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

Applying business principles in the non-profit sector

Katie DamanKatie Daman had the opportunity to apply business skills in a non-profit setting during her practicum with Canadian Mennonite University (CMU).

Daman, who graduated from CMU’s Redekop School of Business with a Bachelor of Business Administration in April 2015, completed her practicum at WestEnd Commons (WEC), a social enterprise in Winnipeg’s West End community.

Social enterprises are “not-for-profits that use business means to fulfill their mission,” explains Daman. WEC is home to the Neighbourhood Resource Centre, a social enterprise that “provides safe and affordable programming as well as meeting and office space for neighbourhood families and organizations in West Central Winnipeg.”

The social enterprise model adopted by WEC includes renting out spaces in the building including a commercial kitchen, assembly hall, and meeting and office space. The income generated from the rentals is invested in community programming.

Daman utilized her business education to help WEC further their transition into a social enterprise. Her main role was social media coordinator. She maintained WEC’s social media presence by posting articles that featured WEC, sharing content relevant to WEC’s mission, and connecting with organizations that support WEC.

“Social media is really important to not only create awareness of your organization’s existence, but also to help people remain aware about what your organization does on a day-to-day basis,” says Daman.

Additionally, Daman provided input into marketing plans and strategies, which she says is one way her practicum connected directly with her studies. The courses she’s taken have equipped her with the skills to develop a comprehensive marketing strategy, which centres on an organization’s mission and vision.

“Mission and vision are crucial to an organization internally and externally,” says Daman. “Internally you want to rally around a common purpose and goal. You need a common understanding so you can achieve it. Externally, you want people to buy into your purpose as well.”

Daman believes a social enterprise model can benefit non-profits and sees potential for non-profits to apply business principles in a way that helps them achieve their goals.

“A lot of non-profits are moving toward a social enterprise model,” she says. “It’s important to have people working in non-profits who understand core business principles and can apply them to the greater good—understanding how the two can work together, instead of as opposites.”

After graduating, Daman would like to pursue work in the social enterprise or community economic development sector. She feels the BBA degree has equipped her well for work in those areas.

“For me, CMU played an important part in allowing me to explore some of my alternative passions and desires, while also giving me the necessary business acumen to go out and work in the real world. If business is something that you’re interested in, whether it be traditional business or an alternative form, CMU should definitely be on your radar.”

Ellen Paulley is a Writer and Social Media Coordinator at Canadian Mennonite University

Click here to learn more about the Redekop School of Business

General News News Releases

CMU announces addition of MBA program

Highly differentiated business degree focuses on leadership for the common good

Canadian Mennonite University is pleased to introduce the second of two new graduate studies programs to launch for the 2015/16 academic year. In addition to the recently unveiled Master of Arts in Peacebuilding and Collaborative Development, CMU announces its participation in a Collaborative Masters of Business Administration program.

CMBA logo color webThe Collaborative MBA is an accredited online program jointly offered by Eastern Mennonite University, Goshen College, Bluffton University, and CMU. Built on six core values—honouring community, leading as service, upholding justice, planning for sustainability, global citizenship, and growing spiritually—classes are delivered in synchronous (live video conferencing) and asynchronous (online learning/information sharing outside of the constraints of time and place) to accommodate both learning and employment

“The world needs new sustainable business models. Call it ‘capitalism for the common good’. Models that focus on the triple bottom line of people, planets, and profit,” says Jim Smucker, program director.

Mating business principles with an emphasize on sustainability, self-awareness, and making a profit without harm to people or the environment, the Collaborative MBA program is unique in its approach.

The curriculum is based on the concept of “Leadership for the Common Good.” Divided into nine core courses and three courses directly related to one of the eight concentration areas, the 26-hour program is typically completed in 22-24 months. With global citizenship as a core value, a one-week international residency is integrated into the coursework to provide students with a global perspective and context for an on-going case study for the entire Collaborative MBA curriculum.

As a joint-program of four faith-rooted institutions, the program boasts a diversity of business professors with varied backgrounds, interests, and expertise.

“The Collaborative MBA is a logical extension to CMU’s Redekop School of Business,” says Zerbe. “CMU’s undergraduate and graduate business programs offer unique perspective on how business can be successfully carried out with a with a value-based sensitivity and outlook that considers more than just dollars and cents.”

For more information about the Collaborative MBA program, please visit

About CMU
A Christian university in the Anabaptist tradition, CMU’s Shaftesbury campus offers undergraduate degrees in arts, business, humanities, music, sciences, and social sciences, as well as graduate degrees in theology, ministry, peacebuilding and collaborative development, and an MBA. CMU has over about 900 full-time equivalent students, including those enrolled in degree programs at the Shaftesbury and Menno Simons College campuses and in its Outtatown certificate program.

For information about CMU visit

For additional information, please contact:
Kevin Kilbrei, Director of Communications & Marketing; 204.487.3300 Ext. 621
Canadian Mennonite University
500 Shaftesbury Blvd., Winnipeg, MB  R3P 2N2

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.”

Articles Student Profiles

Student Profile – Nonsikelelo “Nonsi” Sibanda

Nonsikelelo “Nonsi” Sibanda, the new president of the Redekop School of Business Students Association (RSBSA), is passionate about the ways Christian values and business practice can intersect.

“Business and Christian values go together,” she says. “Christian ethics are so valuable when running a business.”

The Redekop School of Business is developing the potential of future business leaders to bring together sound business practice with commitments of faith, generosity, and service. Sibanda is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Business Administration with a major in Accounting.

Nonsi Sibanda, 2014/15's president of the Redekop School of Business Students Association (RSBSA): “I love being at RSB.”
Nonsi Sibanda, 2014/15’s president of the Redekop School of Business Students Association (RSBSA): “I love being at RSB.”

Sibanda previously served as the vice-president of finance for the RSBSA. When friends nominated her for the role of president, she felt it would be a good experience.

“I’m a business student and some day I might have to lead, so why not start now?” she says.

The role of the RSBSA is to provide opportunities for students to gain knowledge and experience outside of the classroom, says Sibanda. Events feature guest speakers from the business community and workshops to develop skills needed for pursuing a career in business.

Sibanda says the events allow students “to ask somebody from the business world ‘how do I do this?’ or ‘what do I do if I’m interested in this?’”

Initially, Sibanda thought she’d like to work as a Chartered Accountant after graduating. She says that while that would be a challenging career, she’d like to be a social entrepreneur and create her own business.

“Accounting is one essential part of a business,” she says. “If I have my own business, it’ll be very helpful one day.”

Sibanda is grateful for the “many benefits and opportunities” RSB affords. She was a participant in the 2014 RSB study tour to Europe, which she describes as a great trip.

“As a person who’s doing accounting and interested in numbers, how other countries do economic and financial stuff was interesting for me.”

Sibanda says she’s been good at working with numbers since high school, where she took advanced classes in accounting and business.

She came to Canada from Zimbabwe in 2011 to study at CMU. Her advice to new students is to not be afraid to ask questions.

“Canadians are a nice people, so if you can, be free to ask people anything that you want to know,” she says. “Getting involved is good and networking helps—that’s what I learned at RSB.”

Sibanda enjoys her studies at RSB and appreciates the small class sizes, the approachability of professors, and the supportive community at CMU.

Put simply, she says, “I love being at RSB.”


European study tour complements classroom learning for CMU business students

A two-week study tour to Europe provided Redekop School of Business (RSB) students with an opportunity to experience what they have studied in class.

Spending one week each in Western and Eastern Europe, participants learned about Europe’s economic, political, and social integration; met with various business, government and academic institutions; learned about Canada’s role in the global economy; and discovered ways the European Union (E.U.) utilizes its role to foster peace and development across the continent.

Tour participants stand in front of the Eurotower, home of the European Central Bank in Frankfurt, Germany.
Tour participants stand in front of the Eurotower, home of the European Central Bank in Frankfurt, Germany.

“The purpose of the tour was to see firsthand the significant changes taking place in Europe, that we discussed in class, and the challenges of integrating 28 countries within the E.U.,” says Jeff Huebner, Associate Professor of International Business. “On a tour like this, students see that the themes, issues, and topics we talk about in class are highly relevant,” he says.

RSB, a program of Canadian Mennonite University (CMU), develops the potential of future business leaders to bring together sound business practice with commitments of faith, generosity, and service.

Tour participants included a group of Canadian and international students and a member from the business community in Manitoba. The tour began with a week in Western Europe—visiting Belgium, Germany, and France—founding members of the E.U. The group visited various European institutions including the E.U. Council, Commission, and Parliament in Brussels; met with Canadian trade officials negotiating a new Canada-E.U. trade pact; visited the Frankfurt stock exchange and the European Central Bank; and participated in cultural activities in Paris.

The group also met with Titus Horsch, MEDA Europe Director and his wife Anita, who is a Canadian Mennonite Bible College alumna. Huebner has partnered with MEDA in various areas including on previous study tours to Latin America.

The week in Eastern Europe was spent visiting the Baltic countries of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia that have undergone significant changes in transitioning from the Former Soviet Union (FSU) to joining the E.U. a decade ago.

Highlights of this portion of the tour included meetings at the Lithuania parliament to discuss the country’s role in recently leading the E.U. Council presidency; briefings on Latvia’s transition to adopting the Euro currency this year; observing NATO fighter jets flying overhead and pro-Russian protests over the annexation of Crimea; and spending a day with students and faculty at LCC International University, an academic partner institution of CMU.

LCC University was the first English-speaking Christian university established in the FSU. Participants heard about LCC students’ perspectives on life in Eastern Europe and shared about Canadian life and culture.

LCC Group
Tour participants gather with students from LCC University in Klaipėda, Lithuania.

For investor Norm Klippenstein, the visits to LCC University and with Canadian diplomats in Eastern Europe were highlights. Visiting LCC around the time of Russia’s annexation of the Crimea, Klippenstein says the conversations with Ukrainian and Russian students at LCC were priceless.

“LCC, with some 600 students, of which 60 and 80 are Ukrainian and Russian students respectively, provides a natural place for dialogue on these important peace issues,” he says. “The Canadian Ambassador’s candid reflections on the region’s history added to our understanding of the challenges the countries face.”

Huebner is working to enhance the international study tours offered by RSB and integrate them into the wider community, including the business community. Tours are offered each year, alternating in focus from business in Europe to economic development and microfinance in Latin America. Financial assistance is available for students through RSB travel grants.

Huebner is passionate about connecting students with real world experiences.

“What I enjoy most is opening the eyes of our students to the wider world that’s out there that has a lot of different needs,” he says. “We can use business in a lot of non-traditional ways such as combining it with development and missions, to make a positive difference in the world.”

The next RSB study tour, looking at microfinance in Central America, is being planned for spring 2015. If you are interested in participating, contact Jeff Huebner for more information.


Events Lectures News Releases

Economic crisis, debt and trust key issues for discussion at next Face2Face event

Global economic crises throughout the world over the past few years, what they mean for society and what the future holds are some of the topics that Jeff Huebner will explore at Canadian Mennonite University’s next Face2Face event.

Jeff Huebner, Associate Professor of International Business
Jeff Huebner, Associate Professor of International Business

Huebner, Associate Professor of International Business at CMU, will lead a discussion titled, “The European Debt Crisis and Other Wonders Hiding in the Global Economy,” on Thursday, February 27 at 7:00 PM in CMU’s Great Hall (500 Shaftesbury Blvd.). Admission is free, and everyone is welcome to attend. Face2Face is a series of conversations with CMU faculty designed to engage the community on a wide variety of current events and issues at the intersection of faith and life.

The discussion will explore everything from the financial crisis in the United States to the Eurozone debt crisis. Discussion panelists will include two participants from a course Huebner is currently teaching, “Business in the European Union”: Norm Klippenstein, a value investor from Niverville, Man. who is taking the course for personal interest; and Wil Bohlender, an international student from Germany who will speak about the Eurozone crisis from a citizen’s perspective.

In addition to rising debt rates in Canada and what that means for society, Huebner says that one of the aspects he is interested in exploring is the issue of trust, which is a core facet of Christian faith and of Mennonite communities.

“A lot of our financial system is based on trust – not only for citizens who are investing privately, but for countries like those in the European Union who are working together to use the Euro,” he says. “When something like the Eurozone debt crisis happens, trust can be shaken to the core and the question is: What happens if that trust is going to evaporate?”

Huebner, who is leading CMU Redekop School of Business students on a two-week study tour focusing on business and politics in Europe this coming April, is looking forward to the event.

“This is going to be an interesting panel discussion,” he says. “I’m excited to hear what people have to say.”

“The European Debt Crisis and Other Wonders Hiding in the Global Economy” is the fifth of six Face2Face events CMU will host during the 2013-14 school year. For the complete Face2Face schedule, please visit

General News

Scholarship Winner Aims to Make a Difference Through Business

‘Business can be about more than just making a profit,’ says Benjamin Shantz

Business is in Benjamin Shantz’s blood. While his friends spent their summers in high school working shifts at local fast food restaurants, Shantz was running his own lawn care operation, Benjamin’s Lawn Mowing and Services.

The business earned Shantz enough spending money during each summer, and while his friends were obligated to work the hours their supervisors scheduled for them, he enjoyed the flexibility making his own schedule afforded him.

2013-11-07 - Ben Shantz [2]But Shantz says one of the biggest benefits of running his own business was relational.

Today, Shantz is in his first year of studies at Canadian Mennonite University (CMU). He received a full tuition scholarship for his first year of study from CMU’s Redekop School of Business as well as Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA).“Mowing lawns in my neighbourhood allowed me to build relationships and get to know people in the community,” the 19-year-old says. “I always enjoyed that, as opposed to having a job where I didn’t interact with anyone.”

Shantz says he gets his entrepreneurial spirit from his family.

“My grandfather and dad were involved in business, and my dad was big on teaching my brother and I how to manage our money,” he says.

His grandfather, Glen, was an electrician with his own contracting company who also owned a number of rental properties. Meanwhile, Shantz’s father, Rick, owned his own IT consulting firm for a number of years.

Participating in CMU’s Outtatown Discipleship School last year also influenced Shantz to study business, and it gave him a new perspective on what running a business can look like.

While in Guatemala at the beginning of 2013, he and his fellow students worked with a ministry called Solomon’s Porch. The ministry includes a café, and the income generated by the café is used to further the Solomon’s Porch ministry.

“I saw how business can be about more than just making a profit,” Shantz says. “It can also be used to give back to a community – in this case, to finance a missional organization that builds houses for people.”

As a result of his experience abroad, Shantz is working towards a double major in Business and International Development Studies at CMU.

While he’s not sure what sort of business he wants to be involved with after he graduates, he knows it will be the kind of business that reflects the things he has come to value over the past few years.

“It will be a business that’s tied to the community and relationships and helping people,” he says.

Events General News Lectures News Releases

Redekop School of Business Hosts Distinguished Businesswoman

Social entrepreneur Sarah J. Smith to spend week meeting with students and business people

The Redekop School of Business (RSB) welcomes Sarah J. Smith to Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) as its 2013 Social Entrepreneur In-Residence. Ms. Smith will spend September 23-27 mentoring students and meeting local business people to share her story, which combines business, social justice, and Biblical principles.

Sarah J. Smith

Ms. Smith, who holds a number of degrees including a Doctorate of Theology and Bachelor of Business Administration, is founder and president of Sarah’s Hope Jewelry. The Wisconsin-based for-profit company was started in 2004 to fund non-profit organizations that provide small business micro-loans and training for women in the USA and developing world.

Ms. Smith’s week-long visit will include a number of classroom appearances and one-on-one sessions with RSB students. Additionally, she will also be the keynote speaker at a luncheon presented by MEDA Winnipeg, scheduled for September 26 at the Notre Dame Avenue Independent Jewellers location. There she will share how her business model has helped small business owners in less developed countries overcome poverty and become viable contributors to their local communities.

“Through the combination of Sarah J. Smith’s business acumen and pastoral ministries, Sarah’s Hope Jewelry is a testament to the impact one individual can have on communities around the world,” say RSB Director, Dr. Ray Vander Zaag. “The opportunity for our students and faculty to experience her passion for international development and business will prove there is room for social justice in a commerce environment.”

For more information regarding Ms. Smith’s background and a schedule of events, please visit

RSB’s 2012 In-Residence guest was Art DeFehr, Winnipeg-based businessman, humanitarian, and philanthropist who has bettered the lives of others in Manitoba and around the world.

General News

CMU students travel to Latin American to research microfinance

Students from CMU’s Redekop School of Business (RSB) have just returned home from the first RSB study tour to Latin America.

From April 29 to May 13, six students and a supervising professor traveled to Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic to explore how microfinance—providing small loans and financial services to the economically poor—is being used to fight poverty.

“It’s exciting to see the students experience first-hand how their business skills can be used overseas in non-traditional ways,” says Jeff Huebner, Associate Professor of International Business who led the tour.

RSB business students Lauren Cassie and Joni Sawatzky with a MiCredito loan client

Before leaving Winnipeg, the students spent four months studying microfinance and writing research consulting reports for two partner organizations operating in Latin America, MEDA/MiCredito and HOPE International.

 They presented their research to the staff of these organizations, visited microenterprise clients and loan group meetings, and learned about the challenges and opportunities of doing business and development abroad.

“Textbooks just don’t convey stories as well as standing face-to-face with actual people in the story,” says Lauren Cassie, a fourth-year business major from Lorette, Manitoba.

For Cassie, a highlight of the study tour was making the connection between her classroom learning and the outside world.

“Visiting with individual clients and hearing how they had been personally impacted by the microfinance loans was awesome.”

Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) is one of the organizations RSB has partnered with, through their affiliate MiCredito in Nicaragua.

“We’re delighted to see some of today’s best and brightest young people get a firsthand exposure to a microfinance institution in action,” says Bob Kroeker, MEDA regional director of resource development.

“This gives us a chance to introduce a new generation to the impact of creating business solutions to poverty.”

RSB offers study tours annually that are open to students, CMU alumni and supporters. Next year’s study tour will be to Europe in May 2014, with the theme of Business in the European Union.

Janessa Klassen, Jeff Huebner, MiCredito loan client with his family, Rony Doerksen, and Ethan Heidebrecht in Nicaragua