2019 GRADventure Professional Skills ConferenceExport this event to calendar

Tuesday, April 30, 2019 — 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM EDT

Individuals holding signs with various images

Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs is thrilled to introduce the first GRADventure Professional Skills Conference! This event is an expanded version of the very popular Non-Academic Career Conference.

This full day conference is designed to better prepare graduate students and postdocs for careers outside of academia by focusing on key skill areas sought after by employers. Not ready to think about your next step yet? Don’t worry. This conference emphasizes skills that will help you succeed now, while you’re doing research at Waterloo, and later, in your future career.

Attendees will participate in workshops in each of the four Professional Skills Foundations (Foundations) core categories:

  1. Career Preparation
  2. Communication
  3. Leadership
  4. Personal Effectiveness

Review the full conference schedule below.

Additional information: Lunch is provided, and registration is required through Eventbrite.

Registration for concurrent sessions will be on a first come, first served basis. Please register early to secure a spot in your preferred workshop sessions. 

Although Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs will attempt to accommodate as many dietary needs as is feasible and reasonable, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to accommodate all needs or preferences.

Cost: This event/workshop is free for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. However, a $10.00 materials fee will be charged in the event of a late cancellation (cancellation that is not made 3 days or more before the workshop/event date), no show, or incomplete attendance.

Foundations participants: Are you interested in having one or more workshop from this event counted towards your Foundations progress? Contact GRADventure to have your Individual Development Plan approved, or to have changes made to your current plan.

Conference schedule

GRADventure Professional Skills Conference schedule




Welcome and opening remarks


Concurrent session 1: Personal effectiveness

Impostor phenomenon

Managing difficult conversations

Time management

10:30- 10:45



Concurrent session 2: Leadership

Giving quality feedback

Intro to project management

Initiatives, proposals and budgets


Lunch and keynote by Monica Munaretto

Building the Bridge from Academia to Industry


Concurrent session 3: Career preparation

Improve your interview skills

Creating a stellar non-academic résumé

Networking as a work search strategy




Concurrent session 4: Communication

Public speaking and presentation skills

Mindful intercultural communication

Social media and your online presence


Networking wine and cheese

Session descriptions

Keynote by Monica Munaretto

Building the Bridge from Academia to Industry

The work that we do in graduate school results in the development of a broad spectrum of skills. In order to bridge the perceived divide between academic work and industry, graduate students should identify the skills they have and create a plan to develop additional skills employers say they are looking for.  The language we use to describe what we’ve done may not be the same as what is used in other industries: articulating our skills in way that employers will identify with is helpful.  In this talk we will look at what employers say they’re looking for, how to identify how we’ve used these skills in graduate school, and a few tips for how to find meaningful, rewarding work after graduation.

Monica Munaretto is a Career Advisor at the Centre for Career Action where she assists graduate students and postdocs as they prepare for diverse career pathways inside and outside academia. Monica is also a current PhD student at the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education where she is researching PhD career pathways.

Personal effectiveness workshops

Impostor phenomenon, Facilitated by Sarah Howard (Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs)

Have you ever felt like you don’t belong in academia and will be found out as a fraud? In this workshop, you will learn about what impostor phenomenon is, learn some reasons it is common amongst academics, and then discuss strategies to combat impostor feelings as an individual and as a larger graduate student community.

Managing difficult conversations, Facilitated by Jeremy deBoer (Conflict Management and Human Rights Office)

Difficult conversations are a part of life.  Learning how to manage difficult conversations is an essential skill for all members of the university community.  This workshop helps participants assess their situation and set context for a difficult conversation.

Time management, Facilitated by Reza Babaee (PhD candidate and Discipline Specialist, Student Success Office)

In this session you will learn tips to balance your time, life and tasks while dealing with procrastination and stress.

Leadership workshops

Giving quality feedback, Facilitated by Caelan Wang & Faith-Anne Wagler (PhD candidates and Graduate Insturctional Developers, Centre for Teaching Excellence)

In academia and professional environments, work is constantly under review and evaluative information is being given to one person by another as feedback occurs. But is it helpful? Will it be assimilated? Will it make a difference in the future?

In this workshop, we will explore how to give feedback efficiently. We will discuss components of feedback, characteristics of quality feedback, and strategies to achieve effective feedback communication. You will also have an opportunity to evaluate and discuss sample feedback practices through group work activities.

Intro to project management, Facilitated by Wendy Hague (Project Manager, Information Systems & Technology)

This workshop will provide an introductory overview of what project management is and is not, an appreciation of why project management is important, and discuss some of the tools used to support different phases of project management.  

Initiatives, proposals and budgets, Student panel facilitated by Angela Rooke (Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs)

Solving problems, organizing conferences or starting new initiatives all offer evidence to employers about your skills and creativity, and help build skills that you will continue to use in your future career, but where do you get started? In this session, you will learn tips and tricks for finding a problem, putting together a compelling proposal, and hear from a panel of students who have been successful in receiving grants or funding for initiatives on campus.

Note: Some of the funds highlighed in this workshop are only available to graduate students and not postdocs.

Career preparation workshops

Improve your interview skills, Facilitated by Kira Bruschke (Career Advisor, Centre for Career Action)

In this interactive workshop, you will practice translating academic language to industry language, apply strategies for answering interview questions and evaluate the effectiveness of responses to interview questions through listening to your peers and providing them with feedback.

Networking as a work search strategy, Facilitated by Tanya Gillert (Career Advisor, Centre for Career Action)

In this workshop, you will learn about a more proactive job search strategy than applying for positions online. By discussing the value of making connections, learning tips on how to use social media tools (LinkedIn), and walking through a step-by-step approach to expand your network, you will learn how to apply your research skills to another domain - work search.

Creating a stellar non-academic résumé, Facilitated by Monica Munaretto (Career Advisor, Centre for Career Action)

In this workshop, you will learn about a more proactive job search strategy than applying for positions online. By discussing the value of making connections, learning tips on how to use social media tools (LinkedIn), and walking through a step-by-step approach to expand your network, you will learn how to apply your research skills to another domain - work search.

Communication workshops

Public speaking and presentation skills, Facilitated by Nathan Pirie (Writing and Communication Centre)

To promote effective public speaking and presentation skills, this workshop will focus on crafting your talk for content and audience, delivering an engaging speech, managing your nerves, and designing and effectively using visual aids. The workshop will end with a group discussion on effective strategies for responding to professional situations that require public speaking and presentation delivery.

Mindful intercultural communication, Facilitated by Sarah Howard (Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs)

How does your cultural background impact the way that you communicate? In what ways does your cultural perspective impact how you interpret the interactions of others? How can we be more mindful of the impact of culture on our interactions with others?

This workshop will introduce you to three major cultural differences in communication styles. You will have the opportunity to explore your own communication style, and learn how this may influence your attempts to effectively communicate with individuals from other backgrounds.

Social media and your online presence, Facilitated by Nadine Fladd (Writing and Communication Centre)

In this interactive workshop, we will discuss popular platforms for digital communication. We will explore principles for communicating professionally on social media, strategies for communicating with a non-specialist audience, as well as for building community and navigating conflict.

STC - Science Teaching Complex
200 University Ave West

Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1

  1. 2022 (6)
    1. May (1)
    2. April (2)
    3. March (1)
    4. January (2)
  2. 2021 (41)
    1. December (3)
    2. November (15)
    3. October (5)
    4. September (3)
    5. April (7)
    6. March (6)
    7. February (1)
    8. January (1)
  3. 2020 (110)
  4. 2019 (200)
  5. 2018 (19)
  6. 2017 (1)