Schulich Executive Education Centre helps Indigenous leaders earn unique mini-MBA certificates

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The Schulich Executive Education Centre has partnered with the Ontario Native Women’s Association (ONWA) to offer a mini-MBA program to members of their community network.

The ONWA is a not-for-profit organization with a goal to empower and support all Indigenous women and their families in the province of Ontario through research, advocacy, policy development and programs that focus on local, regional and provincial activities.

The Schulich Executive Education Centre (SEEC) approached ONWA to offer a customized version of its nine-day Schulich Mini-MBA: Essentials of Management program designed for the specific needs of Indigenous leaders. SEEC’s mini-MBA delivers current MBA subjects in a practical time frame for busy managers. The modules of the mini-MBA provide essential, current knowledge in the top 13 MBA subjects – from marketing to finance and HR – in a practical time frame. To further customize the course so that it is relevant for Indigenous leaders, SEEC Program Director Wissam AlHussaini, professor of strategy in the Schulich School of Business, added sessions in policy and government, political acuity, community centricity and grant writing.

Rami Mayer, SEEC executive director, said working with OWNA was an important project that highlights SEEC’s efforts to work with diverse organizations. “Programs that have a positive impact on the community are important to us. This collaboration is special, and we will continue to support organizations such as ONWA because of their mission and incredible ability to reach out to the indigenous community.”

The program was successfully delivered to 28 participants from multiple Indigenous-based associations across Ontario. They included board members from ONWA, executive directors from Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services, the Native Women’s Centre Hamilton-Wentworth Chapter of Native Women Incorporated, Native Women’s Resource Centre of Toronto, Sunset Women’s Aboriginal Circle, Orillia Native Women’s Group, Beendigen, Kenora Anishinawbekweg, Moosonee Family Resource Centre, Nookomisnaang Shelter for Victims of Family Violence and the Barrie Area Native Advisory Circle. Participants were challenged with a group capstone project designed to make a community impact. Some of the Capstone projects included innovative community-development solutions to help address housing, community infrastructure, local business development, food security, domestic violence, women and youth services.

“From my personal perspective I think that a powerful driver in how SEEC delivers 21st century learning is that they truly understand the challenges their students face,” said Andre Morriseau, communications manager for the OWNA. “Indigenous people have had to play catch-up for so long in a system that locked them out of the joy and accomplishment of higher education. By designing classes that included the comfort of culture while building classes into their students’ daily work lives supported by their employers, higher learning became something to look forward to rather than a burden.

“SEEC’s virtual learning platform offered a link to new ideas while keeping a pace that said these people are serious about education,” added Morriseau. “There was no time to linger or daydream. When you’re working in a Schulich virtual classroom environment you better be committed to learning because you don’t want to waste a moment of the opportunity.”