Claudette McGowan

Driving technological change at one of Canada’s oldest banks

Graduated: 2011
Based in: Toronto, ON

“I couldn’t have gone this far without the financial acumen, the ethics, the marketing, the human experience I got at Athabasca University,” McGowan says. “I was able to learn on my own dime, on my own time.”

Read more about Claudette here

Watch Claudette’s story here

Joy Romero

Innovating bitumen production

Graduated: 2006
Based in: Calgary, AB

“An MBA is about the systems that allow you to develop new technologies efficiently, effectively, and quickly. It’s taking an idea through to commercialization. Those pathways are definitely enforced in AU’s MBA program.”

Learn more about Joy

Steve Madden

Reinventing how a non-profit delivers housing in Grande Prairie

Graduated: 2015
Based in: Grande Prairie, AB

“My motivation was professional growth. An MBA would give me the tools to do what I’d always wanted, to be a leader in my community.”

Learn more about Steve

Nathan MacDonald

A game changer in the world of junior hockey

Graduated: 2018
Based in: Swift Current, SK

“I learned about the importance of having a sound mission and vision, and how to stay within those guidelines. You’re not making decisions about the bottom line, but about how to fulfill your vision. That’s why governments, organizations, and customers are supporting you at the end of the day.”

Learn more about Nathan

Curtis Stange

From farmhand to the frontier of fintech

Graduated: 2000
Based in: Edmonton, AB

“I see my MBA at Athabasca as a key part of my development and learning journey to get to where I am today—and I am loving it!”

Learn more about Curtis

Frederick Enns

Powered up by education

Graduated: 2004
Based in: Pickering, ON

“The main thing I learned was the ability to look at a problem from different perspectives: to learn how the same problem looks different to an HR person, or a financial person, or a marketing person.”

Learn more about Frederick

Johnson Ofori-Mensah

A global citizen speaking the international language of numbers

Graduated: 2016
Based in: Brampton, ON

The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants had suggested several MBA programs, but Ofori-Mensah chose AU in part for its convenience. He could work at the same time as he pursued his studies.

Learn more about Johnson

Scott Montgomery

Uncorking a global vision for a growing wine importer

Graduated: 2009
Based in: Toronto, ON

“Once I decided that an MBA would be a good idea, I looked for programs with flexible schedules. I was in my early 40s, I travelled frequently for work, and I couldn’t be tied to the classroom. AU jumped right out.”

Learn more about Scott

Denise Blair

Helping at-risk youth with a new non-profit model for corporate partnerships

Graduated: 2010
Based in: Calgary, AB

“We tend to deal with what’s in front of us—serving this youth,” Blair said. “But we don’t take the time or the resources to grow the business. An MBA seemed like a good next step for me.”

Learn more about Denise

Doug Schindel

Forging growth in the steel industry

Graduated: 2005
Based in: Edmonton, AB

“I believe that education is key to correcting a lot of the short falls we see in our communities today. It’s not just a post-secondary education, but education in general. If we can find a way to improve the level of education, then that will be better for everyone.”

Learn more about Doug

Cathy Cummings

Leading non-profits through change

Graduated: 2002
Based in: Toronto, ON

Cummings credits her MBA with preparing her for strategic challenges in her career. Along the way she has picked up a useful “hobby” in non-profit governance, and some industry recognition—including a 2016 award for a program she helped launch at the CCCA.

Learn more about Cathy

Heather Buffalo

Bring business principles to the delivery of social services at the Samson Cree Nation

Graduated: 2014
Based in: Maskwacis, AB

“You can’t go home again,” the saying goes—proving only that clichés can persist despite being untrue. The idea is that it’s impossible to return to your past. But you can go back to your roots, of course—and quite happily, as Heather Buffalo will tell you.

Learn more about Heather

Michael Martin

From satellites to AI, a life on technology’s cutting edge

Graduated: 2007
Based in: Toronto, ON

While it wasn’t intentional, Michael Martin has been on technology’s cutting edge since his first job in video in 1976. The Toronto-based executive who built Bell ExpressVu, was a behind-the-scenes tech producer on SCTV, and is now working in the office of the CTO at IBM Services, responsible for Internet of Things (IoT) and broadband networks. He helps clients navigate often-bewildering new technologies like AI and blockchain. As big of a tech guy as he is, he wouldn’t be where he is today without his Athabasca MBA—the degree that kick-started his appreciation for lifelong learning. Martin discusses his fascinating career and how he became “addicted” to higher education.

Learn more about Martin

Michael Nagel

Reaching new heights in the aviation sector

Graduated: 2001
Based in: Vancouver, BC

Michael Nagel was bit by the aviation bug at an early age. Growing up in Montreal, he had an uncle who worked as an airline engineer, which inspired him to get his license to fly helicopters. For over a decade, he flew all over Canada before transitioning to a managerial position at Canadian Airlines and Air Canada. But he wanted to climb higher, so he enrolled at Athabasca University, poring over books in hotel rooms at night as he traveled for work. Today, Nagel is an aviation consultant for major oil and gas companies, with a focus on workforce logistics. He shares how his Athabasca University MBA got him where he needed to go.

Learn more about Michael

Rae Shungur

Bringing a holistic approach to the recruitment industry

Graduated: 2013
Based in: Calgary, AB

“Multinational organizations have many departments that all interface with each other internally. I wanted to be a more holistic provider and more engaged listener.”

Learn more about Rae

Angela Workman-Stark

Transforming the face of Canada’s police force

Graduated: 2001
Based in: Ottawa, ON

Angela Workman-Stark started out as a police constable with the RCMP and worked her way up to the rank of chief superintendent. Here, she reveals how Athabasca University’s (AU) MBA program helped her get where she is—and why she decided to return as a professor.

Learn more about Angela

Carter Yellowbird

Bringing industry and Indigenous communities together

Graduated: 2012
Based in: Maskwacis, AB

“I’ve always been a go-getter,” says Yellowbird, a 2012 grad of Athabasca University’s (AU) MBA and a consultant who advises industry and Indigenous communities on development opportunities. “I needed to do something with myself—I needed to take chances.” 

Learn more about Carter

Doug Grant

Rethinking the way food gets from farm to plate

Graduated: 2008
Based in: North Vancouver, BC

Grant says his work at Athabasca University also shaped his management style in overseeing a team of 150, in a company consistently recognized for good management and a healthy corporate culture. “I’m an introvert,” he admits. “I like to do things myself. But I realized that I can add much more value by involving other people and helping them develop their abilities.”

Learn more about Doug

Jim Swanson

An internet pioneer in the world of law

Graduated: 1997
Based in: Calgary, AB

“The first website I ever saw was a guy with a Unix programmer advertising his bait and boat shop in Florida,” Swanson says. “It was just a graphic with his toll-free number and a picture of the wharf. I had never seen anything like it, and I realized it was going to change everything.”

Learn more about Jim

Vickram Minhas

How a family business entrepreneur found the confidence to drive change

Graduated: 2017
Based in: Grande Prairie, AB

Minhas’ journey from pills to plants includes such stops along the way as car salesman, real estate developer, hotelier and—crucially—Athabasca University MBA graduate, the distinction he believes gave him the confidence to go for it all.

Read more about Vickram here

Watch Vickram’s story here

Denise Pothier

Connecting the dots between diversity and productivity

Graduated: 2018
Based in: Halifax, NS

A Nova Scotia native with French Acadian and Mi’kmaq heritage, Denise Pothier began her career in chemical engineering before shifting to a management track, working as a consultant for clients in the oil and gas sector. In 2007, her company was bought by Stantec, where Pothier now holds two titles: Vice President of Practice Services and Stantec’s first-ever Vice President of Indigenous Relations.

Learn more about Denise

Larry Berglund

Changing how the world thinks about sustainable procurement

Graduated: 2003
Based in: Surrey, BC

“Ethical and sustainable procurement is about the principles that we adhere to when are buying anything. Particularly in the public sector, we shouldn’t be buying sweatshirts or t-shirts made in sweatshops.”

Progressive purchasing can ensure that we don’t.

Learn more about Larry

Michael LeGoff

A life of finding opportunity in disruption

Graduated: 1998
Based in: Plymouth, England

You could sum up Michael LeGoff’s career with a variation on an old gag: a physicist, an engineer, a Navy man, and a CEO walk into a bar—and they’re all Michael LeGoff.

Learn more about Michael

Roger Harris

Seeing the bigger picture in sustainable oil development

Graduated: 2002
Based in: Calgary, AB

“The real crux of the matter is that every company is in business to be profitable,” Harris says. With an MBA, “Rather than presenting elegant engineering solutions, you are better suited to provide practical solutions that fit the business drivers and the strategic goals of the organization and your department.”

Learn more about Roger

Sharon Ritchie

Rethinking expectations in Canadian banking

Graduated: 1999
Based in: Toronto, ON

Sharon Ritchie was nervous about starting her MBA at first, but she was able to keep working full-time and raising her family. 

“I was able to balance work and family and still get a high-quality education,” Ritchie says.

Learn more about Sharon