Grad spotlight: Stephanie Barnes – donor, volunteer, entrepreneur

Stephanie Barnes (BBA '91)

Stephanie Barnes (BBA '91)

Stephanie Barnes (BBA ’91) is a graduate of the Co-op Accounting program in the Faculty of Business. She’s a long-time donor to Brock University’s Annual Fund, the inaugural chair for the B-BAN (the Brock Business Alumni Network) and a mentor for Brock’s Mentorship Plus program.

She’s also a mentor with McMaster University and sponsors a girl in the “Because I am a Girl” program run by Care Canada.

Barnes lives in Toronto and for the past eight years, has been managing her own business, Missing Puzzle Piece Consulting, and is the Canadian franchisee for U.K.-based knowledge management consultancy, Knoco.

What attracted you to Brock University?
I liked the small campus and the approachability of faculty members. Back in the late 1980s, students who applied to Brock had to come for an interview, so I got to see the campus and meet one of the faculty members  before I started; it made a big impression on me.

What activities were you involved with at Brock that were outside of the classroom?
As Co-op Accounting students, my fellow classmates and I took a lot of our studies in the summer when everyone else was off campus working summer jobs. We were often the only students on campus, so, naturally, we hung out with each other: we went bowling, played volleyball and helped each other with homework in the lounge. I have fond memories of swimming at the rec centre and living on campus. There weren’t a lot of organized activities for Co-op Accounting students then, and I’m glad that’s changed now.

How have you been involved with Brock since graduating?
A couple years after I graduated, I started donating to Brock’s Annual Fund when its team of student callers phoned. I’ve donated almost every year since. Over the last few years, I’ve become more involved with Brock by participating in a focus group/strategy session, volunteering as an alumni mentor for Brock’s Mentorship Plus program, and taking on the role of chair for the B-BAN (the Brock Business Alumni Network). I’m quite excited about building the B-BAN and helping Faculty of Business alumni connect with each other for both social and career purposes.

What has been your career/life path since graduating from Brock?
Despite my undergraduate education in accounting, I did not end up becoming a chartered accountant. However, my Brock education has informed a lot of my decisions and has helped me discover my passion for knowledge management and aligning business processes and IT. I ended up completing an MBA in Information Systems from McMaster and working for Hewlett Packard for almost seven years before going out on my own and starting my own business: Missing Puzzle Piece Consulting. I’ve recently published a report called Aligning People, Process and Technology with Knowledge Management.

What is the most rewarding part of your career?
I get to expose people and organizations all over the world to a different way of thinking. I help them discover how they can be more effective and efficient with what they know and how to find the knowledge and information that they don’t have.

What is your “other side of the brain”?
I like to make art and do photography. I love creating something from scratch; taking something that is my idea, creating it and experimenting with how to get the effects that I envision in my head.

What do you want most out of life?
Balance: to be able to do the things I like to do; have people around me who support and love me and who I support and love; do work that I love; be creative; and hold space for spirit and compassion in my life.

What advice do you have for recent graduates/ new alumni?
Embrace whatever opportunities come your way, even if they don’t look the way you thought they would look. I thought I was going to be a chartered accountant and have my own practice; instead I have my own business doing knowledge management. The important part of my original dream wasn’t the accounting: it was having my own business, which I’m doing and I love.

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