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Shifting career gears: Upskilling to lead in business

SAIT business student Heather is setting the stage for her future.
SAIT business student Heather is setting the stage for her future

Heather is from Fort McMurray and is taking not just one but two SAIT School of Business certificates online, while working full time and being a mom.

"Believe in yourself and trust the journey — take the leap if you’re ready!"


Meet Heather, 26

Online General Business Administration Certificate of Achievement and Applied Management Certificate of Achievement student


What were you doing before you enrolled at SAIT?

I was working at Alberta Health Services (AHS) in an administrative position supporting the recovery training team for the Wildfire Recovery Program.

Why did you choose to come to SAIT?

The scope of my role at AHS changed. I realized I needed to develop my communication skills, and parts of my new position piqued my interest in learning more about finance and management. I started researching courses that would help me excel in those areas and learned about the SAIT School of Business. SAIT sounded exactly like the educational institution I wanted to attend. Since I’m not from the Calgary area, it’s a big bonus for me that the courses are offered online. In 2018, I made the leap and enrolled — it was the best decision I could have made for my education and my career path!

How have the skills you’ve developed from your program helped you in your career?

Most recently, I made the switch from AHS to the construction industry as an accounting administrator at Wood Buffalo Paving. This position will allow me to expand and practice the accounting methods I have learned so far in the General Business Administration certificate. I know in a management or leadership position you often need to have a solid understanding of financials, so by developing my skills ahead of time in these areas I will be prepared. 

What has your online experience with SAIT been like so far?

My online experience has been nothing but exceptional! I have encountered many phenomenal professors and classmates. I had never used the Brightspace (D2L) platform prior to SAIT, and I truly enjoy the layout and being able to access everything you need at your fingertips.

Being able to utilize the Reg Erhardt Library online has been super useful for completing assignments and discussion posts — the librarians are extremely helpful. I have not utilized it yet, but have heard great things about Academic Coaching at SAIT as well.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about a career change?

Believe in yourself and trust the journey take the leap if you’re ready!

Where are you hoping to take your career?

After completing the General Business Administration Certificate of Achievement, I plan to work towards a Bachelor of Business Administration majoring in Management or Human Resources. The courses I have taken so far in my Applied Management Certificate (Leadership Skills and Supervisory Skills), combined with everything I have learned from the managers I’ve reported to throughout my career, has made me realize my long-term goal is a leadership role. 

What advice would you give to those who are unfamiliar with the online learning experience?

Do your best to embrace the experience. While online learning can be overwhelming if you've never done it before, take time to figure out what works best for you. While the content itself may be online, if having papers physically in front of you works best for your learning style, print them off. There are a lot of little things you can do to ensure you’re comfortable in an online learning atmosphere. 


Learn from a SAIT and industry expert in leadership

SAIT business student Heather is setting the stage for her future.



“Lifelong learning and continuous development are key to ensuring we stay competitive in our careers, but also how our organizations stay agile and adaptive. Developing leadership skills is an ongoing process — we are never truly done!”

- Jaci Lydon, Instructor, Business Administration



Read more shifting gears stories — and write your own!

Read Niloufar's story.

After working in vehicle manufacturing in the Middle East for 12 years, Niloufar was ready to learn another side of the industry and came across the globe to upskill at SAIT.

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