Written by Carly Verhoeven
Over three hundred applicants, with fifty of the strongest competitors and a short list of fifteen businesses… it’s hard to believe the time has come, but class is now in session.
I walked into Proof Kitchen and Lounge in Kitchener with feelings of excitement and gratitude. As one of the lucky 30 students selected for the March cohort of the Digital Innovation and Skills Certificate Program, I felt a rush being in the same room as so many talented and driven individuals. Being accepted into the DISC Program was not an easy feat, but I am incredibly grateful for the opportunities that lay ahead.
Last week was our first in-class session and it was everything I could have hoped for. We kicked off the evening with a casual meet and greet over appetizers. This was a creative approach that allowed students to mingle and discuss each other’s background and interests. I was fascinated by the diverse skills ranging from art and science, to public relations and entrepreneurship.
Following appetizers, we moved across Erb Street to Shopify's office. Orientation kicked off with an introduction of program details and expectations. I was impressed by the organization of the entire leadership team. Jeff Mitchell, DISC Program Coordinator, quickly assigned students into teams of six before introducing us to our coaches. Trish Gray from Stryve Digital Marketing is leading my student team and I value her passion, and determination to make our capstone project experience meaningful and successful.
My team was assigned Eco-Cafe; an extraordinary small business roasting coffee St Jacobs with overflowing amounts of potential and opportunity. I had the opportunity to speak with owner Ed Denyer during an information session in mid-February. He spoke very passionately about his involvement in organic fair trade coffee. I am excited to work with him because his personality is larger than life!
The first project we worked on was establishing our core values as a marketing/e-commerce agency. Five teams of 6 students were each given post-it notes and markers to create a list of values that would steer the integrity of our team and its work. My team decided on the name DarWin (based around the thesis of evolution). In this exercise, we determined that our values will:
be radically transparent,
and purpose driven.
We came to the conclusion that complacency is not an option.
As a team of multi-talented individuals, I look forward to the many personal and professional opportunities for growth that this program has to offer.
Oh, and one more thing... my first impression was this program is going to be intense, but so worthwhile!