Mount Royal University Continues to Demonstrate Leadership

HGS mentor and mentee
Mentor Rob Schaefer and mentee Braden Smith~Photo by Mackenzie Cann

The current state of the local economy has many university students and professionals filled with uncertainty. With a low Canadian dollar (January 2016), as well as oil and housing prices, many are feeling the change in economic prospects.

Rather than taking a wait and see approach, Mount Royal University is continuing its dedication to mentoring and leadership. Tuesday evening, the University held the annual Harry G. Schaefer mentorship kick-off event presented by ATB Financial.

Founded (2013) and ran run by Mount Royal's Student Learning Services, beginning in 2013 the program is a testament to the outstanding mentorship and guidance provided by Harry G. Schaefer to the Calgary business community, and is available to all third and fourth year Mount Royal students.

Schaefer, born in Calgary (1936 - 2011), a CFO, important member of TransAlta's executive administration team and Board, and one of only four Alberta chartered accountants to be awarded the distinguished designation of Fellow of the Chartered Accountants (FCA). He also received the Lifetime Achievement Award for Alberta Chartered Accountants, given to those dedicated to excellence in their career and giving back to their community.

Mount Royal president, Dr. David Docherty attended Tuesday's event and offered great praise to the programs founder.
"I've had the pleasure of speaking with many who had Harry Schaefer as a mentor; they talk about his generosity in sharing his knowledge, his time and his insights," said Docherty. "

Beginning with 30 students and 26 mentors, this year's program see's 128 students and 97 mentors involved in the program. Since its inception, the program has matched 320 students with 281 mentors.
The program offers a variety of components:

  • One-on-one mentorship;
  • Mentorship circles;
  • Interdisciplinary research focusing on mentorship; and
  • An online community;
HGS guest speakers
Curtis Stange and Glen Kubish from ATB Financial~Photo by Mackenzie Cann

Within those components, each mentorship match might involve a mentor sharing work experiences and a student sharing career plans. It can involve job shadowing, networking or tips on interview techniques.
The program is fortunate enough to have Harry's son, Rob Schaefer, contribute to the program as a mentee. (Rob) Schaefer who says said he loves being a mentor and he hashas seen the program grow leaps and bounds over the past three years,

"I'm just proud to have help worked with Mount Royal to help get the program started and - I've been involved from the start both in time and energy," said Schaefer.

Agreeing that this program is more important than ever with the economies current status, Schafer believes adding he believes his father would be proud to see where the program is today,

"Part of it is in honour of my father but it's the results you see. It's a fanatic experience both for mentors and mentees. It really allows people to get launched into their careers."

Schaefer's mentee, Braden Smith, a fourth- year Accounting student, attended the event and is thrilled with the prospects the program provides.
"I heard that it was a really great opportunity to network and gain a great deal of knowledge," said Smith. "I was drawn to the fact that you are matched with someone who has a similar background who can help your vision."

The emcee for the evening was Zach Colbran, a recent Mount Royal Science graduate with a Geology major and former mentee turned mentor. In his opening remarks Colbran made mention of his appreciation for the guidance granted from his mentor.

"Mentorship plays a large role in my everyday life, both at work and in my personal life," said Colbran. "Looking back, most of my successes in life, there has been a mentor to help guide and teach me along the way."

The evening concluded with a keynote address from Curtis Stange, chief strategy and operations officer with ATB Financial and Glen Kubish, media and story director for ATB Financial. The pair conducted a series of mentorship related question and answers before offering up the floor to questions from the attendees.

To become a mentor, mentee or for more information related to the program visit the Student learning Services website.