Friday, December 10, 2021

Exploring Possibilities: Career Stories from Influencers in the Career Education Space


Exploring the Possibilities:

Career Path Stories from Influencers in the Career Education Space

As many know, this past November was Canada Career Month; a month in which a multitude of initiatives were undergone to aid students in their pursuit of a career path with the theme ‘It’s Possible’! As Canada Career Month concludes, it is my hope to share with you the career paths and journeys of three influential members within the Co-Op, Career and Experiential Space: Sandy Howe, Katrina Volpini and Kara Renaud.
To gain a perspective of how these three successful individuals went about pursuing the role they are currently within and the advice they would give to students today, read their entries below!

Sandy Howe

Associate Director, 

Experiential Education

1. Briefly describe your career and the typical roles and tasks involved.
“My career is as an educator! With the title of Associate Director, Experiential Education, I see my role as educating faculty, community, and students on how we can work together to build hands-on experiences into academic courses for students. I do this through a highly relational practice with an amazing team, colleagues in every little pocket of campus, and in a way that finds innovative ways to bring great ideas to life.”
2. When did you know this was the career for you?
“To be honest, I had no idea this was the career for me, and still am not sure what my “career” is – it’s OK not to know!  I enjoy educating on a variety of topics from teaching and learning, mental health, reflective practice and more, but if I had to try and pigeonhole myself into a career, it would probably be “university support staff”. I have been very privileged to simply follow opportunities that make me happy to put my feet on the floor each day.”
3. What steps did you take or undergo when selecting the career path, you wanted to pursue? Were there any challenges along the way?
“When I was doing my undergrad (Honours BSc. Biology (Zoology) – yes, you can take any degree wherever you like if you understand your transferable skills!), I was a Residence Advisor/Don. I knew if I could do that full time when I was done being a student, I’d be thrilled, and that’s exactly what I did!  I started my career at the University of Windsor as a Residence Manager, and used that as the vehicle to do all the things I really loved which included getting students involved with community volunteering, travelling internationally with students, leading developmental opportunities and supporting students through educational programming. I also had a chance to supervise a large, diverse team, which was really what I loved most! I’ve followed this path to Brock in the Department of Residence, on to Student Life & Community Experience, next as the Service-Learning Coordinator that allowed me to support academic courses and co-curriculars, and now this! There have certainly been challenges along the way including law students practicing their craft on policies and procedures I was to uphold, full nights without sleep doing crisis response in residence, learning how to balance work that kept piling on with needing to leave work and recharge, and just generally from taking the time to learn something from my many mistakes!”
4. What advice would you give to students trying to select a professional field now?
“I would encourage any student to take some time to reflect. Truly think about what you value and love to do, how you want to leave your mark on our world or on a particular field, and what types of tasks allow you to get lost in them because of the joy they bring you. You might not find these things explicitly in a job title, but have an idea of the types of jobs, organizations, or people that you might connect with that will lead you to your path…and then follow those leads! Reach out, make connections, let someone know you’d like to learn more about their job or field, and put the effort into finding your way.  Always remember: things that you love and hate are both valuable; they help you to narrow the path.”

Katrina Volpini

Med Plus Consultant

1. Briefly describe your career and the typical roles and tasks involved. 
“As the Med Plus Consultant at Brock, I have the privilege of working with students to help them achieve their career goals. Med Plus is a co-curricular program for students interested in pursuing careers in health care. My role is to develop the program curriculum in a way that exposes students to a variety of health care careers, allows them the opportunity to network with professionals all while building the necessary skills in order to be successful in this industry. I also support our students through individual advising to build a path towards their future goals. I enjoy helping them prepare their applications, prepare for interviews and watching them grow over the 4 years they are in the program. One of the best parts of my job is the amazing team within CCEE that I get the pleasure of working with every day. The full-time and student staff all are willing to work together to support the students at Brock.”
2. When did you know this was the career for you?  
“Shortly after I graduated University, I held a leadership role where I oversaw the hiring and recruiting of a large amount of summer camp staff. I loved it! I loved meeting applicants, talking about their skills and finding the best fit for our team. I also loved planning and developing the professional training to provide them with the skills and knowledge necessary to be successful in their new role. That’s when I realized I wanted to explore this passion further and started a career in Employment Counselling and Job Developing which led me to this role at Brock. From the minute I met with our Med Plus students, I knew I found what I was looking for. Working with University students is amazing because of their drive and motivation. They also keep me on my toes!” 
3. What steps did you take or undergo when selecting the career path, you wanted to pursue? Were there any challenges along the way?
“After I discovered I wanted a future in Career Counselling & Education, I decided to complete a certificate in Advanced Career Counselling to further develop my skills and learn new strategies. I also wanted to ensure that I was able to support my clients/students that I was working with. So I took training in Mental Health First Aid, educated myself to learn about local resources to assist with various barriers to employment and continuously worked on my communication and facilitation skills. There is always something new to learn which is why I love the department I work in. When I entered University, I thought I wanted to be a Translator. I loved learning languages (still do!). However, in my 1st year, I quickly realized that although I enjoyed learning different ways to communicate, it wasn’t my passion. This was a challenge for me because it was the first time in my life that my path wasn’t going to be what I thought it was. I decided to trust my instincts and change path to a broader study in Sociology where I could spend time exploring my interests. I learned more about myself through navigating that challenging time and I’m grateful I had that chance.”
4. What advice would you give to students trying to select a professional field now?
“Explore your passions! Talk to people in the field, learn skills and competencies that are transferable to various professions. Be ok with the unknown too – your path may not be linear. Sometimes taking the path less travelled will present opportunities you didn’t even know existed!”

Kara Renaud

Supervisor, Career Education

1. Briefly describe your career and the typical roles and tasks involved.  
“As Supervisor, Career Education with Co-op, Career & Experiential Education, I wear many hats.  I over oversee CareerZone drop-in services and staffing, coordination and delivery of workshops and events, and 1:1 for career consultations with students. Over the years I have had the privilege of collaborating with amazing people across Brock and in the community to carry out a variety of career initiatives.  I have also been fortunate to mentor, coach and support students in their career journeys and be an advocate for students and staff as they navigate the world work and grow personally and professionally”.  
2. When did you know this was the career for you?  
“After graduating University, I took a job in a call centre.  In less than a year I found myself laid off. I started to access employment resources in my community and fell in love with the role of the employment advisor.  I had an interest in teaching and counselling and I felt this role encompassed both of those areas.  The idea of helping people investigate possible career pathways was something I felt drawn to, and I have never looked back.”
3. What steps did you take or undergo when selecting the career path, you wanted to pursue? Were there any challenges along the way?
“Seeking out employment advice and asking for help was pivotal for me early in my life.  Taking the time to understand what I’m passionate about, researching occupations and conducting informational interviews were three action steps that helped me with my career decision making. The world is changing so quickly that it requires career professionals to continuously innovate.  We are always asking ourselves how we can be better, how are services can improve, etc.  This can be challenging sometimes when it’s hard to predict what the world of work will look like next year, never mind five years from now.  Now more than ever, we need to be flexible, optimistic, and intentional about what we do and how to best support our students.” 
4. What advice would you give to students trying to select a professional field now?  
“Determining where you fit into the world of work can be a difficult process. Take the time you need to understand your interests and strengths, talk to people doing work that interests you, don’t be afraid to ask for help, and try not to put too much pressure on yourself.   It takes time to make informed career decisions.  Anything is possible when you invest the time in yourself.”
Connect With Us!
We are here to support you, so don’t be afraid to ask for help! We offer many student resources on our portal ( and can be contacted via email at to answer any inquiries you may have.
Follow Us on Social Media to Stay Up-to-Date With All our Upcoming Events and Workshops!
Twitter: @BrockCareerZone
Instagram: @brockcareerzone
Written by Jordan Sheridan, Career Assistant 
Edited by Kara Renaud, Supervisor of Career Education, CCEE Department

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

It’s Possible to Share Your Career Insight with Others

Canada Career Month is coming to an end, but your career journey keeps on going, and anything IS POSSIBLE. With the world constantly shifting and evolving, and opportunities coming and going, it is important to take the time to figure out your true career passions. We at CareerZone are right by your side to help you on your journey! I asked our amazing CCEE student staff to share their career inspirations and to share some valuable advice. 

Christina Grimo, a Med Plus Career Assistant, calls her grandfather her biggest inspiration career-wise. “My grandfather inspired me to choose a career in the healthcare field as he inspired me to pursue a career in a field that I am passionate about and that will have the ability to make an impact on other people's lives,” says Christina. It is amazing when the people close to us can inspire us to pursue what we’re passionate about! Christina’s current career aspiration is working in the healthcare field and being able to educate and care for patients. She finds the best part of her current job to be able to see students find their passions and work towards achieving their career goals. It is important to find your job fulfilling and meaningful and it is exciting to see it pay off. I asked Christina to provide some advice to people searching for or making career decisions and I couldn't agree more with her answer. “Keep an open mind! As much as you think you know what you want to do with your life, you never know what can come along and change your mind. It is okay to be unsure, but eventually, everything will fall into place, and you will end up exactly where you are meant to be!” 

Another student staff member is Jacqueline McGee, who is in her second year of being a Law Plus Assistant and in her third year of her business degree concentrated in information systems. Growing up Jacqueline saw her parents work in different sides of the business industry, which made her realize that she also had passion for business. But having to take a law course in high school, Jacqueline discovered an interest for law as a surprise to herself. This shows that it’s possible to uncover your career inspiration even when you don’t expect it. Any experience could play a significant role in your choices so it is important to stay open to all opportunities. When I asked Jacqueline about her current career aspirations, I loved her honesty, “To be completely honest, I'm really not sure. I'm still in an exploration stage, trying to figure out which path makes the most sense for me. Many aspects of my current job have ​​piqued my interest in ways I wouldn't have imagined.” It is completely okay not to have one definite answer. University is the best time to learn about yourself and explore different paths that are of interest to you. You can have different interests and might discover careers that you did not think of before. Take this time to discover your passions, talents, and countless possibilities! The best part of Jacqueline’s current job is to support the program she is passionate about. This is a very important career aspect! You want to work on something you truly support. This will allow you to be committed and dedicated to the success of the organisation while fulfilling you. The advice Jacqueline gave about career decisions is “not to be afraid to not know what you would like to do.” If you let go of your stress and open yourself to opportunities instead, your calling will come to you.

Our next student staff member is Liam Nowacki, who is a Senior Goodman Career Assistant. His biggest inspiration was an advice from a close friend: “Work takes up such a large part of our lives that we should do something we are passionate about and love doing. No job is without its challenges or bad moments, but working in a career that you enjoy and want to do will make your life a lot happier.” I think this could not have been said better! Our career should not be dreadful and exhausting; it should fulfill us and let us grow. Prioritising his passions and what he enjoys doing has not only helped Liam in making difficult decisions regarding his career path, but also in moving forward in his career journey.  Liam’s current career aspirations are to write a Graduate Management Admission Test in order to continue his education by obtaining an MBA from Brock University. Graduate school is an amazing way to expand your learning opportunities while exploring careers! Additionally, he is looking to get involved in a number of philanthropic organisations post-graduation and help change the world for the better. The best part of Liam’s current job is helping other students and seeing development and success students have after using the CareerZone services. “Hearing stories about how the work we do has benefited students each and every day for the rest of their professional careers makes me smile every time, and I wouldn’t change my job for the world.” It is amazing when your job gives you so much positive energy! The advice Liam has shared is “to listen to yourself and to take advantage of your opportunities. You know what is best for you, so listen to the advice of those you trust but make the decision you feel like is the best for you. Additionally, make sure you take advantage of every opportunity put in front of you. Things pass by that you may never get a chance to experience again, so make sure you are taking advantage of every opportunity you can before it’s too late!” This is a great encouragement to take charge of your own decisions and be open to what life gives you.

We hope you're as inspired as we are by these wonderful stories! Remember that it is never too late to open up to various opportunities around. Every experience along our way is meaningful and brings us more wisdom. 

Connect With Us!
We are here to support you, so don’t be afraid to ask for help! We offer many student resources on our portal ( and can be contacted via email at to answer any inquiries you may have. 

Follow Us Our Social Media to Stay Up-to-Date With All our Upcoming Events and Workshops!
Twitter: @BrockCareerZone
Instagram: @brockcareerzone 
Written by Angelina Shtramel, Goodman Career Assistant
Edited by Kara Renaud, Supervisor of Career Education, CCEE Department

Friday, November 19, 2021

Pursuing Careers and Opportunities in a Global Setting


Brock International Education Week

International Education Week is a week long event that helps to strengthen Brock’s global reach. It brings people together to learn more about Brock’s diverse identity and its core competencies through a global lens. Learning abroad can help you become more adaptable, more open-minded and, more resourceful. The Canadian Bureau for International Education has more information about learning abroad here.

What’s It Like Working Abroad?

To learn more about what it’s like to work abroad meet a member of the Career Education Team, Quentin Dus, and read his experience abroad:

1.     Brief description of your work.

“My name is Quentin Dus, and I am the Talent Partnerships Consultant within the Career Department (CCEE). In my role, I manage and build relationships with employers for the benefit of Brock students.”

2.    What sparked your interest in travelling abroad?

“I have always been curious about other cultures, especially through arts and food. Moreover, History (we have a lot of it in Europe and France where I’m from!) and Geography were always my favorite topics at school, so it was natural for me to want to learn about other countries. As a result, I really wanted to experience first-hand a different culture than the one I grew up in. I chose Canada because North-American culture is very influential in Europe through films, food, music so it felt like a great place to visit, and I had only heard good things about Canada and Canadians! French being an official language of Canada also made it easier for me to adapt when I first arrived.”

3.    What is it like working in a different country?

“Professionally, it’s considered a very valuable experience when you go back in your home country, because we live in a global world and you’ll have gained many skills. For instance, a new language maybe, or the ability to work with people from a different business culture. You will definitely experience cultural differences that you’ll learn from, such as different ways to work and collaborate, deal with conflicts or hierarchy, and that will make you a more well-rounded professional.

I have personally enjoyed Canada’s more informal and horizontal approach to hierarchy relations compared to France. Another difference I appreciated was the emphasis on individual responsibility which gives people more autonomy at work. On the other hand, the flipside of this culture was a vastly different relationship to money, work-life balance and personal success than in France.

Outside of the office, working in another country is a great way to discover it slowly, at your own pace and experience life as a local. It is a very rewarding experience on that front. I have been able to discover so many regions of Canada over the years and I would not have been able to without the possibility to live here long-term.”

4.    Tips for travelling and working abroad.

·       “Pick a country that interests you and learn the language!

·       Check out Canada’s work permit agreements with other countries. In particular the Work-Holiday Visas from International Experience Canada

·       At first (1st) expect to get jobs below your qualification level, use them to gain experience and prove yourself!

·       If you’re only there for a short time (ex: 1 year) and want to focus on travelling, join the service industry. You’ll have more flexibility to work in different cities or save up and travel.”

5.    Your favourite thing about working abroad.

“Being able to really immerse yourself in a different culture (rather than superficially experience it through a short tourist trip), truly live like a local person and discover the country progressively. You’ll have a deeper understanding and connection to a country’s culture and people and meet truly amazing friends! It’s an amazing experience and it will definitely open your mind. I also love that Canada is so diverse because I’ve made friends from all backgrounds and learned so much from them.”

Brock International Services

Brock International Services is a resource for international students and students looking to go abroad. They supply resources to help students succeed in this ever-changing, diverse and competitive world. International services host many events surrounding important skills and necessary tools for transitioning to life in Canada and for studying or moving abroad.


International Services hosts many interesting and helpful events, here are some events happening soon:

·       International Welcome Day – Winter 2022 (Mon, Nov 22 at 9am)

·       Academic Skills Drop-In Session (Mon, Nov 22 at 1pm)

·       International Student Connect – Banking & Credit (Tues, Nov 23 at 3:30pm)

·       And many more can be found on Experience BU International or International Upcoming Events


Their services include but are not limited to 1-on-1 appointments to help students adjust to life at Brock and in Canada, Webinars where students can learn important academic skills, Brocks online platforms and much more. You can also practice a new language through the Conversation Partner Program! Learn more about these and other services here.

Internship Program:

Brock International Services is partnered with many different programs around the world and offers many different opportunities to work and study abroad all over the world! They offer both in person and virtual internship opportunities. Find out more here! Some of the partnered programs include Walt Disney World Resort and University of Florida, Ontario/Rhône-Alpes Summer Research Program, Arcadia Virtual Europe Internships, and many more!

Going Global:

Check out this infographic to learn more about Going Global!

Connect With Us!

We are here to support you, so don’t be afraid to ask for help! We offer many student resources on our portal ( and can be contacted via email at to answer any inquiries you may have.

Follow Us Our Social Media to Stay Up-to-Date With All our Upcoming Events and Workshops!
Twitter: @BrockCareerZone
Instagram: @brockcareerzone

Written by Jessica Kroeze, Career Assistant
Edited by Kara Renaud, Supervisor of Career Education, CCEE Department