Fred Meier has spent his first few weeks as Red River College’s president and CEO focused on making connections and building momentum towards a fall academic term unlike any other in the College’s 82-year history.
Adjusting to any new leadership role can be challenging enough. But taking the reins during a time of global upheaval and transformation amped up the need for Meier to make every minute count.
“I arrived on day one knowing I was joining an institution that has shaped the lives of many Manitobans and contributed a great deal to our province’s economy,” he says. “What I saw right away was a community of people who have innovated and adapted unbelievably fast to the COVID-19 pandemic in order to keep our students learning.”
Knowing how deeply students and industry partners depend on RRC for skilled training, workforce needs and applied research, Meier invited the Hon. Ralph Eichler, Minister of Economic Development and Training, on a tour of RRC’s Notre Dame Campus to highlight how the College has prepared its facilities to safely welcome back students for hands-on learning.
“The Minister told me he was impressed by the work we’ve done. I was impressed, too, by the ingenuity of our staff and students and their dedication to moving forward safely.”
Meier says that his leadership vision places a heavy premium on engaging employees, and on ensuring faculty and staff are listened to, valued and supported in their work.
At the end of August, he unveiled the College’s new online Staff Forum, a website designed for employees by employees to connect them with information, resources and collaboration tools quickly and easily.
“Strong internal communication and collaboration are the bedrock of our success as an organization. While this has always been true, the disruptions to our business by COVID-19 make employee engagement a higher priority than ever. Adopting new tools, technologies and strategies to share and learn from one another will continue to be near the top of my list.”
Red River College is a large, complex organization serving Manitobans from several regional campuses, each with its own priorities and needs.
Meier visited each campus over the past several weeks to meet staff and deepen his understanding of how each campus serves communities across the province. He says he continues to be struck by how diversity is one of RRC’s greatest strengths.
“The more I get to know this College, including the multitude of ways that RRC contributes to the social and economic prosperity of Manitoba, the more certain I am that our culture of inclusion, respect and diversity will deepen and grow.”
Meier says he’s already focused on a number of priorities, including developing a new strategic plan for the College, hosting a virtual town hall gathering with RRC staff, connecting with donors, and sharing the next chapter in the story of our Innovation Centre, under construction downtown.
“There is a lot of enthusiasm around what we’re doing,” he says. “I’m grateful to be part of this amazing community of people focused on building the future together.”