Directions Business Conference


Directions 2024 Program

February 20, 2024

Welcome to RRC Polytech’s professional business conference that connects students in Business Administration, Indigenous Education, Continuing Education as well as Hospitality and Tourism with professionals from industry and non-profit sectors in Manitoba. 

This half-day conference allows students to gain an understanding of a variety of career paths before graduation. It also provides industry leaders the opportunity to meet the next generation of educated, skilled and determined employees.

We hope you have a great time at the 2024 Directions Business Conference!

Navigate the Directions Business Conference with ease! Find out which rooms the Alumni Panels and Roundtables are in, plus see where the networking lunch is happening. See the floor plan ›

Welcome Messages

Fred Meier, President and CEO, RRC Polytech

Headshot of Fred Meier

Thank you for joining us and welcome to Directions 2024.

RRC Polytech is committed to deepening partnerships to maximize prosperity across industry and community, so we take great pride in hosting the annual Directions Business Conference because it offers a unique relationship-building experience that benefits everyone who takes part.

Today is an incredible opportunity for graduating students to grow and learn by connecting with an unparalleled network of industry leaders and proud alumni who are driving the economy and are making a positive impact in our community. They understand the options available to you and are eager to support you on your journey to put the technical knowledge and skills you have acquired to work in Manitoba and around the world.

In addition to preparing the workforce of tomorrow with the necessary credentials required to excel, the College strives to equip our graduates with the tools you will need to become leaders in your chosen fields – and the ability to communicate and network is imperative to success across every sector. Directions is a chance to make valuable connections, ask questions, listen to and learn from the many talented and experienced experts in attendance.                  

Thank you to our business and industry partners for their continued support of this important event and enthusiasm to ensure RRC Polytech students have the advice and insight they need to make informed decisions about their careers. We also appreciate the generous contributions of our sponsors that have allowed the conference to continue and grow, the hard work of our organizing committee to create a productive program in a welcoming environment and all of our participants for engaging in today’s meaningful conversations, presentations and workshops.

Please enjoy and make the most of Directions 2024.

Dr. Christine Watson, Vice President – Academic, RRC Polytech

Headshot of Christine Watson

Directions 2024 guides you from parchment to paycheque. 

As you prepare to graduate and take the first or next steps in your career, you’ll realize that your formal education, while critical to qualify you to work in your chosen field, serves as a launching point on a lifelong journey of growth and self-discovery. Learning never ends. Hard work and dedication have led you to this moment, but now there are many paths to further your career goals.

The options are endless. The choices are yours. Finding a direction that works for your individual blend of personal traits and expertise can be intimidating without the variety of supports available to you – you are not alone. Directions 2024 is a unique opportunity that connects you with industry leaders who can help you make informed decisions to maximize your new credentials and achieve your dreams!

RRC Polytech is proud to offer experiential learning that relies on the input of partners and alumni to ensure that our learning model aligns with the needs of industry. Those same experts have been where you are today, they’ve overcome countless challenges and are now driving innovation and economic success across the province and beyond.

They’re also an incredible source of information and advice for students preparing for their next steps and they place value on spending time with you today. Engage, ask questions and build relationships that may have a lasting impact on your career.

Take full advantage of today’s presentations and workshops as every interaction is a chance for you to gain valuable insight into what business leaders and potential employers are looking for and counting on you to provide. It is also an opportunity for you to share your ideas and priorities so that they can understand their workforce better to create efficient and healthy work environments.

Make connections. Make a plan. Make a difference.

I’m confident you’ll find the right direction for you. 

Kirk Johnson, Dean, School of Business Information Technology and Creative Arts and School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts, RRC Polytech

Thank you for being a part of Directions 2024.

RRC Polytech’s faculty and staff are committed to supporting today’s learners and enhancing student experiences so that in addition to the skills and knowledge needed to pursue their chosen career, our graduates leave with the confidence and connections to become true leaders in the community. Hosting the Directions Business Conference has become an annual highlight for us. We anticipate it will once again prove to be a transformative event that fosters the sharing of information and inspires the workforce of tomorrow.

This year’s program features an impressive variety of informative, relevant, and motivating speakers and panelists who are eager to share their experiences and answer questions.

  • Our keynote and proud RRC Polytech Alumna, Amanda Buhse is an entrepreneurial megastar, who instills her passion for creativity and fearlessness into every endeavour.  
  • The Alumni panel discussions will enlighten participants with honest accounts of successes and challenges that reinforce that no career path is the same and that opportunity is everywhere.  
  • Breakout groups conclude with the RBC Reaction by Collision Roundtables designed to encourage face-to-face interaction with industry mentors. 
  • Finally, enjoy a networking lunch and a chance to visit with exhibitors to take advantage of resources and support.

This event would not be possible without the generous support of sponsors like RBC Future Launch and Pratt’s Wholesale Food Service, the enthusiasm of our industry partners and alumni, the tireless work of the organizing committee and the instructors and staff at RRC Polytech.

Thank you for choosing to join us. Listen, learn and network – today is about helping you find your direction! 

Keynote Speaker

Headshot of Amanda Buhse, CEO Coal and Canary Candle Company

Amanda Buhse, CEO, Coal and Canary Candle Company

Amanda Buhse, a dynamic entrepreneur and marketing virtuoso, stands as the Founder of Coal and Canary, while co-founding Piper & Perro. 

With a passion for infusing creativity into every facet of business and life, Amanda’s indomitable spirit transformed her brand from a modest $40 investment into a multimillion-dollar enterprise. Forbes Magazine celebrated Coal and Canary as “Canada’s beloved artisan candle company” under Amanda’s visionary leadership.

Learn about this year’s keynote speaker ›

RRC Polytech Proud Alumni Panels

Hear from RRC Polytech alumni who have taken the skills and training they’ve learned in College and turned these into careers – how they went from being a student today, to successful businesspeople. 

Learn more about the Alumni Panels ›

RBC Reaction by Collision Roundtables

Sit down and meet with some of the best companies in Winnipeg!

Learn more about the RBC Reaction by Collision Roundtables ›

Spotlight on Bokhaut CPA – Accounting Roundtable

February 7, 2024

An interview with Brad Bokhaut, Partner

Bokhaut has participated in the Directions Conference at roundtables, alumni panels and sponsoring the conference for over 20 years, making them one of our longest industry partners! 

The incredible energy during the conference is what stands out to Brad. “What we find most impressive is how students actively participate in networking with industry professionals, which is often a new skill for them and a competency they will ultimately use throughout their future business careers,” Brad noted. 

Bokhaut has not only been a great supporter of the conference, but they are a huge supporter of hiring RRC accounting grads, they’ve hired more than 40 grads over 20 years. They currently employ eight grads as accountants and managers with their firm. Brad indicated that they hire RRC grads because “they have excellent attitudes to succeed at the firm, including being eager and willing to learn. They arrive equipped with the necessary technical skills and are well-prepared for the current needs of the workforce.”

Brad’s tips for what students should do to prepare for the Directions Conference:

Students should research the industry professionals and companies that will be attending the conference so that they can ask relevant questions and be ready to initiate meaningful discussions to make an impression and build their network. This often entails stepping out of their comfort zone, but it is worth it.

Read More →

Spotlight on Western Financial Group – Sales Roundtable

February 7, 2024

An interview with Matthew Mrozek, Manager, Commercial Sales

Western Financial Group has been a dedicated partner with the Directions Business Conference, participating in the sales roundtables for over ten years. Matthew Mrozek, Manager, Commercial Sales, has participated in the conference for the past six years and says he likes how interactive the event is. “In many events that I host or attend, I do most of the speaking, and there are maybe one or two questions, whereas at Directions, there is great dialect between us and the students. Students seem to come out of their shell at this event and get very involved.” Matthew indicated that interacting with students at the conference lets them get a good view of the available candidates. 

Western Financial Group has hired 15+ RRC Business Administration graduates, including six who attended last year’s Directions Business Conference. Employees’ roles range from working in their office to their VP of Commercial Service. When asked why Western Financial Group hires RRC grads, Matthew said, “Red River grads have had a proven track record of excelling in various positions within our organization, so with the success we have seen, it’s a no brainer to continue to continue to recruit RRC grads.” 

Read More →

Keynote Speaker — Amanda Buhse, CEO, Coal and Canary Candle Company

October 18, 2023

Headshot of Amanda Buhse, CEO Coal and Canary Candle Company

Amanda Buhse, a dynamic entrepreneur and marketing virtuoso, stands as the Founder of Coal and Canary, while co-founding Piper & Perro. Her exceptional creative prowess has garnered recognition on both national and international stages, including accolades from Forbes, placement in prestigious awards shows such as the GRAMMYs, Oscars, Emmys, and Golden Globes, and features in The Globe and Mail, Good Morning America, Cameron Diaz’s The Body Book, Style at Home, Canadian Living, and many more.

With a passion for infusing creativity into every facet of business and life, Amanda’s indomitable spirit transformed her brand from a modest $40 investment into a multimillion-dollar enterprise. Forbes Magazine celebrated Coal and Canary as “Canada’s beloved artisan candle company” under Amanda’s visionary leadership.

Her impressive list of accolades includes being named “Female Entrepreneur of the Year” (WBOM, 2019), “Volunteer of the Year” (Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce, 2019), and “Small Business of the Year” (TWAD, 2019). She’s a two-time recipient of the Spirit of Winnipeg Award (Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce, 2019 & 2023). Amanda’s global impact is evident through her role as a G20 YEA Canadian Delegate, representing Canada at the international G20 Summit held in Milan in 2021 and the subsequent summit in Hamburg, Germany in 2022.

Amanda’s commitment to the small business community extends to her roles as an Executive Board Member for the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce, a Board Member for the World Trade Centre of Winnipeg, and was the Co-Chair of the Small Business Advisory Council (WCOC, 2019). She was also selected as a Chamber representative to advise the Mayor of Winnipeg’s Business Task Force on the COVID-19 related challenges faced by the local business community in 2020.

Read More →

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.

Learn more ›