The Leadership Series gives Faculty of Environment students the opportunity to connect with and learn from alumni through discussion and small-group networking. This term we are organizing a breakfast roundtable event focused on how to network effectively and the importance of building diverse connections. Stay tuned for upcoming Leadership Series events in Winter 2018.
THIS EVENT IS NOW AT CAPACITY AND A WAIT LIST HAS BEEN STARTED. PLEASE CLICK BELOW TO ADD YOUR NAME TO THE LIST.
October 3, 2018 Breakfast - Networking for Newbies
- 7:15 a.m. - Arrival
- 7:30 a.m. - Opening Remarks
- 7:45 a.m. - Small-group Roundtable Discussions (four rounds)
- 8:50 a.m. - Closing Remarks and Group Photo
- 9:00 a.m. - Event Concludes
Dress is business casual. Capacity is limited to 50 students and breakfast will be provided through UW Catering.
*Please note, this registration link is for students only. If you're an alumnus interested in getting involved in our next event, please fill out our online form.
If, after registering, you are unable to attend, you must notify the advancement office as soon as possible so students on the wait list can participate in your place. Students who fail to show up without prior notice will not be able to attend future Leadership Series events for two terms.
In the world today, the ability to network is an important and necessary skill for almost all aspects of life, especially within your career. But, for many, when they hear the word ‘networking’ it just makes their palms sweat and their heart rate increase. Yes, you’ll probably have to take yourself out of your comfort zone, but as the quote says ‘If it doesn’t scare you a little, it’s not worth doing.’ However, it doesn’t have to be as daunting as it may seem. Together, we will examine some of the small steps you can take to grow your network. We will do this by looking at how you can be open to meeting new people, along with how to cultivate and maintain the new relationships that are making up your growing network.
Meet the Roundtable Alumni Mentors:
Anne-Marie Marais (BES 1995, Planning) founded Long Legs Media, an independent digital media company in 2008. She provides expertise in marketing and content creation specializing in digital, social media and continuous marketing strategy and execution. Her current consulting work spans high-end resorts and luxury rental properties, architects and planning firms and book/gift stores. She is also a mentor for Futurpreneur Canada and a volunteer at Toronto Pearson Airport. Along with her digital media work, Anne-Marie is a travel writer who loves to experience new places, meet new people, and set out on unique adventures.
“Just as you would build and maintain any personal relationship with a friend or family member, you must do the same or better when it comes to networking. It’s about committing to meet new people, being open to the world around you, and to those that you meet, and then to cultivate those new relationships. With networking and relationship building, you truly only get out of it as much as you put into it.”
Dianne Adams (BES 1990, Geography) is the GeoSpatial Data and Analytics Manager for the City of Kitchener, where she provides management, supervision, and strategic leadership for the city’s GIS services. Guided by her passion for GIS-related customer service, she works to build effective relationships with internal business units, vendors, and other organizations. Dianne also helps oversee the long-term development of the City of Kitchener’s GIS landscape by considering the impact of the city’s business and technological resources in her field. As Dianne winds down her career, both her niece (a graduate of the Geomatics program at UW) and her son, now in his 3rd year of Geography at Guelph, are following in her footsteps. After 25+ years in the business, she still finds it exciting and rewarding to work in the GIS industry.
"A job is about going to work every day and being paid; a career is about getting involved and networking so you can find contacts and lifelong friends in your chosen field. Interacting with your peers is a great way to keep growing and learning."
Jeremy Bannon (BES 2014, Environment & Resource Studies) works for Natural Resource Solutions Inc. (NRSI) as a Project Biologist/Certified Arborist where he is responsible for management of EIS projects, tree preservation plans, restoration planting plans and a variety of wildlife surveys, including bats, amphibians, reptiles and birds. As an environmental consultant, Jeremy is often the “mediator” between heavy-handed developers and conservation-minded agencies. Jeremy loves to garden with his two cats, bunny, and lovely expecting wife.
"One of the most interesting – and most challenging – parts about environmental consulting is to have friends on both sides of the spectrum, and to make them hold hands."
Joel Becker (BKI 2017, Knowledge Integration) is a Data Scientist at Shopify, a leading-edge multi-channel commerce platform. As a part of Shopify's Data Science & Engineering team, he helps to build the scalable data assets, pipelines, and systems that support Shopify's innovative community of decision makers and developers. Before Shopify, Joel developed open source entity matching and data extraction tools with the University of Waterloo's NetLab, enabling NetLab's leading-edge research in large-scale collaboration networks. Joel is also a member of the DaCapo Chamber Choir and spends his time off playing volleyball and making music.
"Networking isn't just about getting a job — your network is the basis for your working community. Don't think about networking as work. Think about it as investing in the flow of ideas, opportunities, and social connection."
Stephanie Higgs Bergman (BES 2013, International Development) is the Senior Development Officer for Indspire, a charity that invests in the education of Indigenous people in Canada and an organization that she believes strongly in as a proud member of the Métis Nation of Ontario. With a long-term passion for NGOs, she spent four years working for WE focusing on their international development work. Her undergraduate capstone presentation focused on how operating in networks could improve access to capacity building and funding in Vietnam, which was a project she was involved in during her eight-month placement in Hanoi. When not working, Stephanie can usually be found hiking, weightlifting, or dreaming up future travel plans.
"Networking is really about building relationships, and relationships are how you interact with the world. By networking, you are able to choose what you want your world to look like. Attending networking events and participating in events that I valued enabled me to build a professional circle in Toronto, which has led to new career opportunities and friendships."
Sarah Brown (BES 2008, Environment and Business) is a Senior Consultant with Sustainable Societies Consulting Group, a position in which she supports teams and organizations to tackle complex issues, develop strategy, engage stakeholders, and work better together. Her areas of knowledge span across climate change mitigation and adaptation, energy systems, sustainability planning, governance, and policy development. After a great undergrad experience in the Faculty of Environment, Sarah went to Kingston to experience a new city while completing a Master of Urban and Regional Planning at Queen’s. It didn’t take long after that for Sarah to find her way back to Waterloo Region, where she now loves living in downtown Kitchener and working with fellow community members on neighbourhood development, cycling, and affordable housing issues. Sarah fills up the rest of her time training for triathlons, playing broomball or soccer, and backcountry camping.
“I think of networking not as a one-off or formal exercise, but rather as an ongoing approach to the way you move through life, connecting with other humans as you go. Whether it’s in line at the coffee shop, at a work meeting, out with a running group, or at a community event, I focus on being approachable and friendly with whomever I meet and looking for common connections by asking them questions about themselves.” LinkedIn: Sarah Brown Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @sjaybrown
Dan Currie (BES 1998, MES 2006, Planning) is a Partner at MHBC. His work focuses on land use policy, intensification strategies, and cultural heritage planning. With a passion for public sector planning, he has previously worked as the Director of Policy Planning for the City of Cambridge and the Senior Policy Planner for the City of Waterloo. Dan is particularly interested in the development of heritage plans and policies and how cultural heritage planning relates to the broader planning field.
Brandon Fox (BES 2011, Environment & Resource Studies) is a Provisional Member with the Canadian Institute of Planners and an Environmental Planner, Associate, and Office Manager with Dillon Consulting Limited. His work focuses on completing Environmental Assessments for linear infrastructure projects including roads, bridges, highways, pipelines, transmission lines, and water and wastewater infrastructure. Outside of work, Brandon enjoys fishing on weekends, coaching and playing baseball, and renovating his property in St. Thomas, Ontario.
"Early in my career, I went to a networking event with a senior partner of the firm I work for. During dinner, I found myself deep in conversation with a very senior member of a large client I work for but had never met. The partner I was with noticed I was intimidated by the conversation and gave me a piece of advice that has helped shape my approach to networking. He said: ‘To be successful you must Get Comfortable, being Uncomfortable.’ Networking takes practice, is challenging, and does not come easy to most people. It's okay to feel awkward and uncomfortable; that's part of the experience. Embrace it!"
Zahra Jaffer (MES 2013, Planning) is a Planner with Dillion Consulting Limited. She has with a long-standing interest in the equity issues that reside at the nexus of the natural, political, and social environs. With research experience in Canada, Kenya, and the UAE, Zahra’s work has often focused on cross-cultural urban design and sustainability. She was born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya, and has also lived in the US and the UAE. In her spare time, she enjoys a range of film and literature, and discovering new running routes.
"Finding a way to connect with people on a personal level is more important than populating your LinkedIn address book with people who you have never met. The quality of connections matters far more than the quantity." LinkedIn: Zahra Jaffer Email: email@example.com
David Kaduk (BES 2013, Environment and Business) is the Environment Health & Safety Manager for GE Power where he leads the safe and sustainable construction of a brand new 200 million dollar engine factory. Over the past two years, David has been managing construction works on site in Welland, ON and traveling back and forth to Wisconsin to oversee the relocation of the existing factory. When in Ontario, David enjoys riding through the wineries of Niagara on his Royal Enfield Continental café racer.
"Opportunity always comes from other people. Everything that happens to you as an entrepreneur, job seeker, or academic – all opportunities in these fields depends on other people and the quality of your relationship with them."
Shannon Major (BES 2007, Environment and Business) is a Senior EHS Consultant for AECOM, an engineering firm that provides design, consulting, construction, and management services. In her position, Shannon manages national environmental, health, and safety audit programs and performs EHS audits across Canada. She also develops and assists clients implement Environmental & Health & Safety Management Systems (E-HS-MS) for various industries including manufacturing, construction and government. She is currently developing an ISO 14001-2015 compliant EMS for the Gordie Howe International Bridge. She also currently plays for the Waterloo Rangers' soccer team in the Ontario Women's Soccer League and loves spending time with husband and one-year-old son.
"Treat everyone you meet as a new opportunity. Either to make a friend, to learn something new, or to teach someone what you know."
LinkedIn: Shannon Major
Chris McLaughlin (BES 1993, Environment & Resource Studies) is the Executive Director of the Bay Area Restoration Council, a registered charitable non-profit formed in 1991 to represent the public interest in the restoration of Hamilton Harbour and its watershed. BARC is responsible for community engagement and educational activities in the implementation of the Hamilton Harbour Remedial Action Plan. Chris is also a consultant to governments, foundations and nonprofits, examining how public policy and social innovation can bring about resilience and sustainability. His PhD from McMaster University investigated the characteristics of success and failure in the Great Lakes Remedial Action Plan program. Chris has published numerous reports, chapters and peer-reviewed articles on water-related policy, management and governance, and is active in the local community, having served on numerous agency boards, including of the Hamilton Public Library and the Hamilton Conservation Authority’s Water Management Advisory Board. Chris still spends Sunday mornings with other old guys chasing a ball around on grass, and is a supporter of Arsenal Football Club.
"Work to cultivate and nurture the relationships in your existing network, they can be your strongest asset."
Jason Miller (BES 1989, Geography) is the Director of Commercial Solutions, Strategy & Planning for VMware, a computer software company that emphasizes innovation in cloud infrastructure and digital workspace technology. With a strong belief in strategic planning, Jason focuses on coaching, advising, and enabling sales teams, partners, customers, and organizations. Growing up in an entrepreneurial family in Southern England, and has many fond memories of riding horses, birthing lambs, operating farm machinery, and out-running the odd bull or two, as well as living in Belgium and traveling most of Europe before returning to Canada in his late teens.
"Living this life as a city-boy/country-boy and having to start over with new places and people time after time was both a challenge and an incredibly impactful learning experience. If I can sum it up and share what I have learned, it would be to remember and follow the Three Don’ts: (1.) Don’t be afraid. Even though people may not show it, we’re all not that different and everyone feels similar things to you; (2.) Don’t limit yourself. Go after what truly interests you versus the ‘norm’ or the ‘expected.’ That’s where you’re going to find the most successful and rewarding experiences; and (3.) Don’t worry. This is a life-long journey. I, like you, am still trying to figure it out."
Jocelyn Pan (BES 2014, Geomatics; MES 2017, Planning) is the Market Access and Regulatory Affairs Specialist for Miovision, a technology company dedicated to improving the traffic infrastructure in cities. In collaboration with the State Department of Transportation, she works to ensure that Miovision's products are accessible to customers. Jocelyn’s position allows her to combine her two passions – sustainable development and smart cities technologies – in a unique career field where her Geomatics and Planning degrees intersect. As a girl who grow up in East Asia, Jocelyn always believes being reliable and accountable are more important than being interesting and attractive for building long term connections.
"Go out and see the world. And wherever you go, be brave. To whomever you meet, be kind. With whatever you have, do good."
David Wade (BES 1987, Geography) is President of Canadian Operations of Premier Environmental Services Inc., which provides environmental site assessments, soil and groundwater remediation, terrestrial and aquatic ecological services, asbestos and designated substances services, and risk assessments. He founded the company in 2002 after gaining experience with various engineering firms in Vancouver, Toronto and Kitchener. As one of Canada's leading environmental risk managers, David has developed environmental liability risk transfer programs using unique insurance solutions in the captive and commercial markets throughout the world. However, it’s here at home in Canada where David finds environmental consulting projects the most interesting. Project work has taken him from an off-shore drill rig in Labrador to one of the World’s largest pulp and paper mills in Prince Rupert, British Columbia, and from a winery and vineyard on Pelee Island in Lake Erie, Ontario to a fly-in mine in the North West Territories. The diversity of the work in the environmental consulting business is incredible with new challenges coming up every day. When not at work, David likes to downhill ski, play hockey, windsurf and go on back country canoe trips.
"Business is all about building and maintaining personal relationships and that means networking. While there is no doubt that networking through social media platforms is a critical part of conducting business, one must never rely on it alone. I believe to be truly successful in business one must physically meet with prospective or existing clients/suppliers, get to know their business needs, understand their likes and dislikes, and keep in constant contact with them."