SHIFT Professional Development Conference for Graduate Students

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, this event has been cancelled.

Thursday, April 23rd, 2020

Goodman Atrium

The date has been set for SHIFT 2020!

Conferences are a great place to make meaningful professional connections that can extend beyond your graduate life. Campus staff, faculty and presenters will be onsite to share their wisdom and career paths during our Concurrent Workshops, and Interactive Keynote Presentation during Lunch.

Whether you are just beginning to think about what comes next, wanting to kick-start or energize some career action, there is something for you at SHIFT! We have a great roster of dynamic and passionate experts who have some fresh ideas about how to make the most of your graduate education.

BrockShift logo


8:00 to 9:00 a.m.   Registration, LinkedIn Photo Booth + Breakfast

9:00 to 9:30 a.m.    Greetings + Opening Remarks:

Dr. Gervon Fearon, President
Dr. Diane Dupont, Interim Dean, Faculty of Graduate Studies

Morning Concurrent Session

9:45 to 11:00 a.m. Concurrent Session 1: Exploration

In this session you will engage in a dialogue on the role chance plays in your career. Based on the theoretical foundation of planned happenstance (Krumboltz) and chaos theories of career development (Bright & Pryor) you will discover flexible strategies to manage your own professional goals during your transition from graduate studies to the next phase of your career – whether this be academia, career, entrepreneurship or other pathway. Learn how to guide your own future and be in the “right place at the right time” in a time of uncertainty and transition.

Workshop Facilitator:
Marisa Brown

Are you looking for different opportunities to work within a higher education setting? How can you lever your research and teaching skills for fields and positions in academia and beyond? Join our panel discussion and career talks with Masters and PhD graduates who have made career shifts, pivots and embraced the mindset of versatility.

Workshop Moderator:
Lianne Fisher

Dr. Jenn Martin  
Dr. Malisa Kurtz

Note taking through drawing is not only a practice, but an evidence-based accepted practice filled with amazing people working in the field.  Doodling is a form of external thought that allows you to visualize the connections you are making while thinking. In the conscious mind, doodling can assist concentration and focus but even in the unconscious mind, while doodling and daydreaming connections are made.

Workshop Facilitator:
Giulia Forsythe

Over a decade ago, Gallup unveiled the results of a landmark 30-year research project that ignited a global conversation on the topic of strengths. The Clifton Strength Finder is an online assessment tool that has helped millions of people discover their top five talents and used their results to maximize their potential at work and everywhere else.

*Pre-registration prior to April 3 is required. This is limited to 25 people. Once registered, participants will receive an access code to complete the CliftonStrengths assessment, which must be completed by Sunday April 28. This assessment will take between 30-45 minutes to complete.

The access code will give you access to:

  • complete the CliftonStrengths online talent assessment
  • Your Top 5 Signature Themes Report, Strengths Insight and Action-Planning Guide, and Strengths Insight Report
  • action items and other resources to help you understand your CliftonStrengths
  • receive a digital copy of the book CliftonStrengths for Students
    • downloadable via .epub and .mobi file types

Workshop Facilitator:
Amber Scholtens

In this session, you will engage in a variety of interactive activities that help you unpack the skills you’re developing during your graduate degree and how to position those skills for potential employers

Workshop Facilitator:
Kara Renaud

This session will provide you with a behind the scenes look at the Brock competencies project and how it connects to the skills required for the Canadian workforce.  Learn how to frame your graduate experiences in the context of the core skills required by employers.

Workshop Facilitator:
Laura Fyfe

Lunch and Keynote

11:15 to 1:00 p.m.    Lunch + Keynote Address: The Energy of Your Leadership – Your Energy Your Choice

Lesley Calvin, Leadership Development & Organizational Culture Specialist, 
Positive Forward Motion Inc.

Self Awareness and Self Management in Life, Academics, and in your Career – Understanding your hot button triggers and how to manage them in times of change.

This Interactive Keynote is perfect for those who want to understand more about how emotions impact their leadership, their employability success, and ultimately their deliverables.

Your energy is your currency, personally and professionally. It is introducing you, and driving your professional effectiveness, before you ever say a word. Do you know what is yours saying?

Afternoon Concurrent Sessions

1:30 to 2:45 p.m Concurrent Session 2: Experience

This workshop will introduce learners to some of the tools, concepts and practices around intercultural effectiveness and inclusion. Intercultural effectiveness means highly developed knowledge, skills and attitudes for working well with culturally different people. With a focus on meeting people where they are, intercultural communication tools and practices are used as a means to increase competence with special attention to the three ingredients that research shows matter most for intercultural development—self awareness, respectful curiosity and empathy.

By the end of the workshop learners will be able to:
• Identify elements of visible and invisible culture
• List elements of their own cultural identity
• Identify at least one inclusive practice that they can use in their work or life on campus

Workshop Facilitator:
Trecia McLennon

The Media is the Messenger: What is ‘the media’ and how does it work? You’ll learn the metaphoric possibilities and story catching devices that attract the attention of the story makers. What do editors look for when they create their story line-ups? How do you connect what you’re working on to the outside world?

Workshop Facilitator:

Cathy Majtenyi

According to Parker Palmer (2007), “we teach who we are.” The teaching dossier or portfolio is a collection of artifacts that documents your teaching expertise and growth. Whether you create one for job search purposes or for instructional development, your dossier can help you articulate who you are as a teacher. This workshop is geared to graduate students new to teaching.

Workshop Facilitator:

Lianne Fisher

Networking is essential to landing that first job! Whether it’s networking one-on-one over coffee with an industry professional or networking in a large group setting, there are do’s and don’ts that can open doors just as quickly as they can close them. Networking 101 will take you through the proper networking techniques as well as answer some more difficult questions like when is the right time to follow up? How to stand out? How to maximize your time at a networking event with each of the professionals? How to keep the conversation engaging?

Workshop Facilitator:
Jon DeLuca

In this session, you will discover the resources and opportunities Brock has to offer when designing your program and work on transferable skills that will help you in your transition to the workforce. Designing your program to enhance your skills is a great way to use University resources towards your growth.

Workshop Facilitators:
Carolyn Finlayson
Cecilia Garcia Vega

Making the decision to leave academia isn’t always easy. But thanks to social media, leaving school doesn’t mean you have to leave your passion for your discipline behind. In this session I’ll share some of my own academic story, the difficult decision I made not to continue the traditional academic route, and the things I’ve learned along the way.

Social media played a surprisingly significant role in my transition from grad school to workplace. It enabled me to make valuable contributions to my academic discipline from outside academia and to foster connections that have led to personal and professional opportunities. Whether you’re leaving the academic route or planning to continue, social media can help you make valuable connections and find rewarding opportunities.

Workshop Facilitator:
Alison Innes

3:00 to 4:15 p.m. Concurrent Session 3: Action

Do you have a leadership portfolio? How would you demonstrate to others that you are an effective leader? Reflective practice through the development of a leadership portfolio can help.  In this session you will have the opportunity to initiate or extend your reflective practice. We will also discuss the kinds of artefacts and experiences that you can include in your portfolio as evidence of your leadership abilities and qualities–even if you think you don’t have any.

Workshop Facilitators:
Lianne Fisher

How do you know when an employer is looking for a ‘resume’ or a ‘curriculum vitae’ (CV), when the terms are often used interchangeably? In this informative session, you will learn how resumes and CV’s are different from one another, when to use each document, and how to tailor your application to the appropriate audience. This session will also address application expectations for government positions and how to modify your documents for applicant tracking systems (ATS).

Workshop Facilitator:
Kara Renaud

Your cover letter is an essential piece of personal writing that creates your first impression to potential employers. In this session, we will discuss why cover letters are critical to the job search process and how to interpret and dissect a job advertisement. Learn how to employ creative strategies for planning and preparing your letter to help you spark the attention of your audience.

Workshop Facilitator:
Kristen Nilsen

Interviewing is more than just having the right answers! Come and hear about tips and tricks to make you stand out in an interview and be the most prepared that you can be. Topics will include Mastering the Interview Questions, The Psychology of Interviewing and How to Make Them Like You. You do not want to miss this session as you prepare for your next great opportunity!

Workshop Facilitator:
Ashley Chimenti

Envisioning a career in academia? When applying for a faculty position or a post-doc It is critical to be prepared to talk about yourself and your understanding of an institution during the application and interview process. Learn how to prepare and convince the hiring committee that you are the best candidate for the position. Join our conversation with Brock faculty members;

Workshop Facilitators:
Dr. Heather Gordon
Dr. Kyle Rich

With more than 560 million users on LinkedIn, 77% of North American companies use this social media platform as part of their candidate search. Managing your online presence effectively and using social networks are critical to finding and landing a job. This workshop will assist you in building your LinkedIn profile and exploring effective strategies to develop your network and digital brand!

Workshop Facilitator:
Ashley Haroutunian

FGS Awards Presentation

4:30 to 5:00 p.m.    FGS Awards Presentation

Closing Remarks and Shift Mixer

Mingle at the SHIFT Mixer

The SHIFT Mixer social event will take place in the Goodman Atrium starting at 4:30 p.m.

Come join us for a signature drink and tasty appetizers mixed with an opportunity to relax and chat with workshop facilitators (a mix of Brock alumni, faculty and staff, as well as industry professionals) and fellow grad students. Cash bar is available for those interested in purchasing an alcoholic beverage.

The SHIFT Conference is presented by the VITAE Professional Development Partners and co-sponsored by the Faculty of Graduate Studies, Career, Co-op & Experiential Education, Brock University Alumni Association, Centre for Pedagogical Innovation, and the Graduate Students’ Association.

Register NOW

Conference Presenters

keynote presenter

Leskey Calvin, MA, CPC, ACC

Lesley Calvin is a Leadership Development Consultant, Coach and Trainer, and is highly revered as an Emotional Intelligence Specialist with a warm, dynamic, and impactful approach to her coaching, facilitation and speaking engagements. As a former Higher Education Administrator and Leader of People and Departments, Lesley has dedicated almost two decades in her passion-driven career, to the personal, professional and leadership development of individuals and organizations, with the mission of furthering Positive Forward Motion in the *FAST lane© by addressing the ultimate triple bottom line (Personal, Interpersonal and Professional success) in order to fuel productivity, increase buy-in and drive results. Lesley is known for building high-performance individuals, teams and programming. Lesley Calvin is one of few Leadership Development Master Practitioners with the expertise and certification to administer and facilitate both the Energy Leadership Index (ELI) Assessment and the Emotional Intelligence Assessment (EQi-2.0) both recognized by Forbes in their top 10 as must take assessments for Professionals/Leaders. With her unique and specialized approach, Lesley works with individuals and teams to identify strengths, triggers, and development areas, in to deliver elevated results, fuel positivity and foster engagement.

Workshop Facilitators

Amber Scholtens

A proud graduate of Brock University, Amber has worked at Brock ever since completing her business degree is 2005.  Her passion for inspiring learning and self-exploration began with her role in Career Education, helping students to discover their career path and build skills that would support their success after graduation. In her current role as the Manager of Student Leadership & Engagement in Student Life, Amber works with student leaders across campus to build the skills they need to be effective, self-aware leaders. A trained facilitator, Amber has been delivering workshops for over 13 years.

Discover Your Strengths in Grad Studies and Beyond

Ashley Chimenti

Ashley is a career development professional who has spent more than 10 years bridging the gap between those looking for new opportunities and the employers seeking qualified candidates to fill business needs. She brings a wealth experience having worked in numerous areas of career development including agency recruitment, education as well as the Employment Ontario Service model. With experience in both job coaching as well as business development, she has a full understanding of the full recruitment lifecycle which allows her to connect to those she assists in a very tangible way. Ashley’s passion to assist job seekers can be seen through both her dedicated one on one coaching and support sessions as well as the energy and enthusiasm she brings to group facilitation. Ashley holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Western Ontario and currently holds the position of Manager- Career Education, Goodman School of Business.

Rock your Job Interview

As a member of the Co-op, Career and Experiential Education team, Carolyn is a passionate student-centred professional who supports the Faculty of Social Sciences in growing experiential education opportunities at Brock University. With both an undergraduate and graduate degree from Brock’s Child and Youth Studies program, along with her Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Ottawa, Carolyn has a strong background in understanding effective ways to enhance student learning through facilitated experiences

Design Your Professional Learning Experiences

Cathy Majtenyi is Research Communications/Media Relations Specialist based in the Office of Research Services. Prior to that, she was a freelance television, radio and print reporter in East Africa for more than a decade.

Media 101


#headshot cecila

Cecilia Garcia holds a BA in Organizational Psychology (Mexico City) and a Masters in Education in Administration and Leadership (Canada). She is the Graduate Student Support Coordinator at the Faculty of Graduate Studies and the Faculty of Education at Brock University. In her role, she gets to interact every day with students and connect them to people and services that will support them to ensure their academic and professional success.

Her background includes ten years of experience in Human Resources designing, developing and delivering various professional development programs. Passionate about adult education, coaching and mentoring programs, experiential education, and all about student success!


Design YOUR Professional Learning Experiences


Heather Gordon grew up in Ottawa, Ontario and completed her undergraduate at Trent University in Peterborough, where she had the privilege of doing research in a chemistry professor’s lab every summer. Heather then came to Brock University for her MSc in Chemistry. She went with CUSO to Nigeria to teach chemistry and math in a high school in a small town outside of Ibadan. On her return to Canada, she first became a research assistant and then started her PhD studies at the University of Guelph. After that, she did postdoctoral research at the National Research Council of Canada in both Ottawa and Winnipeg, at the University of Toronto, and worked for a nascent biotechnology company at Queen’s University, Kingston before coming to Brock as a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry and Centre for Biotechnology.

The Academic Interview

Jenn Martin

Jenn is an Educational Developer at Niagara College.  She holds a PhD in Media Studies from Western University and focuses on integrating technology into teaching and learning.  As an Educational Developer in the Centre for Academic Excellence, her main focus is the development and support of technology-enhanced learning initiatives, both at Niagara College and collaboratively with other institutions.  She is involved in a number of initiatives including learning management system training, workshop development, and project managing the development of online and hybrid courses and open educational resources.  In addition to her work at Niagara College, Jenn is also an adjunct faculty member in the Faculty of Information and Media Studies at Western University.

Alternative careers Within and Beyond Academia: A Panel Discussion

Jon has a passion for helping others develop their path in life, whether it be in higher education or career exploration. In his current role as a Talent Partnerships Consultant for the Goodman Career team, he oversees maintaining and cultivating new relationships with employers, sharing hiring practices with students and organizing networking and information sessions on campus. Jon is a lifelong Niagara resident who graduated with a Bachelor of Sport Management degree in 2014, and spent 5 years working with the Recruitment and Liaison team at Brock.

Networking 101

Kara has devoted her life’s work to supporting the career development needs of students in higher education. She brings her passion for helping others to grow and succeed into every interaction she has with students and staff. As Supervisor, Career Education, Kara oversees the staffing and service delivery in CareerZone, and coordinates programming and events that help students explore career possibilities, articulate their skills and find meaningful work. Kara is a recent graduate of Brock’s Master of Education – Administration & Leadership program, holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from McMaster University, and a Career Development Practitioner Certificate from Conestoga College.

Conceptualizing Your Graduate Degree
Resumes & CV’s: Showcase your Skills + Experience

Kyle is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies at Brock University. He earned his PhD in Kinesiology at Western University in 2017 and has been working at Brock since. His research looks at the impact of policy, community, and inclusion/exclusion on experiences in sport, recreation, and physical activity programming. This research has examined a variety of local, regional, and national programs and how they are implemented in both urban and rural contexts. In particular, Kyle is interested in using community-based and participatory research methodologies in order to help community organizers understand and address local issues in efforts to improve community health. As a new faculty member in RECL, Kyle has participated in several academic interviews over the past 5 years.

The Academic Interview

Laura is an anthropologist and researcher with a passion for facilitating meaningful connections between skills, education, and an ever-evolving labour market. Laura completed her Master of Arts in Anthropology from Trent University and her Bachelor of Arts in History and Anthropology from King’s at Western. She moved to Niagara in 2015 and joined the team at the Niagara Workforce Planning Board where she served as a Research Associate and Project Coordinator. In this role, Laura worked with educators, students, and internationally trained professionals to connect job seekers with job opportunities, and curriculum objectives to career competencies and industry expectations.

What Skills Are In Demand By Employers?

Lianne’s role in the Centre for Pedagogical Development (CPI) at Brock University is Educational Developer. Lianne’s journey to this employment includes working as a Learning Strategist, a Child and Youth Worker, and a Long-TermCare Aide. It really is not a big surprise that her background is Lifespan Development and Child and Youth Studies.

Alternative Careers Within and Beyond Academia: A Panel Discussion

Preparing a Teaching Dossier
Developing a Leadership Portfolio

Marisa is a career education professional with a background in career development and a keen interest in incorporating theory into practice. As a certified Career Development Practitioner, she currently leads career education programming and curriculum for Co-op, Career & Experiential Education at Brock University. Marisa completed her Master of Education in Teaching, Learning and Development at Brock University with a research focus on career programming in higher education and employability skills. She completed her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Guelph and the Career Development Practitioner program at Conestoga College.

From Chaos to Career: Learn how to be in the right place at the right time

Malisa is Digital Marketing Manager at Beyond the Professoriate, a mission driven organization that provides career education and professional development to PhDs. She earned her PhD in 2016 from Brock University, and has since worked in a number of roles at start-ups and non-profit organizations.

Alternative Careers Within and Beyond Academia: A Panel Discussion


Trecia is the Intercultural Communications Coordinator at Brock International Services. She is a former assistant professor in the school of International Studies at the University of Ulsan in South Korea, and a former instructor of Global Management Studies at Ryerson University.

She is a published author with a passion for all things intercultural. Her experience traveling to 18 and living in five different countries equipped her to get by in five languages.

She has a BA in Communications, an MBA, and a certificate in Adult Training and Development. She’s a qualified IDI administrator and a certified training and development professional (CTDP).

Intercultural Awareness and Inclusion

Contact us

Contact information

905.688.5550 x 5197


MacKenzie Chown
MCC 206


Monday to Friday
8:30am to 4:30pm