Grad Profiles

Happy trails for Graphic Design grad

June 13, 2017

Some people while away the workday daydreaming about their happy place. Not Kristin McPherson. The founder of Happyland Print Shop mixes business with pleasure — day and night.

As communications manager at urban nature preserve FortWhyte Alive, the 2004 Graphic Design grad spends her weekdays where other people like to spend their weekends. When she goes home after work, Happyland is there waiting for her.

Since 2012, the 33-year-old entrepreneur has been increasingly successful at minding her own business, designing and selling prints, tote bags, pins and patches that celebrate Winnipeg’s quirks and customs — socials and salami shoulder, perogies and “majestic” Transcona’s pink flamingos, to name a few.

But McPherson doesn’t want to give up her day job.

“It’s a great gig. The role I’m in now I’m kind of like a one-person marketing department,” she says.

“I run the social media accounts, so every so often I get to go out and take photos of seasons changing or the wildlife that’s out there. It’s really nice; it’s nice to start my day with a walk on our trails with my camera. It’s a pretty incredible place to work — I like to go to work every day. It’s like going to a cabin in the woods, basically.”

Her dual roles are due to a combination of hard work and serendipity. After graduating from Graphic Design, a previous employer supported her professional development by funding a series of RRC Continuing Education marketing courses in Business Administration from 2007 to 2010.

“Design school was obviously very important. It gave me skills that I still use, but equally important was learning about marketing and how to manage your brand,” she says.

Read More →


Top-ranked ConEd student earns Transportation Systems scholarship

May 5, 2017

Dimitrios Athanasiou, 2017 Walter Kenneth Morris Memorial Scholarship winner

Congratulations to Red River College Continuing Education student Dimitrios Athanasiou, winner of this year’s Walter Kenneth Morris Memorial Scholarship Fund, which recognizes the province’s top Transportation Systems student.

Awarded annually by the Canadian Institute of Traffic and Transportation (CITT), the $500 scholarship recognizes a Manitoba student who excels in the organization’s Transportation Systems course (online or in class) and who goes on to excel in Transportation Processes.

A Winnipeg resident for the last three years, Athanasiou worked until recently as an inventory clerk at Piston Ring Service. He has completed six out of 11 courses required for his CCLP (CITT-Certified Logistics Professional) designation, all of them with honours.

He also has a BA (Hons) in Marketing from the University of Wolverhampton in the U.K., and seven years experience in the fields of international trade, customer service and logistics from prior employment in retail, transportation and manufacturing/trading in Greece.

“I wish the CCLP designation to update my knowledge of the Canadian logistics industry, and to upgrade my professional credentials as a permanent resident of Canada,” he says. “The Walter Kenneth Morris Memorial Award and Scholarship is very welcome — a nice feeling, for which I am very thankful.”

CITT is Canada’s leading professional development organization in the supply chain and transportation logistics sector, and serves as a collective body of knowledge in the field.

Through joint efforts with post-secondary institutions such as RRC and the University of Manitoba, students are able to earn professional designations in Logistics. The College is considered to be an integral part of CITT’s Level 1 and 2 programming.

The Walter Kenneth Morris Scholarship fund was established in 2006 to honour Morris, who taught both Transportation Systems and Transportation Processes in Manitoba, and who held CITT council positions at both the provincial and national levels.

Learn more about the Transportation and Logistics Management Certificate offered at RRC.

CE student teams with local chefs (and RRC grads) in support of Winnipeg Harvest

January 30, 2017

Leane Funk is using her good taste to fight hunger.

Funk, a professional server and Red River College Continuing Education student, is one of the foodies behind the Winnipeg Supper Club, a regularly occurring secret dinner event.

On Sat., Feb. 25, the Winnipeg Supper Club is teaming up with Winnipeg Harvest to present Harvest Homegrown, a not-so secret, collaborative dinner event. Harvest Homegrown will take place at Winnipeg Harvest (1085 Winnipeg Ave.) and will feature local food prepared by Deseo chef Jordan Carlson and MasterChef Canada runner-up Jeremy Senaris, both of whom are Red River College graduates.

Harvest Homegrown will raise money for Winnipeg Harvest and its hunger-fighting initiatives.

“It just so happened that six months ago, David Northcott (Winnipeg Harvest executive director) ended up at a table I was serving and we just started chatting,” says Funk. “I mentioned who I was and he had heard of (Winnipeg Supper Club). One thing led to another and we discussed starting something together. Then I went and met with Colleen McVarish (Harvest development manager) and now we’re doing a dinner.”

Funk is excited for dinner guests to see Carlson and Senaris in action.

“I thought with their contrasting cooking styles they would be a good collaboration,” she says. “It’s a pretty open kitchen and we have a chef’s table that is available for purchase for a group of 10. It’s available at a bit of a premium but they’ll be front row, watching the chefs and being served by Jeremy and Jordan.” Read More →

Back to school: Former teacher skips retirement in favour of new career

January 25, 2017

Teacher_AdminAssistAfter a successful career as a teacher, Willa Klyne decided it was time to go back to school.

Last June, Klyne, 55, wrapped up 29 years of teaching in Frontier School Division. Not really the retiring type, she enrolled in Red River College’s Administrative Assistant program, completing the 17-week certificate program in December.

“I want to work for a very long time. My mom worked part-time until she was 75 years old and I see myself doing the same thing,” Klyne says.

“I’d like to have two or three careers in my lifetime. My plan is to work full-time until I’m 65 and then I’ll decide if I want to continue … or go down to part-time. But I don’t want my working career to be one thing. I can’t imagine sticking with one type of job for my entire lifetime. There are new things to learn and new experiences to have.”

Klyne admits she was a bit nervous about attending college at 55, but she’s not the first in her family to go back to school later in life. In the 1970s, Klyne’s grandmother, Violet McKillop, took a commercial cake decorating course at RRC while in her 70s.

“I would never let it stop me (being an older student), but I wondered how it would be. It turned out to be great. There were way more older students there than I thought there would be,” Klyne says. Read More →

Adam Beach Film Institute graduates 16 more Indigenous storytellers

June 15, 2016

ABFI Graduation 2016The Adam Beach Film Institute (ABFI) and Red River College’s Corporate Solutions are pleased to annouce that 16 more Indigenous storytellers received their Certificates of Achievement on June 9, 2016.

ABFI and Corporate Solutions have partnered with each other to deliver culturally appropriate training in Manitoba’s film industry. This partnership, currently in its second year, is designed to give a voice to young Indigenous Winnipeggers.

By developing their skills in film and television, particularly during this Year of Reconciliation, these students will be better prepared for careers in the ever-growing Manitoba Film Industry. Their unique viewpoints are vital to Canada’s future prosperity.

ABFI is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to removing barriers so that young Indigenous Canadians can develop the skills and abilities to tell their stories.

Learn more about ABFI and the Enhanced Filmmaking Skills and Techniques course here

Learn how Corporate Solutions can work with you and your organization to develop unique solutions for your training needs.

Youth Recreation Activity Worker grads find love while changing lives

May 31, 2016

Jenny Isla and Cole Berens

The lights were out at the Gilbert Park Boys and Girls Club that frosty winter night. No surprise – it was well past closing. Jenny Isla wasn’t sure why her boyfriend Cole Berens had pulled them away from his cousin’s birthday party to visit the youth centre where they both worked. “I need to find some papers,” sounded a bit suspect.

Isla hurried towards the door, stepping ahead of Berens. When she looked back, he was down on one knee, her mother’s ring held up in his hands.

“I cried,” Isla laughs, recalling the proposal in front of the club that means so much to her and Berens, and to hundreds of youth in Winnipeg’s North End.

Isla and Berens (both graduates of Red River College’s Youth Recreation Activity Worker Program, 2014 and 2015, respectively) first met at the Boys and Girls Club of Winnipeg when they were members and teen mentors, supporting the 35-year old organization’s goal of empowering youth through free activities that foster healthy living, personal growth and social development.

Having grown up in the North End, Isla had always wanted to work with youth. “I always imagined myself up for a challenge and wanted to be with at-risk youth and children,” she says. When a friend from Sisler High School introduced her to the club, she felt she’d found the right place to pour her energy. Read More →

PMI award winner touts the virtues of ‘team players’

April 25, 2016
Alisher Kabildjanov - 2016 PMI Award winner

Alisher Kabildjanov, 2016 PMI Award winner

Although Alisher Kabildjanov’s combination of intellect, creativity and work ethic make him a deserving choice for Red River College’s joint award with the Project Management Institute (PMI) for outstanding student work, he’s quick to shine the spotlight on others when talking about his experience in RRC’s Project Management program.

“If I had to pick just one highlight from the program, I’d say it was the teamwork,” says Alisher. “The relationship between the teams who were working on projects, they were the best part. It’s how I realized that project management is not about your unique skills at the end of the day – it’s your team’s strengths and [your] ability to work with teams.”

When Alisher arrived in Winnipeg 12 years ago, he’d already spent years working with teams. After earning a Bachelor’s degree in English philosophy from Karshi State University, he embraced the “uncertainty and risk, but also the unique results” of projects for both the United Nations Development Program and the European Union’s Technical Assistance Program in project management and business analyst roles.

With that considerable international experience under his belt, why did he register for Project Management in 2011? Read More →

Recognition of Prior Learning grad fosters adult education and literacy in N.W.T.

November 12, 2015

Karen Willy, Recognition of Prior Learning

Karen Willy describes herself as a life-long learner. And she’s helping others do the same.

A Yellowknife resident, Willy is the most recent graduate of Red River College’s Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Practitioner program, available through the School of Continuing Education.

She serves as Coordinator for Adult Literacy and Basic Education for the Government of the Northwest Territories’ Department of Education, Culture and Employment, where she’s responsible for the Adult Recognition Model, designed for those enrolled in adult basic education.

The program gives participants the opportunity to complete academic credits for core courses, and to receive recognition for the optional credits they need for a senior secondary school diploma.

“You need to understand that adults come with their own experiences, their own knowledge, and their own learning that we need to honour,” Willy says of her clients.

Read More →

Administrative Assistant grad seeks direction — and finds a career

August 17, 2015
Meet Ahrben Tuman - Province of Manitoba V.I.P.

Meet Ahrben Tuman – Province of Manitoba V.I.P.

Ahrben Tumambing was never certain what he wanted to do.

The Red River College graduate went to university after high school, and from there worked a string of what he describes as unfulfilling jobs.

While he wasn’t sure, career-wise, where he wanted to go, Tumambing — a 2014 grad of RRC’s Administrative Assistant program — says he’s always had an interest in how systems and society function.

“I just like poking problems and seeing how things work,” he says.

Tumambing now works as a recruitment clerk with the Province of Manitoba, where he was hired after completing a practicum as part of his RRC studies.

His family moved to Winnipeg from the Philippines from he was 12, and Tumambing grew up in the North End.

“ I think I was kind of a lost child at some points,” he says.

After completing a Bachelor of Arts degree and double-majoring in sociology and developmental studies, he worked a string of minimum wage jobs because he couldn’t find something in his field.

“My mom was more of a practical person; she was like, ‘Here’s a less-than-six-month course going on.’ She said ‘Hey, that will propel you to even greater heights and experiences.’” Read More →

Consultant role in IT field affords range of industry experiences for ConEd grad

July 17, 2015
Meet Sheila Harris - SmartPlanIT V.I.P.

Meet Sheila Harris – SmartPlanIT V.I.P.

Over the past 14 years, Sheila Harris has worked on exciting projects that touch the lives of many Manitobans, including improving the province’s drivers licensing system, implementing a new patient care system at St-Boniface Hospital, and installing MTS’s new 4G cellular network.

It might sound like she’s had multiple career changes, but all of this has been part of Harris’s role as an Information Technology (IT) Business and Systems Analyst.

“One thing that attracted me to the IT field is you can do so many different things. I’ve worked in five or six different industries now, which is great because I like variety, I like challenges and I like to learn,” says Harris, a Senior IT Consultant with SmartPlanIT. “It’s not just one job description, which is interesting to me.”

Because local organizations planning large-scale, complex software implementations often don’t have the resources to do the work, SmartPlanIT provides the people – and the brain power – to get the job done.

Harris might be sent to work as a Systems Analyst, a Solutions Architect, or a Business Analyst, the title she holds in her current role: working on replacing a Laboratory Information Management System for the City of Winnipeg’s Water and Waste Department, which will result in improvements to how Winnipeg’s water is tested and safeguarded, she explains.

“I feel really lucky that I’ve been given opportunities to work on some very meaningful projects in Winnipeg and the province,” Harris says. “I am so fortunate to live here, and it’s really rewarding to know the work I do impacts the community I live and work in, in a positive way.” Read More →

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