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Alumni Engagement

News, Profiles and Events

Thanks for joining the Red River College Café on Ten Thousand Coffees!

July 7, 2021

The Red River College Café, powered by Ten Thousand Coffees, is RRC’s free online networking and mentorship platform that connects Red River College students and alumni through virtual ‘coffee chats’ and exclusive nation-wide events with career development experts.

More than 2,100 current students and alumni members have already joined the Café, and more than 12,200 connections have been made so far since launching in 2020!

Learn more about how Ten Thousand Coffees works >

*Contest Now Closed*

Thank you to everyone who joined the Red River College Café and entered this contest!

Congratulations to our winners:

  • Gurbir Singh Sandhu – Administrative Assistant, 2021
  • Hunter Hiebert – Digital Media Design, 2021

If you didn’t win, don’t worry – you can join RRC’s hub on Ten Thousand Coffees at any time to start working your network. Sign up for our e-newsletter to stay in the loop on future opportunities to win great prizes!


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

Free Virtual Event: Should I Start a Business or Get a Job?

June 30, 2021

You’re invited! Ten Thousand Coffees is hosting a panel discussion on July 15, 2021 at 12:30 p.m. CT to answer the age-old question so many of us have asked ourselves: should I get a job or start my own business?

Let the great debate begin! Join Ten Thousand Coffees for an exciting discussion to help you decide if you should go out on your own or accept that job offer. Whether you’re navigating your next steps as a fresh graduate, or you’ve always wondered if starting a business and being your own boss is the right move, you’ll get a chance to hear from a group of experts who will weigh in on the benefits and challenges of either option.

Ten Thousand Coffees CEO Dave Wilkin will chat with an entrepreneur, a venture capitalist, and an early career leader for their take on this debate. The event is free and open to all Red River College students and alumni. Whether you’re already a member of the Red River College Café or new to our mentoring and networking platform, you’re invited to listen in and ask questions!

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Life hacks for success in IT include essential skills learned at RRC for Computer Analyst/Programmer grad

May 25, 2021

Almost immediately after graduating from Red River College’s Computer Analyst/Programmer diploma program in 1998, Gillian Bresch-Giesbrecht accepted a job as a programmer with Richardson International.

Now, more than 20 years later, she’s still there.

It’s not a common career trajectory by today’s standards (only 30 per cent of people stay in any one job for over four years, according to a Workopolis report) but it is an impressive one. Today, Bresch-Giesbrecht works as a Senior Project Manager, where she is part of a fast-growing department of approximately 80 other IT professionals within the company.

And when it comes to the experience of working, growing, and succeeding with the same company throughout her entire career, she only has one thing to say: opportunity is aplenty.

“I have been from Vancouver, all the way to Sorel-Tracy. I’ve been almost all across Canada, and had an opportunity to visit many people across the country. It is a great industry to be in: there is demand, room to grow, and you can make some decent money compared to other industries,” she says.

“You’re able to choose the type of career path you want. It might be quite technical, with lots of coding or building, or maybe you’re somebody who doesn’t necessarily want to hang out at your desk. You can go out and talk to people and help them find solutions to improve their systems.”

When Bresch-Giesbrecht began studying at Red River College in 1996, the Internet was still a relatively new concept for most. She was halfway through her first year of an arts degree at the University of Manitoba when she says she decided to switch over to a more technical program with plenty of career prospects.

Her father, Geoff Bresch, was an instructor in the Computer Analyst/Programmer (CAP) diploma program in the 1980s at Red River College, and later in his career became an instructor in the Business Information Technology program. He suggested she apply to CAP at RRC.

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Hustle and heart key to success for Carpentry grad

May 11, 2021

Joe Froese’s career is all about the hustle.

From his first day as an apprenticeship student, Froese made sure nobody ever outworked him. Now, at 27, as a journeyman carpenter he co-owns two businesses with his father, George – the man who instilled in him a strong work ethic.

In 2002, the elder Froese founded Access Framing Inc. (@accessframinginc) in the family’s home community of Grunthal, in southeastern Manitoba. The company puts up wood frames for residential and commercial buildings. George is also known in the area as a pastor at Bothwell Christian Fellowship, in New Bothwell.

Joe joined his father at Access Framing as an apprentice carpenter in 2012, and he bought into the company two years later. After completing high school at that time, he transitioned into the Carpentry program at Red River College and graduated in 2017.

There’s value in the program for students who want to take the incentive and further themselves, says Froese, adding his own education at the College helped him to hone his problem-solving skills. “I think Red River College put me far ahead of where I would have been, if I had just worked hard in the trade and ‘worked my way up,’ kind of deal. It definitely helped me get ahead,” he says.

In 2019, with backing from his father, Froese started a second company, Access Building Ent. (@accessbuildingent), to work on start-to-finish new home builds and general contracting.

“I had an opportunity that presented itself to me,” he says. “I had it in the back of my mind that I’d like to do start-to-finish home builds. A buddy of mine had a house that needed repair, and he could not afford to fix it up. So, I bought the house and the land from him. I tore the house down, subdivided the land, and we built a few new homes.”

Froese describes carpentry as “a hard, physical, demanding career path,” and he says a person’s attitude plays a big role in their success.

“My instructors at Red River College were helpful; especially if you showed an interest in carpentry, which I did,” he says. “I wanted to become the best at it that I could be when I started, and they helped me to achieve that.”

Froese still works closely with George. Not every day working with his father is perfect, he admits. “Some days, we just don’t get along,” he laughs. “But for the most part, we get along and have a good relationship that way.”

His advice to students who want to break into the framing and construction business is to pay attention, learn how to use the tools, and understand the basics first. “Once you are in the trade, hopefully you will apprentice with a crew that will teach you, and not just expect you to know everything. Listen to what they tell you and grasp the concepts. Then they will start giving you more responsibilities. You can work your way up quickly, actually, if you show that initiative.”

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New program in Game Development targets next-gen video game creators

May 10, 2021

In response to Manitoba’s growing game development industry, which has seen tremendous growth over the past five years, Red River College is launching a new two-year program geared toward video game design and programming.

“We previously had some classes at the College that covered some aspects of game development,” said Thomas Lepp, RRC Instructor and program coordinator for Game Development.

RRC gaming student works at computer

“Through consultation with industry, we designed a two-year program that focuses on video game development, with two distinct streams.”

The “Design” stream focuses on visual design and technical art production, while the “Programming” stream focuses on the implementation of game mechanics and design tools to optimize game production, as well as applied game mathematics and coding to support the creation of interactive gaming experiences.

While the Design stream is a perfect match for technical artists, the Programming stream is geared toward people who like to engineer solutions and solve technical programs using code and math. The best part? Students from both streams in this two-year, five-term program will collaborate on projects. Working in teams, students will create prototype games to explore and develop design and programming tools.

“Communication with teammates and instructors is a key skill we hope to develop as students explore and implement loop theory, which is the process of producing game design within a set of given requirements or constraints,” said Lepp. “To learn about games, we make games.”

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Free virtual event: Foundational Skills for Career Success

May 6, 2021

You’re invited! Ten Thousand Coffees is hosting a free webinar on May 20, 2021 at 12:30 p.m. CT to help you build essential skills for career success.

We focus a lot on building technical skills for the workplace – school is where we match theory with hands-on, practical learning so grads are set up to meet industry needs (which is awesome!). But we could all use a little extra work on foundational skills: the skills that set us up for long-term career success. These are often called ‘soft skills’ but there’s nothing soft about them – the ability to work effectively in teams, resolve conflicts, solve problems, have empathy, and think critically are all human skills that are not just nice-to-haves in today’s market, they’re need-to-haves.

In a study conducted by LinkedIn, 91 per cent of companies responded that it’s a struggle to find candidates in the marketplace that not only meet education and experience requirements, but also have well-developed soft skills.

Join Ten Thousand Coffees co-founder and CEO Dave Wilkin and Harpal Sekhon, Head of HR for Johnson & Johnson Consumer Canada, for this Office Hour to find out which foundational skills are the most in demand in Canadian workplaces. This session will cover why these essential human skills are necessary for career success and how you can grow your own skillset to become a superstar in the office (and in life).

The event is free and open to all Red River College students and alumni. Whether you’re already a member of the Red River College Café or new to our mentoring platform, you’re invited to enhance your networking skills at this workshop event.

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New Digital Film and Media Production program to set grads up for success in multi-tooled industry

May 3, 2021

As Manitoba becomes an ever-growing hotbed for movies, TV, and other digital production, it has never been a better time for graduates and industry professionals to take the next step in their careers.

Dean Cooper, RRC Media Production Instructor

That’s the goal behind the new Digital Film and Media Production post-graduate diploma program. Designed to cater to those already established in their careers, the program aims to improve existing abilities and help students expand their tool belt in an industry that rarely involves being good at just one thing.

“The goal is to make students versatile enough to gain employment as producers, videographers, editors, and production assistants in film and media,” said Dean Cooper, RRC Media Production Instructor and Digital Film and Media Production program coordinator.

“As well, we want to give students skills on how to run a freelance business. In an industry like this, you have to have a large skill-set and be ready to take on different roles both behind the camera and as a producer.”

The new one-year diploma program has a September 2021 entry date and will take place at RRC’s new Innovation Centre at the Exchange District Campus in downtown Winnipeg. Graduates will earn a host of skills to take into the next phase of their careers, including producing freelance videos, operating 4K professional video equipment, operating and legally flying a video drone, and working effectively with a professional film crew.

Doug Darling, RRC Creative Communications grad

The curriculum and learning outcomes have been developed in close partnership with local professionals, including Doug Darling, CEO and Executive Director of Tripwire Media Group.

“As someone who graduated from [Creative Communications] in 2006, I learned a lot — but having this course as an option would have put me ahead by years of real-life learning,” said Darling. “This program will have people so much more prepared to have the skills that employers are looking for.”

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From college halls to city walls: graphic design grad creating art and connecting communities one mural at a time

April 26, 2021

If you’ve spent any time walking, biking, or driving around Winnipeg, chances are you’ve seen Jordan Stranger’s work.

Large-scale murals in his colourful, pop art style grace the walls of The Forks Market, FortWhyte Alive, and Winnipeg’s North End. He has designed logos for Festival Du Voyageur, held exhibitions at aceart inc and Graffiti Art Gallery, painted the Niakwa Trail Bridge, and hosted half a dozen workshops throughout the city.

As an artist, Stranger has played a large role in creating accessible public art and showcasing culture in Winnipeg. And to him, it’s purely a community act.

“Public art is extremely important. To have that colour, culture, and vibrancy when you walk down your street, it makes your day. Once I’m done a mural piece, it’s not mine anymore. It’s for the people, for whoever needs to see it. It’s expression. We need to be able to share our deepest feelings and truest emotions through art, words, audio, music, and voice. That’s why art is so valuable, because it allows us to connect as people.”

Art has always been a part of Stranger’s life. His father, Wayne Stranger, is an accomplished bronze sculptor and studied fine art at the University of Manitoba. He remembers his grandparents, uncles, and aunts all with creative endeavours of their own.  

“I was exposed to art a lot,” said Stranger. “I was always drawing and sketching my favourite Dragon Ball Z characters, Pokémon, and cars from photo books. I was also always building things—I love using my hands to make stuff. That comes from my dad.”

In high school, Stranger took an interest in apparel design and screen-printing courses, but it wasn’t until he attended Red River College’s graphic design program in 2010 that he was first exposed to the industry.

The program’s learning curve was steep, said Stranger, especially when it came to technology. He had never used a MacBook before attending the program (in fact, on the first day, he wasn’t entirely sure how to turn it on). Alongside the training in technology, techniques and philosophy of graphic design, Stranger found the program’s supplementary lessons on marketing, public speaking, and exposure to the interview process incredibly useful.

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Graphic design grad talks ‘pro’crastination with Winnipeg creatives

April 23, 2021

RRC grad Shaun Vincent
Shaun Vincent, RRC grad and owner of Vincent Design Inc.

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 CreativeMornigns not only celebrates our city’s creative talent, but also promotes an open space to connect with like-minded individuals. From design legends to hometown heroes, speakers are selected by each chapter based on a global theme. April’s theme? Procrastinate – why we put things off, and how can that help or hinder the creative process.

Winnipeg’s Shaun Vincent, Red River College grad and owner of Vincent Design Inc., will be leading a talk about being a professional procrastinator during a pandemic on Friday, April 30 from 8 – 9 a.m. CT. Registration is open and the virtual event is completely free.

Vincent graduated with an advanced diploma in Graphic Design in 2003, and is a graphic designer and marketing strategist with more than 18 years of experience. He applies his deep knowledge of graphic design to creating work of enduring strength and quality that stands out in the field.

With roots firmly planted in his hometown of Winnipeg and the Métis community, Vincent has earned a reputation for his steadfast commitment to each client and project, high professional standards, a personable working style, and his careful intention to create authentic, memorable work that speaks volumes.

Vincent has also been recognized for his volunteer work throughout the city and currently sits on numerous boards including youth mentorship, Indigenous leadership groups and community centre development.

The motto of CreativeMornings is “everyone is creative, everyone is welcome” – a perfect fit for Friendly Manitoba. Don’t procrastinate – register now to attend Vincent’s presentation on April 30.

New Communication Management program will give communicators professional edge

April 14, 2021

Advanced business and project management skills at core of new program

Red River College’s new post-diploma Communication Management program targets advanced business and project management training to help professional communicators “level up” in their careers.

Designed for Creative Communications grads who specialized in Advertising and Marketing Communications or Public Relations and Communication Management — or professional communicators with similar education and work experience — this in-depth program combines essential theory with exceptional applied learning opportunities to boost career potential, making grads of this program more employable and promotable.

RRC Instructor Melanie Lee Lockhart
Melanie Lee Lockhart | Creative Communications instructor

“We cover a lot in the two years students spend with us in Creative Communications. With this new post-diploma program, we’re building on the solid education and experience our grads already have so they can lead strategy, projects, and teams effectively,” said Melanie Lee Lockhart, RRC Public Relations instructor and Communication Management program coordinator.

Whether you’re a Public Relations grad looking to upgrade your skillset and take your career to new heights, or you have been working in a communication management role for the past few years and want a competitive advantage, this program is uniquely suited for communicators who want to progress to the management level.

Professionals with backgrounds in advertising or marketing will also gain advanced skills in public relations not previously learned in school or in the workplace.

The pandemic has made the importance of professional communicators even more apparent than it was before – and it isn’t over. So, we’ll begin by offering this program part-time and primarily online this fall, so you can build your business acumen without taking a pause from your career.

The deadline to apply for the first year of Communication Management is June 4 and the program has a competitive application process. To learn more, those interested can contact Melanie Lee Lockhart at mleelockhart@rrc.ca.

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