Stephanie Jonah: Finding her Place

2014-2015 Issue 1

Stephanie JonahStephanie Jonah is a Cree woman from Waskaganish who works as a project administrator for Wemindji-owned Tawich Construction in Eleonore Project, Goldcorp mines. The company specializes in civil and mining construction, and she has worked there for over three years.

Although she loves her job, she’d been looking for an opportunity to return to school and pursue higher education. “I’m always trying to learn,” says Stephanie, “but I don’t want to leave my job.” She found exactly what she was looking for when she picked up a copy of the Nation magazine; it was there she saw an advertisement for McGill’s Online courses in Business Management and Entrepreneurship for Indigenous People.

Both programs consist of credit courses tailored specifically for First Nations and Inuit people living in remote areas of Quebec and Northern Canada. Course topics include accounting, communications, human resources and project management. “I do all those things in my job,” says Stephanie.

She started classes this past winter, and since then she’s completed courses in accounting and communications, both of which she found “very practical.”

“I started the course in January, and in February our company implemented a new accounting program. I was really able to apply what I learned in class.” It was the same with her Communication in Management class; she believes so strongly in the course’s content, “I want everyone at my company to take it! It’s a Cree company, so there’s a culture of oral tradition, and I’m really trying to apply new ideas.”

Stephanie’s job requires that she work 14 days at a time, with 14-day breaks. As a result, she required courses that were flexible. “I looked into other administrative business classes and Aboriginal courses, but I didn’t want to waste my time. This is exactly what I was looking for – because of my hours, and because it relates to my job. I absolutely love the online format; I study in the library, at a coffee shop, at home or in hotels. I can chat online with instructors, or use a microphone. I know personally that it’s given me more confidence to suggest ideas, go after promotions, and challenge myself at my present workplace.”

But she’s not done yet; she’s already enrolled in two more courses, Introduction to Business and Creating a Business Plan, which she’ll complete over the summer. Is she considering a career in entrepreneurship? “Yes, I have an interest in opening my own business. It’s always been a dream of mine,” says Stephanie. “I want to be my own boss, and be in a position to I make my own decisions. I’m a firm believer that everyone can find their place.”

Click for more information on Online courses in Business Management and Entrepreneurship for Indigenous People.

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