Alumnus takes over as SAITSA's Executive Director
It's not about the money. It's about family, according to Blair McCormick, SAITSA's newest executive director.
He didn't know that it would be the beginning of a lifetime SAITSA family bond.
"A lot of what keeps me here is the culture," McCormick says. "It's like a family. There are always other opportunities, but to feel at home when you're at work makes it worthwhile".
SAITSA recognized his talent, and he was hired as a full-time controller while continuing his BBA on the side. After graduating in 2008, McCormick couldn't tear himself away. He continued as controller until this year, when he was offered the position of executive director.
"It really makes me feel like I'm giving back to the community that was there to support me when I was a student," McCormick says.
This passion is what drives McCormick to help make the college experience great for students while they are at SAIT, but also after they are out working in the field.
Noticing SAIT's student body to be naturally disjointed due to the variety of programs offered, McCormick saw the need for a nuclear space to create a "community feeling" among students.
"We want to continue to grow and expand the services we offer to students, but without additional space there has been nowhere to do that."
Those limitations changed last November, when a majority of students voted "yes" in a SAITSA referendum to use allocated funds to build a new campus centre, called SAITSA HQ. McCormick identifies it as a leap forward in achieving that sense of belonging he hopes every student will experience.
"I want us to be that leading edge student association in Canada," McCormick says. "Instead of us just learning what other people are doing and their best practices, we're creating those best practices."
"One of the biggest goals in our strategic plan is to connect students with stakeholders," he says. "SAITSA's aim is to keep alumni coming back with a sense of belonging and community, even after they graduate."
McCormick's focus on fostering connections is also a critical skill in his job as executive director of a students' association whose leadership changes every year.
Brigitte Matheson, former SAITSA President, worked with McCormick for a year as he was being transitioned from controller to executive director and saw his natural talent for the role immediately.
"He has a knack for not only seeing the long-term vision, but also how the short-term goals tie into the picture," she says.
Matheson describes McCormick as "fiercely loyal to SAITSA," and has appreciated his leadership throughout her own career as president.
"He really wants the people around him to excel, and he'll do whatever he can to lift people up."
Written by Jolisa Tweedie
SAIT Journalism Student