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Honorary Degree Recipient

The awarding of an honorary degree is a recognition by SAIT of distinguished achievement in scholarship, the creative arts or public service provincially, nationally or internationally. Our honorary degree recipients proudly take the opportunity to speak to our graduates about their own experiences at our bi-annual convocation ceremonies.

As part of its ongoing quest to recognize and support excellence, SAIT's Board of Governors seeks nominations for recipients of its honorary bachelor degrees. SAIT awards the honorary degree(s) to laud distinguished achievement in scholarship, the creative arts or public service, on the provincial, national or international stage. Nominations are currently closed.

Spring 2020 Honorary Degree Recipient, Keynote Speaker

Alex Zahavich

Mandy Rennehan, Blue-Collar CEO™ & Founder Freshco.ca

Mandy Rennehan (a.k.a. Bear) is called the Blue-Collar CEO™ for her ability to seamlessly navigate between the white- and blue-collar worlds and to respectfully ’tell it like it is.’

Mandy is a sought-after speaker, multiple award-winning entrepreneur, philanthropist and trade industry ambassador. Freshco.ca and Mandy have received countless business awards including:

  • Canada’s Most Admired CEO
  • Atlantic Business Magazine's Top CEO for the Atlantic Provinces
  • Toronto Region Board of Trade Business Leader of the Year
  • Top 25 Women of Influence
  • The RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur “Momentum” Award
  • Growth 500 Excellence in Innovation (WXN’s) Top 100 Most Powerful Women – Hall of Fame
  • CGLCC LGBT Business of the Year
  • Atlantic Business Magazine’s Top 50 CEOs.

Mandy’s vision goes well beyond building successful businesses. She is redefining the collar, blue™ to help solve the massive skilled trade shortage in North America. It is a profound economic and social issue that affects everyone. Consumers are paying more and waiting longer for services, companies aren’t able to scale and important infrastructure projects, like roads, transit and hospitals are being delayed.

Mandy is challenging the misconception that white-collar jobs are “better” or “more desirable” than blue-collar ones. Society needs both collars, and if we do not change this, the crippling effects of the skilled labour shortage will only get worse.

Bear is also a lead advisor to the federal government’s national campaign encouraging apprenticeships and promoting the skilled trades as a career. Mandy defies labels.

The description she often gets is “refreshing.” Her (respectfully) uncensored honesty is matched by her quick wit, East Coast humour and big heart. It is impossible to remain unchanged after coming into contact with this authentic, self-taught and self-made powerhouse.


"Hold the belief that you can achieve something even in the darkest moments. The only trick is to be persistent and consistent with a humble heart."

Ning Jia, Business Administration ‘12


Let’s get social – #SAIT2020

Share your success, SAIT pride and convocation memories with #SAIT2020 and your post may be shared by SAIT or SAIT Alumni on our social channels.

Post photos of your favourite @SAIT memories to Instagram with #SAIT2020 for a chance to win one of two $100 gift cards to Calgary restaurants with a SAIT connection: Charcut and Modern Steak. Make sure you follow @SAITalumni on Instagram to be entered. Each photo memory may also be featured on the @SAIT and @SAITalumni social media channels.

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