With the launch of the Redekop School of Business (RSB) came the introduction of the RSB In-Residence Program. Each year, RSB invites an executive, a leader, an entrepreneur or a recognized social entrepreneur to be the In-Residence guest to the RSB. The business professional is someone who takes time out of their busy work life to mentor students, connect with the business community and confer with faculty on program development. The guest may be a retired professional wishing to inspire and advise others.
Who is the In-Residence Guest? The In-Residence Guest is invited by the RSB Director based on his/her credentials, experience and expertise, and passion to bring an energy and business perspective to students. Individuals are selected for the role based on their strengths and abilities, their passion to influence students, their ties to the community, and willingness to be available for ongoing dialogue and consultation.
How long is an In-Residence guest available? As part of the In-Residence agreement, the guest may be accessible to students for the academic year or for the term of commitment. Students may establish and maintain connections with the In-Residence Guest, which can translate into professional opportunities including co-op option or practicum placement. As an educational institution which values relationship, the guest may maintain long-term relationships with the school.
What can the In-Residence guest do? Their main function is to provide students with an opportunity for direct connection to business experience and expertise on a specific topic, providing additional meaning to classroom studies. Additionally they will provide opportunities for one-on-one mentorship conversations. They may be available to build bridges with businesses and communities and in their role they may also be available for consultation with faculty regarding program development, offering expertise on sought after business skills influencing learning outcomes.
In-Residence Guest may be invited to:
What is One-on One Counseling Mentorship? This is an opportunity for the In-Residence Guest to meet with and advise students on career choices and program pathways. Students who volunteer for these sessions take the initiative to sign up for 30 minute slots of confidential advising. Discussions may focus on a student’s interests and ideas, as he or she considers a business career in a particular profession or industry. The In-Residence guest inspires students toward a career that is satisfying and rewarding while encouraging them to think about entrepreneurship, thinking outside the box, and daring to dream in relation to business.
Who to contact? If you are a professional interested in participating as guest in the RSB In-Residence Program, please contact Ray Vander Zaag, RSB Director at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A native of California, Roger D. Friesen has combined a career in international business with a passion for humanitarian work.
The son of missionary parents in Latin America, Friesen spent his childhood in Colombia, Costa Rica, and Ecuador. After graduating from Fresno Pacific University with a major in Business Administration, he returned to Colombia with Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA), establishing an early micro-financing model to assist small business owners and entrepreneurs in Colombia and Panama, cementing his belief that business can, and must, drive a community’s well being.
Returning to Fresno Pacific University as Director of Development, he drove recruitment and established an innovative fund-raising program to solidify the university’s constituent support. Locating to Canada, he led marketing for Palliser Furniture, expanding sales into the US market and later helped reposition the company to compete with Asian import values. His work with mega-brand Universal Furniture played a key role in its sale to China’s largest furniture manufacturer and exporter.
Friesen is currently founder and president of Casana Furniture—a leading importer of contemporary wood furniture for home, with operations in Winnipeg, Vietnam, and Indonesia.
Over his career, Friesen has been both a strategic thinker and a change agent. His successes owe to his ability to define and implement a viable business model based on market realities, and to maintain a clear focus on priorities.
Friesen’s passion for business development has run parallel to his interest in a range of philanthropic causes. Having focused efforts and raised awareness—in addition to millions of dollars—for educational, medical and developmental enterprises, he’s a sought-after advisor. He has served as board co-chair for the furniture chapter of City of Hope (a leading research hospital for cancer and diabetes in Duarte, CA) and board chair for Ten Thousand Villages, where he recently led the retailer’s successful turn-around.
Friesen currently serves on boards for EQ3 Ltd, Palliser Furniture, LCC International University, City of Hope, American Furniture Hall of Fame, and Premier’s Economic Advisory Council (PEAC).
Sarah J. Smith is founder and president of Sarah’s Hope Jewelry, a for-profit company started in 2004 to fund non-profit organizations that provide small business microloans and training for women in the USA and developing world. Each piece of jewelry in the line is inspired by and named after a woman entrepreneur who is striving to overcome poverty through small business ownership. Smith travels to meet many of these microloan and small business training recipients and has seen first-hand the issues these women face as well as the importance of micro credit and small business training in their business success.
Smith’s Hope is based on Biblical principles that honour God and keeps the interests of customers, producers, and people in impoverished situations at heart. The domestic and international supply chains are managed in-house with concentrated work in the 10/40 window where Business As Mission (BAM) remains central to the work that is done.
Smith combines a background in business and pastoral ministries that shapes the mission and message of Sarah’s Hope Jewelry. She has experience in corporate America, with Ford Motor Company, and has owned three businesses, the first started at age 14. She is an ordained pastor and has served as both a church planter and as a pastor of an established congregation. Smith has a Doctorate of Theology in Homiletics (University of Toronto, Canada), a Master of Theology in Homiletics (Princeton), a Master of Divinity (Southern Seminary) and a Bachelor of Business Administration (University of Wisconsin-Madison).
Business Bio: Sarah’s Hope Jewelry is a socially responsible company whose proceeds fund small-business microloans and training for women in the developing world and in the USA who are overcoming poverty through small business ownership. Each piece in our line is inspired by—and named after—these women entrepreneurs. The line features pendants, earrings, bracelets and rings, set with E’Sperene stones in rhodium plated sterling silver.
The son of Russian immigrants, Mr. Arthur A. DeFehr, O.C., is an extraordinary businessman, humanitarian, and philanthropist who has bettered the lives of others in Manitoba and around the world.
The holder of an MBA degree from Harvard Business School (1967), he is the CEO of family-owned Palliser Furniture in Winnipeg. Palliser operates in Canada, United States, Mexico and Indonesia with over 2,000 employees. It is one of Canada's greatest success stories in furniture manufacturing.
DeFehr currently is or as been a member of the Trilateral Commission, YPO/WPO, the World Economic Forum, the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, Member of Sagit and later Itac during period when FTA and later NAFTA were being discussed, Pearson Peacekeeping Centre, and former Chair of the Business Council of Manitoba and member of the boards of Canadian Mennonite University, LCC International University, IDE Canada, and the Pearson Peacekeeping Centre.
Dedicated to alleviating global poverty and hunger, DeFehr was a founding Chair of Board, the Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFB), Past President of International Development Enterprises (IDE), and the founder and Chair of the Soviet Union Network established to promote links between church-related entrepreneurs in the Soviet Union and the West.
He has served as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to Somalia and played a critical role in organizing the cross-border program for Cambodia, promoted business ethics in the former Soviet Union and served as the First Director of the Mennonite Central Committee agriculture and refugee program in Bangladesh.
Additionally, DeFehr served as strategic advisor to the Asia Pacific Gateway Corridor Initiative, Co-Chair of Manitoba International Gateway Council, and was Honorary Conference Chair of North America's SuperCorridor Coalition.
DeFehr played a pivotal role in creating the Lithuania Christian College in Russia and the Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg.
DeFehr's recent interests have focused on immigration policy for Manitoba and Canada with active participation on international policy.