Debra Jonasson-Young knows it's a challenge for busy executives to carve out time for business education. As director of the James W. Burns Executive Education Centre, she wants to be sure they get a good return on their investment. Delivered through the University of Manitoba's I.H. Asper School of Business, the centre's programming is tailored for executives and middle managers who need relevant information they can take back to their workplace and act on right away.
Formerly President of People First HR Services, a vice-president of Dufresne Furniture & Appliances and Shoppers Optical, and Regional General Manager for Eaton's, Jonasson-Young brings a practical business perspective to the role she assumed in August 2015.
"I really do understand, and so I'm looking to put things in front of organizations and individuals that will really matter to them in terms of their educational needs," she says. "These are people in senior leadership roles who don't have time to waste. They want to get in and they want to get that information and then they want to be able to apply it."
During her first year at the helm, Jonasson-Young, who holds an MBA from the Asper School, developed a deep understanding of the centre's strengths, and she realized the tremendous opportunity - and need - to advance executive education. She sees the centre as a valuable partner in the business community; one that can help find solutions to education challenges.
"This is truly something that is responsive to business and community needs based on what we know is happening in the marketplace."
Catering to organizations of all sizes, programs may be customized to meet specific needs, and they may be delivered in-house or at the centre's state-of-the-art facility downtown, on the second floor at 177 Lombard Ave.
Learning opportunities range from a comprehensive, 10-day Advanced Program in Management, Leadership & Strategy to open-enrollment programs in social media, innovation in the workplace,leading change, strategic planning and conflict resolution.
The centre partners with the Rotman School of Management to provide its Directors Education Program, and it calls upon the expertise of the Humphrey Group to offer a suite of communication programs, which include videotaped sessions to give participants instant feedback. Jonasson-Young says there's great potential to expand partnerships and programming in areas that would be beneficial for Manitobans, such as Indigenous management training and development.
The University of Manitoba and the I.H. Asper School of Business also provide a deep pool of dynamic instructors and moderators who are adept at engaging adult learners.
"We have this great resource of people that we're able to pull from and because of that we have incredible teachers who have real-life experience and are able to put real-life examples in front of senior leaders," she says.
"The individuals we look for first of all are people who have intense knowledge in their subject matter, and they often have researched or have tremendous access to the latest and greatest in research."
One side benefit is the ability to expand the community's knowledge network by introducing business leaders to I.H. Asper School of Business faculty members. "Many of the faculty are incredibly knowledgeable, but they don't always have the opportunity to reach out to the business community," Jonasson-Young says. "It's such an incredible resource for the business community to tap into."
For more information on the James W. Burns Executive Education Centre, visit: http://umanitoba.ca/asper
Want to meet Debra? You'll find her at a TEN Event