At the conclusion of the 10th Annual Rising Stars program, members of the Prince Rupert and District Chamber of Commerce took time out on Wednesday to recognize those involved and the impact the program is having.
Rising Stars matches up students at Northwest Community College with mentors from the Prince Rupert business community, with the two attending Chamber of Commerce luncheons and personal and professional development sessions together.
“Every year we see an amazing group of Stars and mentors and this year is no different. The personal growth I have seen since the first dinner back in the fall to today is amazing,” past chamber president Jason Scherr told members during a March 18 luncheon.
“he enthusiasm and energy of the stars was matched only by the commitment of the mentors,” added Keith Lambourne, one of the organizing committee for 2015.
The program has come a long way since it first began, with student participants gaining college credit for the first time in Rising Stars history. Also new this year was a Speechcraft workshop hosted by Toastmasters that Lambourne said had a noticeable impact on the participants.
“On Thursday the Rising Stars had to present a minimum five minute SWOT [strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats] analysis on their mentor’s business while the mentor was in the room. If I had said six months ago they would need to stand up and give a five minute presentation, there would have been a stampede to the door,” joked Lambourne.
“If I asked them to do it today, there would be a stampede to the microphone because their confidence has grown by leaps and bounds.”
Aside from Lambourne and Scherr, some of the Rising Stars anonymously submitted statements about the impact the program has had on them.
“Rising Stars has been an invaluable experience for me … I am so appreciative that I was able to take advantage of this opportunity and encourage future students to do the same,” wrote one.
“I had a wonderful experience this year. So many new things I have learned. It was a great, fun experience and a very memorable one as well,” wrote another.
The 2014/2015 Rising Stars included Maddy Angus and mentor Kate Toye of Success by Six, Paul Cavin and mentors Derek Baker and Anna Slubowski from Pacific NorthWest LNG, Anna Raselli and mentor Stefan Delloch of Northern Savings Credit Union, Hannah Komadina and mentor Kirsten Dzavashvili of the Prince Rupert Port Authority, Sheri Latimer and mentor Irene Mills of BG Canada, Brett Parnell and mentor Brittany Segin of Quickload Logistics, Emma Payne and mentor Donovan Dias of CityWest, Naomi Tsuji and mentor Mike Pucci of Maher Terminals Canada, and Jan-Hendrik Visser and mentor Michelle Bryant of Ridley Terminals.
As with past years, two Rising Stars were presented with bursaries with Anna Raselli and Sheri Latimer being the recipients.