She shoots, she scores

Project in social media course led to dream job with Hockey Canada


Jemma Young has all the right moves, stickhandling her way from being a student in Mount Royal University's Social Media for Business Extension Certificate to overseeing Hockey Canada's 50-plus social-media accounts. "I really am that prime example of someone who has been through the program at MRU and gotten a job largely because of it," says Young, Hockey Canada's manager of social media. Young, who has a degree in Communications, was a marketing coordinator in Career Services at Mount Royal. She had a general idea of the direction she wanted to take with her career, so she enrolled in the Public Relations Extension Certificate in MRU's Continuing Education to clarify that path.

"As I was doing it, I found that I really liked being back in the classroom. I learned more about what was offered in Continuing Education. And when I saw the Social Media Certificate, I decided to do it as well," she says. "At one point, it was pretty heavy going with my course load and my work. I did both programs in two years. But that is one of the great things about Continuing Education at Mount Royal: it's flexible to suit your situation."

Courses provide real-world, hands-on, results-oriented training, focusing on best practices in the field. In the Social Media Final Project course, students are paired with non-profit organizations in the Calgary area and tasked with developing a comprehensive social media plan.


"You can definitely set yourself apart in your career by having that specific business-oriented training that MRU's Social Media Certificate offers."


Young was partnered with Hockey Canada. It was a match made in heaven - Young grew up playing hockey in Lindsay, Ont. and has an affinity for the game and its place in the heart of Canadians. "I worked with two leads from Hockey Canada during the six-week project. The timing worked out that they were hiring a full-time position," she recalls.

"A lot of people say they have work experience in social media, but having that dedicated credential and training in the field gives you a level up on those who don't have that educational component."

Joining the team at Hockey Canada in June 2014 as the social media co-ordinator kicked off the next phase of Jemma's career. Two years later, she was promoted to her present position. Jemma utilizes social-media skills she honed at MRU in her daily work, which has global reach. Hockey Canada's Twitter account alone has more than 320,000 followers.

"At Hockey Canada, I work very closely with graphic designers, media relations, the video team and content creators. I could be in the office covering an event that is happening across the country - posting videos and live coverage - or I could be developing strategy. I could be posting all kinds of content across multiple platforms. And another piece of what I do is the educational piece: providing social media training with our athletes and educating and training staff on social media."

The variety and pace of her work keeps Young hopping, and that's how this high-energy lifelong learner likes it. She also spreads the word on the power of social media here at Mount Royal, teaching the Facebook for Business workshop.

'Social media is an amazing marketing tool that is applicable to so many audiences. It's so accessible and so cost-effective that students really see the benefits in their work. And you can definitely set yourself apart in your career by having that specific business-oriented training that MRU's Social Media Certificate offers."


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Jan. 8, 2018 — Ruth Myles

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