Alaura Jopling wants to inspire a new post-secondary beginning for high school students

alaura-joplingAlaura Jopling’s post-secondary journey did not start with Fleming College, which is why she decided to become a Grad Recruiter with Student Recruitment.

“I want to educate and inspire the young students who are starting to apply to post-secondary because, had I known then what I know now, my journey would have a completely different beginning,” said Alaura.

After graduating from high school, Alaura entered university, which she describes as very large and made her feel like a “number.” Although she did enjoy the social aspect, she struggled academically at university.

“When I got to Fleming, it was the polar opposite,” said Alaura, who took the Business Administration – Marketing program. “My favourite thing about Fleming is that class sizes are around thirty students; faculty know you by name and even get to know you as not only a student, but as a future business person. They want you to succeed– not only in your future career, but in life.”

At Fleming, Alaura said she learned about her field of study, gained hands-on experience through assignments and her Applied Project with the Innovation Cluster, and grew as a person while exploring her strengths and weaknesses.

She said her favourite spot on campus is the library, which she started using after realizing most of her classmates were studying there.

“I knew that if I really wanted to succeed, I needed to be a part of this group,” she said. “I went there almost every day– before classes, after classes and even on my days off. The atmosphere was perfect. We would study together, quiz one-another and even teach one another.”

She feels Fleming really does live up to the promise of “Learn, Belong, Become,” and thanks everyone in the Fleming community who helped her succeed.

“After having that first negative post-secondary experience, I wasn’t sure that I was going to succeed. Fleming taught me how to be confident again; how to use my own uniqueness and skills in the field, and how it would set me apart from others. I learned the best way to be me and that truly is the best outcome I could have hoped for,” she said. “The best thing I learned while attending Fleming was that I am capable, I am intelligent, and I can – and am going to – succeed.”

From taking a multi-millionaire out to dinner to creating a business, Fleming College is a wild ride for Dylan Trepanier

dylan-t-blogWhen Dylan Trepanier reflects on his most memorable experience at Fleming College, he recalls the time he took a multi-millionaire to dinner in his 2006 Chevrolet Equinox.

He had been tasked with driving Nicole Verkindt – a young, successful entrepreneur who founded OMX (Offset Market Exchange) and serves as a Dragon on CBC’s “Next Gen Den” – from the Innovation Cluster to St. Veronus restaurant. Nicole was in Peterborough to speak at a FastStart Fleming event and Dylan had won the opportunity to have dinner with her afterward.

“I’ll never forget her racing me to my car and getting in the passenger seat, and all I could think about was the bits of dried paint on the seat and the fact I was about to drive around a Dragon,” said Dylan, who graduated from the Business Administration – Marketing program this year.

“But the moment I remember the most that night is when all the stress melted away, when she asked to listen to my story.”

He shared his business idea with Nicole, a driven and passionate “rock star” business person named Canada’s 2017 Woman Entrepreneur of the Year by StartUp Canada. Nicole enthusiastically asked Dylan questions and gave valuable feedback.

“I’ll never forget the feeling when she told me that she believed in me and my idea. It felt incredible to be acknowledged by someone who understands what it’s like to put everything on the line to follow their dreams,” he said.

Dylan’s business idea is Alexander Optical, a team of on-demand health care service professionals that organize pop-up eye exam clinics. Their teams visit places like schools, long-term care residences, and companies to offer eye health care services, including glasses.

Dylan (right) with the Alexander Optical team
Dylan (right) with the Alexander Optical team

He developed this idea in 2013 and came to Fleming College in September 2015 because of it, working with nearly every professor to tailor assignments, projects and case studies to help understand his business plan. In his last semester, Dylan officially launched Alexander Optical as his Applied Project for the Business Administration – Marketing program and presented it at the Innovation Showcase event, where he earned the Most Innovative Business Award and the Best Presenter Award.

Dylan was also awarded the GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy Canada Award for Outstanding Business Achievements, The Duane Parnham Business Development Award, the Sustainable Peterborough Award, the Student Administrative Council’s President’s Award, and the Valedictorian Award.

“The Fleming College community is generous and supportive. My success here never would have been possible without the relationships built over the last three years. It’s this community that’s helped me to become confident in myself and my career choice,” said Dylan. “I loved my time here in this program, and having the co-curricular hands-on opportunities available to practice what I was learning in class made my time way more valuable.”

Through the Business Administration – Marketing program, Dylan developed communication skills, problem solving, accountability, and more.

“I 11/10 would recommend this diploma to a friend, have recommended it to friends, and I will continue to advocate on behalf of the program because I graduated feeling ready for the industry,” said Dylan. “I know my graduating class is going to do incredible things with the knowledge we’ve learned here.”

Dylan served as Valedictorian at the School of Business convocation ceremony this month and hopes his fellow graduates remember to seize the moment, prioritize their mental and physical health, get out of their comfort zone, learn where to focus their efforts, and remember they have the power to control how others treat them.

“And most importantly, put your heart into it,” he added.

Dylan thanks Student Life Coordinator Leona Folz, and faculty members Raymond Yip Choy and Wendy Morgan for being role models, and the Class of 2018 for helping make amazing memories.

“This class is going down in the history books, you watch,” he said.

Now that Dylan has graduated from Fleming College, he is working on Alexander Optical full-time. Dylan was selected as one of seven youth entrepreneurs for the Innovation Cluster Slingshot Program, which provides him with workspace and access to workshops, resources, specialists and tools throughout the summer culminating in a pitch competition to become a full-time client of the Cluster and win $1000.

“With the skills I’ve learned in class, I’ve been able to create a lean and profitable business model that satisfies the three pillars of sustainability, creates incredible impact, and is continuing to gain momentum with the support of the Innovation Cluster,” said Dylan.

Entactus Fleming President encourages students to get involved

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Dylan Trepanier, President of Enactus Fleming, encourages all Fleming College students to get involved on campus. The leader of the entrepreneurial student club said the more involved you are on campus, the stronger your resumé will be after graduating.

“My advice is the same to every student: get involved and you will become more employable,” said Dylan, who is entering semester 5 of the Business Administration – Marketing program this fall. “We are all here for the same reason – to become more employable – so why not take full advantage of that while you can? Get recognition for getting involved and develop your Co-Curricular Record (CCR). Your experience is what’s getting you the job, the diploma only gets you the interview.”

Enactus Fleming is a student-led entrepreneurial club that provides innovative programming initiatives. The group gives students an opportunity to apply their skills to entrepreneurship, participate in workshops, impact the economic growth of international communities, and start a business on campus.

“I am involved with Enactus because I believe I have the ability to make real change happen on campus and Enactus provided me with a network of support to enable me to do that,” said Dylan. “I believe that I can help other students to feel empowered to make an impact of their own on campus.”

Through Enactus, Dylan participated in the Enactus Central Canada Regional Competition, a pitch competition with participating colleges and universities in Central Canada. His team discussed obstacles and advice for strategic short, medium and long-term planning, and had the opportunity to listen to keynote speakers Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau, Premier of Ontario Kathleen Wynne, and Nelson and Winnie Mandela’s daughter Swati Dlamini.

Enactus Fleming also attended the Enactus World Cup, which featured business students from 136 countries around the world competing in a pitch and showcase-style presentation. Dylan participated in workshops hosted by business industry leaders and experts, and networked with Coca-Cola’s Vice-President of Sales Scott Lindsay to discuss water usage reduction strategies and employment opportunities at Coca-Cola.

At the Enactus World Cup, Dylan and his team discussed the importance of a collaborative approach to reach the Sustainable Development Goals issued by the United Nations, which is an important issue for the Fleming College student.

“Sustainability is important to me because I like this planet and a lot of the people on it. I have the ability to influence how people perceive sustainability and their ability to improve their lives to be more sustainable, so I will,” said Dylan, who explained that the three pillars of sustainability include an economic, social, and environmental component.

Dylan said sustainability is especially important in his career path, as marketing professionals can influence how a generation thinks and acts towards sustainability.

“I appreciate that there is such a strong and influential corporate social responsibility component involved in our courses at Fleming, as it has had a major impact on the way I act and react to products as a consumer and an entrepreneur,” he said.

Dylan, who is a First Generation student, is enjoying his Fleming College program. He came to Fleming to improve his employment prospects and develop entrepreneurial skills, and credits the faculty, staff and his peers for helping him develop his professional abilities and step out of his comfort zone.

“I enjoy attending Fleming every day and I almost always look forward to going back the next day,” said Dylan. “I think my experience is very unique because of my involvement on campus and I encourage more students to follow suit and get involved themselves.”