2019/2020 operations TEAM
Every year the incoming GSA president compiles a list of each initiative and advocacy effort the incoming management team agrees is important to pursue in the upcoming year. Many of these items are first recognized, documented, and discussed during the GSA's annual retreat and it is updating on an ongoing basis internally to document the completion of each task. This document is also used to reflect the goals outlined in the strategic plan.
2019 Annual plan
This plan will be developed during May and June and was presented to our Board of Directors during their June meeting for approval.
Name: Kathy Bazinet
Position with GSA: President & CEO
Why did I get involved: It is my hope and desire to take my years of experience in the areas of wellness, planning, service/program implementation, evaluation, communication, and advocacy, while working with a team of dedicated and passionate Student Leader and Laurier Partners in order to continue to improve the graduate student experience here at Laurier.
What leadership means to me: creating and nurturing the environment that allows the synergy that occurs when the combined skills, expertise, talents and gifts of the individual team members come together for a common ‘why’. Thus creating a passion and dedication to the work that facilitates positive change for the betterment of all graduate students.
What leadership means to me:
Hidden Skill/Talent or Fun Fact: I am happiest amongst the trees, out in nature, on a hike.
Name: Adrianna Tassone
Program: Social Psychology
Position with GSA: Wellness Committee Chair/ Waterloo Representative
Why I got involved: I got involved with the GSA because I want to help foster student wellness, connect with other students, and enhance the graduate school experience.
What leadership means to me: Leadership means acting as a partner to guide the group towards their goals, listening to their needs, and making people feel welcome and empowered.
Hidden Skill/Talent or Fun Fact: I've met Sporty Spice from the Spice Girls!
Name: Anna Markov
Program: Master of Social Work (MSW)
Position with GSA: Peer Support Coordinator/ Kitchener Representative
Why did I get involved: I got involved with the GSA because I wanted to use my skills, experience, and passion to support graduate student health and wellness. Since being a grad student often comes with many different challenges, I recognize the importance of feeling supported and feeling that the grad experience is meaningful and balanced. I am hoping to contribute to building connections within the graduate student community at Laurier and to ensure that my peers feel supported, heard, and connected.
What leadership means to me: To me, leadership means listening openly and respectfully and ensuring that others feel comfortable, heard, and understood. Leadership means recognizing the incredible strengths of individuals and the community, and working to learn from, empower, and inspire others in order to, together, facilitate positive change and ensure that the needs of individuals and the student community as a whole are met.
Hidden Skill/Talent or Fun Fact: I bake (A lot!). One holiday season, I baked and decorated over 500 cookies in my tiny home kitchen!
Name: Arzoo Bhatia
Program: Masters In Theology - Spiritual Care and Psychotherapy
Position with GSA: Waterloo Representative
Why did I get involved: To me, it is important to have an encompassing experience as a student by participating in various opportunities on campus and connecting with others. To be able to help the Laurier graduate community live an inclusive and healthy experience through the GSA and to make and keep our campus a safe place for all is one of my goals for this year and I'm thrilled to be living it now.
What leadership means to me: A quote I live by is "The best way to predict the future is to create it" - Abraham Lincoln. A Leadership role is an opportunity to commit and empower the people. I take concern and care for those I am representing, so they are heard and collaborative change is possible. I believe that passion, integrity, and accountability are some of the core values that define good leadership, and I aim to uphold these values in practice.
Hidden Skill/Talent or Fun Fact: I have lived with 8 dogs and 3 cats at once. The love for animals is real haha. Also, I make a mean S’mores pie.
Name: Esther Abel
Program: PhD Social Psychology
Position with GSA: Research Committee Chair & Waterloo Representative
Why did I get involved: As a grad student, I know how important support is when going through a degree, as this can be a tough time for a lot of different reasons. I wanted to use my skills, training, and experience to help support my fellow grad students.
What leadership means to me: Creating and maintaining a respectful and organized environment where all involved can participate, be creative, and feel empowered to speak up and work together to create change.
Hidden Skill/Talent: I am a pro at sewing and make custom dresses.
Name: Jenna McGonegal
Program: Master of Social Work
Position with GSA: Mentorship Program Coordinator/Kitchener Representative
Why did I get involved: I got involved with the GSA to help bridge connections between the different Laurier campuses and to contribute to community-building within the Faculty of Social Work.
What leadership means to me: Leadership means advocating for the needs of my peers and contributing to meaningful change that can benefit the Laurier graduate student community.
Hidden Skill/Talent or Fun Fact: I spent two years in South Korea teaching English before starting my MSW.
Name: Jeremy Wagner
Program: PhD Global Governance
Position with GSA: Waterloo Representative
Why did I get involved: I want to be part of building an inclusive, supportive and empowering campus environment for graduate students. As the centre of the graduate student community on campus, the GSA provided me with training and learning experiences that challenge me to grow as a student and improve my contributions to the WLU community. For these reasons, I am grateful to be continuing my involvement with the GSA!
What leadership means to me: I think leadership can come in many different forms and isn’t always about being the most charismatic or vocal person in a room. Leadership is about creating a respectful and collaborative environment that brings the best out of the people around us. I strive to lead by listening to those around me, continually learning from their expertise, and empowering them to use their talents to achieve our common goals.
Hidden Skill/Talent or Fun Fact: Physical activity is a major part of maintaining my mental health. My reliance on long distance running to maintain a healthy mind has me running my first marathon this year!
Name: Jiaxin Guo
Program: Master of Finance (co-op)
Position with GSA: Professional Development Committee Chair & Waterloo Representative
Why did I get involved: Becoming a Golden Hawk was one of the most advisable decisions I made. I got a lot of support from Laurier alumni during my co-op and am more than glad to help graduate students with professional development and improve student satisfaction in Laurier.
What leadership means to me: For me, leadership means listening to others’ opinion with an open mind, extracting valuable information and making the decision for the long benefit of the team, guaranteeing teammates’ satisfaction and sustainable contribution.
Hidden Skill/Talent or Fun Fact: Chinese Calligraphy, Marathon, Poker
Official Title: Brantford Representative
Program: Social Justice and Community Engagement
Who is someone you admire, and why?
My Parents, J.kTano, and AmaFinwaa. They are the reason for my academic success. My parents did not get the opportunity to go to school but invested most of their time, resources and income in my education. My parents are the epitome of motivation, and the greatest source of inspiration for me and parents who would otherwise see illiteracy as a barrier to their children’s education.
What are you happiest doing, when you’re not working?
My happiest moments are the time I spend with friends and family. I enjoy watching soccer and Nigerian Comedy.
What are some causes you care about?
Encouraging people to embrace the spirit of Utilitarianism. I believe in supporting activities that will help create a better society for all its members. I am always happy to see the underprivileged having the“we feeling” factor; the sense of belonging. This to me is an antidote to living fulfilled lives, peace, social and economic developments in our communities.
What’s a goal you have for yourself that you want to accomplish in the next year?
To get more experience in fair leadership and also work towards the completion of my M.A in Social Justice and Community Engagement.
What do you think are your best skills that you’d like to bring to the GSA and how do you plan on using them?
To apply the knowledge acquired in Journalism, Public Relations, and marketing to increase GSA’s presence and foster greater participation among all graduate students’, to create a welcoming environment for addressing issues impacting graduate students’ in my Constituency. I will also help GSA organize results-oriented programs that will help build good rapport among all Graduate students’ in all Wilfrid Laurier University campuses. As a Brantford student, I will help GSA engage in some developmental projects in the Brantford Community as part of our Corporate Social Responsibility.
Name: Judy Tran
Official Title: Toronto Representative
Program: Toronto Part-Time MBA
Why did I get involved: I loved organizing events and getting to know people at the Laurier Toronto campus and wanted to continue being involved.
What leadership means to me: "Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality." – Warren Bennis
Hidden Skill/Talent or Fun Fact: As a child, my dream job was to become a cashier because I liked the beeping sounds that the scanner made at the checkout. (Full disclosure: I've never been a cashier, although I can probably fulfil that dream now by using self-serve checkouts!)
Name: Ellen Menage
Position with GSA: Executive Director
Why did I get involved: For the last two decades my passion has centered around student leadership and community engagement. My 12 years with the GSA have offered me an opportunity to blend my passion with a career in not-for-profit management. I am grateful that I get to work with such a diverse, and talented group of graduate students every year!
What leadership means to me: I believe that leadership is an action, a positive attitude and an example for others. It does not require a fancy title or position.
Hidden Skill/Talent or Fun Fact: I was President of the Doon Student Association (now Conestoga Incorporated) in 1999-2000.
Name: Cassandra Salatas
Official Title: Marketing & Communications Manager
Why did I get involved: I wanted to contribute my skills and expertise to an organization where I knew they would make a meaningful difference.
What leadership means to me: Instead of Gandhi’s quote “be the change that you wish to see in the world”, sometimes I say “design or create the change you wish to see in the world”. Leadership to me is about using your own unique skills/strengths to “voice” your ideas on how to make positive change.
Hidden Skill/Talent or Fun Fact: I know how to read Greek, but have no clue what the words translate to.
Name: Patrick McMahon
Official Title: Operations Manager, Veritas Cafe
Why did I get involved with the GSA: I was excited to return to Campus and join up with the GSA. Working with them in past events on campus I knew the leadership was committed to doing great things.
What leadership means to me: Leadership means making the hard choices, being a positive team member, and working with people that bring out the best in others.
Hidden Skill/Talent or Fun Fact: Avid beach comber.