CMU students win competition at 2015 MEDA convention

Jillian Beever, Tess Longley, and Nonsie Sibanda won the MEDAnext Talks competition at MEDA’s 2015 convention, “Growing Business, Building Community”.

Styled after TED Talks, the MEDAnext Talks provided an opportunity for students to present on a topic that fell into one of the following categories of how to be, do, or care “in the next.”

Nonsie Sibanda, Tess Longley, and Jillian Beever (clockwise from top-right) formed CMU’s winning entry in the MEDAnext Talks competition at the 2015 MEDA Convention in Richmond, Virginia.

The topic chosen by the students was “Empowering Millennials for the Future,” in response to the ‘Do’ category questions: What can we do to utilize the power of change for good? What can we do to empower others in the future?

The students’ presentation included an introduction to the millennial generation and offered suggestions for how businesses and the field of academics can empower millennials by drawing on the generation’s strengths and characteristics.

The students express appreciation for the opportunity, which provided “a platform to talk about something interesting that we wanted to share, meet new people and network, and practice skills that we learned in class,” said Longley.

“Attending the MEDA convention provided an opportunity for the students to draw on the leadership studies that we’ve incorporated into the business program,” says Craig Martin, Assistant Professor of Business at CMU. “They did really well on their presentation.”

All three are taking the course Leadership Development, taught by Dr. Vonda Plett, which they credit with helping them develop skills such as active listening, team building, and presentation techniques, all of which they utilized while preparing their presentation.

“When I began [the Leadership Development] course, I had leadership goals. Taking up public speaking was one of my goals and this was an opportunity to practice that,” says Sibanda.

The convention included opportunities for networking with MEDA supporters, staff, and convention attendees, including those from other universities and colleges.

This is the fourth year CMU has attended the MEDA convention and the students hope that more students will be able to participate in the future. They’ve already begun planning for next year.

“You’re there to connect, to meet people, to learn about new things, and to come back next year and hear what you’ve done since,” says Beever. “It took our degree and shaped it in a whole new light.”

Articles Student Profiles

Sincerely’s Story

Many local students at CMU, especially those who come from Winnipeg, wonder why anybody would choose to study in a different country far from home, especially knowing it could mean not seeing your family for 3 or 4 years.

Sincerely would like to be a Financial Manager when she graduates from CMU
Sincerely would like to be a Financial Manager when she graduates from CMU

For Sincerely Sibanda of Gwanda, Zimbabwe—a first-year student in CMU’s Redekop School of Business, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration—there are two answers to that question. Partly, she says, it was about career training, but partly it was about adventure—the chance to learn, grow, and experience a country completely different from her own.

“I left home because I thought it would be good to learn how to be independent, responsible and principled without my parents. I wanted to come to Canada because I thought it would be interesting to meet people from different places and get to know different cultures and different languages. I also wanted to come so that I would have opportunities to do volunteering in different places and to work, regardless of being an undergraduate. In my country one works when they have graduated, and there are just a few voluntary opportunities.”

But “why Canada” and “why CMU” are, to some degree, two different questions. Sincerely’s older sister Nonsie Sibanda is also a Business student here at CMU, and Sincerely says that having her sister here did have some influence on her decision, but she stresses that there was a lot more to it as well:

“I applied to CMU because I wanted to have good learning environment. I wanted to learn more about the business world through the Redekop School of Business, and I wanted an opportunity to work with certain businesses through the Bachelor in Business Administration Co-op program so as to gain experience in my career. Learning more about God was another part of what made me apply for a place at CMU.”

But what about all the hassle of communicating? For most high-school graduates, applying to university is frightening enough when your school is near by! Sincerely says communicating long-distance with CMU during her application process was never a problem.

Sincerely (left) and her sister Nonsie (right)
Sincerely (left) and her sister Nonsie (right)

I sent my application in November 2013 and by the 1st of January 2014 I received my acceptance letter. I spoke to quite a number of great people from the Administration department like Sherry Funk, Mitch Krohn, Lisa Kelly, and Lois Nickel and they were very welcoming and always available to help.”

Now, at the end of her first semester, Sincerely has made great friends, and loves her program: “First and foremost I enjoyed the different fun activities that we had during orientation. They were helpful to me because I was able to build good relations with other students early. The best part of this year, for me, has been the classes that l am taking this semester. All my professors and other students are willing to help whenever l don’t understand a concept. There are groups of students that are available during the week to help in different classes and I have learnt a lot from them too. Also, I always have a wonderful time at Chapel and Wednesday night worship.”