Schulich lures German wunderkind

Several prestigious universities abroad were competing at the same time for Markus Giesler, began the story in Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine July 19. This bright researcher is an expert in pirated copies and is considered Germany’s hottest person in marketing. Now, at 27, he’s become a professor in Toronto. In Germany everything takes him way too long, said the magazine. Last autumn, several prestigious universities abroad were competing at the same time for Giesler – including Haute Ecole de Commerce in Paris. But Giesler gave the edge to York University’s Schulich School of Business, one of the top addresses worldwide. This decision even made it into The New York Times: the newspaper declared the researcher from Westphalia “North America’s youngest marketing professor.”

Giesler was 10 when his father died. Before him, nobody in his family had even completed high school. His mother worked in an office. Giesler delivered newspapers, then worked as a pianist in a bar to help out with the family finances. At 17, he installed a recording studio in his basement and founded a music production company. He hadn’t thought of studying beyond high school. But when he first discovered pirated copies of his own songs online, he was faced with the choice of suing the electronic thieves or researching them. He got his PhD at Kellogg after graduating from Witten/Herdecke.

Cirque choreographer makes award-winning moves

After a car crash shattered her hip, Cirque du Soleil choreographer Debra Brown had to learn new ways of communicating with performers, reported The Globe and Mail Aug. 18 in a feature on the eve of the opening of the Cirque’s Alegria at Ontario Place. The Emmy Award-winning choreographer joined the Quebec-based organization in 1987, three years after it was formed and nine years after graduating with a BFA in dance from York.

Brown’s creative process begins one step at a time – with one word. With Alegria, the concept was nostalgia.”Nos-taal-gia,” she savours and draws it out in three long breaths. “Alegria is a very sentimental show. There are these old characters that are nostalgic that are looking on their youth.”

Brown has also been recognized for work outside of the Cirque. She was nominated for an Emmy Award for her choreography on part of Madonna’s 2001 Drowned World Tour, and she won the Outstanding Choreography 2002 Emmy for a special-effects tribute performance at an Academy Awards ceremony. Most recently she choreographed film scenes for Van Helsing and this summer’s Catwoman. Brown has also founded a movement troupe called Apogée, which she has dubbed “my loyal band of lunatics.” The troupe uses a trampoline and aerial devices to appear suspended in air, to fly and to fall. These days, her work is mainly outside of the Cirque. “I spent a lot of years with the Cirque and life is short. One should keep moving in life.”

Stuttering can limit career

Stuttering afflicts one out of every 100 adult Canadians, according to Thomas Klassen, a labour relations professor in York’s Faculty of Arts who, himself a stutterer, studies the effects of the condition on professional situations, reported The Globe and Mail Aug. 18 in a feature about overcoming stuttering. Klassen says the social stigma often leads to increased stress in relationships with colleagues and superiors – with consequences that can result in career-curtailing decisions, and even bigger tragedy. Often, stutterers let their lack of fluency guide their career choices, tending toward work that does not involve a lot of speaking, being on the phone or verbal interaction. Klassen says it is often very difficult to prove that a candidate was denied a job or promotion because of a stutter. But he clearly believes it does cause problems. “In our society there is an increasing acceptance of individual differences in the workplace, such as sexual orientation and ethnicity. However, persons with disabilities are the ones who continue to encounter the strongest discrimination and stereotyping,” he says. When it comes to job hunting or advancement, Klassen says it is usually better for candidates to be up-front about their impediment with employers.

Behind the scenes with Showboat’s Giselle Clark

Early in the summer a small bundle of energy stepped off the Toronto bus at 7Eleven in Port Colborne. Small in stature perhaps, but big in attitude which showed immediately in the dazzling smile followed by a tight hug. Giselle Clarke – stage manager for Showboat Festival Theatre – had arrived, reported the Welland Tribune Aug. 18. Judging by the success of the season, Clark (BFA ’04), is proving to be very skilled at her job.