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Alumni Spotlight

2017

Jason Sjare, MBA'13

Jason Sjare didn't plan to have a career in insurance. What started as a summer position in database programming and analytics, lead to full-time positions in underwriting, pricing and management for major insurance firms. But Jason wanted more. Inspired by a desire to meet new people and build connections, he enrolled in the Haskayne EMBA program in 2011.

Surrounded by like-minded professionals on a shared journey, Jason found himself engaged with his education in a way he had never been before. The EMBA program allowed him to harness his discipline, and build his quantitative and entrepreneurial skills. "The things I had passion for were always the things I was weakest at", Jason says, referring to his interest in science and math, which preceded his graduate-level Data Analytics class.

After completing his EMBA he made the transition from the corporate world to entrepreneurship. His company, SimbiO Analytics, fills a gap in the insurance industry for SMEs. His competitive advantage – Simblify, an application that automates back-end advanced analytics and client presentation materials to allow small insurance firms to optimize productivity while reducing costs, time and potential errors. Jason sees his business as improving the time others can spend building their business, while enhancing the symbotic relationship between insurance carriers, advisors and customers. As someone who likes to read about history gone wrong, it's no surprise that Jason is a problem solver. "If I end up in quicksand, I always enjoy getting out" he says with a smile.


Kai Hochhausen, BA’05, MBA’14

As someone who recognizes the value of having a large personal network, Kai has dedicated a great deal of time and energy to following the sage advice he received to “say yes to opportunity”. After completing an International Relations undergraduate degree and travelling extensively, Kai worked his way into a management position before deciding to pursue his MBA.

His experience as a Haskayne MBA student sparked a passion for connecting people and helped to not only grow his network, but his MBA classmates as well. Kai served as the president of the Haskayne MBA Society, and following graduation helped to launch the MBA Alumni Alliance, for which he was the inaugural chair and still serves on the executive.

Kai leveraged his connections, and his MBA specialization in marketing, to create Hoch-Eye Solutions, a sales and marketing consultancy offering lead generation to new businesses. With Hoch-Eye, he collaborates with a men’s leadership organization based out of Los Angeles. This organization was started by a friend he met while working at a ski shop in London – a stopover during his world travels several years ago.

Currently, Kai is the Sales Manager at Calgary Marriott Downtown. It’s a homecoming of sorts, as Kai bartended at the hotel between trips, and has always connected with the company’s values of integrity, excellence and putting people first. Along with this full-time position, Kai is still consulting with start-ups, and recently launched a soon-to-be-named micro-brewery with some friends, which he hopes will feature his signature mango pale ale!


Vanessa Salopek, BComm’10

Inspired by a deep respect for others and the environment, Vanessa Salopek is putting her values on display and bringing her roots to life through her career. At the age of 29, Vanessa was the only Albertan to receive the 2015 BDC Top 10 Canadian Young Entrepreneur award. Her restaurant, MARKET, is even more decorated. She jumped into the restaurant world immediately after graduating from Haskayne and hasn’t looked back. After getting her new-grad feet wet with marketing roles at well-established restaurants, Vanessa took the plunge and executed on the restaurant concept that she’d always dreamed of. MARKET was born from the inspiration and respect for farmers that developed during the summers she spent on her grandpa’s Ontario cattle farm as a child.

Through MARKET, Vanessa has created a space to display her respect for farmers, community and customers, and has elevated the farm-to-table concept in the process. Her restaurant, founded on the principles of community, relationships and ethics, start with staff. Many of her employees have been with her since MARKET was launched four years ago, something Vanessa attributes to hiring people with shared values and empowering them to take ownership in their roles. Their main goal: to create a welcoming community for guests to experience the fresh, local food – much of it made in-house or sourced from “as local as you can get” suppliers. For Vanessa, investing in community, building mutually beneficial relationships, and reputation are key, especially in this economy. Living those values is a strategy that is clearly paying off for this young entrepreneur.


Josh Methot, BComm’09

Josh Methot has always had high aspirations and has achieved his goals by following a path less travelled by most undergrads. As a student at Haskayne, he supported himself initially by working full-time as a server at fine dining restaurants. Although he had the opportunity to serve successful Calgarians and celebrities – including the likes of Brad Pitt – he set his sights higher. In his fourth year of his BComm studies, Josh became a certified Sommelier and began managing the wine cellar at Teatro Restaurant, in downtown Calgary.

Looking for more adventure post-graduation, he took a job as a fine wine importer, and began to travel to most of the world’s notable wine regions. This role led to 12 years in the wine industry, and allowed Josh to hone keen people skills through his focus on his clients’ needs and providing them with excellent customer service – skills that would serve him well in his next career transition.

In 2014, at a time when many were hesitant to touch the real estate market, Josh jumped in with both feet. Undeterred by the volatile market, he started to learn about the industry by meeting with real estate professionals whose careers he hoped to embody. These meetings brought him two job offers before he had even completed his real estate license. Today, Josh co-owns his business Leslie. Methot. Real Estate, which he and his partner launched in 2015. Despite being new to real estate, Leslie. Methot. Real Estate sold over 100 homes in 2016. Not surprisingly, Josh has even higher goals for 2017 and is aiming to personally help 80 families move into new homes.


Caitlin The, MBA’15, BN’11

Born and raised in Calgary, Caitlin The, BN’11, MBA’15, is a proud Calgarian and UCalgary alumna. After graduating with her Bachelor of Nursing degree, she practised as a registered nurse on the labour and delivery unit at the Peter Lougheed Centre for five years. The’s work at the hospital allowed her to see some of the challenges in our healthcare system and inspired her to want to make a difference. Recognizing the opportunities and challenges with the business side of healthcare, she decided to further her education and enrolled in the Haskayne MBA program. 

Combining her diverse educational background and passions, The joined Advanced Primary Care (APC) as Clinic Office Manager in January 2016. APC is a hybrid funded family practice in Calgary that offers patients an innovative approach to healthcare through the Patient Centered Medical Home Model; a model that focuses on comprehensive care, evidenced-based medicine and patient advocacy. In her role, The leads the creation, implementation and evaluation of innovative solutions for clinical processes, policies and practices, and supports a team of physicians, nurses, medical office assistants and other allied health professionals.

The says that she would not have been prepared for her role at APC had she not enrolled into the Haskayne MBA program. She now comfortably networks with other centres of medical excellence to initiate pilot projects, such as APC’s collaboration with Total Cardiology. Without a doubt, The has begun pursuing her dream career.


2016

Philip Lozano, BComm’03

Shortly after graduating from Haskayne, Philip Lozano, BComm’03, found himself searching for more meaningful work beyond the corporate world. He started by volunteering at a local library, teaching children to read in his spare time, and in the process discovering a passion for connection and community. This motivation led to an additional degree in education which took him around the globe to teach and travel. During his time in Seoul, South Korea, Philip founded a non-profit organization to provide educational opportunities for children.

He has since returned to Calgary and focused his education, experience and commitment to social change in the non-profit sector. Currently, as the Community Economic Development Coordinator for Thrive, Philip describes his role as “the intersection of his background in business, education, and social initiatives.” Thrive, a community leadership strategy of Momentum, is a catalyst for the change that he is working towards. In an effort to create a booming local economy for all, Thrive facilitates connections, promotes innovation, and encourages collaboration in order to build a strong economy, reduce poverty and create a sustainable future for all Calgarians.

At Momentum, Philip personally works with community champions, entrepreneurs, and local economy leaders to create long-term economic development solutions for some of Calgary’s biggest problems.


Sarine Mustapha, BComm’00

Investment advisor, mother of three, and community volunteer are just three of the hats Sarine Mustapha (BComm’00) balances with excellence on a regular basis. The youngest of seven, she diverged from healthcare and education, the chosen fields for all of her siblings. Although Sarine was fascinated by finance and investments from a very young age, she whole heartedly aspired to go to law school. While still a student at Haskayne, she was pursued for a position in the financial services industry by a mentor who recognized her potential. She has never looked back.

Currently a Senior Vice-President and Associate Portfolio Manager with BMO Nesbitt Burns, Sarine successfully manages assets for high net worth individuals and institutional clients. She thrives on the daily challenges, pace and relevancy of the financial services industry and has never doubted her career path – one that has been supported by the advice and counsel of numerous mentors and Sarine’s willingness to take advantage of every opportunity presented to her.

Born and raised in Calgary, Sarine truly believes we live in one of the best cities in the world. Her active role in the community is testament to the passion she exudes for Calgarians, education, mental health and financial literacy. She actively mentors youth about finance, volunteers her time with numerous charitable organizations and serves on the Dean’s Management Advisory Council at the Haskayne School of Business. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Hull Services and committees at The Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation and The United Way of Calgary. Sarine is a member of the Haskayne Founders' Circle as well as the Institute for Corporate Directors.


Nabeel Ramji, BComm’08

While accessibility is something most people take for granted, Nabeel Ramji (BComm’08), is keenly aware of the difficulties in accessing buildings throughout Calgary. Nabeel, who lives with cerebral palsy and must use a wheelchair, has embraced his daily challenges to benefit all Calgarians. In his role as Manager, Strategic Atlantic and Real Estate Finance at Strategic Group, he is responsible for the evaluation of monthly financial statements, cash flow analysis, and property tax analysis for a portfolio consisting of multi-family residential apartment buildings located across Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

Finding support through his job at Strategic Group, Nabeel merged his unique personal and professional experience and founded the Accessibility For All Albertans initiative in 2014. This important initiative is increasing awareness among real estate developers, architects and the general public to ensure that new and existing residential housing, commercial buildings, public institutions and other spaces are truly accessible for all citizens. His work and commitment to public service was recognized with the Award of Excellence in Public Awareness (2014) from the Alberta Premier's Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities.

Nabeel’s passion and advocacy for accessible and inclusive communities has not slowed down. Recently, he was invited by the Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, to be a local champion and help coordinate public consultations relating to the creation of a federal Accessibility law. Additionally, on October 13, Nabeel will address Calgarians and highlight the achievements, barriers and key issues that people with disabilities and their families face in Calgary and area.


Yves Lau, BComm’12

After graduating from Haskayne in 2012, Yves entered the real estate consulting and property tax world as an Analyst at AEC International Inc. Today, he is a Senior Consultant at MNP, a leading Canadian accounting, tax and business consulting firm. At MNP, Yves has had the opportunity to work on some of Canada’s largest real estate portfolios, specialising in industrial, commercial and investment real estate. He advises clients on valuations and property assessments and has appeared as an expert witness in over 250 assessment tribunal hearings.

Yves recently completed the Post-Graduate Certificate in Valuation from UBC’s Sauder School of Business and is an Appraisal Institute of Canada (AIC) candidate member. He plans to obtain the AACI professional designation through AIC within the next two years, further expanding his career to include both commercial and residential appraisals.

Interested in people, as much as real estate, Yves has been an active in the community as well. While completing his undergraduate studies at Haskayne, Yves volunteered regularly at Foothills Hospital’s PARTY Program and helped organize a number of UNICEF on Campus fundraising events as VP Finance.


Milena Radakovic, BComm’95

At the age of seven Milena Radakovic left Belarus, Russia with her family and nothing but the clothes on their backs. Inspired by their courage, Milena understood at a very early age, the importance of following one’s dreams no matter what the risk. She has translated this into a thriving business with a long-term vision that is focused on strategic partnerships with her clients.

Today, Milena is the president and owner of Nexus Exhibits Ltd., one of western Canada’s leading trade show companies. With over 25 years of professional experience, she is passionate about small business, trade shows and visual marketing. Winner of numerous Best in Show awards, Nexus Exhibits prides themselves on knowing their clients brand and making their lives easier from a marketing perspective. Nexus is also happy to share their success with those who need a hand and regularly does so by sponsoring many fundraising events.

Milena is also a strong advocate for women in business and is generous in giving back to her community. In 2012, Milena helped start the Calgary Chapter of the Women in Leadership Foundation (WIL). During her time as the chapter chair, she supported the national committee in bringing innovative programming to thousands of women across Canada, focusing on the development of leadership skills to women from diverse backgrounds and experiences. She currently sits on the board of Entrepreneurs Organization as the mentorship chair and recently was appointed the role of WIL Ambassador where she donates her time to mentoring young women looking to make their way in the business world. She was awarded WIL’s Presidents Volunteer Champion Award, the University of Calgary’s Women Resource Centre’s Distinguished Alumna 2016 Award and is a nominee for the 2016 Alberta Women Entrepreneurs Celebration of Achievements Award.


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