Alumni Highlights: Dana Carriere
From Left to Right: Blaine Favel (Former Chancellor, University of Saskatchewan), Adrian Waskewitch (Dana's husband), Dana Carriere, Peter Stoicheff (President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Saskatchewan)
Edward’s School of Business has been the stepping-stone for aboriginal students to make their dream come true. Edward’s provides course content that reflects the contribution of aboriginal people both economically and within their community. With an extensive, highly-integrated format, their programs develop management ability in an applied and useful way. What is more, students will learn the people skills of management such as how to manage employees, how to communicate effectively, and how to lead.
Dana Carriere is a graduate of Edward’s School of Business. Carriere grew up in Green Lake, Moose Jaw, as well as Prince Albert. In her own words, she says “the majority of my family is Cree/Metis from Cumberland House in Northern Saskatchewan. Although I didn’t grow up in Cumberland House, we spent a lot of time there. In a way, I received an education from the land as well. I learned how to fish and hunt and provide for others. I also really enjoyed school, so it was only natural that I would continue my education after graduation. I never had a ‘Plan B’, I always knew that I would attend university.”
Post-secondary is always a concern for students, but Carriere came prepared. Education was always her priority. “Since graduating from high school in 2005, I have achieved a Bachelor of Arts in Native Studies and Political Studies, Master of Arts with the Department of Indigenous Studies, and now a Master of Business Administration from the Edwards School of Business, all from the University of Saskatchewan.”
Carriere was determined to help native youth, so she concentrated in studies that would aid in her pre-existing knowledge of helping others. “I have always been motivated to achieve a good education, to provide opportunities for myself, and also to be a role model for others – especially Aboriginal youth,” she voices. “I have also been inspired by my parents as they have always worked hard, and have been very successful. They are also entrepreneurs, and I hope to follow in their footsteps. That is why I decided to pursue an MBA at Edwards. Even though I already had two degrees, I felt the need to get an MBA to diversify my knowledge and skills, and it provided me an opportunity to grow as a young professional. I was in the program for two-years as a part-time student. It allowed me some flexibility with my studies, as I was also busy as a student leader on campus and working as a graduate research assistant at Edwards.”
Carriere is now the President of the Indigenous Graduate Students Council, and has made her dream come true. “I took on the positions as Chair of the Indigenous Graduate Students’ Council as well as the Aboriginal Liaison for the Graduate Students’ Association since January 2014. A large part of my role was to ensure that there was an aboriginal voice at the table, and that our concerns were being heard and advocated for.”
With experience comes wisdom. Carriere has learnt that with experience comes wisdom, and that patience and understanding can go a long way. “Over the years, I have met with fellow students, staff, faculty, and senior administration, and I strongly believe in working collaboratively. This requires thoughtful, informed approaches, and a lot of patience. You often have to remind yourself that many of the people in the room with you haven’t been taught the history or challenges that Aboriginal people face, and you are constantly navigating how to provide appropriate context and teach others so that they are informed. But there has been a shift over the years, and people are more willing to listen, learn, and work towards solutions.”
Carriere has never forgotten the assistance she received at Edward’s School of Business and how it has helped her career. “When I first began the MBA at Edwards, I was a little overwhelmed and intimidated. Many of my classmates had prior experience in business, either as a commerce student or working in a business setting. My experience in business was limited, and I was primarily involved in academia, more so focused on research, data analysis, and writing. I did not have a prior business education. But I was successful in the program, and I gained a lot confidence as an MBA student and young professional. I learnt that I have a unique perspective that it is very valuable, and I brought a different kind of skillset and knowledge that was useful in individual course work, group projects, and class discussions. I have carried that forward into my employment.”
The MBA truly puts you through the grinder with all of the individual assignments, group assignments, readings, lectures, writing exams, and so on. However, you really do become stronger as a student, and it prepares you for your soon-to-be professional life. Although the program and the workload can be intimidating, you just have to keep reminding yourself of why you chose to pursue an MBA and what your personal goals are. The nice thing is that you are never alone in the MBA program. Everyone there supports one another, inside and outside of the classroom.
Posted with permission from First Nations Drum.