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Alumni Engagement

News, Profiles and Events

Machine Shop alum inspires new grads to keep learning

July 30, 2020

Don Fletcher gives alumni address at February convocation ceremony

Twice a year, Red River College students flock to the Winnipeg Centennial Concert Hall with a gaggle of family members in tow. They don distinct caps and gowns, transforming into a sea of black with flashes of red (tassels – not feathers). They wear their regalia with pride: this is the moment where students become graduates; they’ve earned their wings and now it’s time to fly.

This June, Red River College had to adapt in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, hosting a virtual convocation in place of our traditional in-person celebration. But back in February – what seems like a lifetime ago – we were able to salute our grads at the Concert Hall in style.

Don Fletcher, an RRC Machine Shop Apprentice grad of 1982, welcomed our Winter 2020 grads to the RRC alumni community with a memorable speech.

Read More →

Innovation doesn’t go on summer vacation

July 15, 2020

Big things are happening this summer at Red River College. Like you, we’ve had to adjust to significant changes over the last several months and introduce a few changes of our own – but we’ve been inspired by the creative ways the RRC community has tackled challenge after challenge due to COVID-19. While this situation is far from over, we know our students, staff, and alumni will continue to rise and remain strong.

Now is the perfect time for professional development

Summer is a great time to update your skills, learn something new, or turn that side project into your main passion. Throughout the pandemic, RRC has remained open for business – and that hasn’t changed! Check out RRC’s catalogue of online part-time and full-time courses and programs to kick-start your summer education.

Learn to launch your side business in 12 weeks

Red River College has partnered with The Maker’s Collective to offer Manitoba Side Hustles 101, a 12-week online course that equips aspiring and emerging Manitoba side business entrepreneurs with the skills, tools, mindsets and community support needed to move from idea to a successful business launch.

The course runs Thursdays starting July 23 and includes expert-led training sessions, including guest speakers who have walked the walk. Learns the ins and outs of generating a new stream of income, especially during this time of uncertainty.

There are only 100 seats and alumni can use the promo code RRCALUM to receive a special 10% discount. Register here.

Read More →

Winning the ‘Job Lottery’

July 10, 2020

CREE CARPENTRY INSTRUCTOR’S DREAM GUIDED BY KICHI MANITOU, THE GREAT SPIRIT

To an outsider, it would appear opportunities have presented themselves to Wilfred McPherson too often to be called coincidences.

And McPherson — a Red River College grad who’s returned as an instructor following a lengthy career in the trades — is more than happy to share the credit for his success.

“Some people call it being at the right place at the right time,” says McPherson, when asked about his career path’s natural and organic progression.

“It’s like an invisible hand that guides things along… [that of] Kichi Manitou, the Great Spirit.”

Read More →

Thanks for entering our Ten Thousand Coffees contest

June 22, 2020

Ten Thousand Coffees is RRC’s free online networking and mentorship platform that connects Red River College students and alumni through virtual coffee chats. More than 1,500 current students and alumni members have signed up, and more than 5,600 connections have been made so far in 2020!

Learn more about how Ten Thousand Coffees works >

*Contest Now Closed*

Thank you to everyone who joined Ten Thousand Coffees and entered this contest! If you didn’t win, don’t worry – you can still join RRC’s hub on Ten Thousand Coffees to start working your network today. Also stay on the lookout for future opportunities to win great prizes.

Congratulations to our winners, Matthew Paquette and Celina Glesmann!


Have you made a great connection through Ten Thousand Coffees? Send us an email to share your story!

Rising to the challenge

April 30, 2020

We’re settling into the “new normal” at RRC, knowing full well that the only certain thing right now is uncertainty. As we continue to adapt to constant change, we’ve seen our alumni community overcome incredible challenges – you are what Manitoba is made of and you make us all #RRCproud.

You continue to inspire us with the work you are doing to adapt your businesses, provide new services, and volunteer your expertise to help those in need.

Here are some ‘good news’ stories from our alumni community:

  • The Prairie Collective is hosting a virtual day of wellness, Prairie Bloom, this weekend. The Prairie Collective is the evolution of Prairie Yogi Inc and Prairie Love Festival, launched by RRC alum Rachelle Taylor. Their seasonal wellness festivals and events across Manitoba have been bringing world-class yoga and wellness experiences to Central Canada since 2014. The Collective is selling Bloom Boxes supporting local businesses to elevate the at-home experience, and to make the virtual festival as accessible as possible, scholarships are available to those in need of financial support.
  • UpHouse, co-owned by RRC grad Kiirsten May, is once again stepping up to help the community, this time by transforming itself into a children’s book publisher to support families and celebrate frontline workers in the wake of COVID-19. “Frontline Friends” is a collection of kid-friendly, educational colouring sheets, featuring line drawings of real, local frontline workers. The printables are free to download.
  • Sourdough is making a giant comeback as more people are taking up baking as a hobby while spending more time at home. At the forefront of this trend is RRC grad Lisa Sylvestre, who was featured in the Winnipeg Free Press earlier this month. Sylvestre’s passion for baking sourdough predates the pandemic – it began years ago when she was gifted a 150-year-old sourdough starter lovingly named Cornelius (originally from the Basque region of Spain). You can read the full story here.

We know this is just a small sampling of what our alumni community is up to – we will continue to share these good news stories with you!

If you have some good news to share, DM us on social media, email us, or update your contact information to let us know.

Read More →

Stronger together, while staying apart

April 22, 2020

RRC’s alumni community continues to raise the bar with ingenious solutions to our new living and working conditions. From forging new paths of contactless food delivery to finding innovative alternatives to physical events, what you’re doing is working (albeit a little differently).

We know that this pandemic has not been easy on small business owners in Winnipeg. We are inspired by the work you are doing to adapt your businesses to provide new services, while also volunteering your expertise to help those in need. You make us all #RRCproud.

Here are some ‘good news’ stories from our alumni community:

  • Graphic design alum Ashley Nicole Kosowan, along with sister Jenna Rae Hutchinson, the masterminds behind popular Winnipeg bakery Jenna Rae Cakes (JRC), announced the launch of their first cookbook this week. While the book launch comes at a strange and uncertain time in the world, one thing the JRC team knows for sure is the happiness baking can bring to a household. When you pre-order the cookbook, JRC will send you a bundle of three of their favourite recipes to tide you over until its publication date on October 6.
  • Creative Communications grad Tyler Walsh gave the Prime Minister’s speech about COVID-19 for children a Lego makeover. His stop-motion Lego video (now available in both English and French) has gone viral, resonating with thousands of people around the world. Read the full story here.
  • Fort Rouge Glass, owned by RRC grad Brendan Berntt, is manufacturing protective shields to protect frontline workers so that they can continue to provide essential services while staying safe.
  • The crew at Build Films (co-owned by RRC grads Christopher Paetkau and Trevor Gill) continues to help the community, this time by working with thankourheroes.ca to share heartfelt messages from Canadians to frontline workers.  You can post your messages to Twitter and Instagram with the tag #thankourheroes for your comments to automatically appear on the Thank Our Heroes site.
  • Earlier this month, RRC grad Laneil Smith, manager of Marion Street Eatery, and her team donated 50 bagged lunches to Morberg House in St. Boniface. Those lunches were distributed to shelter residents.
  • RRC grad Raymond Ngarboui is delivering free meals to people in need in the Central Park neighbourhood. With help from other volunteers, Ngarboui’s Food 4 All program is helping to feed a community in need, sometimes serving more than 200 meals a day. You can read the awesome Winnipeg Free Press feature on Raymond here.

We know this is just a small sampling of what our alumni community is up to – we will continue to share these good news stories with you!

If you have some good news to share, DM us on social media, email us, or update your contact information to let us know.

Read More →

Helping our community

April 2, 2020

These past few weeks have challenged us in unimaginable ways. Many of us are currently facing unprecedented changes to how and where we work, and some of us have had to make some big adjustments.

But, now more than ever, we are seeing our Red River College community come together to help one another get through this stressful time. Our alumni community is tapping into the RRC spirit of innovation, flexibility, and problem-solving, and we are proud of the creative and kind solutions so many of you have implemented to help out.

Here are a few examples of our alumni going above and beyond:

  • Amie Seier, owner of The Community Gym, is providing fitness classes free of charge via Facebook and Instagram Live (though you can choose to donate $10 to keep the business thriving). On top of providing multiple online classes a day, The Community Gym has also rented out ‘equipment packages’ and spin bikes to those who don’t have a home gym.
  • Kiirsten May of UpHouse Inc., has launched a new book with her UpHouse co-owner Alex Varricchio, The Proximity Paradox.
    • Kiirsten and Alex have been going live on Instagram daily to talk through key findings in each chapter of their book, and provide tips and inspiration to help communicators, marketers, and creators get through this uncertain time.
  • Christopher Paetkau and Trevor Gill of Build Films have been supporting community members working on the front lines and those who deserve some extra help by asking their Instagram community to nominate deserving folks. Each day, they are awarding one nominee with a gift card to a local business.
  • Pita Pit North Main (co-owned by RRC grad Thomas Douglas) is supporting front line workers by delivering donated meals to paramedics and community members working in hospitals, grocery stores, fire halls, and other essential services.
  • Taylor Cole of King Cole Catering is delivering free food to front line and emergency department staff at St. Boniface Hospital and several paramedic stations.
  • Jessie Thiessen, mastermind behind Small Jane Kids, has put together some at-home activities for parents with young children, including an “Around the House Scavenger Hunt Game” free of charge.

We know this is just a small sampling of what our alumni community is up to – we will continue to share these good news stories with you!

If you have some good news to share, DM us on social media, email us, or update your contact information to let us know.

Read More →

Digital Marketing Day

March 3, 2020

Thank you for entering to win tickets to Digital Marketing Day

UPDATE

Due to recent developments with COVID-19, the Advertising Association of Winnipeg has opted to postpone this year’s event to ensure the safety of all attendees and speakers – you can read the Association’s statement here.

While we’re sorry we’re no longer able to reward you with a ticket to #DigitalDay2020 at this time, we understand and support the Advertising Association of Winnipeg’s decision to reschedule this event.

The good news? We still have two tickets to give away for this event, now slated for October 1, 2020, so your entry to this contest remains valid – we’re simply moving the draw date.

Please stay tuned for information later this year!

 

Conference leads to career launch for Applied Accounting grad

February 13, 2020

Erika Falcao credits Red River College for pointing her in the right direction.

Falcao, who is from Recife, Brazil, graduated from RRC’s Applied Accounting program in 2017. She works at Bokhaut Chartered Professional Accountants Inc., an accounting firm that specializes in working with physicians.

She was first made aware of Bokhaut through RRC’s annual Directions Conference, which connects business and applied arts students with industry professionals.

“I met a Bokhaut representative at the Directions Conference and then I sent them my resume. After a couple weeks I got an interview and a job, even before my graduation,” says Falcao.

“So when I finished the program, I had a job already. It was the first and only place I applied to, which was really great.”

Falcao started as a staff accountant at Bokhaut in June 2017, and in January 2019 was promoted to a manager position.

It makes sense that she was able to climb the ranks so quickly, given she worked as a financial analyst for a Brazilian construction company.

Back home, Falcao also earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, as well as a master’s in Business Administration, Financial Management, Auditing and Control from Fundação Getúlio Vargas.

“I didn’t find [Applied Accounting at RRC] that difficult,” Falcao says.

“I really liked the instructors — they were all very knowledgeable and I admired them a lot. It also helped already knowing the concepts of accounting. The program was helpful because even though I have a background in Brazil, I still needed a Canadian background to get the job.” Read More →

Game changers: RRC grads help build digital media industry at Ubisoft

January 13, 2020

Red River College grads Spencer Marr and Ibrahim Shahin have total recall of the day global digital entertainment giant Ubisoft announced it was opening a video game development studio in Winnipeg.

“When the news of the studio came out, all my friends and my family called me,” says Shahin (shown above, at left), who has since landed a plum job as a technical artist at Ubisoft Winnipeg‘s Exchange District studio. “I applied the same day it was announced.”

Marr (shown, at right) was already in celebration mode when he heard the news.

“The studio was announced randomly on my birthday,” says the 30-year-old team lead programmer. “As soon as it was announced I was looking into it, trying to find all the information I could, and I started preparing my resumé to apply for it that day.”

It’s fair to say Ubisoft’s arrival was a game-changer for the local industry. With brands like Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry and Watch_Dogs, the company boasts it has the world’s largest in-house game development staff, with more than 17,000 employees in 40 studios on six continents.

The Winnipeg studio has a unique role as the only one focused on developing tools and technology to build better games. Lured in part by Manitoba’s Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit, the company had hired 25 employees by the time it officially opened in October 2018. It plans to create 100 jobs over five years and so far, at least 10 RRC grads (many shown below) have signed on in various capacities.

“The best part is the people I work with,” Shahin says. “It’s crazy how well everyone gets along and how much care and effort is being put into building the team.”

Games have been a major part of Shahin’s life from an early age, but he’s always been more interested in making them than playing them. He says it helps that the skills he picked up at RRC are directly applicable to his job.

“All the stuff that we learned, all the tools and programs that we used there are industry standard.” Read More →