Alumni Engagement

News, Profiles and Events

Creative Communications alumni find success in unexpected places

May 24, 2022

A new series on RRC Polytech’s RED Blog celebrates alumni career successes and the—sometimes wayward—journeys our alumni take post-graduation. The series features a variety of RRC Polytech programs from the viewpoints of different alumni, each with an amazing story to share.

In April, two Creative Communications graduates were highlighted: Lucasfilm lore master and Distinguished Graduate Award winner Pablo Hidalgo, and grad-turned-instructor Doug Darling, CEO of Tripwire Media Group.

Distinguished Graduate Award recipient Pablo Hidalgo

Pablo Hidalgo took what he learned in Creative Communications at RRC Polytech and combined it with his love of Star Wars to become the resident Yoda at Lucasfilm—seemingly all-knowing and the go-to guy aspiring Padawans approach to learn the history and lore of the force. When J.J. Abrams had questions during the production of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Hidalgo was the master with all the answers.

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Putting His Tech Training to the Test

April 25, 2022

Patryk Siedlik is the definition of a hands-on learner.

“When I was a kid, I wanted to be an inventor,” says Siedlik, 27. “I always wanted to build stuff and test it.”

A penchant for the practical has served this graduate of RRC Polytech’s Electronic Engineering Technology program well.

On completing the 28-month diploma program in 2018, he found work in his field with Winnipeg-based multinational bus manufacturer New Flyer.

In a role he characterizes as “a lot of fun,” Siedlik integrated, programmed, and validated aftermarket electronic systems to modernize existing bus fleets. In the process, he travelled to more North American cities than he can readily list.

Yet it was with fond memories of a final-term biomedical elective that Siedlik decided to make a change after three years with New Flyer. In 2021, he joined Health Sciences Centre Winnipeg (HSC) as a Biomedical Engineering Technologist in the hospital’s Clinical Engineering department.

Siedlik examines a piece of medical equipment at Health Sciences Centre (Photo: Shared Health)

“I work on most types of medical equipment, including infusion pumps, defibrillators, respiratory equipment, and electrosurgical units. One piece might be 30 years old, and the next is one week old.”

“The main thing is ‘can they (health care providers) trust the machines?’”

It might seem like a logical progression: a curious kid grows up to land cool tech jobs. However, Siedlik is quick to explain his career path has hardly been a straight line. After graduating from Sturgeon Heights Collegiate, he found university a disappointingly frustrating match for his learning style.

RRC Polytech is not only where Siedlik got the training to launch a career, but also where he found like-minded people who share his interests.

“My good friends – my closest friends – are from college. All of us are in the field and happy with where we are. I’m such a fan of the school.”

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$40 and a Dream: RRC Polytech alum Amanda Buhse will share her story at CreativeMornings Winnipeg this month

April 13, 2022

More than a decade ago, CreativeMornings was launched out of a desire for ongoing, accessible events for creative communities to connect. Today, these communities gather in 223 cities across 67 countries — including right here in Winnipeg.

The Winnipeg chapter of CreativeMornings not only celebrates our city’s creative talent, but also promotes an open space to connect with like-minded individuals. From marketing legends to hometown heroes, speakers are selected by each chapter based on a global theme. This month’s theme is KISMET: chance encounters, happening onto a fortune, finding true love – it’s all fate or destiny. It’s all kismet.

Amanda Buhse, a graduate of RRC Polytech’s Communication Design program and co-founder of Coal and Canary Candle Company, is CreativeMornings Winnipeg’s speaker on Friday, April 29 from 8:30 – 10:00 a.m. CT. This ‘accidental entrepreneur’ will be sharing her career journey, from starting a business with only $40 in her bank account in 2014, to being named Entrepreneur of the Year by the Women Business Owners of Manitoba by 2019.

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Enter to win a ticket to Digital Marketing Day 2022

April 8, 2022

Enter now for your chance to win a ticket to this year’s Digital Marketing Day conference on April 20, 2022, presented by the Advertising Association of Winnipeg.

Learn from the most relevant speakers in digital marketing and advertising from across North America. You’ll hear from industry gurus working at brands like Google, TikTok, and LinkedIn, and learn how to up your organization’s digital game.

From social media superstars to SEO wizards, each speaker will provide insight from working in the field and each session is designed to enlighten and inspire. Take your knowledge to the next level – enter to win today.

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#BreakTheBias: Empowering women to succeed and allies to support – Free Virtual Event

March 3, 2022

You’re invited! Ten Thousand Coffees is hosting a special Office Hour event celebrating International Women’s Day! The event will be held on March 10th at 2:00 p.m. CT and will align with IWD’s 2022 theme – #BreakTheBias.

This International Women’s Day, Ten Thousand Coffees is shedding light on the barriers that women face as they enter or navigate the workforce. The first step is building awareness and the next step is breaking them down – and we need women and allies to do both.

Ten Thousand Coffees founder and CEO Dave Wilkin will chat with guest speakers Christine Silva (Senior Lead, Community & Underrepresented Entrepreneurs at Shopify) and Emma Mohns (Senior Legal Counsel at Kinaxis) about the tactics these women used to navigate and succeed in their career. They will also highlight the role allyship played in their success and share the tools and tricks that other allies can leverage to build inclusive environments.

If you identify as a woman, it’s critical to understand what barriers you may encounter and the proven tactics you can use to overcome them – spoiler alert, sponsorship is key! As an ally, it’s your job to actively call out bias when you see it and fight to break the mold.

This Office Hour event is free and open to all RRC Polytech students and alumni. Whether you’re already a member of the RRC Polytech Café or new to our mentoring and networking platform, you’re invited to listen in and ask questions!

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RRC Polytech grad speaks on monumental change at CreativeMornings Winnipeg’s February event

February 23, 2022

More than a decade ago, CreativeMornings was launched out of a desire for ongoing, accessible events for creative communities to connect. Today, these communities gather in 223 cities across 67 countries — including right here in Winnipeg.

The Winnipeg chapter of CreativeMornings not only celebrates our city’s creative talent, but also promotes an open space to connect with like-minded individuals. From marketing legends to hometown heroes, speakers are selected by each chapter based on a global theme. This month’s theme is MONUMENTAL: what will you bear witness to? What will you leave behind when you’re gone? We each have stories and creativity to share – and what we do and how we do it not only impacts our lives but also the lives around us.

Sean Rayland, a graduate of RRC Polytech’s Indigenous Social Entrepreneurship program, is CreativeMornings Winnipeg’s speaker on Friday, February 25 from 8:15 – 9:30 a.m. CT. You won’t want to miss his talk: Making Monumental Change – one t-shirt at a time. He’ll be sharing about his experience as an ex-gang member and recovering addict who now runs a successful social enterprise as owner of Indigenous-led clothing company Red Rebel Armour.

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Work and Play from Home

February 22, 2022

Out with the old and in with the new – now is the perfect time to level up your office set-up and rep RRC Polytech at home and on the go!

As our world slowly begins to open up and we emerge from two years of adapting to pandemic work and home life, we’re looking forward to more “precedented times”. Whether you’re working from home or the office, staying put or itching to travel, you can rep new RRC Polytech swag as a proud alumni member.

*Contest Now Closed*

We’re giving away 10 prize packs filled with RRC Polytech-branded goodies so you can level up your office space.

From keeping your coffee the perfect temperature, to making sure your sound is crystal clear (meetings or music – we won’t judge), these prize packages are sure to make working and playing from home much sweeter.

Each prize pack is worth CAD$650 and includes branded RRC Polytech merchandise, including:

Contest is open to all RRC Polytech grads and alumni – see our definition here.

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RRC Polytech alum Natalie Bell shares tips to spark creativity at CreativeMornings Winnipeg’s January event

January 24, 2022

More than a decade ago, CreativeMornings was launched out of a desire for ongoing, accessible events for creative communities to connect. Today, these communities gather in 223 cities across 67 countries — including right here in Winnipeg.

RRC Polytech alumna Natalie Bell
HR pro Natalie Bell is the digital creator behind @PegCityLovely

The Winnipeg chapter of CreativeMornings not only celebrates our city’s creative talent, but also promotes an open space to connect with like-minded individuals. From marketing legends to hometown heroes, speakers are selected by each chapter based on a global theme. This month’s theme is FREE: free to be your authentic self in life and at work; free to be with the content you share and the people you interact with; free to achieve your fullest creative potential.

Natalie Bell, RRC Polytech grad (aka @PegCityLovely – one of Winnipeg’s original influencers) is CreativeMornings Winnipeg’s speaker this Friday, January 28 from 8:15 – 9:45 a.m. CT. She’ll be chatting about how to shake off your online persona and will offer tips on how to get back to the creativity you are passionate about.

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Free Virtual Event: The Power of Relationships – Why Mentorship Matters

January 17, 2022

You’re invited! To celebrate National Mentoring Month, Ten Thousand Coffees is hosting an exclusive event on Thursday, January 27, 2022 at 12:30 p.m. CT.

Join Ten Thousand Coffees for an enlightening webinar with Mark Beckles, Vice-President, Social Impact & Innovation at RBC. Mark will chat about how he has benefited from mentorship in his career and how he has amplified his impact by mentoring others.

For students looking for a summer internship or full-time job, or fresh graduates navigating the next steps in your career, having a mentor can be a game-changer. It can help boost confidence, improve career satisfaction, and provide access to networks that will help you grow your career.

For mid-career and seasoned alumni, connecting with current students and recent grads is an awesome way to give back. You have the experience and skills to make a difference by becoming a mentor for young people who are starting out in their careers. There are also tremendous benefits for you, like building your leadership skills, growing your network, and helping young people find and follow their passions and thrive.

Ten Thousand Coffees CEO Dave Wilkin will host this chat with Mark on January 27 – don’t miss it! The event is free and open to all RRC Polytech students and alumni. Whether you’re already a member of the RRC Polytech Café or new to our mentoring and networking platform, you’re invited to listen in and ask questions!

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Business Information Technology grads thrive at new-to-Winnipeg tech consulting firm

December 15, 2021

An innovative Canadian technology and consulting firm has brought its operations to Winnipeg, and along with it, ample opportunity for Red River College Polytechnic graduates.

Traction on Demand (ToD) announced an expansion of its offices to Winnipeg in early 2021. Since then, the certified BCorp has hired dozens of Manitobans with plans to onboard even more. As an RRC Polytech industry partner, many of these hires are Red River College Polytechnic grads.

Headquartered in Burnaby, B.C. with operations across Canada, the United States, India, New Zealand, and Australia, ToD is North America’s largest dedicated Salesforce integrator and consulting firm. May 2021 marked 15 years for the company, and they recently welcomed their 1,000th “Tractionite” to the team.

Two of these Tractionites are Red River College Polytechnic graduates Anton Stroy and Richard Schentag, who joined the company in May 2021 after graduating from the Business Information Technology program in December 2020.

In their roles as developers, Story and Schentag develop custom features for the Salesforce platform and support technology implementation and integration for clients and organizations.

ToD focuses on creating a healthy, positive work environment for its employees, an aspect that both Stroy and Schentag notice and appreciate about the job. While the company has shifted to a remote work environment, their efforts to maintain culture, collaboration, and communication have resulted in the creation of new products, like Traction Gather, a digital engagement hub where weekly internal meetings are held for all employees across the globe.

Traction strives to create a place of belonging, friendship, diversity, accountability, and equity with each other as Tractionites through justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) initiatives. It also aims to harness the power of community to celebrate the inclusion of all humans and to leverage business and relationships as a force for good.

“Traction has a very good culture—it puts people first, and I like this about the company. I was worried when I graduated, as I wanted to find a company where the culture is good, and I wanted to fit in,” said Stroy.

“They make a conscious effort to build culture and trust among the team,” agreed Schentag. “We dedicate time each month to have a one-on-one with another team member. They also want us to set career goals every year. If your team isn’t the right fit for you, you can move to a team that better aligns with your career goals. It’s a great place to excel and to learn.”

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