Academic News

Business and Management

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.

Hayley McMurray’s Story

March 30, 2021

The following are responses from Hayley McMurray, a 2014 graduate of Hotel and Restaurant Management.

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

I’m the Front of House Manager at Marion Street Eatery.

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

  1. My first big career step was accepting a position at Walt Disney World for my second co-op program. I grew as a server in a fine dining restaurant, plus was encouraged to think outside of the box when it came to “creating magical moments” for guests.
  2. My second step was accepting my first managerial position at Marion Street Eatery. The Eatery was the perfect place to take this step as it was run by two strong females who also attended to Red River College and were willing to help me learn. The Eatery is all about providing comfort to guests and I’ve immensely enjoyed being in this type of setting. Being a smaller company, I get to really connect with the tight-knit staff and take on a lot of different responsibilities.
  3. The third step would be the continued education I have done with Manitoba Tourism Education Council. I’ve been able to take away lessons from each class there and apply them to my position within the Eatery.

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

My biggest highlight is gaining the manager position at Marion Street Eatery. I never expected to get into a manager role as soon as I did after school. I was very appreciative to have gotten the chance to grow and prove myself as a leader. Plus, it’s a very positive work environment.

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

Of course everything I learnt from all of my classes and instructors at the College has helped me move forward in my career. But the biggest aid I’ve gotten from the school is through the networking they provide. My goal of becoming a manager came faster than expected as it was an instructor who got me the interview with Marion Street Eatery, and I’m forever grateful! Also, by still keeping in touch with RRC now, I fell I still get to network and connect with multiple people in the industry. The College itself creates a great community.

Crystal Seman’s Story

March 30, 2021

The following are responses from Crystal Seman, a 2010 graduate of Hotel and Restaurant Management.

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

I’m the Sales Administrator for Tourism Winnipeg, a division of Economic Development Winnipeg.

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

  1. The skill set from experience and the hands-on education I received from RRC allowed me to excel by advancing in my first job after graduation to a newly created position that encompassed social media and online reputation management. I quickly began to manage the hotel’s online reputation through channels such as TripAdvisor and other online booking and review sites. My work in this area created a voice for my employer to be able to respond to and manage online reviews, increasing our online hotel rating across many platforms and applications.
    Completed three month Hotel Revenue Management Certificate program through eCornell (Cornell University’s online platform).
  2. I was selected to be part of the brand’s national revenue management team for Catering Services, reporting on and assisting the Director of Conference Services and the Catering team to meet and exceed revenue goals while consistently placing top five properties in the company for forecast accuracy.
  3. Moving to Tourism Winnipeg, I am able to put my experience and education to work again as I support our Sales Team in attracting large conventions and special events to the city. Having the hospitality and revenue management experience I am a strong asset to Economic Development Winnipeg  in supporting not only our sales and management teams, but also our local members and partners.

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

Working at our city’s DMO and having the ability to advocate for and liaison with the local tourism industry. Working with previous employers and my own industry mentors together to promote our city and our tourism assets to clients around the world.

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

I started my education at RRC as a mature student. The level of professional education, mentorship, and support far exceeded my high expectations. The instructors are truly experts in their field, they all have real-life experience on top of their teaching backgrounds. Many were also graduates of the very same program, which shows the success of the program has not only been long standing, but the passion and life-long dedication to learning has brought these industry professionals back to Red River College.

Hospitality started as an interest for me and Red River College gave me the foundation to grow from. Hospitality has become a true passion of mine and I attribute that to the strong start I received at Red River College. Now working at our city’s destination marketing organization, I could not think of a more fitting position for me to use my skills, education, and experience to play a crucial part in promoting our city to increase visitation, develop long-term tourism strategies, and support our local tourism industry.

Carson Robertson’s Story

March 30, 2021

The following are responses from Carson Robertson, a 2011 graduate of Hotel and Restaurant Management.

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

I’m an Account Executive for Marriott Canada Account Sales.

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

  1. Once I received the two-year diploma from Red River College I decided to continue my education at Ryerson University in Hospitality and Business Management – Graduated from Ryerson in June 2013.
  2. Six months after graduating I received a job as a Sales Coordinator at Starwood Hotels in the sales cluster office which looked after four Toronto-based properties. Within three years, I had moved from coordinator to Sales Specialist to then Sales Manager!
  3. In 2017, the Marriott/Starwood merger went through and I had the amazing opportunity to move to the Canadian Marriott Sales Office in Toronto, now selling seven properties across downtown Toronto! After eight months, I moved into my current position looking after over 40 accounts for our Marriott Hotels across Canada.

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

When I graduated from Red River College in 2013, I had described my ideal future job to my teachers, which was a position in sales and the position I have now is exactly what I described. Looking back at my ‘short’ time in the hospitality industry, I am so proud of where I am now.

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

Red River College was a vital step to get me to where I am now. The unique Hospitality/Tourism program they offered sparked my love for hospitality and set me on a path for success. Their partnership with other universities allowed me to continue my education and follow my career goals.

Building a Foundation – A Profile of Tracey Dyck, Business Administration Grad

February 24, 2021

The biggest thing I learned in the Business Administration program wasn’t any one particular course or skill. It wasn’t economics or digital marketing or consumer behaviour. Rather, my biggest takeaway was learning a business mindset.

Through real world experiences, challenging problems to solve, teamwork, and personal instruction, I found myself building a foundation. I began forming an attitude that looks for opportunities, gathers resources, mobilizes others, and takes action—even when results aren’t guaranteed. This was especially true in the entrepreneurship course, where I helped to lead a team in creating a business plan from start to finish.

The real test, however, was to see if this newly acquired business mindset would work in the outside world. I’m thankful that it did, as I started a dream job in my field just three days after taking my final exam. This foundation built at Red River College enabled me to start off strong in the workplace, and it’s been serving me well since then.

To any prospective business student, I encourage you to jump into the program with both feet. Dig in and make the most of your experiences, the wisdom of your instructors, and the opportunities you’re given. This season of learning is just the beginning for you.

A Profile of Stephany Opyc, Business Administration Grad, 2019

February 24, 2021

My name is Stephany Opyc and if I were asked to describe my two-year journey through the Business Administration program in one word, it would be, ‘success.’ Graduating in the Spring of 2019 with honors through the Marketing stream wasn’t my only success story. From becoming a successful tutor in Business Computing to working on a marketing communications proposal through the Applied Projects course, my stay at Red River College was more than just graduating with a diploma.

The classrooms at the Notre Dame Campus were full of relevant and current material that I now use every day in my current marketing position. While the course material and textbooks have provided me with a great deal of my business knowledge, the credit must also be shared with my amazing instructors at the College. These instructors are more than teachers, but mentors who coached, educated, and taught me course material. In fact, some of the most valuable lessons I took away from RRC were taught under Harv Mock and Janine Carmichael, two very passionate and knowledgeable instructors who made a very positive impact on me, in more ways than one, during my stay.

Some of the most memorable and largest takeaways were through the opportunities provided outside the classroom. One of which that was particularly influential was through the Business Solutions Team. This applied learning volunteer program allowed me to take the textbook knowledge that I gained from the classroom and apply it to real-world situations. Our incredible team of 10 developed a comprehensive business plan for a group of Manitoba investors and was the best experience I was proud to be apart of at the college. Additionally, the reference letter from the investors made a strong influence on the hiring decision of my current employer.

My Journey at Red River College has been one of the best decisions I have made for myself as a growing individual and I am proud to be a graduate of the program. I have learned a great deal from all my courses and my instructors; however, the additional opportunities offered outside the classroom were some of the best learning experiences I was honored to be apart of. If you are considering taking the Business Administration program, remember that it is more than just a diploma, it is a success story.

Gain Experiences and Friends For Life – A Profile of Shelby Joss, Business Administration Grad, 2018

February 24, 2021

I graduated the Business Administration Diploma Program as a Financial Services Major at Red River College in 2018. Currently, I am a Collections Contact Officer with the Canada Revenue Agency.

My time at Red River College helped me achieve my goals through the vast opportunities you are exposed to, including a direct path to my current career. You will receive a well-rounded education, gain knowledge that will help you in your career and everyday life, and cultivate valuable networking opportunities.

The instructors were hands down the most influential part of my college experience. Having someone teach the courses that has come from the industry allowed us to gain first-hand knowledge that was actually useful. The instructors were candid, intelligent, and overall great people. I attribute a lot of my success to the wonderful people who raised us for those two years.

Two experiences at the College that stand out most for me are the CIFP Case Challenge and the First Impressions Recruitment Event. I participated in and led the first-ever RRC team for the CIFP Case Challenge. We flew to Calgary to compete in the West and won against Universities that had been studying finance for a year longer than us. Winning that competition got us an all-expense paid trip to Halifax to compete nationally. It was an experience that I will never forget and has allowed me to excel in my career that I likely would not have without the First Impression Recruitment Event. The “F.I.R.E.” was essentially speed-dating but with potential employers. I had eight 12-minute interviews in one day with various banks, insurance companies, and the Government. I had my first interview with the CRA through the F.I.R.E. which led me to the job I’m in today.

College wasn’t all about academics for me. I participated in every volunteer opportunity available, such as the RRC Food Bank, Research and Innovation Day, Business Technology Management Talent Mash, and the Intercultural Mentorship program. I was also a tutor and First Year Student Mentor and sat on the Student’s Association Board. Volunteering not only looks great on a resume and scholarship applications, but it was rewarding in many other ways.

My advice to those considering this program: Do it. It’s an incredible experience that has set me up for life. Ensure that you get involved with the College and your campus and you will gain experiences and friends for life.

A Profile of Montana Fortier, Business Administration Grad, 2019

February 24, 2021

I graduated from the Red River College Business Administration program in the Spring of 2019. What struck me most during my time there was how practical and all-encompassing the program was. Having an interest in people and commerce, I am thankful to have been a part of a program which guided me through a wide range of curriculum, assignments and presentations.

There is something to be said for the small class sizes and instructors that know you by name. The program takes a holistic approach to applied training and education that helped me find and develop my interests and pushed me to excel.

Events like the Directions Business Conference and First Impressions Recruitment Event (FIRE) offer a great chance to meet fellow students, cultivate relationships with local professionals and develop rapport with potential employers. I was lucky enough to have met my future recruiter at the Directions Conference through an instructor I had in my first year of classes. I would recommend taking up any chance you have to “shake a hand” (or bump an elbow…) to build your network. Most importantly, if you are curious about how someone got to where they are now – ASK! The world is a kind and giving place and those within the RRC Alumni/business community are always willing to help.

My one piece of advice to new students would be to extend yourself. Get out of your comfort zone and watch yourself grow! I had the opportunity to take part in the Vanier National Marketing Case Challenge, which sees three marketing majors travel to Montreal and compete in a pressure-cooker style pitch event with other Canadian colleges. This competition and the training involved allowed me to develop and practice my ability to think quickly, critically and persuasively. This primed me for future job interviews, gave me confidence to promote myself and skills not only in the interview process, but through day-to-day life.

For those considering enrolment into the RRC BA program, go into it with an open mind and drive to learn. Be prepared to be challenged and inspired. You will graduate not only with a diploma, but with a network of learned skills, applications and relationships you will be proud to carry with you post grad.

From RRC to True North Sports – A Profile of Mitch Doell, Business Administration Grad

February 24, 2021

Mitch Doell
Manager, Partnership Services for True North Sports + Entertainment (Winnipeg Jets)

My time at Red River College was everything I could have asked for in an education. The course load, instructors, classmates, and course material were extremely beneficial in preparing me for the workforce after graduation. I found that the courses offered in the Business Administration program were very similar to what I have learned at my job at True North, which makes the transition into working full-time easier.

Learning to speak in front of colleagues to present new material, working with the marketing team to track impressions on our social media and website, learning computing programs (Excel, PowerPoint, Word), learning how to talk to clients over the phone and in person are only a few aspects that have helped me in the workforce.

What stands out to me over my time at Red River College that prepared me for a career in business is the course load and actual course material, as mentioned above. I felt like the courses offered prepared me for what I have experienced so far in my time at my current job. Lots of the time people will graduate and move into an occupation and not utilize what they have learned in school. This is not the case when attending and graduating RRC.

Having a tight-knit group of classmates that I spent time with outside of school was very beneficial. Originally being from a town outside of Winnipeg, getting to know peers who have grown up in Winnipeg helped me find job opportunities that I may not have known about otherwise and helped me build connections with possible employers.

If you are looking into enrolling in RRC Business Admin, I would suggest that you most definitely do it. Once you have enrolled and started the program, make sure you use your time wisely and make sure to use your organization skills effectively. Things can get hectic with 6 different courses in a semester so making sure you are organized and attending classes is imperative to one’s success.

The opportunities that the course has presented to me have been invaluable and were a big help in finding my current job. Being a graduate of RRC holds a lot of weight as many employers in Manitoba recognize the skills and education acquired at this school, something I may not have thought too much about at the start. Overall, a fantastic and worthwhile experience.

A Profile of Junalyn Denampo, Business Administration Grad

February 24, 2021

I came to Canada for the first time in 2018 to pursue my passion to learn, grow and be globally competitive. Some would say it was a very scary thing coming all alone from the Philippines, but it went smoothly because of an organized system and the warmth of the Winnipegers.

There were lots of colleges and universities available to choose from, but I was looking for a school that focused on applied learning rather than theoretical. That is why I selected Red River College, true enough to stand being named as Manitoba’s largest institute of applied learning and research using hands-on and online opportunities with state-of-the-art instruction. I chose the Business Administration program as I have a Business, Finance and Accounting background from the Philippines and the Sultanate of Oman. I wanted to learn how these fields of study are being put to use in Canada during the financial crisis.

The BA program makes sure that courses are abreast and relevant with constant collaboration and consultation with the industries. The method of instruction and the number of students per class is just right. Instructors are able to identify areas of weakness in students and help them. One of the things that I love at Red River College is how they use the various courses to develop soft skills that would be a great advantage in the real business world. Each course develops our skills in time management, planning, organizing, discipline and becoming a team player.

There are lots of opportunities to be involved including volunteering and social and extra-curricular activities that would connect a student to the business world. I could say being active in Business Solutions Team, First Impressions Recruitment Event, Directions Conference, Tutoring services opened a lot of job opportunities for me even while still at school.

One of the most challenging times we had is when the COVID pandemic emerged while we were still at school. I am a witness to how RRC, instructors and academic staff worked proactively and unselfishly to deliver our programs online without any interruption. That is why I was able to graduate without any delay within the expected time frame.

I am very grateful to RRC, all instructors and academic staff that equipped me to what I am today.

RRC Polytech campuses are located on the lands of Anishinaabe, Ininiwak, Anishininew, Dakota, and Dené, and the National Homeland of the Red River Métis.

We recognize and honour Treaty 3 Territory Shoal Lake 40 First Nation, the source of Winnipeg’s clean drinking water. In addition, we acknowledge Treaty Territories which provide us with access to electricity we use in both our personal and professional lives.

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