Tuesday, August 19, 2008

AIESEC Canada - Nurturing Leaders for 50 Years

I was fortunate enough to get Maroon and White, SMU's alumni magazine going out to over 27,000 alumni, to write an article about AIESEC. After all, it's our 50th anniversary! Below is most of the contents of that article. Special thanks to Cheryl Bell for writing an awesome article, and Helen Dolan for pushing our cause.

AIESEC Halifax is something of a hidden gem on the Saint Mary’s campus. Yet for those who have participated in its programs, it has been the gateway to life-enhancing experiences both professionally and personally.

AIESEC was established after World War II to help foster cultural understanding between countries. Today, it is the world’s largest student-run organization. It works in partnership with business and higher education to send students on internships around the globe and to give internationally aware young leaders valuable leadership and cultural experiences. Its programs are designed with the aim of giving its participants hands-on experience of running a small business long before they graduate from university.

Members proudly display their Nova Scotia tartans at the National Leadership Development Conference held at Ryerson University in 2007

At the time of its inception, AIESEC stood for “L'Association Internationale des Etudiants en Sciences Economiques et Commerciales." However, as fourth-year Science student and local alumni coordinator Adam Harris explains, the organization is now known solely as AIESEC. “The original name was appropriate when the organization was formed, but we are now inclusive of all Faculties – not just economic sciences and commerce. We continue to use the acronym AIESEC because of the well - established brand and history that it has.”

This year, AIESEC Canada is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a National Congress in Montreal, which will bring together more than 300 alumni to talk about the organization’s past and future, and to launch a new strategic plan. As part of its anniversary celebrations, AIESEC Canada is profiling 50 alumni, including Karyn (Mathieu) Power, an alumna of Saint Mary’s University. Karyn studied for a BComm at Saint Mary’s in the late 1980s. With her interests in business and working abroad, AIESEC was a perfect fit. Starting as a member, Karyn then worked on the special projects committee and served as vice-president of marketing between 1987 and 1989. To be a part of AIESEC, she explains, was to be involved in “running a not-for-profit organization on campus. We had to sell the concept of AIESEC to businesses in Halifax, manage the money coming in, run special projects, and attend conferences. For me, it was a chance to take the theoretical knowledge I was learning in class and apply it.”

After graduation, Karyn was one of six people chosen to run the organization in Montreal for a year where she was involved in encouraging Canadians to take traineeships in developing countries in Africa, Asia and South America. She then moved to the Dominican Republic to help give AIESEC a firm footing there.

In addition to providing her with a wealth of experience, Karyn also credits her involvement in the organization with helping her to land her first sales and marketing job with a manufacturer of medical diagnostic equipment in Halifax, a job she held for 17 years. “I know that I got my first interview because I had AIESEC on my resumé. Someone who had been with AIESEC himself saw my resumé roll off the fax machine and said that I would be a good person to interview. And when it came
time to do a mock sales presentation, I did it on AIESEC because that’s what I knew and believed in passionately.”

AIESEC members gathered for an alumni event at Your Father’s Moustache in Halifax. Left to right: Kim Yu, Bryan Ching, Adam Harris, Carol Cooley, John Sewuster, Sheena Francisco, Shani Pearson, Linda LeBlanc, Michelle Paradis, Sean Kavanaugh, Huay Woon Chee, and Johnnel Adderley.

Karyn’s work has seen her travel widely, both in Canada and abroad, and over the years fellow AIESEC participants have continued to crop up in unexpected places. Karyn has also continued to lend her support to the AIESEC Halifax group in particular, explaining to local businesses why they should hire students from abroad. “I say to them that if they are looking to do business with another country,
what better way to give their company a cultural awareness of their target market than to hire a student from that country.”

To mark this special year, AIESEC Halifax is planning its own anniversary celebrations, including a time capsule to which alumni can donate items such as pens, stickers, pictures, songs, and even old cheers from the last few decades. Alumni can also contribute to the timeline that is being assembled as the backdrop to a reception that will be held in the university art gallery early this

Looking to the future, local alumni coordinator Adam Harris maintains that the cultural understanding and business skills that AIESEC promotes continue to be relevant for both the students and the companies for which they work. And for Saint Mary’s alumni, hiring an AIESEC intern from another country is the perfect way to “give back” to an organization that means so much to so many.

AIESEC Halifax alumni can reconnect with the organization by contacting Adam Harris at 902.491.8673 or by emailing halifax.ca@aiesec.net

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Wooo, we're hosting a conference!

AIESEC Halifax has won the big to host NLDC 2009!!! Woooot!
Congrats to all who helped organize the successful big. I am really looking forward too seeing a mojor conference being hosted in this city that isn't ARC or ARR, haha.

Major plans are already underway with the OC president already chosen, and applications are out for the rest of the VP positions.

See you in Halifax very soon!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

From far far away

Sasha just got a postcard from Claudia, an AIESEC Halifax member from 2006-07. It is always really cool to hear from our alumni. Claudia is curently in Spain.

Alumni, if you're out there, we want to hear from you!

Monday, January 07, 2008


The old EB at National Congress 2008 in Montreal (Sean, Sasha, Adam, Woon, and Bryan)

Just in time to kick off the 50th anniversary of AIESEC in Canada, some of the old EB met in Montreal. We miss the 2 of you all the way out west, too bad we were too drunk to give you a call. Talk to you very soon Fama and Cristy!

Big Jokers

Yeah, I didn’t make it out…one night out of 100, haha, very funny guys!


Sasha’s and Cristy’s visit.

Sasha came back, all the way from Toronto. We went out for dinner at one of her favorite spots: Opa! I got there very late, and everyone else had already finished eating, but it was cool to be back there with everyone, even just for a little bit. It was weird, because everything sort of came full circle. It was the same restaurant where she told us that she got the job as RVP. Only a few short months ago, all the EB had sat there eating, and Sasha had this discouraged look on her face, and we kept bugging her to tell us, and she wouldn’t check her phone, and then we found out she was going to Toronto. Now we were back in the same place, and so much had changed. After everyone finished eating we argued (as usual) whether to go to Second cup or Starbucks. At Second cup I got an awesome drink, and we settled into a table way at the back to just talk. We found out all about what it’s like living in the MC house, who was dating who, what LCs were doing well, etc. Sasha also wanted to know how things were going back home.

A few months later we had another visitor. Cristy came back (very last minute), all the way from Calgary. Some people really don’t change. Only a couple days before the weekend, I got a call saying my favorite Mexican would be home for a couple days and I had to clear my schedule. Well she brought the cold Calgary weather with her. We decided to go to another one of our favorite restaurants. I was the first to arrive at Baan Thai, even though everyone else assured me they were on their way. To my surprise, Cristy was the second person to arrive. It was awesome to see her. We got a table and Woon, Sean, and Bryan joined us upstairs. We all shared some amazing platters, and one of my new favorite entrees is now Pad thai. Cristy told us all about life in the happening city of Calgary, showed off her graduation pictures, and explained her dilemma with furniture. We missed Fatimah, hopefully she can come home to visit soon. Good luck out west! Maybe next time we hear from you, you can tell us all about the ghetto transit system, and how you now have furniture.

Not too spicy!

For our end of the year awards night we took over an awesome Thai restaurant just off Spring Garden Road. Baan Thai hosted us for an amazing Thai dinner, where only a couple dishes were too spicy, the food was great. The awards were handed out to some very deserving members, one for each of AIESEC’s values (Living diversity, Acting sustainably, Striving for Excellence, ……..). The new EB and the membership also presented the old EB with a plaque with all of our names and positions. This was a really cool treat. Each year the names of all the EB will be added to the plaque.

National Leadership Development Conference 2007 Ryerson

A conference all about personal growth and leadership development saw members of AIESEC Halifax take a quick tour of Toronto and Niagara falls before this awesome conference started at Ryerson. The EB was finally reunited with Sasha, and we missed Fatimah a lot, wish you could have been there! The new EB really stepped up and showed everyone how it’s done. This was a really great conference. I got to kick-back and not be responsible for a portfolio. I also tried to really challenge myself and get motivated in my new role as Local Alumni Coordinator. I learned a lot about ER and what they do, and we really tore up that track.
Some highlights include:

-going to the MC office, but it was closed
-Sean with a purse and Cristy with Peter Mansbridge
-Kensington market, Korean Bbq, and the Musuem of Natural history
-the Horseshoe tavern, and trying to lose people at McDonald’s afterwards
-crazy bus rides to Niagara Falls, and our bus getting pulled over by the OPP
-AIESEC in lights on Bay street
-winery tours with lots of wine
-the Canadian Horseshoe falls, Boston Pizza, and practicing our dance in a very public place
-Donkey Riding, ghetto style
-street meet
-amazing closing banquet, and everyone breaking into the same dance and freaking the DJ out
-only JK running for MCP, tough elections, still winning, and lots of ice cold water
-W&A scavenger hunt all over downtown
-crazy story about all cities from Victoria to St. John’s from an alumni
-guest-facilitating the newbie track: all about Exchange!
-causing some havoc in Er with Alex and Kristan and others
-taking all of our luggage on the TO transit system, just for a cheap ride to the airport
-almost losing Cristy at a random suburban bus stop, until Fatimah finally saved her

Can’t wait for the next conference!

Big city living, Farewell Sasha!

Sasha and Sean hosted a chilly barbeque to wish Sasha off to her new job in Toronto. Sasha will be the Regional Vice President for AIESEC in Canada. She will travel all over the West and Atlantic regions couching various local committees. Before she left, we all had an awesome barbeque and a couple drinks. After everyone was too cold to be outside anymore, despite whatever hard liquor they were drinking, we all moved inside. Sean broke out the board games, and we all got pretty intense in a game of spoons. It was way too hard to concentrate though with bright lime green walls. We continued to drink in the living room instead. See you on your next RVP visit Sarsh!

Take it or leave it: EB does Handover

The handover ceremony got off to a great start with lots of AIESEC members in attendance to witness this special event. The EB VPs made Sasha a nice picture mobile, which was Woon’s idea. In true last minute fashion, we working on it right up until the GA started. Woon tirelessly removed bits of cardboard to give the frames a nice finishing touch. This was a great way to cap off out year, and thank Sasha as LCP for all of her hard work and inspiration. Everyone got to take photos of the EB-otches, and then things were given over to the new EB. Everyone’s goal was to make everyone else cry, just a little.

Celebrations continued at the Gorsebrook, for the tradition of Open mic night on Wednesdays. Cristy surprised everyone when she whipped a “Dome” shirt out of her purse, just incase the mood struck her to continue the party. After we were well on our way to a good buzz off Gorsebrook draft (Where’s Abdul with the tequila?), we headed on the bus downtown to the Dome. Things escalated quickly here, but everyone had a good time with cheap drinks and tearing up the dance floor. Best of luck to the new EB!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Last GA of the Year

Haha, thanks to everyone who cam out to the last GA to make it a really great evening. It was awesome to share our big trophy with everyone, even if some people got out of hand! haha...Good luck to everyong who's moving on to the real world. Hopefully see a lot of you over the summer, if not, have a good one, and see you back in September for the first GA of the year!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Society of the Year!!!

AIESEC Halifax recently won the Saint Mary's University Student's Association - Charter Day Society of the Year! Wahooo, we couldn't be more excited and more thrilled. What a great way to close off a great year. It is really fulfilling to be recognized on campus as really making a difference, and being appreciated in general. We have had some rough times, and a lot of obstacles to cross to get where we are now. from a society at the first of the year with a dedicated EB and only a few returning members, and a plan, we recruited and maintained over 50 active members. Some highlights mentioned at the awards ceremony include sending members to 3 conferences across Canada, in Ottawa, Edmonton, and Toronto, having the President (Sasha) moving to Toronto to work for the MC, partnering with external companies for our Global Internship Program, $5000 from Clearwater, weekly meetings focused on learning, culture, and world issues, among others. Thanks to everyone for making all of our successes this year possible.

Sean and I also won awards for community involvement, Cristy won a Silver M, and Sasha won the unsung hero award. wooot @Hali represent!

Stakeholder Reception

Thanks to everyone that helped out with this, and to the externals who were able to make it, Shani, Peter and Dr. Dodds and his wife, and all the members too. I hope this was a great kick-off to the alumni campaign, and can be even more successful next year.


So we are such a good EB, that we figured we could take all 7 of us in one picture by ourselves. And, after several tries, some shouting, and a lot of pushing, we succeeded. That is why the picture is slightly off centre, and not everyone is looking right at the camera. Breakfast was awesome though, we went to Cora's just off Spring Garden road, mmmm Cora's.
Highlights from breakfast:
-arriving there on time, and everyone was already there sitting down, this has never happened to me with the rest of the EB, haha
-the amazing food, woot for ordering double meals, sharing food, and whip cream topped waffles and fruit
-laughing very hard, but I don't remember what at, probably making fun of each other
-talking about where we will be in 10 or 20 years, where will we meet up? Halifax? Malasia? Toronto?
-trying to take an EB picture in the lobby with everyone in it, unassisted
-walking all the way around the block unnecessarily, and then buying the new Joel Plaskett Album, Ashtray Rock, and explaining to everyone else why this is so important


Sunday, February 04, 2007


What a crazy, stressful, awesome, sad, happy, exciting, forward-thinking time of year. Turnover is nuts, meeting, documents, retreats, couldn't be any luckier or ask for anything better. As the 06-07 EB term draws to a close, I just want to say a million thank yous to the team this year. We fought, learned, grew, failed, achieved, and most importantly became the best of friends. I would do anything for you guys, and I can't wait to see where the world will take you. Congrats to 2 of you already for finding your dream job next year!