School may have been out for summer, but the learning certainly didn’t stop for Theressa Genaille.
After graduating with honours last spring from Red River College’s Aboriginal Program for College Enrichment and Transition — a program recently relaunched as the College Transition program — Genaille was selected for an eight-week paid internship at the Aboriginal Chamber of Commerce (ACC).
In that time, she was able to take the knowledge and skills she gained in the classroom and put them to work supporting the daily operations of the ACC.
“As the first person in my family to pursue post-secondary education, it was really important for me to enter into a learning environment like Red River College,” says Genaille, “where instructors and advisors took the time to understand my individual needs and provide the supports I needed to achieve my academic goals and thrive in my studies.”
In addition to her achievements in the Transition program — created to help students enhance their core competency skills in areas such as reading, writing, math, science and technology — Genaille’s education and volunteer experience made her the ideal candidate for the ACC Internship, funded by the Centre for Aboriginal Human Resource Development.
“Theressa’s name was put forward with glowing recommendations from her instructors due to her volunteer experience, positive attitude and great work ethic — and from the moment she joined our team, we could certainly see why,” says Darrell Brown, Chair of ACC’s Board of Directors, and a proud RRC grad himself.
“We were so fortunate to work with Theressa and have her support to move important initiatives forward. In turn, we were able to provide a supportive learning environment for her to experience the daily operations of the ACC, gain a deeper understanding of the business community as a whole, and apply the valuable skills she learned as a student.”
While working at the Chamber, Genaille kept busy each day by answering inquiries, processing invoices and memberships, and providing support, including minute-taking, for all board and committee meetings. She also executed a mini business plan, initiated a database refresh, and oversaw a new mail-out package for all members, which included a cover letter, ACC update and certificate of membership.
“It was an honour to be selected for this internship, and to have the opportunity to learn from and work with the ACC board of directors and members of such a strong Indigenous business community in Manitoba,” says Genaille.
“Each day and each new task enabled me to apply the skills I learned at RRC and tackle new challenges, which will help me as I head back to school this fall and continue my academic journey.”
Genaille is currently enrolled in the Educational Assistant program at the University of Winnipeg; her goal is to one day pursue her teaching degree.