After graduating from the HBA program in 2012 I joined LoyaltyOne as a Client Marketing Specialist for the AIR MILES Reward Program. My love of marketing, incredible colleagues, and the variety of work I was exposed to, kept me with the company for five years. As a Marketing Manager I had the pleasure to work directly on the AIR MILES brand and lead the charge for the brand’s on-campus student activations. My work with AIR MILES gave me the opportunity to travel all around Canada, and my love and pride for our country blossomed. My love for Canada and sports eventually inspired me to launch my own business (while I was still working full-time at AIR MILES). My business, North Strong Collective, is a patriotic apparel brand dedicated to helping Canadian athletes close the financial gaps they face.
In Canada, 70% of high performance athletes live below the poverty line as a direct result of the significant costs they face to train and compete for our country and, unfortunately, most Canadians do not realize the financial burdens our athletes face to wear our flag. With these insights, I and two fellow HBA 2012 grads launched our business with the mandate of giving 25% of all profits to Canadian athletes. This entrepreneurial journey was the main motivator to return to Ivey to complete my MBA. I knew that at Ivey, I would be given the best possible resources to take my venture further.
The MBA program has varied dramatically from my HBA experience not only because I focused on entrepreneurial courses, but also because I was given the opportunity to spend the final two semesters of the programs in Western University’s prestigious start-up incubator: The Western Accelerator. Here, I spend each day working on my venture, attending workshops, chatting with mentors, and connecting with other members of Western’s start-up community. This experience would not have been possible without Ivey’s Pierre L. Morrissette Institute for Entrepreneurship. It is amazing how much more emphasis Ivey is placing on students starting their own businesses and helping them along the way, without taking any equity in their ventures. These types of experiences did not exist when I did my HBA and I am so thankful I had the opportunity to come back and be part of them as an MBA student. While at Ivey, I also spent much time reflecting on my career path. My business venture, marketing experience, volunteer work, and Ivey courses, ultimately revealed to me that my passion is to help others solve their biggest problems. Knowing my love for this type of work lends itself well to a career in consulting, I set my sights on consulting recruiting and was successful in landing a role with A.T. Kearney. I focused on this firm because of their entrepreneurial focus and corporate culture. I hope to someday take advantage of A. T. Kearney’s Entrepreneur in Residence Program, whereby associates can spend one year working on an entrepreneurial venture of their choosing. I hope this will continue to allow me to take my business further and, someday, eliminate the financial burden so many Canadian athletes face.
Ivey Business School