplane (producers of animated children’s shows like Wonder Pets and Small Potatoes) incorporating storylines aimed at changing the mindset and definition of what “home” means. A longer-term influence will be the impact of growing numbers of well-educated orphans functioning at a high level in Egypt’s business and social circles. IN THE FIRST FRENETIC DECADE after graduation, Keriakos worked 12 hours a day, seven days a week, ending each evening with a networking event. For a few years, McKenzie was a roommate in his 400-square-foot Soho apartment. “While at Laurier I didn’t have to experience the horror of being a grown man sharing a bunk bed,” Keriakos jokes. “It took moving to New York City and having Duke move in to check off that life experience.” McKenzie confirms the bunk beds, and also what a formative period it was. “Living there during the first dot-com boom was a fascinating, magical time.
You had an idea, you got funded. You understood what was possible, but you also learned more is possible than you think.” At 28, Keriakos’ body rebelled. Shocked by the diagnosis of pericarditis, an inflammation of the sac surrounding the heart, he turned to yoga to reduce stress. He now says “the medicine didn’t make me better, the yoga did.” Other than an occasional game of chess, yoga is his primary leisure activity and he plans to become a certified instructor, not to teach but for the increased understanding it will bring. In September he married Tiffany Cavallaro, head of marketing for a major skin care firm. They met through friends and although Keriakos feels he’s a decade behind classmates in his personal life (he’s godfather to McKenzie’s two school-age children), he’s catching up. A handful of Laurier grads were among 150 guests at their wedding at the Villa d’Este on Italy’s Lake Como, where McKenzie, as “quasi best man,” gave the speech. For their honeymoon in Bhutan and the Maldives, Keriakos vowed to shut off his phone 99 per cent of the time. “A lot of change is coming in my life,” he reflects. “Having focused on the GDP in my 20s, now it’s time to work on my GDH — gross domestic happiness, a term coined by Bhutan’s fourth king.” CAMPUS
LAURIER CAMPUS Winter 2013 27
6 1, 5, 8: The varsity hockey game in Brantford. 2, 3, 7, 10: The football game at University Stadium. 4: Blackwater Trio performs at the Homecoming HawkTail Party. 286: LAURIER CAMPUS 2011gets underway. 9: The Legends of Laurier lecture in Waterloo. 11: Fun for all ages! 12: Pancake breakfast in the quad. The Laurier LoopSummer charity run
Homecoming highlights 10
In late September, thousands of alumni, students and friends returned to Laurier’s Waterloo campus to celebrate Homecoming and reconnect with their alma matter. The weekend kicked off with the traditional free pancake breakfast Saturday morning in the Fred Nichols Campus Centre quad. This was followed by faculty open houses, campus tours and the annual Legends of Laurier lecture. This year’s lecture featured Paul Tiessen, professor emeritus of English and Film Studies. Leading up to the big football game, kids enjoyed crafts, face painting and story time at the Junior Hawks Children’s Program, while alumni got game ready at the Endzone Tailgate Party. University Stadium was filled to capacity with cheering fans adorned in purple and gold in support of the Golden Hawks football team, which lost an overtime heartbreaker 25-26 to the Windsor Lancers. Later that evening, alumni met up with friends at Wilf’s Pub, the Turret and the Homecoming HawkTail Party in the Theatre Auditorium featuring Blackwater Trio. Also on Saturday evening, Laurier’s Alumni Choir hosted a Homecoming Cabaret with musical selections performed by present and former students, and faculty members. Sunday morning started with a Homecoming chapel service at Keffer Memorial Chapel featuring the Alumni Choir. The annual Laurier Loop got underway later that morning, with more than 680 participants raising a record $12,500 for the Sun Life Movement Disorders Research and Rehabilitation Centre. Many alumni departed Laurier by bus to Stratford where they enjoyed a performance of Fiddler on the Roof, lunch and a post-show chat with actors.
Laurier Brantford celebrated its annual Homecoming Oct. 19. The festivities included a Legends of Laurier lecture with Associate Dean Kathryn Carter, who spoke about 19th century culture in Brantford, reunions, tailgate party and a varsity hockey game against the Windsor Lancers. The fun-filled day wrapped up with an alumni pub social at the Brown Dog Café Shoppe and Speakeasy.
12 For more photos, visit laurieralumni.ca.
LAURIER CAMPUS Winter 2013
keeping in touch
MOVIE MAGIC in one of Ontario’s
LAST INDEPENDENT CINEMAS by Mallory O’Brien
It’s mid-September and John Tutt has just returned from the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), where he watched 35 films in just over a week. It sounds like a movie lover’s dream, but Tutt was there for more than pleasure — as founder and owner of Waterloo’s Princess Cinemas, TIFF is the place where he can see what films are coming out, determine which ones will do well in his theatres and how long he should run them for.
“I’M UNIQUE because I’m an
independent theatre in a community with lots of chain theatres,” says Tutt. In addition to showing more alternative films, Tutt puts together special film series, such as the cinema’s upcoming design series. He also brings in directors to introduce films, and his venues host concerts, community festivals, events and even an art gallery. Tutt (BBA ’84) majored in business at Laurier, but studied film through elective courses at both Laurier and the University of Waterloo. “Everybody at university will discover, at some point, foreign-language films or independent films,” he says. “For me, this discovery hit me at a screening at St. Jerome’s University (on the University of Waterloo campus). It was a French film by Jean-Jacques Beineix called Diva.
30 LAURIER CAMPUS Winter 2013
I realized foreign-language films could be exotic and colourful.” In second year, Tutt completed a written report on starting a repertory cinema, a cinema that specializes in screening classic films. After the course was over, Tutt put the report on a shelf and forgot about it. After graduating, however, he saw an opportunity: Kitchener-Waterloo was a significantly populated area that didn’t have a full-time art cinema. Tutt pulled his old report off the shelf and set to work. “My Laurier education helped me. My exposure to film gave me the confidence to open the cinema because I knew intimately what films weren’t screening in K-W, and what the potential was for something full time to offer these types of movies,” he says.
“My business degree gave me the confidence to approach banks, put together loan applications and how to approach the business side.” In 1985, Tutt opened the 177-seat Princess Cinema on the second floor of an historic 19th-century brewery building in Waterloo, and it was “pretty much a success from the get go.” “Within the year we had our audience and distinct mark on what kind of cinema we were,” he says. Today, the programming is the same but the technology has changed. In 2012, the Princess Cinema (now dubbed the “Original” Princess, since Tutt opened a second, twin-screen cinema down the block in 2005) upgraded its 35mm projector to new digital technology. The cinema celebrated the switch by screening the first film Tutt ever showed,
keeping in touch
“Within the year we had our audience and distinct mark on what kind of cinema we were.” –John Tutt
© 2010 Waterloo Region Record, Ontario, Canada
John and Wendy Tutt in the historic Princess Cinema.
Casablanca, in its original 35mm form. While some cinephiles were sad to see the 35mm projector go, Tutt doesn’t miss it. “Digital has made it more exciting and we can play a lot more different titles,” he says. “The sound is great, the picture is great, and there’s a greater ease of operation compared to the old, clunky 35.” The Princess Twin, which Tutt opened with his wife Wendy (MA ’05), expanded Tutt’s programming and functions a little
differently than the one-screen, art-house Original Princess. While the Original cinema’s programming is locked-in for two-month periods, the Twin is booked on a weekly basis, which is more enticing to distributors because if a film does well, it can be held for additional weeks. “You never know what’s going to be a hit,” says Tutt. “One of the biggest hits we’ve had is Slumdog Millionaire — we played it for almost five months!” Despite having a dedicated audience, it’s still tough being an independent
cinema in a world of big, commercial titles. Cineplex Odeon has the majority of the Canadian market and holds a lot of sway over what Tutt can show in his theatres. But Tutt attributes much of his success to the unique personality of Waterloo Region. “Kitchener-Waterloo has an independent business ethic,” he says. “There’s a resiliency to the business community here and a lot of support for local businesses.” CAMPUS
LAURIER CAMPUS Winter 2013 31
keeping in touch
Rachel Schoutsen: living her broadcast dream Since she was a child, Rachel Schoutsen (BA Journalism ’13) has dreamed of being a television broadcaster. Today, Schoutsen, 22, is living her dream as an on-air traffic presenter, anchor and field reporter for the Travelers Network and The Weather Network. She has braved rain, sleet, snow … and birds. When did you know you wanted to be an on-air presenter? RS: When I was in Grade 4 my teacher nicknamed me Oprah Winfrey because I couldn’t keep quiet during lessons. So, that definitely sparked my interest in a television career! Throughout Grade 7 and 8, and into high school, I remember telling people that one day I would be the weather girl. How did you land an on-air role with the Travelers Network? RS: As part of my journalism program, I did an internship at The Weather Network (TWN), which is part of Pelmorex Media. The company recognized my strong interest in working on-air and encouraged me to apply to its new division, the Travelers Network (TN). I knew nothing at all about traffic at the time and was hesitant about the position, but I have learned so much since then and am now a full-time traffic reporter. What do you like about reporting on the weather and traffic? RS: I like traffic and weather because people always need this information. Traffic is fun to report because it’s constantly changing, and I’ve learned so much about Ontario roads that I’m now my own GPS! As a student, I would drive by the TWN building along Highway 403 as I commuted from Mississauga to Laurier’s Brantford campus. Seeing that
32 LAURIER CAMPUS Winter 2013
building every week motivated me even more to work there after graduation. What do you like most about your job? RS: I love the variety this job offers. One day I’m in the TN studio doing traffic reports, the next I’m out in the community reporting for the TWN morning show, or anchoring traffic. I also enjoy working as a news team, interacting with viewers, using social media, and working the active weather set when traffic gets really bad because of road conditions. For example, when Calgary went into a major flood watch earlier this
year, I was called in to the studio to speak about road conditions and closures in the city — these types of unexpected things are what I have to be ready for at all times. The roles I play are all different and each one helps me improve my skills as an on-air personality What is your most memorable on-air moment so far? RS: The Bird Kingdom in Niagara Falls! I was reporting live for the TWN morning show and a bunch of Rainbow Lorikeets landed on my head before the report. We went live, birds and all, and that’s when a
keeping in touch
lorikeet travelled down my forehead and began pecking me in the eye — not so much that it hurt, but I could not stop laughing. Then a few more started crawling down my head and onto my shoulders. I carried on through the report and it ended up all over our social media because it was just hilarious. (you can view Rachel’s bird adventure here: http:// bit.ly/1drSaaV). Do you ever get tired of talking about the weather/traffic? RS: I love providing information to people no matter what I’m chatting about. I love my job. Having said that, I do enjoy a break from in-studio anchoring and getting out into the community to deliver reports live on location. I love the interaction and being able to showcase an area of southern Ontario, and viewers always enjoy that part of the show. I also like working on stories where I can put some of my journalism skills to the test. What is the most challenging part of your job? RS: I work on the fly, and when crazy weather hits I need to play two roles,
reporting for TWN and TN. At any point of the day my manager can walk in and say, ‘I want you to be in this report or video. Can you do it?’ And my response is always yes. So I always find challenges at work and I love them. They test my on-camera skills and after every challenge I become a stronger reporter. What has surprised you most about being an on-air presenter? RS: How quickly my nerves went away and how fast I just jumped into the job. I’m rarely nervous. My excitement just takes over! I love being in front of the camera — it is my favourite place to be. How has Laurier helped you get where you are today? RS: Sue Ferguson, an associate professor of journalism at Laurier, left quite an impression on me. In one of her very first lectures, she said if you want to really get into this industry you should start volunteering at broadcast stations. With her advice I contacted Jason Souliere, producer of Rogers TV Brantford. Jason really noticed my eagerness and quickly let me jump into an on-camera role. I
remember standing out in the cold snow or the pouring rain, and loving every second of delivering the weather reports. That’s when I realized this job was truly made for me. Rogers really helped me gain all my on-camera skills, as well as editing, camera work, graphics — essentially everything you need to know to get a good grip on the industry. I also have to give credit to Conestoga College as well. It is part of a joint program with Laurier, and I made some fantastic connections. I developed skills not just as a presenter, but as a well-rounded videographer too. Where do you see yourself in the future? RS: I hope to remain with Pelmorex. There is so much opportunity here and I can see myself finding a lot of success with the company. Do you have a dream interview? RS: Every interview or report I do is a dream. I have fantasized about this job since I was eight years old, so to be doing it now for real is a dream come true! By Sandra Muir
LAURIER CAMPUS Winter 2013 33
keeping in touch
ALUMNI UPDATES 1980s Ken Callaghan (BA ’87, MBA ’99) is the new executive director for the Women’s College Hospital’s Department of Family and Community Medicine in Toronto. He lives in Paris, Ont., with wife Natasha and sons Logan, Liam and Declan.
1990s Brad Dunkley (BBA ’98) received the Laurier Alumni Co-op Employer of Excellence award for his outstanding contribution to the university through the employment of Laurier co-op students. Dunkley is the cofounder of investment management firm Waratah Advisors in Toronto.
Steve Malinowski (MBA ’99) is president and CEO of the Kraus Group of Companies, a Waterloo-based company that operates Kraus Carpets and Strudex Fibres.
2000s Sasha Jacob (MBA ’03) is founder, president and CEO at Jacob Securities, a niche investment bank specializing in underwriting and advisory services.
Shadrach “Shad” Kabango (BBA ’05) has released his fourth hip-hop album titled Flying Colours. The Juno Award winning artist also toured this summer with the multi-platinum duo Macklemore & Ryan Lewis.
Susan Fish (MA ’98) is principal editor at Storywell, which offers services to nonwriters, fledgling writers and experienced writers such as fiction, non-fiction, memoir and business writing, editing and proofreading. Christopher Griffin (BA ’99) is executive vice-president and chief operating officer at USG Corporation. USG is a global manufacturer and distributor of highperformance building systems and is headquartered in Chicago. Griffin is also a member of the board of directors and vicepresident for the Chicagoland Habitat for Humanity, and is a member of the World Presidents’ Organization.
John Morris (BA ’03) has left Kevin Martin’s Olympic gold medal curling team to join Jim Cotter’s team. Team Cotter will need to place in the top two at the Canadian Olympic pre-trial competition and win the Canadian curling trials to qualify for a spot at the 2014 Sochi Olympics in Russia.
Julie Bruin (BA ’06, MSW ’08) appeared in the Guelph Mercury’s 40 Under 40 listing for her work as the addiction services worker for social services in Wellington County. The addictions and acquired brain injury specialist is also a board member of the Wellington-Guelph drug strategy committee, and helped create one of the first drug treatment courts in Canada, which she now sits on. The specialized Guelph, Ont.-based drug court program deals with people who are committing crimes as a result of their addiction.
ALUMNI DONATE $1.5 MILLION TO LAURIER
Gift will fund research of Canada’s military history
Brad and Sara Dunkley.
34 LAURIER CAMPUS Winter 2013
In October, Brad Dunkley (BBA ’98), co-founder of Waratah Advisors, and Sara Dunkley (BBA ’99), president of Stellar Outdoor Advertising, provided the Laurier Centre for Military Strategic and Disarmament Studies with a gift of $1.5 million. The gift, made through the Dunkley Charitable Foundation, will fund the Dunkley Chair in War and the Canadian Experience. “We believe that researching and teaching Canada’s military history is important,” said
Brad Dunkley. “Nearly 115,000 Canadians have lost their lives while in service for our country. Telling our veterans’ stories, learning the lessons of war, and understanding how soldiers, their families and our society have been affected by war, is one way to honour those who have given us so much.” Max Blouw, president of Wilfrid Laurier University, called the gift from the Dunkley family “visionary for both the university and the country.”
WINTER CARNIVAL, 1989
We’re stronger when we have you behind us. Join a proud alumni tradition and make a donation today. Wilfrid Laurier University Alumni Association will match gifts from new donors until December 31, 2013. We’re stronger together.
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keeping in touch
ALUMNI UPDATES Emily Kate Johnston (BA ’06) is an editor at Storywell, and recently published her first book, a young adult novel called The Story of Owen. In addition to her love of storytelling, Johnston is also a forensic archaeologist and has lived on four continents. Kate Weiler (BA ’06) is returning to Laurier this fall to upgrade her three-year general degree to an honours degree so she can pursue future post-graduate level studies. She says, “My decision to return after seven years away from university was not easy to make, however I believe upgrading my knowledge base can only further benefit my skill set. When I entered the work force in 2007-2008 it was prior to the start of the recession, and after experiencing the fluctuation in the economy I realized that having multiple skill sets are vital to today’s evolving career markets. Though my focus will be much more trained in this round at school, I am certain this year will be full of new memory making.”
Bharati Sethi (BA ’07, MSW ’09), a PhD candidate in Laurier’s Faculty of Social Work, has received a Women’s Health Scholar award for the second year in a row. She was only one of five to receive the award in 2012-13, and only one of two to have the award renewed in 201314. Sethi will use the award, valued at up to $22,000, to fund her research, which explores the relationshp between work and health for immigrant/refugee/visible minority women in the Grand Erie region. Rachael Kumar (BEd ’10) recently moved to Singapore where she is teaching Grade 1 at Singapore American School, the world’s largest international school. She also taught for two years in Shanghai, China, where she started the school’s first large student-run fundraiser. The funds raised went to Pass the Love Charity Foundation, which builds libraries for children in rural China. Kumar and a group of children from her school helped to build the library for 400 children at Hushan Elementary School, which she
says was a life-changing experience. Kumar documented the trip at passtheloveproject. yolasite.com.
Photo credit: Thomas Kolodziej
Alyssa Lagonia (BBA ’11) is playing professional soccer with the Italian Women’s Serie A team in Verona. The former Golden Hawk mid-fielder made her European debut in 2012 with England’s semi-professional Doncaster Rover Belles.
WILFRID LAURIER UNIVERSITY ALUMNI ASSOCIATION
2014 AWARDS OF EXCELLENCE The Wilfrid Laurier University Alumni Association (WLUAA) Awards of Excellence were established to honour alumni, faculty and staff who, through their actions and accomplishments, make a difference in the Laurier community and the community at large. If you know someone who embodies the spirit of Laurier,
OUR AWARDS ALUMNUS/ALUMNA OF THE YEAR Recognizes outstanding achievement by a Laurier graduate.
HOFFMANN-LITTLE AWARD FOR FACULTY Recognizes teaching excellence by a Laurier faculty member.
HONORARY ALUMNUS/ALUMNA Recognizes friends of Laurier whose contributions enhance both the university and outside communities.
FACULTY MENTORING AWARD Recognizes a Laurier faculty member for outstanding mentorship and support to students.
SCHAUS AWARD FOR STAFF Recognizes outstanding contribution by a member of Laurier’s administrative staff.
YOUNG ALUMNUS/ALUMNA OF THE YEAR Recognizes outstanding achievement by a Laurier alumnus/alumna who is 30 years of age or younger.
NOMINATION DEADLINE: The closing date for the 2014 Awards submissions is February 7, 2014
nominate him or her for the
For more information about the awards or to download a nomination form visit laurieralumni.ca/awards
WLUAA Awards of Excellence.
You can also call Alumni Relations at 519.884.0710 x3178 to learn more about the program.
36 LAURIER CAMPUS Winter 2013
keeping in touch
Laurier MBA alumni honour Professor Hugh Munro with scholarship As part of their 10-year reunion, Laurier MBA Toronto alumni endowed a scholarship in honour of Hugh Munro, professor of marketing and director of Laurier’s MBA program. The reunion of the ’03 and ’04 alumni, and presentation of the new scholarship, took place at international law firm Torys LLP in Toronto. The scholarship, called the “Hugh Munro MBA Award of Excellence, presented by Torys LLP,” recognizes an outstanding Laurier MBA Toronto student who exhibits the values of inspiring lives of leadership and purpose through demonstrated leadership and community involvement. Munro has inspired and engaged many students through his 33-year career at Laurier, encouraging them to pursue
Hugh Munro, director of MBA programs and associate professor of marketing, School of Business & Economics
excellence throughout their programs, their careers and in their communities. “The award reflects the leadership and values of Hugh Munro,” said Mitch Frazer (MBA ’03), partner at Torys LLP. “He’s enthusiastic, available, accessible, and
helpful to students in choosing a career path. He was a mentor to many of us and, really, your ideal professor.” With a $10,000 contribution from Torys LLP, the alumni raised more than $27,000 to endow the scholarship.
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LAURIER CAMPUS Winter 2013 37
postcard to home
By Avi D’Souza (BBA ’07) Since graduating, I have been on a mission to travel the world. My travels have taken me all through the Caribbean, North America, South America, Europe, Asia and Africa — many times only on my wits and a shoestring budget. I’ve dived with great white sharks in South Africa, swam with whale sharks in Mozambique, travelled by train from the Himalayas to the most southern tip of India, sailed the Caribbean and Mediterranean seas, and even went on a 2,500-foot submarine expedition. I’ve made amazing friends and had countless other adventures. I ended up travelling to the tiny Caribbean island of Roatan, Honduras, almost four years ago and it was love at first sight. Anyone who has been here will tell you that Roatan has a magic like nowhere else. The islanders have glowing smiles, humble dispositions and are ready to welcome anyone to their homes. Roatan still has a soul unlike many other Caribbean Islands. I finally found a place I didn’t want to leave. About two years ago I started West Bay Tours
(westbaytours.com), a company that specializes in boat trips to tiny deserted islands in the area. We also do trips to snorkel with whale sharks, deep-sea fishing, yacht charters, sailing and many more excursions. My company is rapidly expanding and I have met many Laurier grads and professors while on the island. During the slower months of the year I continue my passion for travelling off the beaten path and furthering my education in finance. My other great passion is free diving, where you take a single breath of air and go down to your maximum depth. Through training I am able to go down 130 feet, and I train with world champions who have gone down 300 feet without tanks or weights. As a traveller and entrepreneur in a turbulent environment, I have learned one’s greatest asset is intuition. To read situations, people’s intentions, to know when to leap forward and when to cut your losses. My time at Laurier planted the seed to make all these things possible.
Are you a Laurier alumna/us living abroad and interested in sharing your story? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
38 LAURIER CAMPUS Winter 2013
calendar of events
MARK YOUR CALENDAR For a complete list of events, tickets or more information, visit laurieralumni.ca/events
Water & Tower Allegory by Patrick Mahon Until Dec. 7, 2013 Robert Langen Art Gallery This exhibit is an exploration into architectural forms, decorative and analytical patterns, and built structures to reference the human connection to shifting environmental conditions. Artist Mahon has created inventive works where solids and liquids intersect to produce provocative forms. Admission is free.
Photo credit: Adam Gagnon
Women’s Varsity Hockey Jan. 17 & 18, 2014 Waterloo Recreation Complex Cheer on the Golden Hawks as the team takes on Ryerson University (Jan. 17) and the University of Toronto (Jan. 18) for its first home games in 2014. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m.
Osler Ski Day Jan. 24, 2014
From the Big Bang to Black Holes: Canada’s Role in the Global Quest for Stars Jan. 8, 2014 Milton Centre for the Arts, Milton, Ont. Join lecturer Shohini Ghose from Laurier’s Faculty of Science for a journey through time and space. This free lecture will explore the development of modern astronomy and Canadian contributions to this amazing story, from ancient Inuit traditions to Commander Hadfield’s inspiring musical messages from space.
Bundle up and hit the slopes with alumni and friends at the beautiful Osler Bluff Ski Club in Collingwood, Ont. Osler’s natual terrain provides some of the most scenic trails from beginner to expert.
Current Repertoire of the Laurier Singers Feb. 12, 2014 Milton Centre for the Arts, Milton, Ont.
Erratum Addendum by Gordon Monahan
Re-established in 2006, the Laurier Singers, directed by Dr. Lee Willingham, is a 24-voice auditioned choir from the Faculty of Music that specializes in repertoire suitable for smaller ensembles. This lecture-demonstration will present the choir singing the current repertoire they are presenting during this academic season.
Jan. 8 – Feb. 15, 2014 Robert Langen Gallery
This sound installation explores the physicality and engagement that is created through the experience of sound. Artist Monahan took the original note sequences of Marcel Duchamp’s Erratum Musical, composed in 1913, and generated new variations by applying the compositional processes of inversion and retrograde. Admission is free.
Feb. 14, 2014
DID YOU KNOW? This year, first-time donors are eligible for a First-Time Donor’s Super Credit from the Canada Revenue Agency!
wlu.ca/giving email@example.com 519.884.0710 x3180
Love will be in the air during our special Valentine’s Day Perfect Pairing, as Laurier’s star chef “Hutch” shares some of his trade secrets during a live cooking demonstration. In addition to enjoying a delicious meal, while watching how it is prepared, a complementary recipe book will help to ensure that you remember every little detail.
LAURIER CAMPUS Winter 2013 39
Jerry Rozek’s old Volvo was donated and then unceremoniously returned following the 1969 Homecoming celebrations.
Homecoming, 1969 “The car was my old Volvo, which was a nightmare,” says Jerry Rozek (BA ’70) of the vehicle in the image above. “I bought the car for $500, which was a lot of money for me at the time. Within six months it was burning so much oil I had to replace the engine.” Rozek initially bought the Volvo because it was advertised as being very reliable, but his car was anything but. “I remember one day driving through downtown Guelph. The exhaust was spewing so much blue smoke that a couple of kids standing on the corner started yelling ‘Burn baby burn!’” After installing a used replacement engine at a cost of $300 and to no avail, Rozek gave up on the car and offered it to the Homecoming committee as a fundraiser.
“The idea was to have people take a swing at it with a sledgehammer for a 25-cent donation,” he says. “But the administration didn’t like that idea, so the car was carried up the steps of the Theatre Auditorium building and painted up by students.” Rozek thought he was rid of the car, but after Homecoming it was returned to him. He eventually sold it to an autowrecker for $25.
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40 LAURIER CAMPUS Winter 2013
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WHAT’S IN A LEAF? At the heart of it this national symbol honours our namesake, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, seventh Prime Minister of Canada. That alone is a unique claim among Canadian universities. But look closely. Laurier’s maple leaf is a microcosm of connectivity and support – every vein contributing to the health of the whole. The beauty and simplicity of the maple leaf can only be realized through this common purpose of nature. And so it is at Laurier – faculty, staff, students and alumni committed to a common vision: To Inspire Lives of Leadership and Purpose.
WILFRID LAURIER UNIVERSITY
Waterloo | Brantford | Kitchener | Toronto
Published on Dec 2, 2013