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Academic News

ACME Awards Ceremony

May 18, 2021

The Applied Commerce and Management Education department is excited to present the 2021 Virtual ACME Awards Ceremony, to be held on Wednesday, May 26, 2021 at 5:30 p.m. CT.

Our students have had to adapt to a changing environment, while maintaining a high standard of academic achievement and they deserve to be recognized! Many of these awards would not be possible without the steadfast support of our donors and we are so grateful for their continuous support.

Watch the ceremony on Facebook at 5:30 p.m. on May 26 to honour and recognize our students for their tenacity and hard work.

If you cannot attend the event live, you can visit the RRC Facebook page to view the recording at your convenience after the live date.

Congratulations again to all award recipients!

View the ACME Awards Program ›

Get Out Of Their Way

April 6, 2021

There is a motto attributed to a few business leaders like Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, and Lee Iaccoca that basically says “hire smart people and get out of their way”. The last class of the Entrepreneurship Practicum course in the Business Administration program at RRC just demonstrated why this might be accurate.

For decades, Entrepreneurship Practicum served as the capstone course for the program. Over 30 teams of 10-15 students from all of the RRC campuses poured themselves into the creation of a business plan, which they ultimately displayed via a booth at the highly anticipated tradeshow, as well as by delivering an oral presentations to members of Manitoba’s business community. Due to Covid-19 restrictions and the organizational decisions to push the classroom online for the final year of the capstone course, a huge void was created in how to allow the students to demonstrate the culmination of their studies in the program. With the in-person oral presentations not possible, and a tradeshow being out of the question, the instructors in the program had to come up with a solution.

The solution for the presentations was easy, move them to Webex for a virtual presentation. These went as smoothly as any presentations could be with over 300 students, nearly 40 judges and 10 facilitators. The groups demonstrated their skills and knowledge to the business community in an impressive manner. However the trade-show aspect was still missing. The instructors scrambled quickly to create a virtual assignment that would allow students to demonstrate their business concept without having people gather. The replacement assignment was to create a 2 minute long video demonstrating the 4 “P’s” of marketing, (Product, Price, Place and Promotion) for their business concept. Essentially it was for the groups to create an infomercial.

The video was not an easy thing to pull off, as the groups are not made of experienced videographers, actors, directors, editors, or animators. The groups also could not get together in person, and their budgets were near zero. Add in the fact that this portion of the project amounted to only 10 percent of their grade, and the expectation was that the videos were going to be “OK” at best. Here is the part where “getting out of smart people’s way” comes in to play.

Many of the videos created were professional quality, extremely creative, covered the required material, were uplifting and demonstrated the wherewithal of our student body. Rather than do the bare minimum, students went out of their way to create something that captured the essence of their abilities. They created a 2 minute video that encapsulated their knowledge, hard-work, creativity and most importantly their spirit in trying times! The future of Manitoba business is in good hands as demonstrated by the class of 2021 – all we have to do is get out of their way.

Please click on the logos below to watch the videos created by students.

Video Links
















Suzanne Lahr’s Story

March 30, 2021

The following are responses from Suzanne Lahr, a graduate of Hotel and Restaurant Management.

Where do you work and what’s your current position?

I’m an Event Coordinator at the RBC Convention Centre in Winnipeg.

What are three career steps you’ve taken since graduating from Red River College?

  1. Completed my bachelor’s degree in Hotel and Resort Management at the University of Calgary.
  2. Held various positions with Delta Hotels across Western Canada.
  3. Refreshed my skills and education with various courses, including MTEC, ATEC, and other certificate courses.

What’s a highlight of your professional life after graduation?

My biggest highlights have been working on the 2014 JUNOS Gala Dinner and Awards, and the 2015 Grey Cup Festival.

How did your time at Red River College help you achieve your goals?

The practical and hands-on knowledge that I received at Red River College, along with the ongoing support from the faculty, has been invaluable.

Mitch Hyndman’s Story

March 30, 2021

The following are responses from Mitch Hyndman, a 2007 graduate of Hotel and Restaurant Management.

Where do you work and what’s your current position?

I am the Brand Home Manager for Church Road Winery. Although we are owned by Pernod Ricard Winemakers, we are the second-largest alcohol and wine producer in the world. Other brands within our portfolio that you may be familiar with are Absolut Vodka, Chivas Regal, Beefeater Gin, Brancott Estate and Mumm. Within Pernod Ricard there are 52 Brand homes worldwide.

Church Road is one of the oldest and most awarded wineries in New Zealand and has wines that range from $20-250 per bottle.

What are three career steps you’ve taken since graduating from Red River College?

  1. In-Room Dining Attendant – Fairmont Winnipeg – Making moments into memories, life is about experiences. Some of the smallest gestures can change a person’s day. Every day gives the opportunity to make these memories and the smallest details matter.
  2. Front Office Manager – The Farm at Cape Kidnappers – Understanding expectations; everyone is different. How do you manage them? At this level, multiple small errors can become a big issue with one’s realm of expectations. The Farm at Cape Kidnappers is a Relaix Chateau Luxury Lodge.
  3. Brand Home Manager – Church Road Winery – #everydetailsmatters, Premium Brand, Premium Products, Premium Experiences. I feel I have an interesting role as it is to balance our consumers’ expectations while giving the best experience possible by conveying my passion for experiences!

What are some highlights of your professional life after graduation?

  1. Working with someone who could arguable be New Zealand’s best Wine Maker to make experience’s at Church Road.
  2. Meeting some famous Chefs /Golfers – Rick Stein, Heston Blumenthal, Thomas Keller, Steve Williams (Tiger’s Caddie).
  3. Meeting travelers from basically my home town on the opposite side of the world. The world is smaller than you think.

How did your time at Red River College help you achieve your goals?

Red River College gave me a great framework to work from and a basic understanding of tourism. The experience that I gained from RRC kindled my passion for experiences, especially food and wine. I love food and wine and will further follow cuisine throughout the world. Life is about experiences especially the ones you can share. Pernod Ricard has 19,000 employees and the opportunities are endless.

Lisa Hunt’s Story

March 30, 2021

The following are responses from Lisa Hunt, a 2015 graduate of Hotel and Restaurant Management.

Where do you work and what’s your current position?

I am currently the Events & Volunteer Planner for the University of Manitoba Students’ Union (UMSU). I also work part-time as a Lead Wedding Coordinator with Alexandra Lillian Weddings & Events.

What are three career steps you’ve taken since graduating from Red River College?

Since graduating, I have:

  1. Attended volunteer management workshops to bridge the gap between event planning and running fundraising and volunteer programs
  2. Worked at national and local charities and not-for-profits managing volunteers and coordinating signature events
  3. Joined an event planning business to assist with, and ultimately coordinate, weddings

What’s a highlight of your professional life after graduation?

One of the biggest highlights of my professional career was the first wedding I had the opportunity to be the Lead Coordinator on. It gave me a huge confidence boost that I have carried throughout my career in the varied events I have coordinated since. Helping a couple to see the wedding they dreamed of come to life is one of the best feelings, and so special to be able to share with them.

How did your time at Red River College help you achieve your goals?

The program at Red River College helped to prepare me for these opportunities by providing me with the hands-on experience of co-op work placements tailored specifically to my chosen path. The support of the instructors was invaluable. They shared knowledge and advice that helped give me a positive edge on getting into the workforce.

Lisa Harms’ Story

March 30, 2021

The following are responses from Lisa Harms, a 2012 graduate of Tourism Management.

Where do you work and what’s your current position?

I am currently the Team Lead, Events and Catering at Assiniboine Park Conservancy.

What some career steps you’ve taken since graduating from Red River College?

Since graduation, I have worked for Assiniboine Park Conservancy. I started as a Park Event Assistant (seasonal position) during my first year of co-op and after graduation I was hired as an Event Coordinator, where I’ve since been promoted to Team Lead.

What’s a highlight of your professional life after graduation?

Being prompted to Team Lead was a big highlight for me. Seeing all my hard work and dedication for my job being rewarded in that way was a major accomplishment. Another highlight is planning and executing many of the events within Assiniboine Park. Being part of so many fundraising events that are making a difference in the city is a very heartwarming and humbling experience.

How did your time at Red River College help you achieve your goals?

Red River College taught me the value of working hard and pushing myself to achieve my goals. I have been able to grow and further my career at Assiniboine Park because of my co-p placement. That first summer, I was able to show my skills RRC had taught me which was one of the reasons I was hired back as an Event Coordinator after graduation and have since been able to grow within the organization.

Laniel Smith’s Story

March 30, 2021

The following are responses from Laniel Smith, a 2006 graduate of Hospitality and Tourism Management.

Where do you work and what’s your current position?

I’m the owner of Marion Street Eatery.

What are some career steps you’ve taken since graduating from Red River College?

I have never gone a day of my working life without working within the service industry. I’ve worn many hats within the industry starting as a line cook and dishwasher at the local ski hill.  I grew up in the service industry as my family has owned and operated the Marion Hotel since 1984.

I am a graduate of the Hospitality and Tourism Management program, 2006. Throughout my time at the College, I competed in the Canadian Skills completion for two years placing third at the 13th annual Canadian Skills competition (volunteered for two years after graduating).

First co-op, and where I continued to work throughout my time at the College, was at Amici/Bombellini/Amici catering where I gained knowledge in the fine dining experience – here I was restaurant busser and dishwasher, catering server and assistant to a server.

After graduation I went on to work at Bergmanns on Lombard which specializes in serving the finest food catering experiences and event planning. I started as banquet server setting up and serving private events eventually moving into a lead role as front of House manager. This position taught me how to offer guests the hospitality experience and gave me the opportunity to work alongside the incredibly talented David Bergmann and his culinary team to create unique and memorable dining experiences.

Afterwards, I took to my current and most rewarding role in the family business at the Marion Hotel in 2011.

In 2014, I had the opportunity to pursue one of my ultimate life goals of opening a restaurant – an achievement I still am grateful to get to enjoy everyday. The Marion Street Eatery – a neighbourhood food spot serving up good food made simple.   The eatery was opened alongside my most cherished friend, business partner, Red River College Culinary Arts grad and now RRC School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts instructor Melissa Hryb.

In 2018, we recently appointed past RRC graduates Camila Gamboa and Hayley McMurray to operate and run the Eatery. I have since chosen to take on a larger role as General Manager of the Marion Hotel (where I learn something new everyday). The Marion Hotel is a local institution and community hotel which I operate alongside my sister Milanne, graduate of the RRC Business Development program, and father Doug.

What’s a highlight of your professional life after graduation?

The highlight of my post graduate career lies in the eyes of our employees and our regular customers at the Hotel and Eatery. I love developing and building relationships, I love good food and I love making people happy. This community continues to ignite my passion for the industry.

I am a proud member of Manitoba’s hospitality industry. The RRC Hospitality and Tourism program has made an impact on my life – the skills I learnt and the connections I made gave me the confidence to take on and make a mark on my own personal career.  The College gave me confidence through knowledge and it taught me that my own dedication is my own destiny.  The College taught me to set high standards for myself, and to those I employ, and taught me to bring true professionalism to my endeavours.

How did your time at Red River College help you achieve your goals?

Since graduating, I continue to challenge myself through personal and professional development programs and lots of community involvement. I choose to always stay connected and to stay involved – I will forever be thankful to Red River College as they gave me my foundation and I am now responsible for its success.

I will continue to be passionate, I will continue to work hard and to empower those within our industry. I will continue to be creative, different and unique and I believe that great things start at Red River College.

Jennifer Thompson’s Story

March 30, 2021

Jennifer ThompsonThe following are responses from Jennifer Thompson, a 2009 graduate of Tourism Management.

Where do you work and what’s your current position?

I’m the Director of Events and Catering at the Winnipeg Football Club.

What are three career steps you’ve taken since graduating from Red River College?

  1. Upon completing the Hospitality and Tourism Management Program at Red River College, I applied and took a position with Walt Disney World as a Cultural Representative at the Canadian Pavilion in Epcot. This was a one-year position based on the type of US work visa that I had.
  2. Following my position with Walt Disney World, I had a desire to remain with the company and applied for a position with Disney Cruise Lines. Upon being hired with Disney Cruise Lines I started as a Guest Services Representative and was rapidly promoted working in positions as Guest Service Systems Coordinator, Groups and Events Manager, Guest Relations Manager and Concierge Manager.
  3. Upon leaving Disney Cruise Lines, I spent a few months in South Africa before returning home where I was hired with the Winnipeg Football Club as a Catering and Events Manager. Approaching nearly five years with the Winnipeg Football Club, my role has changed and expanded significantly to where I am currently the Director of Events and Catering, managing such areas as stadium events, catering, premium game day service, community relations, game day entertainment and halftime.

What’s a highlight of your professional life after graduation?

A highlight was my time with Disney Cruise Lines. When I first started with them, I was out of my comfort zone doing something completely foreign and new to me. I quickly fell in love with working on cruise ships. I loved working for an amazing company who taught me so much and what customer service really is and I cherish the time with them that allowed me to travel and see the world.

How did your time at Red River College help you achieve your goals?

Above anything else, I think that the program gave me confidence. Through the classes, it gave me the knowledge to feel confident in my abilities, and what I could bring to the industry.

Jamie Kerslake’s Story

March 30, 2021

The following are responses from Jamie Kerslake, a 2009 graduate of Hotel and Restaurant Management.

Where do you work and what’s your current position?

I’m the Lead Planner with Madeline’s Weddings & Events.

What are three career steps you’ve taken since graduating from Red River College?

  1. Took the Wedding Planning Institute of Canada course to become a Certified Planner.
  2. I continued working at Bridge’s Golf Course (where I did my co-op) and familiarized myself with all of the décor and planners in the city to determine who I wanted to apply for .
  3. I approached Madeline’s Weddings & Events and was hired based off the experience they had with me at Bridges.

What’s a highlight of your professional life after graduation?

Madeline’s Weddings & Events was nominated for and won the top choice award for Event Planner of the Year! This award is voted on by our industry peers and past clients, so it felt amazing to be not only be nominated but to also win!

How did your time at Red River College help you achieve your goals?

I use the skills I attained in school on a regular basis! I was hired at Bridge’s Golf Course because of my serving and bartending skills and I was promoted there because of my leadership skills. I was promoted at Madeline’s Weddings from Assistant Coordinator to Lead Coordinator within my first season because I had the knowledge and skills to troubleshoot & stay calm in a stressful situation and speak confidently and give direction to a group of people. All of these skills I learned or mastered during my time at Red River College.