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COVID-19 – Embracing Change: How the Telfer Student Services Centre is Evolving

Isabelle Décarie and Amanda Ricardson smiling

Spring invariably brings hope and new beginnings, and in 2020, it has forced us to embrace change like never before. This week, we want to highlight the positive side of change by looking at some of the many inspiring ways in which our staff have adapted over the last few weeks to accommodate, encourage and engage with employees, students, and employers alike.

With two of our dynamic leaders, discover how the Telfer Career Centre (SSC) and the Telfer Undergraduate Student Experience Team are evolving in the face of change.

Amanda Richardson, Manager, Telfer Career Centre

Q: What was your focus when you undertook the transition a few weeks ago?

A: “Making sure that my team was equipped and supported adequately to be working virtually. Switching from on-campus, face-to-face services to virtual, online ones was a huge change for us. It meant getting each employee set up with the proper tools to keep providing the services they were offering to students and employers. It also meant assessing each member’s well-being and mental health. This is a stressful situation for all of us: if we don’t support ourselves, we won’t be able to support others.”

Q: What do you intent to focus on looking forward?

A: “Remaining innovative and efficient in everything we do. Time is money, so we want to make the most of our resources for the very people that we serve: students, alumni and employers. Our priority is to find creative ways to meet the needs of our clients while using due diligence in the process. As a team, we are brainstorming regularly to make sure that we do the right things.”

Q: How have you innovated to maintain this focus?

A: “We had never worked in a virtual setting before, and we don’t realize just how important the small, daily interactions with our colleagues, like quick chats standing in the line at Starbucks, really are. There is so much personal connection that happens during those times. That is why I have found meaningful ways to interact with my teammates, and not just on work-related topics. Using MS Teams, we have created channels to share fun and personal stories, such as Motivational Monday and Fun Friday. The Student Services Centre is comprised of several smaller teams, so these “fun” pieces are what is breaking down the silos. In addition, we are using tools like MS Teams and MS OneNote for our one-on-one meetings to ensure we are collaborating efficiently and on the right things. We also highlight the “wins” of the week. Thanks to our weekly video meetings, we can see faces and build on those connections.”

Q: As a Telfer professional, what message do you have for your community?

A: “Sometimes the greatest challenges bring out the most creative solutions. Our current situation is going to change the way the world works overall and that includes the world of business. I look forward to seeing what will be in our future. I am proud to be part of the Telfer community, because I know these circumstances will lead to many, many amazing things.”

Isabelle Décarie, Manager, Student Experience

Q: What was the most important aspect you and your team wanted to focus on as you undertook this transition a few weeks ago?

A: “Making sure that our future students have all the necessary information. We had to cancel our annual Open House at the last minute, and we wanted the participants to know that we were still there to answer all their questions regarding the admission process.”

Q: What is the focus of your team looking forward?

A: “As of now, collaboration and compassion have become such important aspects of our lives, both on a professional and a personal level. We try to collaborate as much as we can with student leaders and other teams on campus. We also think compassion is necessary when communicating with various stakeholders.”

Q: As a Telfer professional, what message do you have for your community?

A: “Let it be a moment of personal and professional growth. We need to see positivity in this situation. When I saw the School implement Telfer Acts of Greatness, I felt my heart grow. We are lucky to be working with such dedicated, passionate professors, staff and students. It all starts with being mindful of each other, every day. No matter whom or how we interact, we need to remember that the we are all living in unprecedented times.”

Have you also been adapting to change? 

To learn how you can effectively pivot your career plan, job search strategy and self-marketing tools andleverage your adaptability and resilience as selling points, book an appointment with one of the Career Centre staff on Career Launch.

About the Author

(Elle/She)<br><br>Coordonnatrice de développement professionnel au Centre des carrières de Telfer, Véronique Bélinge est titulaire d’un baccalauréat ès arts en traduction, d’un baccalauréat ès sciences sociales en études internationales et langues modernes, ainsi que d’une maîtrise ès arts en littératures et cultures du monde. Avec plus de 20 ans d’expérience alliant traduction, révision, édition, rédaction publicitaire, création de contenu numérique et élaboration de messages organisationnels, elle offre aux étudiants du B.Com. et du MBA des services d’encadrement en développement de carrière et d’image de marque personnelle, depuis l’adaptation du CV jusqu’aux techniques d’entrevue en passant par LinkedIn.<br><br>Véronique Bélinge is the Professional Development Coordinator at the Telfer School of Management Career Centre. She holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts with a specialization in Translation, an Honours Bachelor of Social Sciences with a specialization in International Studies and Modern Languages as well as a Master of Arts in World Literatures and Cultures. With 20+ years of combined experience in translation, revision, copywriting, copyediting, publicity writing, digital content creation, and corporate messaging, she provides B.Com. and MBA students with personal branding and career coaching services encompassing everything from resumé tailoring to LinkedIn and interview techniques.

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