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Letter from your RDC Alumni Engagement Coordinator

Submitted by
Sonia Munksgaard

It's been a challenging year for the RDCAA on many levels. We've been unable to hold the events and activities that we look forward to each year. We missed the Athletics Alumni receptions that open our Athletics season every year. We've missed getting dressed up for the Fine Wine and Food Tasting, and we've especially missed honouring the professional and personal achievements of alumni at the annual Community Awards Dinner

Through these challenges, we've learned so many new things. We're meeting virtually, making it possible for more alumni to participate in planning and sharing feedback. We've found new digital tools to support and connect, like the Alumni Book Club and Business Directory. We've loved seeing all of the ways alumni are supporting one another and our community in this challenging and uncertain time. 

Last month, the RDC Alumni Association held our first virtual Annual General Meeting. We welcomed new members, celebrated members completing their terms, and appointed a new executive: 

  • After six years volunteering with the RDCAA, Amanda Hadland retired from the Board. This comes at the end of her second term as Chair. Amanda was a passionate and energetic leader who pushed the Board to consider what opportunities they were missing and what new activities could help connect alumni back to RDC.
  • Other retiring community members were Barb Dixon and Dr. Rob Kurio. Faculty Representative Jillian Walls and Student Representative Brittany Lausen also retired from the Board this year. The contributions of these members will have a lasting impact on the future of the RDCAA as we re-envision how we can make a difference in our College and community. 
  • Evan Staal was appointed as Chair. Evan has served on the RDCAA Board for three years and has served in both the Secretary and Vice Chair roles.  Evan was also Chair of the Fine Wine and Food Tasting Committee leading up to the event's cancellation and played an important role in the recruitment of vendors and sponsors.   
  • Sharyl James was elected Vice Chair, and Mary Smith continues in the role of Secretary/Treasurer.  Sharyl and Mary are serving their second year on the Board and bring a wealth of knowledge. They have both worked in post-secondary, and understand the importance of strong alumni affinity.   
  • Jarrett Seim continues in his second year on the Board. Last year, Jarrett very active on the Fine Wine and Food Tasting Committee and engaging the community. 
  • New to the Board this year, appointed from our internal RDC community, are Logan Beauchamp, VP External with the RDC Student's Association, and RDC Faculty representative Lynne Madsen.  Logan and Lynne are strong assets to the Board, with their ability to bring student and faculty perspectives and input to the Alumni Association. 
  • Leading up to the AGM, the Association put a call-out for applications for the Board of Directors. We were overjoyed with the response from the RDC Alumni Community.  The new members of the Board of Directors are J'Anna Aitchison, Caroline Popilchak, Brad Olstad, and Courtney Avram.  These Directors are spread across central Alberta and bring diverse experience within the community and an array of industries. 

The overriding theme of the Board's discussion at the AGM was about strengthening our connections. The RDCAA Board of Directors is proud to connect RDC Alumni with our College, strengthen these connections, and support one another.  

At the same time, the Board is committed to increasing support for current and future students.  Early in the New Year, the RDCAA will be collaborating with the RDC Foundation Board to engage in strategy discussions on how to best support our students and connect with the community. 

Personally, this has been a whirlwind of a year for me since I stepped into this role just one year ago, in November 2019.  My work pivoted very quickly in those first four months with the College.  It didn't look how I expected it to but, looking back on this year, I'm even more proud to be a part of this community. I have worked very closely with the RDCAA Board of Directors to support their initiatives, met alumni who hold a strong affinity to the College, connected with alumni through the RDC Alumni Book Club, and learned about alumni business owners through the creation of the Alumni Business Directory.  I am thrilled that I could celebrate the success of students completing their programs in person last year at the Nurses Pinning Ceremony and Trades Completion Breakfasts.  I was also glad to welcome all 2020 graduates to the RDC Alumni Association, virtually and within their Convocation packages. 

RDC Alumni are some of the most resilient, creative thinkers I've had the honour of working with, and I know we're going to do great work together to support our community. 

I wish you a joyful and restful holiday season, and I look forward to staying connected to all of you in the New Year. 

Sonia Munksgaard 
RDC Alumni Engagement Coordinator 

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