Thursday, May 28, 2015

We (CI)Can do it!

Humber recognized for international, indigenous outreach

By: Laura Stricker, Humber Today
This article originally appeared in Humber Today on May 27, 2015

Fallon Burns is a member of the Paralegal Studies Advisory Committee for Humber’s Business School, served for two years as chair of Residence Orientation for the North and Lakeshore campuses and was also president of Humber’s Lakeshore Residence Council.

On top of that she helped create the Paralegal Cup, a mooting (mock legal debate) competition for paralegal students, consistently makes the Dean’s List and is student director of the Ontario Paralegal Association. She was also a finalist at the Osgoode Cup National Undergraduate Mooting Competition in 2011 and 2013.

It’s no surprise then that Burns, who graduates in June, is this year’s winner of the Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) bronze Student Leadership Excellence Award.

The CICan Awards of Excellence, which recognize achievement within Canada’s college system, were handed out in a ceremony in Winnipeg this week. Burns’s bronze was one of three awards won by Humber, including gold for Internationalization Excellence and bronze for Indigenous Education Excellence.

“(To me), this award means recognizing and accepting the paralegal profession in a positive and legitimate industry, amongst a national and academic community,” says Burns. “Receiving this national award legitimizes the paralegal profession, not only in Ontario, but as a national career-professional, and that we are a movement that helps to solve the access to justice problem across Canada.” 

Humber's gold for Internationalization follows the 2014 launch of the college’s Internationalization Strategy.

“At Humber we are committed to ensuring that our students graduate with the skills needed to be successful as global citizens in an ever increasing interconnected world,” says Diane Simpson, dean of International. “This award recognizes the efforts of the institution to embrace this, and also to ensure that the opportunity is there for all students to engage in international opportunities, whether on campus or abroad.”

The college's bronze award for Indigenous Education is "amazing," says Aboriginal Liaison Officer Quazance Boissoneau.

"The Aboriginal Resource Centre is still in its foundational stages, as it is a new space launched less than 10 years ago. Being one of the largest colleges in Ontario and in the largest city in Canada, and winning an award for creating strong ties to local indigenous communities and an ongoing institutional commitment to integrating indigenous values and cultures makes me proud, and excited about the future."

For Burns, the award is the culmination of a transformative four years.

“Going to Humber helped shape who I am,” she says. “I was able to meet real life-professionals and people who are ambitious and excited about law. I was able to participate in so many different leadership activities while living in residence and through the business school, which made me think more about how to work with people. I am a different person coming out of Humber at 21 than I was when I started at 17, and I'm so grateful to have encountered so many opportunities, both in the classroom and outside.”

Monday, May 25, 2015

The Positives of Using Social Media

This article originally appeared on i-studentglobal on December 8, 2014.

Recently, I wrote a piece about things students should never do on social media. This week, I am going to flip the topic and focus on things students can do on social media that might help them get noticed by schools, and in some cases, accepted too.

“... things students can do on social media ...”

First, some data. The average person spends more than 2 hours on social media per day. Virtually all students these days are, therefore, at least in some respects, experts on social media. Two hours every day adds up to a lot of time and effort. (This in itself is often much longer than some students spend studying--editorial comment on my part here.) Are you using your expertise to your advantage? Or are you simply ‘liking posts,’ tweeting fun stuff, and posting food pics and selfies on Instagram?

You are probably aware that companies are tracking your every social media click  in order to sell you things. What you may not be aware of is that some schools are starting to use this ‘big data’ to recruit students. Many schools need students and finding them through social media has become a relatively new and useful option. In addition, some schools do check on students’ social media when reading applications. In both cases, who you are will be defined by what you do on social media.

“... companies are tracking your every social media click ...”

I am going to start my list with the basics first and then move on to some things that might help those with particular interests and passions. This list is by no means exhaustive; instead, I hope to let students know how to develop some ways of communicating that will become increasingly important in the coming years.

1.  Post Positive Things:  

Students who post successes of some sort send a message. For example, a senior in high school I know recently posted some great photos of her effort to raise money and books to donate to a low income school. She and her friends successfully collected hundreds of books. Photos of tweets about winning matches, participating in tournaments, showing good sportsmanship even if in a losing cause, helping others through service, or simply something funny and smart. (This same student I mentioned posted some very funny videos with her family.) These kinds of posts make a much better impression than rants about how terrible something is.

“... post successes ...”

2.  Retweet or share things you find insightful, challenging or just artistically beautiful.

This shows you do more than just watch YouTube cat videos (not that some of these are not funny, but it won’t help you stand out) The possibilities are endless but if you share a number of things that underscore a passion you have (be it music or economics or astrophysics or East Asian art) someone looking over your social media presence will think you have what they call in admission speak “demonstrated interest”.

“... underscore a passion you have ...”

3.  Create a Linkedin account.

Some might think that beginning to build a network of contacts should wait until college. I disagree. Finding contacts is incremental. It takes time and effort. Starting early to learn to network is something more students should do. In addition, there are groups to follow that might give you information you would learn from. And you might participate in some discussions there that will make you sound good too. Learning what business people call “soft skills” early on will help you learn things you will never be taught in a class and may be as or more important to your future success. (A company I talk with,, has contracts with several of the top secondary schools in the US to help students learn some of these skills before heading off to college.)

4.  Contribute to some web communities.

The student I have already mentioned was just named a top writer on the website This on-line community of over 8,000,000 has lots of very smart and accomplished people contributing, but they only designate a few hundred people from all over the world as top writers. Her top writer status will stand out in ways almost no school activity ever could. You might contribute comments and ideas to a cause you care about, or you might find a niche in a relatively small group in which you can become a leader. Once again, the possibilities are endless, but if someone decides to Google you, your name will pop up as a part of that community. Lots of great things are happening out there. For example, I know a student who got her book published by posting the description of the book on indiegogo and asking for donations.

5.  Write a blog.

If you do have a blog make it good. Put in the effort and keep up with it. I have seen too many student blogs that start out well but after a few months the number of posts drops dramatically and then fizzles altogether. A blog can help hone your writing skills and can let people know the way your mind works. On the other hand, blogs are far harder to do than many people think, so keep that in mind before you decide to try it.

“... hone your writing skills ...”

If you think I am alone in promoting this approach let me mention that there are now companies out there that will help (if you pay them money) to create a good web presence. I don’t think students need to use this service; instead, I think they need to learn how to do it themselves.. Some schools are now asking for students to contribute things that don’t fit into a typical common application form. I think more will be doing this in the very near future. Having a portfolio on tap, having a positive presence and having the ability to contribute to the way the real world now works in terms of marketing and disseminating information is a life skill. Your ability to do create things via social media and the web overall may help you get into college, may help you find an internship and may help you get a job. It can also be a great deal of fun

Monday, May 18, 2015

The Connect Buddy Program

The Connect Buddy Program is an initiative organized by the International Centre to literally connect new international students with a ‘buddy’ at Humber. The buddy is someone who has studied at Humber for a semester or more and has experienced first-hand the challenges you face not only as a new student in post-secondary education, but more importantly as an international student integrating into the Canadian society.

For buddy Alok Khant, the Connect Buddy Program left a lasting impression:

“Being a senior connect buddy for almost a year now I have come across many wonderful faces and empowering people. The nature of this friendly and open minded people gives a feeling of a family away from home. It has played an extraordinary role by providing me with a fun and a lifetime experience in this journey of life. It gives me pleasure to admit that I was a part of this enthusiastic and energetic environment.”

Another buddy, Pan, explains how the experience allowed him to grow as a person:

“I was lucky to be recruited as a Senior Buddy of Buddy Program. I have volunteered all Connect Buddy Program events as well as the International Orientation for Winter 2015 so far, and every event was interesting. Moreover, there are always something valuable such as new friends, the knowledge of diverse cultures, the improvement of communications skills, and so forth I can obtain. Further, my life becomes more meaningful because I can help other students get involved by means of sharing my experience.”

The International Centre regularly hosts networking events where students and their buddy can meet other students and buddies, and so the network grows: from a single international student, alone in a new country, to a family of international students forging long-lasting friendships and memories for life!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Celebrating Success: 83 Students from China Graduate from Humber's Business Program

83 students from China complete their business program at Humber

By:  Sara Laux & Michelle Krivacic

This article originally appeared in Humber Today on April 30, 2015.

For 83 students from Ningbo and Jimei universities in China, April 24 was a big day.

The students are part of an annual program that gives them the opportunity to study business in China for two years, then come to Humber for the final year of their studies. April 24 marked the end of their time at Humber, and was celebrated by a graduation-style ceremony complete with valedictorian address, graduation gowns and lots and lot of smiling photos.

Graduation Ceremony

The Ningbo-Humber Joint Partnership Program, which has been in place since 1996, is the college's longest-standing international partnership. Humber entered a similar partnership with the university in Jimei in 2006.

Since August, the Ningbo-Jimei students have had opportunities to learn about Canada and practice their English through cultural events and activities, including ice skating, a Toronto Raptors game and a trip to a local orchard. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Workshop helps students succeed in job interviews

By: Nicole Williams, Biz/Tech Reporter
This article originally appeared on Humber EtCetera on March 6, 2015

(From left) Teresa Gabriele, Jaclyn Manley and Natalie Sturino are a part of the
Talent Acquisition department at TJX. They answered students' questions about
the strategies for students in employment interviews. (Nicole Williams)

Students learned important skills and what to avoid when interviewing for a job at last Tuesday’s TJX panel and workshop at Humber College’s Lakeshore campus.

TJX Canada, which owns Marshall’s, HomeSense, and Winners, hosted the event, which aimed to teach students how to ace their interviews with employers. The workshop and panel were part of a five-year strategic partnership Humber College has with the firm.

Tiffany Forde, a second year Bachelor of Commerce Fashion Management student, said she appreciates having events like this.

“Because I’m coming into my final year, which is a work placement, I’m always on the lookout for what might be available, and how to be successful in that work placement,” said Forde.

The workshop, led by Teresa Gabriele, the senior talent acquisition specialist for TJX, aims to help students navigate their way through job postings, and ultimately the job interview.

“It’s a job finding a job,” said Gabriele. “There’s a war on talent out there. With so many talented people looking for jobs, it’s important to make yourself stand out.”

One way to achieve this is to be informed about the company you’re applying to, said Gabriele. That could mean reading what companies are saying about themselves through job postings and social media, or even visiting the location of the job in person.

It’s also important to give meaningful answers during the interview itself.

“Employers want to not only know how you can handle yourself in difficult situations, but they also want to know that you can validate your answer with personal experience,” said Gabriele.

Antoniette DiMarco, manager of the Humber Business School Placement Centre, said it’s all about giving students the tools they need to succeed after graduation.

The five-year partnership began in 2013, and was facilitated by Alvina Cassiani, dean of The Business School.

As part of the partnership, TJX provides Humber students with employment and internship opportunities as well as having an active presence on campus.

“They come on campus quite a bit. Many students, especially Fashion Management students, are eager to be a part of the events. It’s a chance for anyone who wants to develop their skills and knowledge in retail marketing,” said DiMarco.

Accessibility to these resources is what the Business School Placement Centre is all about.

Allison Scully, the Work Placement Advisor at the Placement Centre, said events like this happen all the time, and that they have a Retail Management Grad Program coming up in just a couple of weeks.

“It’s important for us to give (students) as much opportunity as possible, and to allow them to obtain the information they need, whether it be about interview skills inside the classroom or other platforms,” said Mary Anne Myers, a Business Degree placement advisor.

“Events like this allow students to be able to ask actual industry professionals what they want to know. It allows them to take away more information than they could anywhere else,” she said.

“Ultimately, we’ve been very fortunate with our partnership with TJX,” said DiMarco.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Personal branding is key to sell unique self

By: Shaun Fitl, Life Reporter
This article originally appeared on Humber Et Cetera on April 8, 2015

Photo curtesy of COD-Newsroom via Flickr
The Business School Placement Centre hosted a personal branding seminar Last Thursday at the Humber Lakeshore campus.

Guest speaker Nellie Vieira said the key word in personal branding is “personal” and “who it is, uniquely, that you are” is the true importance.

She is the creator of “true to the core”, a consulting system that develops personal and negotiating skills, and is also founder and president of Forrest & Associates Inc., a brand development company.

Vieira was invited to speak because she is an “internationally recognized negotiation expert” who runs a “Toronto-based organization specializing in communication and behaviour skills development that effects positive relationship management,” said Antoniette Di Marco, manager of the Placement Centre.

“Talent is not about what you got on your last exam… it’s about how you apply the knowledge you’ve received,” said Vieira.

“Personal branding allows a person to actually identify with not just competencies and qualifications but the uniqueness they can offer,” she said.

A true personal branding means the person has brought their qualifications and competencies to life in a way that differentiates them from other people with the same, said Vieira.

“Nellie (Vieira) has successfully blended philosophy and psychology with competencies and proven techniques to assist her vast professional client portfolio,” said Di Marco.

As a professional speaker, consultant, trainer and coach, Vieira is passionate about results at every aspect of interface requiring person-to-person interaction, she said.

“Going into the work world, the attempt is often to mold yourself or address what you’re going to be with an idea of what your employer expects you to be,” said Vieira.

She said the main goal is not simply modeling oneself to what employers desire, but it is more important to discover who the individual is as a person and to market that as a “true to the core” quality.

“A company wants to know that you’re willing to think outside the box,” said Vieira.

“Personal branding identifies that you’re willing to push the boundaries,” she said.

“An organization wants to be able to say it has progressive thinking and is constantly improving,” she said.

“We’re no longer looking for compliance … we’re looking for innovation,” she said.