Community Student Life

University of Münster Case Challenge 2022

John Molson School of Business brings home the first big win at an international case competition since 2019.

This year, the University of Münster Case Challenge (UMCC) took place for the sixth year in a row. Twelve schools from around the globe participated in the event, including the John Molson School of Business representing Concordia University.  

The Concordian had the pleasure of speaking with Michael Lecchino, one of the members on the JMSB team.

“The way JMSB sends delegates to international competitions is you usually have to be a part of JMCC. The JMCC is the John Molson Competition Committee. Once you are a part of this club, you take a case competition course and it teaches you how to do case cracks and get better at these case competitions,” Lecchino explained.

When a student at JMSB gets involved with the JMCC, they often get sent to regional competitions, like the Jeux du Commerce, for example. 

“I was able to participate in and go [to the UMCC] with three other academic delegates. My colleagues were Émile Martel, Dylan Ross, and Taylor Graham. We ended up going to the case competition in Münster, Germany, two weeks ago. There are some case competitions that happen in Australia, Alberta and many more, however they fall into the winter semester,” Lecchino said. 

Lecchino also broke down the competition for The Concordian.

“From when we arrived in Münster, our first case came in on Thursday. This was the shorter case, it was a four-hour case. We crack it and create a presentation and we pitch it to a panel of judges on that very same day,” Lecchino recalled. 

This case was regarding a business called The business wanted to establish a go-to market strategy and acquire business-to-business customers. The JMSB team successfully pitched it to the panel of judges.

“The next day on Friday, we have a ten-hour case. So we spend ten hours going through the case, creating a presentation and we don’t present. We presented on Saturday morning,” Lecchino said.

The ten-hour-long case was a sustainable urban development strategy for the city of Cologne.

On Saturday morning, the winners of each division were announced. These winners faced off in the finals with their respective presentations for the second case. 

“It was the first time we won and we podiumed at an International case competition since 2019,” Lecchino said. 

The UMCC was a great experience for Lecchino, and he recognized it as a huge honour to be able to represent JMSB alongside his colleagues. 


Getting back to the heart: CASA Cares launches debut podcast, Heart to Heart

The podcast sets out to inform and inspire the Concordia student body, one episode at a time

This January saw CASA Cares, the nonprofit subsidiary of JMSB, launch its debut podcast, Heart to Heart. With podcast consumption nearly doubling throughout the pandemic, Heart to Heart sets out to bridge the gap between Concordia students and the community left in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The interview-based podcast offers a platform where Concordia students can access advice and information on real concerns and events from experts in relevant fields. Structured on a bi-weekly release schedule, Heart to Heart will dedicate two 30-minute episodes each month to examining a particular cause or issue relating to current events.

“The podcast is basically trying to do two things,” said Divya Aery, the vice president of involvement for CASA Cares and the host of Heart to Heart. “One is trying to raise awareness on social issues and community initiatives. [The second] is trying to encourage or promote student involvement.”

This past month, Heart to Heart examined the effects that the recent lockdown measures has had on student’s mental health. Guest speakers from, the non-profit organization dedicated to youth mental health, listed a series of resources that students struggling with their mental health can access for immediate and long-term support.

Heart to Heart marks a shift in focus for the organization, which has traditionally been centred on hosting in-person fundraising events. It’s the first initiative launched by CASA Cares that does not revolve around fundraising for a particular cause or charity.

We don’t get any sort of revenue from this and it works because there is no cost either,” said Aery. “So it kind of just cancels [out] that way.”

For the non-profit organization, Heart to Heart brings the unprecedented challenge of having to operate the podcast on a zero dollar budget. All work relating to the day-to-day operation of the podcast is conducted solely by the project’s founding members. The Heart to Heart team has been using free programs such as Zoom and GarageBand to record and edit each episode, as well as recruiting guest speakers on a volunteer basis.

Despite the Heart to Heart team’s hard work, technical issues and just plain bad luck have still been major obstacles surrounding the launch.

“We had to record the first episode five times,” said Aery, when asked about Heart to Heart’s production process. “The audio kept cutting or I wasn’t happy with my questions or I thought we could have focused more on one [subject] over the other. And of course, my laptop crashed and I lost all the files, so I had to do another take.”

However, it is the dedication and commitment of the Heart to Heart founders that have let the project overcome these initial setbacks.

“There is such an impact for me personally,” said Khang Nghi Can, CASA Cares’ first-year representative and producer of Heart to Heart. “Sometimes, I’ll be editing and listening to it and I’m like, yeah, this is the thing I should do for myself, too. What if one person listens to the podcast and it makes them think differently? So if we can really help one person, like, that’s already huge.”

Heart to Heart is available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and the CASA Cares website.


Logo courtesy of CASA Cares


JMSB student starts petition to turn Grey Nuns Residence into temporary homeless shelter

In just four days, the petition collected over 3,000 signatures

After the recent deaths of homeless people in Montreal, David Desjardins, a third-year John Molson School of Business (JMSB) student at Concordia University, wanted to do more than just raise awareness about the city’s growing homelessness crisis.

Since the start of the pandemic, Montreal’s homeless population has increased from a pre-pandemic figure of around 3,000 to hundreds, maybe thousands, more. While experts have not been able to pinpoint the exact figure, the increase has manifested at homeless shelters, with staff reporting that they are operating at full capacity, though this is not enough to adequately serve the city’s increasing homeless population.

Meanwhile, several student residences in the city remain closed due to the pandemic. At Concordia, the Grey Nuns Residence — a heritage student residence and hotel building located near the downtown campus — is closed, with almost 600 beds unoccupied since the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year.

Desjardins decided to call on Concordia University to step in, and started a petition on Jan. 28, directed towards President of Concordia University Graham Carr, to turn the Grey Nuns Residence into a temporary homeless shelter.

Part of Desjardins’ motivation for starting the petition includes believing that “we need to act with urgency to find these people somewhere to stay, at least temporarily, or else we will see bloodshed.”

The petition, which started off with a goal of 150 signatures, currently has over 3,000.

“It’s been pretty impressive, I’m very happy to see all the support we’re getting,” said Desjardins.

In addition to it’s high occupancy rate, the Grey Nuns Residence boasts a cafeteria space, several multipurpose rooms, and 234-seat silent reading room. There are no specific plans on how this space would be used; instead, Desjardins said his petition is meant to get the ball rolling.

He believes new resources made available for the homeless during the pandemic, such as the Old Royal Victoria Hospital being converted to a homeless shelter in August 2020, “was a great first step.”

However, Desjardins believes that, in many ways, efforts to help the homeless have fallen short.

“I wouldn’t even say the government is doing much to be quite frank.”

Since enacting stricter lockdown measures on Jan. 9, Legault did not exempt the homeless population and homeless shelters from the 8 p.m. curfew. That decision not only meant that homeless people could incur fines up to $1,500 for being outside after curfew, but that shelters could no longer accept new clients past the curfew as well.

Even after the death of Raphael “Napa” Andre, a 51-year-old homeless man who froze to death in a portable toilet just a few metres away from a shelter after curfew, Legault said he would continue to refuse exempting the homeless population from curfew regulations.

“You have to understand that if we put in the law that a homeless person cannot get a ticket, well then anyone could say “I’m homeless,” explained Legault.

Severe backlash followed Legault’s stance, with politicians and community members calling on the premier to have compassion towards the homeless. On Jan. 26, a Quebec Superior Court judge reversed Legault’s regulation, ruling the homeless were no longer subject to curfew.

Following the government’s rocky commitment to the issue, Desjardins looked for new solutions to help with the homelessness problem. He believes more organizations and businesses should be willing to help.

“I think that anybody who does not take action in these times where it’s needed, are going to be guilty and are going to have blood on their hands,” said Desjardins.

If the project is approved, Desjardins thinks the university would have to find creative ways to fund the project. While he would allow a portion of his own tuition to fund the project, he believes many students would be against their own tuition being used.

“Once we have a green light, we can look at finding ways to get food, clothing, personal protective equipment … and all kinds of other things that are going to require funding for this project,” said Desjardins.

For now, he has contacted staff from the Grey Nuns Residence, and says he would be open to being involved with the project if it goes forward.

“I’m just doing everything I possibly can to make this happen at the moment,” said Desjardins.


Photograph by Christine Beaudoin

Interview conducted by Hadassah Alencar and edited by Adam Mbowe.


Concordians share their experience of participating in the JMoSB fundraiser

JMoSB comes to an end with over $28,000 raised

For JMoSB’s Movember fundraiser, all its members chose their own way to raise money and spread awareness for men’s health, particularly mental health.

Some members of the John Molson School of Business Movember team, a subsidiary of CASA Cares, sold pins, some found sponsors and prizes for raffles and competitions, and others did push-ups. But they all had the same goal: raising funds for the John Molson School of Business Movember fundraiser.

Sally Vu, the co-director of external relations for JMoSB, is majoring in Human Resource Management. Her mental health awareness project consisted of sharing video journals of 22 different men, each talking about their experience with and opinion on men’s mental health.

Jason Lobasso, a third-year finance student at JMSB, contributed to Vu’s video journals. He said that men’s mental health should be a subject that’s more talked about.

“I think it’s great that we, as a society, are collectively engaging in conversation about it more and more as time passes,” he said. “No one should ever be ashamed to open up and speak up on what’s on their minds. We should be prioritizing dialogue as much as we can.”

Vu received many donations with the help of her campaign, but since she wanted to do more, she decided to collaborate with Mary Colombo, the owner of a small Montreal-based online business, @artxfeels. Colombo sells customized accessories through her Instagram account. She graduated from Concordia in 2018 and has previously participated in another fundraising initiative.

“A couple months ago, I decided I wanted to raise money for the MUHC [McGill University Health Centre] foundation,” Colombo said. “So, I designed Ça va bien aller pins, and 100 per cent of the profits went to the foundation.”

Colombo said that when Vu asked her to collaborate, she was more than happy. She made mustache pins and sold each pin for $5, with all profits going to the fundraiser.

Karim Hatem, co-director of external relations, is in charge of media presence, as well as finding sponsors to provide prizes related to mental health care or self-care in general, including spa packages from Bota Bota. Hatem is in his second year at JMSB, doing a double major in Marketing and Human Resource Management. He will be posting a video of him doing push-ups, depending on how much money he raises.

“If I raise $100, then I’ll do 100 push-ups,” he said.

Neil Kafidi, vice president (VP) of external for JMoSB, is majoring in International Business with a minor in Finance. His role also consists of finding sponsors and prizes for different competitions and raffles, similar to Hatem’s role. To do that, Kafidi gets in touch with companies and asks them for monetary or material donations, which would be used for the raffles.

He received a $1,000 donation from Imperial Tobacco, and many products from Pharmaprix, including a laptop, a tablet, and a camera.

Most members joined the Movember team because they wanted to help raise awareness and funds for an important cause, but they also have more personal reasons for why they decided to apply.

“It’s a bit more personal for me,” Hatem said. “A friend of mine has mental health issues, so I wanted to help raise awareness, and that’s why I joined and decided to focus more on the mental health aspect of Movember,” he added, referring to the self-care prizes he acquired for the competitions.

For Kafidi, joining JMoSB was just about giving back.

“I feel like when you’re lucky enough to be in a good situation and when you can help, it’s always important to help because not everyone has the same luck,” he said. “And I believe in good karma too. If you do something good, then something good is always going to come back to you.”

He also explained that he initially applied for the VP internal position, which consists of communicating with the team and organizing their meetings. However, he was offered the VP external position, which allowed him to talk to more people, including possible sponsors. He said he was happy to take on a more challenging position.

“I got to discover a new way to get out of my comfort zone,” Kafidi concluded.

“For me, the most important part is mental health,” Vu said. “The more I reached out to people during the pandemic, the more I realized we’re going through a lot, everyone individually. That’s why I wanted to do this campaign, to share everyone’s stories.”

Colombo loved Vu’s idea of sharing testimonies of men.

“I feel like I’ve never seen that being done,” she said. “And I think that in regards to men’s health, it’s something that’s often overlooked, and because of that, I feel like they were extremely strong for talking about it on social media.”

All the members learned something different from their experience fundraising for men’s mental health.

“I learned a lot about myself, about the cause and about how people really feel,” Vu concluded. “It’s a great initiative and I plan on reapplying next year.”

“I think I’d like to participate next year too, but maybe have another position, to see things from a different angle and learn new things,” Hatem concluded.


Logo courtesy of John Molson School of Business Movember team

Surviving the pandemic: How a local restaurant owner managed to stay afloat

JMSB student Daniel Lomanto tells us about the highs and lows of opening his own business at 23 years old

Months into the pandemic, we’ve seen its devastating effects on our economy and local businesses. Though the federal government has been scrambling to offer guidance and financial support for business owners, the sharp decrease in clientele and consumers’ continuing aversion to retail therapy has hit hard.

As COVID-19 spread, the situation evolved rapidly everywhere: within days of the announcement of the first case of the virus in Canada, the federal government announced a countrywide lock down, and Quebec ordered to close all non-essential businesses. For Daniel Lomanto, the owner of  Italian deli-grocery shop BOSSA, it was the ability to react quickly to the new measures that spared him from needing to close shop and allowed his store to flourish. Located on Wellington Street, the main artery in the borough of Verdun, the store serves a large portion of the neighbourhood; it was therefore crucial for him to adapt not only for his customers, but also to make a living with the business he is passionate about.

However, the pandemic was only one of the many adversities faced by Lomanto, who, as he opened the business at the age of 23, lost everything to a fire. In true socially distanced fashion, we discussed his store’s story over the phone, and how he was able to overcome difficult times.

EL: Tell me about when you first opened the restaurant.

DL: We opened for the first time about two and a half years ago. We chose Verdun because I’m a resident of Lasalle, and all my friends growing up were from Verdun, so it was always close to home. When I started working in restauration, four to five years ago, I was always working on Wellington Street. I always saw that there was a potential for an Italian prêt-à-manger and catering place because there was nothing in the area like that. So I got together with my mom — she’s my business partner — and we opened this place.

EL: What did opening this business mean to you?

DL: Honestly, it’s family to me. My mother’s here all the time, my grandparents come here to help. We always make all of our sauces at home. I have a pretty big garden in my backyard that they help take care of. It just brings everyone together, and I couldn’t think of a better thing for us to be doing right now.

EL: What hardships did you encounter when you first opened BOSSA?

DL: Starting a business at 23 is really hard. I was at John Molson at the time — I still am, but studying part-time — but managing, building everything up, making everything come together, and even just having people take me seriously at that young of an age, those were some of the hardships I had at the beginning.

Then, two months into opening, we had a fire: one of my freezers short-circuited overnight, causing an electrical fire, and we had to close for seven months. We renovated the place and had to settle everything with the insurance company.

EL: How did you feel?

DL: It was a very low time. But at the same time, I tried to be optimistic about things and I saw it as an opportunity to figure out what was and wasn’t working. We sort of redesigned and reorganized the entire business after the fire, so I always look at it as a blessing in disguise.

EL: How did you react when COVID first hit in March?

DL: When COVID happened a couple of months ago, we made the decision to stay open — obviously while taking precautions. But having closed for seven months the year before, I wasn’t about to close down again. We powered through and it ended up working in our favour. We were one of the only places that stayed open on the entire street, so our clientele was really happy; they were extremely grateful.

EL: Did you find that you were prepared when COVID hit?

DL: Yeah, I could say that. When the fire hit… it changes your mentality. You just want to go through with it and nothing can stop you, you’re invincible. So when COVID hit around mid-March, the second they shut the city down, people were lining up down the corner to buy our sauces, our pasta. So from then it was just we’re going straight through, we’re not stopping anymore. The fire didn’t really help us, but it did give us the drive to keep going.

We’re pretty lucky because we were always a take-out and grocery place, we never really had seats inside. Within the first couple of days, we were able to implement having two people at a time, wearing a face mask, hand sanitizers everywhere, and we put up plexiglass everywhere.

EL: How did you feel having your family help you throughout the crisis?

DL: It’s tricky, it was a bit stressful. I don’t want to say I was risking anything, but at the same time, my mom was here. I was always making sure that she was being very careful, and I had to be very careful as well.

EL: Do you have any upcoming projects for your business?

DL: We’re always trying to improve, and I definitely embrace the feedback from my clientele. They’ll sit down and talk to me and give me new ideas, so it’s a real personal relationship with all my customers. We’re constantly working on projects, but other than coming up with new menu items, it’ll have to be day-by-day for now — we’ll have to look into picking things up once everything settles.

EL: What has been the most rewarding part of owning your business?

DL: Just having fun, every day. When I walk into work, it never feels like I’m working. It’s weird to say, but it almost feels like I’m doing a big school project. There are always new things that we want to try, and even just getting customers’ opinions — it’s really fun.


Photos by Christine Beaudoin


Changing the way we talk about women in business

The business world can be a scary place. I wouldn’t know much about it, because I have rarely stepped foot into JMSB (unless I really had to pee).

The shiny interior and clean glass windows intimidate me. How can you keep the windows so clean, like dude, it’s downtown Montreal.

I have always been an “Arts kid.” Math, finance and economics are intimidating words that I don’t really understand. Although my dad has explained the stock market about 600 times to me, I still don’t get it. Anyways, what I lack in knowledge of numbers, I hope I have gained in communication and critical thinking. These tools have helped me understand the social world and contextualize my experiences.

The other day, I was having a conversation with a friend in JMSB. She expressed her concerns about how the school approaches gender differences in business. Quite like myself, she has a background in psychology, meaning gender differences and bias were no foreign concept. In psychology, we learn about the social construction of gender as well as biological differences. She explained that in business, her teachers often address gender differences with slides that proclaim “women are less direct and men dominate the conversation” without further explanation. This lack of context, explanation and acknowledgement of the trend as a stereotype is not only dangerous, it is enabling the behaviour. With my friend’s arts background, she can contextualize these factors and understands not to take them at face value. As she sits in the class, she wonders how many people around her understand not only that the gender differences exist, but why.

I have spent a lot of my degree attempting to understand the “why.” This is something that I often take for granted; I didn’t know any of this stuff before. For a lot of these business students, they won’t understand the “why” until they are taught. I have learned about toxic masculinity, social constructions of gender and what these concepts do to our behaviour. We cannot keep blaming the business world for not understanding why these gender discrepancies exist if the curriculum consistently lacks the tools to help.

No one is saying that men and women are not different. The gender differences that show up in the business world are real—but they are real because they are perpetuated by society, and not because they are inherently real. That is the issue with how these topics are being presented.

Let’s go over the stereotypes that usually follow women in business. According to The Harvard Business Review, “One set of assumed differences is marshalled to explain women’s failure to achieve parity with men: women negotiate poorly, lack confidence, are too risk-averse, or don’t put in the requisite hours at work because they value family more than their careers.” With these stereotypes usually follows, “women are more caring, cooperative, or mission-driven—are used as a rationale for companies to invest in women’s success.”

All this to say, these characteristics, when presented as rigid facts, help solidify the gender discrepancies in business. As a woman in business, learning about how you differ from men, without breaking down exactly why this happens, can be quite damaging. This is not something to be taken at face value. There is a social responsibility for unpacking gender differences.

I am in no way saying that it is more beneficial to get an arts degree. Heck—I probably won’t find a job once I graduate (let’s not go there), but what I am saying is that there are aspects of an arts degree that should be universally taught. Kind of like how I should know more about finance—and learn how to do my taxes. 


Graphic by @sundaeghost


JSEC’s Montreal Youth Summit on Sustainable Business

“Our business school needs this and our community needs this,” said Mariya Chugay, president of the John Molson Sustainable Enterprise Committee (JSEC).

What Chugay is referring to is the Montreal Youth Summit on Sustainable Businesses that took place over the weekend. John Molson School of Business (JMSB), Desautels Faculty of Management and Hautes études commerciales (HEC) de Montréal business schools collaborated on a weekend of raising awareness and discussion around sustainability in business.

The summit had 42 speakers over two days.

Chugay described the first day as a horizontal involvement with the attendees. There were about 20 speakers facilitating panels, where youth could listen and learn from the speakers. The second day she described as vertical involvement, where students got more hands-on experience through skills training sessions. There, they could apply what they learned on the first day to the workshops.

“This event is larger than what we’ve done before,” said Chugay. “We are trying to unite youth and unite universities.”

Chugay explained the purpose of the summit was to break the silence on the conversation of sustainable practices in business and to educate, inspire and connect youth. For example, there were discussions on the future of sustainability in finance, climate change policy and competitiveness, and exploring the environmental sustainability of alternative currencies like cryptocurrency.

If they don’t know what sustainability is, we are not going to get anywhere to mitigate climate change,” said Chugay.

Rachel Copnick, an international business student at JMSB, said she attended the event to gain a better perspective of people in the business sector who work with sustainability practices.

“I think it’s the future,” said Copnick. “I think the people who are not looking at it are ignorant. Although our generation can continue to earn money and have a successful life without [practicing it], it’s not sustainable. We need to be responsible, we’re in a crisis right now.”

Sarah Knight, who is studying marketing at JMSB with a minor in sustainability studies, said by coming to this event, she wanted to learn more about the relationship sustainability has with businesses.

Knight explained that she learned a lot from the Climate Change Policy and Competitiveness panel, specifically about venture capitalists, who buy stocks or ownership shares in private companies for their limited partners, to try to make a profit for their limited partner’s clients. During the panel, Knight said speaker Mihaela Stefanov, a senior manager in the Climate Change and Sustainability Services at international professional services firm Ernst & Young Global Limited, explained how the sector that would gain the most profit differs per province or country, depending on their main energy source.

“I learned more about what venture capitalists are looking for right now in this sector, which is renewable energy,” said Knight. “I thought it was interesting to learn that renewable energy in Quebec isn’t something that’s going to make money because we already have hydroelectricity, but in other countries like Germany it’s a huge investment.”

Sustainable event

Chugay explained the Youth Summit was environmentally sustainable as well.

“Down to the core, we’re going almost 100 per cent paperless,” said Chugay.

Chugay added that JSEC hired the Concordia Dish Project, a reusable dish service, for the event. She added that they even received the sustainable events certification from Concordia, which JSEC and other sustainable organizations on campus oversee.


Photo by Jad Abukasm


Raphael reaches out

Montreal singer-songwriter navigates continents and mental health issues

“My parents don’t even know I sing,” admitted Edwin Raphael to the crowd at Petit Campus on Thursday night. He moved to Montreal from his parents’ home in Dubai five years ago, where the most he did was play guitar. He just released Will You Think Of Me Later, his first full-length album.

After moving to Montreal to study economics at John Molson School of Business, Raphael became disenchanted with his studies and immersed in his craft. “I was procrastinating, trying to write music. I was like ‘anything’s better than studying economics,’” he said. His biggest song, “Queen of Coasts,” from his 2015 EP Ocean Walk, has over 2 million plays on Spotify.

Dubai, said Raphael, has a more mainstream, corporate-feeling music scene that he found uninspiring. Montreal was a breath of fresh air. “There’s a live show every fuckin’ night; there’s music everywhere,” he said.

Raphael had the crowd swaying on every note. The show, which marked the launch of Will You Think Of Me Later, felt like a hometown gathering at a house party, attended by friends, fans and other local musicians. Raphael’s sound is innately intimate, his smooth voice gliding across gentle instrumentation from his band. He gave the band a break to do a few songs solo with his guitar, backlit by a spotlight. Raphael cites Ben Howard as someone he emulated when he was writing in his dorm room.

There were powerful moments in Raphael’s set, when he brought up singer and rapper junï, for their collaboration “Bloom.” The track is a downtempo, nostalgic elegy of a relationship with a lover, studded with a blaring organ sample that brings the hook to a boil: “You say flowers don’t bloom / Like they’re supposed to / When we’re hanging out / Shit’s just different now,” sings Raphael. Golden-voiced Montreal pop singer-songwriter Claire Ridgely joined him for “Tangerine Skies,” a top-down, summer romance ballad that was as sweet as it was sad.

When Raphael was writing Will You Think Of Me Later, his guitarist Jacob Liutkus would offer his opinion as a co-writer, as well as writing all of his own guitar parts. The two aimed to speak frankly of mental illness, from the outside. “For me, the story was how to deal with someone dealing with addiction,” said Raphael. Liutkus added that the project is meant to reach out. “This album was about [how] you’re never alone in terms of what you’re feeling, if you ever think ‘I’m the only one feeling this way,’” he said.

On “Sober,” Raphael is losing his lover to addiction. “You’re crying out for these words I know / With you moving out cause you’re losing hope / Won’t you come around / Just be sober now, just be sober,” he sings. Raphael acknowledges the limit of this perspective as a second-person narrative. “Me looking at it from the outside, like I can’t tell you what to feel, because I don’t know what addiction feels like, and there’s only so much I can do,” he said. “That was me understanding that I don’t understand. People try to think they understand addiction because they’re addicted to something, but there’s so many levels to that.” Will You Think Of Me Later is Raphael doing what he can to help others understand these struggles—it is an invitation to join in learning, without forgetting to be a remarkably smooth listen.


Cultivating a relationship between two worlds

Concordi’ART presents the second edition of their arts and business conference

After their first success in November of 2017, Concordi’ART is bringing The Collision of Art and Business Conference back for a second edition this Friday, March 15, in the John Molson School of Business (JMSB) building. The team behind the conference is gathering eight talented professionals and entrepreneurs who will share their experience working in the arts industry.

Concordi’ART is a club that serves as career guidance for students who have a passion for both arts and business. The President and Founder of the club, Alizé Honen-Delmar, is a graduating student in international business and film studies. The idea of starting the club came from a desire to cultivate a relationship between these world.

“I created this club because, three years ago when I was at Concordia, I was in JMSB and in the Fine Arts faculty, and no one was talking to each other. JMSB students were staying with each other,” said Honen-Delmar, “and then the same for the arts faculty students, I decided to create this club to bridge the gap between business and arts at Concordia but also in general.”

The core belief of Concordi’ART is that arts and business are not opposites. Rather, a student could very well study both fields.

“The objective of this [club] is to show students that art and business are not two different things. They can work together and create amazing things,” said Honen-Delmar. “We believe that if you work in the art industry, you need some business skills also. That’s why business is also central to us.”

The eight speakers attending the conference will discuss their background, studies, and key decisions they made to achieve success.

“We want them to share their career paths. Especially since there are a lot of students ready to graduate and go to these industries,” said Sarah Morstad, the social media manager of Concordi’Art and a graduating student in communications. “They can learn about the stepping stones of how these big people in the industry got to where they are now.”
Honen-Delmar added that “it’s also an opportunity for students to network and to discover this industry that a lot of people don’t know about.’’

The event will start at 5 p.m. and runs until 8 p.m. After the discussion, a networking mixer will follow. Not only will students hear the speakers’ presentations, they will also get the chance to speak with them one-on-one.
“You will have eight people from the industry and then you will have 50 or 60 people in the audience. It’s very easy to communicate with these people and ask them questions and advice,” said Honen-Delmar.

Morstad said the conference will be more relaxed and intimate compared to larger events that take place in the JMSB building.

“You are sitting right in front of them and there are only 60 people,” said Morstad. “There’s more of a connection.’’
“It’s not a business formal kind of conference. It’s very business casual,” added Honen-Delmar. “Everyone is very relaxed—even the speakers who have very high positions in their companies. They are very approachable people. It’s very easy to network with them.”


At the event, attendees can expect to meet:

Aude Mathey, a marketing and business development expert who is now working in distribution and marketing for Cirque du Soleil. She is also the founder of Culture et Communication, an online magazine on the best practices for cultural and PR professionals.

Helene Ha, a film producer and entrepreneur who graduated from Concordia University with a B.A. in communication studies and a minor in film studies in 2015. Ha founded her own production company, Gourmandises, and has worked with L’Oréal Canada, Moisson Montréal and The Government of Canada. One of her latest accomplishments is the screening of her short film Merveilleuse at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival.

Minh Nhat Le, a modeler/texture artist at Ubisoft. During his career, he has worked on AAA games that include the Far Cry franchise, the Watch Dogs franchise and Rainbow 6 | Siege.

Peter Dehais, a marketing professional who has experience working on festivals like ÎleSoniq, Osheaga and HEAVY MTL. In recent years, he has managed hundreds of events while working for Evenko. Dehais is also a Concordia graduate with a bachelor’s degree in commerce and marketing.

Tickets for the event can be bought online for $17.50. For more information about the conference or the eight speakers, visit the event on the Concordi’ART Facebook page.

Student Life

Beyond the business benefits of JMUCC

Non-business students attending Case Competition walk away inspired

While you need to be a business student to join the John Molson Undergraduate Case Competition (JMUCC), you do not have to be a business student to reap the benefits it has to offer.

Last week, 24 universities from around the world came to the 11th edition of the JMUCC. During the competition, teams of four are presented with a real case from a local business where, in three hours, they must identify a problem and create an action plan how they intend to solve it. Contestants must present their ideas through a PowerPoint presentation to a panel of judges in 20 minutes, after which they will face a 10-minute question period. Teams did this three times from Feb. 25 to 27, and then completed a 24-hour long business case on Saturday. The event is open to the public to watch for free or live online. Students from all business disciplines are allowed to compete—but what about non-business students?

“This whole experience is about not just cracking a case, but it’s also about how you develop that business thinking that’s so crucial and so important to all the programs that people are studying,” said Kawish Lakhani, a tech volunteer for the event.

The John Molson Undergraduate Case Competition (JMUCC) was held at Hotel Bonaventure at 900 Rue de la Gauchetière from Feb. 25 to 27, with the final day on March 2. Photo by Mackenzie Lad.

During presentations, guests witness how teams have worked together by putting forward their individual skill sets. Students can learn valuable presentation skills like voice projection, concise phrasing and developing unique presentation styles. Most importantly, students can learn to have fun while developing new skills; a mix many students deem impossible when presenting. Seham Allison, a contestant for Concordia, did just that by laughing with the judges at her tongue-tied moment when she tried to say the word “compensation.”  As an added bonus, with the 10-minute question period, students can see how participants think quickly on their feet—a skill they can use for future job interviews.

Concordia contestant Mathieu Kost brought up a different point of view. He expressed the limitations for non-business students visiting the event, as they do not have access to read the cases beforehand and therefore would not be able to understand and learn fully. However, he did mention that there are benefits for students who own businesses as they could learn “tangible actions that don’t cost too much money […] and then replicate that specific piece of recommendation in their business.”

For those who wish to travel or pursue careers elsewhere, they must know beforehand that every culture thinks differently, especially in a work setting. Students participating in the competition come from Canada, the United States, China, England, Ireland and more. “You can see there’s a cultural difference in how we look at issues, how we solve problems, what we prioritize as a primary issue,” said John Fragos, a member of the Concordia team.

“You can bond with a bunch of JMSB students that you wouldn’t necessarily get to meet if it weren’t for JMUCC, and meet people from all around the world,” said Julia Wheeler, the VP of logistics for the event. Due to the large amount of international students present, an extensive list of companies sponsor the event, such as RBC, CN, Ardene and IBM, to name a few. Students can make connections that can help them in their personal or business-related endeavors.

“It’s inspirational,” said Kevin Phok, a member of the Concordia team. At JMUCC, students from all domains can be inspired and educated. These professional skill sets can be applied to their own lives since, after all, when you’re an entrepreneur, everything is a business opportunity.


CASA participates in 5 Days for the Homeless

Concordia students raise funds for Montreal homeless shelters

A group of executives from the Commerce and Administration Students’ Association (CASA) and a group of JMSB students braved the March 14 snowstorm by sleeping outside hoping to raise awareness of the homeless people living in Montreal who face these winter conditions every year.

As part of the annual 5 Days for the Homeless campaign, participants slept on the corner of De Maisonneuve Boulevard and Mackay street in sleeping bags during the winter storm that dumped more than 35 cm of snow on the downtown region. The students relied solely on the generosity of the downtown community between March 12 and 17, using the money they raised on the streets for food.

“We feel that five days out of our lifetime is not very much,” said Émilie Leduc, the executive vice-president of CASA, who slept outside all five nights for the cause. “We bring the bare necessities such as a backpack, an extra layer of clothes, a water bottle—no money and no phone,” Leduc added. “We live off of donations and from the generosity of the community.”

This winter marked Concordia’s 9th edition of 5 Days for the Homeless.

Since 2008, the Concordia group has helped raise more than $300,000 for local homeless charities.

This year, the team raised $11,1262.80 for the Dans la Rue and Chez Doris homeless centres, which cater to the Montreal downtown community, said LeDuc. Chez Doris is a day centre for women in need, which provides meals and basic services, LeDuc explained. “Chez Doris has a number of volunteers and services which help get these women back on their feet,” she said.

Dans la Rue, which was founded by Father Emmett Johns, or “Pops,” in 1988, caters to homeless and at-risk youth between the ages of 12 and 25 in the greater Montreal area.

“It was very eye-opening,” said Evan Pitchie, the CASA JMSB president.

“We have the option of going home when things get tough, but not everyone has that same opportunity,” Pitchie added.

Photo by Ana Hernandez

During the storm, between 2:30 a.m. to 4:30 a.m., Pitchie said the team helped individuals who were stuck in their cars. “It was good exercise to keep us warm, and helped us raise even more donations for the shelters.”

“A lot of people assume that sleeping outside in the cold is the hard part, but what is most difficult for many people living on the street is the lack of social and human interaction,” Leduc explained. “They are often at the mercy of strangers and rely on our generosity—they are often ignored or avoided by people crossing the street to distance themselves.”

The 5 Days for the Homeless campaign was first introduced by the University of Alberta’s School of Business in 2005, and has since been undertaken by other universities across Canada, Leduc said. She added that Josh Redler, a CASA executive, was the one who brought the campaign to Concordia nine years ago.

This year, the 5 Days for the Homeless opening ceremony was hosted at McGill University—the two schools take turns each year hosting the event’s opening ceremony. This year’s event was organized by Émilie LeDuc, Mackenzie Murray and Nour Hanna, all CASA JMSB executives, along with 13 other JMSB CASA executives.

“The issue of homelessness in youth is very important to us,” said Murray. “We want to address this problem and raise awareness and funds to help those who are facing this reality.”

The most popular programs at Dans la Rue are their education and employment services, said Michelle LeDonne, a development adviser at Dans la Rue. “We offer several different employment opportunities for youth in Montreal, such as an alternative high school on-site and funds for students attending CEGEP.”

“Dans la Rue has an RV van which goes out five days a week to provide individuals living on the street a warm spot, a meal and offer them assistance on mental health, healthcare or information about our day centres,” LeDonne explained.

The van visited the Concordia group during the storm on last Tuesday, offering the students food and shelter, Leduc said.

“We are touched to have this partnership with Concordia and their motivation for the cause,” LeDonne said.

For anyone who would like to donate clothing, food or money to the cause can visit their website.


StrikeOut Cancer grants wishes

Organization founded by Concordia student helps fundraise for Make-a-Wish Quebec

Anthony Pacella, a Concordia student studying management at the John Molson School of Business (JMSB) created StrikeOut Cancer, an organization which holds events to fundraise for initiatives to help those living with cancer. StrikeOut Cancer was created as a surprise for his mother Mary Melillo Pacella, who was diagnosed with lung cancer. Before the passing of his mother, Pacella told her about StrikeOut Cancer, to which he said she gave Pacella a thumbs up in approval.

“[In] August of 2010, my mother was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer,” Pacella said. His family was devastated—his mother had never smoked cigarettes, he said.

“Unfortunately, my mother lost her life at the age of 52 to cancer on January 6, 2011,” Pacella said. “She left this world with two young children and a great husband.”

Pacella had been raising money for StrikeOut Cancer initiatives during her treatment, however, he began planning his first events for the organization less than a few weeks after his mother’s passing.

Three months after his mother’s passing, StrikeOut Cancer hosted their first event, a Bowl-A-Thon, which is now an annual event held each spring. The Bowl-A-Thon is geared towards families in order to raise money for the St. Mary’s Hospital Foundation in Montreal—the same hospital where Pacella’s mother received treatment. He was 15 years old when he organized the first Bowl-A-Thon.

In addition, StrikeOut Cancer organizes an annual gala in support of Make-A-Wish Quebec to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening illnesses. Pacella said the gala is held in November, with tickets available for $100. The cost covers the event and a full-course dinner.

“We raise thousands of dollars to make a child’s wishes come true,” Pacella said. He wanted StrikeOut Cancer to be involved with Make-A-Wish Quebec to contribute towards making children happy, he added.

“We continue to strive and expand in order to help our community, but most importantly, our goal is to make a young child’s wishes come true,” said Pacella.

Pacella said while he enjoyed working with St. Mary’s Hospital, he wanted to expand the StrikeOut Cancer initiative.

Pacella photographed with his mother Mary Melillo Pacella. Photos courtesy of Anthony Pacella.

“I wanted to make a greater impact, and I feel like my $10,000 [raised] wouldn’t find the cure to cancer,” Pacella said. “But my $10,000 could hopefully impact a child’s life.”

StrikeOut Cancer has helped three children so far. “They all wanted to go to Disneyland,” Pacella said.

The most recent gala, which was held on Nov. 7, 2016, honoured Chakameh, an eight-year-old diagnosed with leukemia.

“During my stay at Concordia, I hope that more people of Concordia hear about StrikeOut and I hope to continuously gain more support,” Pacella said.

Pacella hopes to have more support and involve more people in the StrikeOut Cancer initiative. He encourages anyone who is interested to contact him—he is particularly looking for volunteers to promote ticket sales, obtain more sponsors and spread awareness about StrikeOut Cancer.

For more information about StrikeOut Cancer and details on their upcoming Bowl-A-Thon, visit StrikeOut Cancer’s website or Facebook page. This year’s Bowl-A-Thon will be held on May 28 in at 1 p.m. at Le Centre de Quilles 440, 2535 boul Curé-Labelle in Laval.

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