Don’t be surprised if time slips away from you the first time you say hello to Graduate Business Council President Allie Simpson. Both international and interdisciplinary in her career background, Allie’s love and fascination for people (of all different walks of life) is immediately obvious. She’s friendly, down to earth, and incredibly easy to talk to.
The new GBC President started her academic years as a Visual Arts major, specializing in film and digital media arts, following it up with an Honors degree in Applied Linguistics at the University of Victoria. During this time, she began to study the strategic behaviors of MBA candidates in job interviews. Her graduate research brought her to Toronto when she landed a role as a visiting research student at OISE, using video-simulated recall to analyze the interview performance of EAL (English-as-an-additional-language) subjects.
Throughout her studies, Allie also worked as an EAL specialist at the University of Victoria’s Centre of Academic Communication, dedicating her time to pedagogical design, instruction, 1-1 coaching, and editorial work for research journals.
“I’ve always had a really full plate,” smiles Allie. “I get really excited about projects, particularly those that combine different fields.”
A Unique MBA Strategy
Allie’s extensive experience in reading, understanding and coaching other people makes her a great fit to manage an executive team. She’s articulate, open and accessible in a way that makes her a natural leader.
So how did she learn to embody such a calm confidence?
Since day one at Schulich, Allie made a decision that may seem strange (or terrifying) to some.
“I decided to focus on doing things that make me incredibly uncomfortable, all the time.”
This objective is what prompted her to thrust her hand in the air in one of her very first classes during a call for class rep nominations. Unplanned and unrehearsed, she give a 60-second pitch that secured her the role of academic rep.
“When you start doing the “worst” things you can imagine, eventually nothing can really scare you,” says Allie.
Running for Graduate Business Council president is perhaps one of the ultimate scary things that a student can do at Schulich, as it involves opening yourself to the community, campaigning, and (if chosen) taking on an enormous responsibility.
“As someone who hates anything disingenuous or inauthentic, I found the campaigning experience difficult initially,” Allie recalls. “I couldn’t stand the thought of befriending people with an agenda, so I did the opposite. I simply gave my pitch, and hoped that people would vote for the best person for the job.”
The GBC: A New Chapter
Now as she takes up the role of President, Allie is brimming with excitement for the job ahead. She takes her leadership seriously, and hopes to mentor and mobilize her team.
“To me, one of the most important characteristics of a great leader is her ability to surface people’s unique skills and talents,” says Allie. “When your team excels, you excel. When we learn to look for people’s strengths and not weaknesses, it helps everybody.”
Relying on the talents of her executive team members will be key as Allie steps up to the plate with this year’s GBC mandate. Issues to be tackled include:
- improving academic transparency with respect to grading and learning outcomes
- fostering better integration among different programs and year levels
- prioritizing metal health initiatives in collaboration with wider York
“When your team excels, you excel. When we learn to look for people’s strengths and not weaknesses, it helps everybody.”
Allie is confident in the changes ahead.
“Before coming to Schulich, I had the luxury of having spent time at many different schools,” says Allie. “With that perspective, I noticed immediately that, at Schulich, egos and competition were left at the door. It’s an inspiring and very collaborative environment here.”
Allie will serve that spirit of community well. As such a warm, dynamic and personable leader, we’re excited to see her unify the graduate student body.
If you haven’t done so yet, keep up with Allie and the GBC Executive team by joining their 2017-2018 Facebook group here.
We welcome Allie to her role as President and wish her every success!
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