Tyler Campbell, MPA(M) 2016, Director Children and Social Services for City of Greater Sudbury contacted his professor for program evaluation asking if she could offer an in-service to some of the employees of the City. Dr. Kaireen Chaytor agreed and headed off to Sudbury to give a course. Participants developed evaluation frameworks for the various initiatives they are undertaking. The visit included sessions with all managers on building evaluation capacity and an evaluation culture. It’s a wonderful example of the implementation and impact of the education gained by our on-line students – the impact often invisible to us – both as individuals and as an institution.
“We all have an innate longing to connect, to engage in discussions that encourage, inform, entertain and inspire. Whether communication takes a traditional form or moves into the arena of social media, successful outcomes reside in an individual’s ability to transmit messages with clarity and integrity. Social media has given local dialogue a global reach that invites a robust and diverse discussion.”
Tanya Chedrawy, MPA(M), BPR, BA
Tanya Chedrawy MPA(M) 2016 is the Founder and CEO of Tanya Media, a premiere media content production and communications company in Atlantic Canada. As the host and producer of Eastlink Community TV’s Small Talk Big Ideas, she understands the power of a story. She uses her expertise to help organizations cultivate a strategic storytelling practice to establish themselves in a category of one. Now as host of the podcast “Beyond Our Borders” produced by Podcast Atlantic and Tanya Media, she is creating a series of conversations with Atlantic Canadians who are impacting the world.
CEGE Connction reached out to Tanya for her insights on how social media can leverage storytelling and build circles of influence that pursue the greater good for organizations and our global society.
In this digital age it is easy to get lost in the noise. The most successful companies are the ones that cultivate a strategic storytelling practice. Essentially, I am in the business of putting the spotlight on individuals who make an impact. I continue to hone my skills, which is the point of life-long learning. That is what makes life interesting, and our personal narratives remarkable. Each episode of Beyond our Borders, will highlight resonating insights, humor, poignant personal stories, impactful tools, tips and tricks from the most creative and innovative minds from this corner of the world that will inspire you in life and business.
My mission is two-fold. One is to help organizations maximize their reach with audiences by telling their unique brand story. Second, my mission is to contribute to a more enlightened and compassionate world through storytelling. Exploring socially relevant topics and fostering holistic conversations via the podcast Beyond Our Borders will create opportunities to connect and drive impact and action through inspiration.
We all have an innate longing to connect, to engage in discussions that encourage, inform, entertain and inspire. Whether communication takes a traditional form or moves into the arena of social media, successful outcomes reside in an individual’s ability to transmit messages with clarity and integrity. Social media has given local dialogue a global reach that invites a robust and diverse discussion.
Editor’s Note: CEGE Connection is pleased to advise that Tanya has graciously agreed to be a repeat contributor on CEGE Connection. We invite you to get to know Tanya better in the March issue of Spotlight on Business
“Once we start on the learning path, the addiction to knowledge acquisition takes over. Life-long learning becomes embedded in everything we do…. Acquiring knowledge is only the beginning of a journey. Sharing knowledge sustains us on the road ahead.
Tyler Saito, Class of 2016
Tyler Saito, Director, Wealth Management Business Solutions at Coast Capital Wealth Management crossed the stage in 2016 to receive his MBA(FS). In a July 2017 virtual interview with CEGE Connection, Tyler shared his thoughts on the idea of “Deeper Learning” as presented by Martine Durier-Copp and Joyline Makani’s award-winning research. A recent MBA(FS) grad, Tyler outlined his next steps within the context of this research:
Reconnecting with friends and family. They were an invaluable support and encouragement all through my years of study. As well, I am committed to utilizing and mastering what I have learned in my chosen career path with Coast Capital Financial Management, an organization that reflects my values and gives a purpose to work. I enjoy engaging in community endeavours and have used my Dal experience to coach little league fast-pitch and establish a communication strategy within this dedicated organization. Acquiring knowledge is only the beginning of a journey. Sharing knowledge sustains us on the road ahead.
Fast forward to 2019. In a following up interview with CEGE Connection, Tyler spoke of his commitment of reconnecting with family and friends, sharing knowledge and engaging in community endeavours.
Since graduating, my family became my focus. My wife and children gave me their full support during the time that I was involved in professional development. They kept me grounded.
Summer has come and I am right in the middle of softball season with my girls. Both of my girls play fastpitch. It is an exciting time. I have enjoyed being their coach, for at least one of them, over the past four years. Being a coach of a softball team has given me an extraordinary opportunity to foster sportsmanship, collaboration and discipline, values that will build resilience as these children grow into adulthood. Simple acts like sitting with the team before and after the game and sharing how they felt during the game or practice helps them bond and trust each other, knowing that they are in a safe environment. While the focus of the team is playing a game, I have learned that one of the keys of keeping kids in the game is helping them make great friends and gain a sense of belonging.
With warmer weather, I am back to cycling and running outdoors. Last year I was able to complete two triathlons and two Gran Fondos. When I am putting in a couple hours of running or cycling, it gives me time to think and mentally reset a bit. It is also nice that these activities are excellent enablers of disconnecting from electronics and just focusing on breathing and moving. There is an interesting sense of camaraderie among cyclists and among runners. We are all out to beat our own times and efforts. Neither activity ever gets any easier with time, you just get a little faster.
Editor’s Note: Tyler’s commitment to sharing knowledge and research is evident on Global News Morning, Money Matters. Check out Tyler’s recommended “Summer Financial Reads to Help Your Bank Account.”
“Most people would rather die than think and many do.”
Ever since the ancient Greeks refused to do any work and sat around discussing where we came from to modern times, where the Brain asked his e’er unanswered question, “Pinky, are you pondering what I’m pondering?“, mankind (and apparently, mousekind) has pondered the vicissitudes of life. Where did we come from? Why are we here? How come the “Snuggie” exists?
These are the questions that have plagued us since the beginning. After centuries of pondering these conundrums and after multiple methods of experimentation, someone invented something called a thought experiment, defined by the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy as “devices of the imagination used to investigate the nature of things.”
I was first introduced to thought experiments through Farnham Street, a regular blog that encourages people to think outside their normal thought processes. (There is a clear line to the MBA here, as the author regularly references Charlie Munger, a student of multiple disciplines and long-time business partner of Warren Buffet.) It was this blog that also introduced me to the book, The Pig That Wants to be Eaten by Julian Baggini.
Aptly subtitled “100 Experiments for the Armchair Philosopher”, Baggini’s book explores unique moral and ethical questions, some of which are so bizarre that one fully expects Rod Serling to appear at any moment. The experiments are brief, about a page in length each, and allow for rumination or discussion (try reading one at the dinner table…mostly blank stares) Each thought experiment is then followed up by Baggini’s input and opinion. (Baggini is the co-founder of the Philosopher’s Magazine, so he has plenty of input to offer.)
Some of the experiments are based in the classics, like Racing Tortoises, which is based on Aesop’s fable of the tortoise and the hare. In this experiment, the basic principles of physics are on trial. How is it possible that Achilles could lose a foot race to a tortoise? Do we apply logic and the immutable laws of physics or rely on experiences and fanciful notion of what could be?
Other experiments are based on more recent ideas, such as The Pig That Wants to Be Eaten, which is loosely based on Douglas Adams’ The Restaurant at the End of the Universe. Here the thought is: is it morally wrong to eat meat and, if so, if there was a genetically modified animal that wanted to be eaten, is it still wrong to eat it? If we refuse to eat it, we are denying the pig’s sole desire in life. Is it wrong to deprive him/her of that? (I’m sure PETA would have an opinion on this question!)
There is also a throwback to Star Trek in Beam Me Up… where a lawsuit is pending against a company that builds transporters. The lawsuit claims that a person is not actually transported but is killed in the process and a clone arrives at the destination in their place. This experiment explores the fact that a person’s mind and soul are continuous and more important than their bodies and the body is merely a container. That being said, if a person’s body is entirely irrelevant and only the continuation of soul and mind are important, can murder exist?
Baggini references The Matrix [I am a Brain] and Minority Report [Pre-emptive Justice] and touches on current subjects like terrorism [The Torture Option] and war [No One Wins]. The book is not difficult to read and provides entertaining and thought-provoking questions and encourages the reader to adopt a unique perspective. Also, because of the layout, the book does not need to be read cover to cover. It can be picked up when convenient as each experiment stands on its own. If you are new to philosophy or just want some short, entertaining experiments to work through, The Pig That Wants to Be Eaten may be a good place to start.
“Imagination without reason is mere fancy, while reason without imagination is sterile.”
Scott Coghill MBA(FS) 2016, Senior Manager, Commercial Banking and Real Estate at National Bank of Canada, delivers innovative financing and investment solutions for growing businesses. Working with the Specialized Lending Sector, Scott is responsible for the maintenance, growth and development of the Commercial Real Estate sector in Southwestern Ontario. Scott has graciously agreed to be a repeat contributor on CFAME Connection.
We have entered a pivotal time in the evolution of financial services. The advent of myriad technologies, the unprecedented pace of change, non-traditional and traditional competition, the regulatory environment, increasing consumer expectations of value, ease, and simplification, global and localized economic influencers – the list goes on. All represent a plethora of headwinds that afford a heightened urgency to think deeply about our business, move quickly, and pivot readily, while necessitating agility in our approach. The financial services industry is navigating these headwinds concurrent to striving to win for our clients today, digitizing and leveraging technologies to enhance our client experience and deliver cost efficiencies in the near term, while also fundamentally rethinking financial services for the future. As a realistic optimist – a very exciting as well as a somewhat unnerving time!
I highly value my experiences within the Dal MBA program and consider my investment central to enabling me to actively and positively engage in the industry transformation currently taking place. The program effectively strengthened my perspective, tuned my business acumen, and set the tone for the magnitude of change that I would ultimately be leading through.
How did the MBA influence my choices and decisions?
Building from my undergrad, the MBA enabled me to think more broadly, to take a wide lens to issues, while also strengthening my perspective and resourcefulness to engage in ongoing issues and opportunities present in today’s business environment. The opportunity to study, while working full time, (and parenting full time!) stretched me personally and professionally as I worked to manage the demands of my three parallel, competing realities.
Managing this complexity provided the impetus to broaden my capacity and demonstrated the value of adaptability as a core capability in my long-term development. Fundamental to today’s business environment is the ability to readily adapt to rapidly changing work. An essential capability as we look at the heightened importance of systematic horizontal integration and collaborative, fast paced, functional work environments.
The Dal MBA program also instilled a confidence that has fueled my curiosity and enabled me to more readily expose my vulnerabilities; never easy, but essential to long term personal and professional growth. Trusting the Dal MBA as my foundation, I have more easily stepped out of my areas of specialization into other parts of the business to broaden my experiences – trusting that I have the tools and foundation to enable me to positively impact the role and business in which I have transitioned.
How would you encourage others to seek more education?
Formal education is one lever for development – a lever that has always been extremely important to me personally. Peers, new work, mentors, classes, courses, experiences – there are many development tactics to consider. I suggest the first development step for anyone is to take the time to understand yourself. How well do you know yourself? Your interests? Strengths? Opportunities? Blind spots? Motivations? Take the time to reflect, ask for feedback, understand where you want to develop, and then be strategic about honing in on the areas that will support your overall development plan and journey. I have always focused on capabilities for my development, not roles, as the speed of change is reshaping everything we know. It is highly likely that your 2 or 3 out role target may not exist when you are looking for it.
Ultimately, education comes through many places. I am currently 15 years into my career and 12 years into a family life with 3 children – you quickly realize that the learning journey never ends! With the pace of change of today’s world, I find I am constantly learning both formally and informally. I am currently completing my CSC (why not!), taking a Data Science course, and completing a Lean project for a LSS designation. I am also working on many cross-functional projects that, in their own, foster unique development opportunities. Personally, my spouse and children are endlessly integrating the ‘internet of things’ into our home and routines, sharing apps and technologies fascinating in which to participate. In the end, simply being curious and engaging in the ongoing changes around me.
It is rewarding to embrace opportunities to continuously develop and grow. The world is an amazing place and, to think I am just scratching the surface of fully understanding my family, my work, my environment, and my passion, is an exhilarating feeling. Dal helped instill this in me.
I just love this quote from Stephen Hawking always reminding me to engage, embrace, and be curious:
“Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up.”
Richard (Rick) Atherton MBA(FS) 2016 is Senior Director, Senior Director, Operations Enablement and Integration, CB Operation, RBC. He is dedicated to the development, communication and integration of change leadership strategies supporting transformational initiatives across RBC Canadian Banking Operations. His mission is to enable effective and sustainable change to improve productivity, drive engagement, and deliver operational efficiencies. Rick has graciously agreed to be a repeat contributor on CFAME Connection.
Pierre Ghorbanian, MBA(FS), crossed the stage in 2016. As Business Development Director, BMO Insurance, Advanced Markets, Pierre’s primary mandate is the promotion of advanced case strategies within the independent advisor channel. He is active in supporting the product and concept development team at BMO Insurance.
In a recent virtual interview with CFAME Connection, Pierre reflected upon the year since graduation, and how his academic journey influenced and added depth to his personal and professional experiences.
Congratulations to the Class of 2017. All the very best as you pursue new projects and challenges. Welcome to our vibrant alumni community.
For a few months after the capstone course, it will feel strange to have free time. Like many other graduates, I miss the interaction with other students and professors. The professors, having led interesting lives, provided great perspectives on issues or topics at hand. I especially enjoyed the intensives as they offered great opportunities to engage in authentic conversations. Within this safe and collaborative environment, students could speak freely, listen to other view points, and network with others from a wide range of financial institutions and lines of businesses.
How did the MBA influence your choices and decisions?
The most significant influence relates to how I recognize the human element behind my decision-making. When we problem-solve or examine issues, whether individually or within a group structure, we must be mindful of the outcomes on stakeholders. Management decisions can be positive or negative for employees, intermediaries, and external end users. It is critical not to get lost in product design or processes.
Have you changed your life’s priorities?
A combination of completing the program (and the feeling of accomplishment that came with it) along with a recent health incident has resulted in reprioritizing my goals. I have reconnected with what is most important in my life, which has led to a better and more creative work/life balance. I tell myself that I am running a marathon and not a race; and to enjoy the moment now.
How have you integrated the knowledge you acquired from your MBA Studies?
My MBA journey taught me to undertake extensive background research on a topic or issue before tackling a situation. I also make it a point to open up my course notes, from time to time, for a quick refresher. Usually something occurs which triggers a memory. I find that I learn something new that I may not have fully understood the first time around.
Learning did not stop when I graduated. Looking back over the past year, I recognize, more than ever before, the importance of continuing life-long learning.
Shauna Wakeman MBA(FS)2016, General Manager at CIBC, recognizes the extraordinary potential of emergence, as discussed in Rick Nason’s book “It’s Not Complicated – The Art and Science of Complexity in Business.” Rick Nason argues that while emergence cannot be directly managed or predicted, it can be imagined and be put into place by an enlightened manager.
Shauna imagined possibilities and worked within a complex environment to achieve remarkable results, personally and professionally.
Shauna knew she would embark on an MBA journey. She prepared by searching for opportunities that would yield invaluable insight and diversity of experience.
I dedicated four years to my MBA(FS) studies, Shauna wrote in a recent e-mail to CFAME Connection. Those years were probably the most interesting and exciting years of my professional life. I tripled up raising a family, working full time, and furthering my education.
I believe that always knowing that I would one day take on the challenge of an MBA, influenced my decisions long before I started. I found myself accepting additional projects and responsibilities to expand my knowledge. I looked for opportunities to embrace new challenges.
Planning and timing were critical in taking my education to the next level. Balance between family, work and studies was essential. I waited for my youngest to be old enough to start school before I applied to Dalhousie’s CFAME MBA(FS) program. In the interim, I enrolled in courses via the CSI learning path to earn MBA credits before I formally started. I obtained FMA and CIM designations along the way.
The MBA program increased the interactions between studies and my career path. With each new course, I found ways in which to connect my learnings to my “on the job” activities. Marketing encouraged me to explore my own company on a deeper level. Information Technology Systems instilled a greater understanding of the digital movement. The capstone course, Strategic Leadership and Change, presented a high-level overview that brought the learnings together.
I found each course tied into my career in a new, engaging way; and I used those learnings to apply my knowledge in how I did my job and how I taught others.
As a graduate, I continue to expand my knowledge, network, and the geographic footprint of where I live, work, and play. I feel there is no limit to where we can go or what we can do as long as we take that next step to try something new.
“Essentially, I am in the business of putting the spotlight on individuals who make an impact. I continue to hone my skills, which is the point of life-long learning. That is what makes life interesting, and our personal narratives remarkable.”
Tanya Chedrawy MPA(M) 2016, has over ten years experience in building media strategies to enhance organizational positioning and profile via market research, competitor evaluation, and multiple communication vehicles. She agrees with Binod Sundararajan that every voice matters. We all have an innate longing to connect, to engage in conversations that encourage, inform, entertain and inspire. Whether communication takes a traditional form or moves into the arena of social media, successful outcomes reside in an individual’s ability to transmit messages with clarity and integrity. Social media has given local dialogue a global reach that invites a robust and diverse discussion.
Tanya enjoys conversations. As creator, host and producer of “Small Talk, Big Ideas” on Eastlink TV, she has applied her knowledge and experience to attract a wider audience. In a recent FaceTime interview with CFAME Connection, Tanya shared insights on how social media can leverage and build circles of influence that pursue, as Binod noted, the greater good for society.
CFAME Connection: You host and produce, “Small Talk, Big Ideas.” You tell people’s stories. How do you prepare for the interview?
Tanya: I like to meet with the person before taping to build a rapport and to get a sense of who they are, not just about what they do. I find that when I talk to someone there is an inevitability that those golden nuggets of information come to the surface. Always! I love discovering those nuances about people. All of us are interesting in our own way and have a unique story to tell. Even if we don’t think so! This is all in addition to doing an insane amount of research. I like to be prepared!
CFAME Connection: How do you use social media to exchange ideas and knowledge?
Tanya: I only like to use my social media to spread positive messaging or pose questions about important societal issues. I am a very private person and choose not to use it for anything personal or posting about family or for posting my every thought or action. For me, personally, social media should be harnessed for important dialogue or for galvanizing people around important events/causes/issues.
CFAME Connection: How do you build a community of engaged listeners?
Tanya: In terms of building an online community of engaged listeners, I’m still trying to figure this out! This is particularly challenging for me because you can only view “Small Talk, Big Ideas” if you are a subscribed Eastlink customer. Unfortunately, clips are not made available online so I try my best to promote the show and my guests as much as I possibly can through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.
CFAME Connection: You have said every voice matters. How can we position our voice as distinctive?
Tanya: A business mentor of mine has really been helpful on this front. He told me to create one phrase that explains who I am and what I do. Once people become familiar and identify with that phrase, they will take notice, especially if my message is relevant and delivered with respect. Essentially, I am in the business of putting the spotlight on individuals who make an impact. I continue to hone my skills, which is the point of life-long learning. That is what makes life interesting, and our personal narratives remarkable.
Tyler Saito, Regional Manager at Coast Capital Financial Management crossed the stage in 2016 to receive his MBA(FS). In a recent virtual interview with CFAME Connection, Tyler shared his thoughts on the idea of “Deeper Learning” as presented by Martine’s and Joyline’s award-winning research.
I have discovered that learning never stops. Once I completed my MBA studies, my wife embarked on her masters. My children, who are seven and ten, are now convinced that everyone attends school for their entire lives. They have the right idea. Once we start on the learning path, the addiction to knowledge acquisition takes over. Life-long learning becomes embedded in everything we do. With the MBA(FS) program I experienced the “Deeper Learning” highlighted in Martine and Joyline’s research. I was able to implement the new learnings in my daily interactions. Everything was practical, applicable, and could be put to immediate use.
Why did I choose to enter an academically rigorous program? In 2011, my mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer. She went through the typical treatments but declined quickly and passed away in September of 2012. Her passing made me ponder my own existence and the choices I had made to date. I have always been motivated but this was a pivotal moment. It made me reflect on what I wanted my life and legacy to be about. I wanted to ensure that my own health, within what I could control, enabled me to live a long and healthy life. I set some personal and professional goals that included getting myself into physical shape.
I dropped about 60 pounds and completed three sprint triathlons in 2012 and 2013. At the same time, I researched institutions that provided MBA programs. A colleague advised me about the MBA(FS) offered by Dalhousie. I was impressed that Dalhousie would give credit for my existing financial designations towards their MBA(FS). In a comparison with local MBA programs I valued Dalhousie’s for the flexibility of their program and the ability to work with professionals with similar experiences. The content seemed exceptionally relevant to my situation. I was accepted in the fall of 2013
What are my next steps? Reconnecting with friends and family. They were an invaluable support and encouragement all through my years of study. As well, I am committed to utilizing and mastering what I have learned in my chosen career path with Coast Capital Financial Management, an organization that reflects my values and gives a purpose to work. I enjoy engaging in community endeavours and have used my Dal experience to coach little league fast-pitch and establish a communication strategy within this dedicated organization. Acquiring knowledge is only the beginning of a journey. Sharing knowledge sustains us on the road ahead.
Next Post: Panel Discussion on Deeper Learning
“I have a passion for learning. I want to instill positive learning in others. I accomplish this in my spare time by teaching for Sheridan College in their Faculty of Business. Many of my students are far more creative than me, inspiring me to continue to challenge myself and stay caught up ‘with the times’.”
Jim Spitali, Vice President Operations at Genworth Canada
Jim Spitali, Vice President Operations at Genworth Canada, has a stellar record within the financial service industry. His authentic and genuine leadership energizes team synergies, fostering a collaborative spirit. His numinous awards, including being named Top Forty under 40 by Business Link Niagara in 2014, demonstrate a strong commitment to helping others achieve their full potential. Jim is a part-time Professor with the Faculty of Business at Sheridan College and sits on the Board of Directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Niagara.
CFAME Connection caught up with Jim on one of his less busy days for a virtual interview to see how the MBA(FS) influenced his choices going forward.
“I chose the MBA (FS) program,” Jim said, “because I wanted to develop skills and knowledge that would help me become more strategic so that I could operate successfully at an executive level. I also wanted to further my education to a higher standard.
Many of the MBA assignments allowed us to apply real life examples into our learning. I found this to be quite helpful as I was able to take work that I was currently doing in my job and bring it to a more strategic level. There were also several classes and learnings that were fairly new to me; having now completed that learning I am more competent in my role as Vice President of Operations at Genworth Canada. Corporate Finance was an excellent example of this as I know have a much better understanding of financial statements and concepts.
For those who are considering taking the challenge of an MBA, I agree with Dr. McLarney. Don’t just do it for the letters after your name. Do it because you want to learn. An MBA takes a lot of time away from family and certainly minimizes your personal time. If you can turn this additional time into new learnings, you will appreciate it much more in the end and you will have an excellent sense of accomplishment when crossing that stage at the end of your journey. Its also important to have a strong support network. I couldn’t have done it without the support of Genworth Canada and my family.”
On the question of how to integrate creativity and achieve a “balanced” life, Jim acknowledged, “I enjoy basketball and when I quickly realized that I wasn’t talented when it came to dribbling a ball while also running…I decided to trade in my jersey for stripes! Fifteen plus years later, I continue to officiate basketball. I am very fortunate to be on the Ontario University Athletics panel of basketball officials and enjoy travelling to the many Universities across Ontario in my zebra stripes!”
So, what is Jim’s next challenge?
“Fatherhood,” Jim enthused. “I have now been a father for just over 7 months and I have the greatest respect for my fellow classmates that completed their MBA while having children. I’m sure I saved the next challenge in my life (of being a father) for the end of my MBA journey.”