Spring Soirée 2014: Flourishing Connections

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ReceptionOur  third annual signature networking event, Spring Soirée, featured three distinguished HR professionals, a silent auction benefiting the Union Gospel Mission and brought together students and industry professionals in what turned out to be a rewarding evening for all.

Our keynote speaker Rocky Ozaki, the Director of People & Culture at, opened the night with “Why HR is the Right Choice” by sharing his own experiences within the HR profession. The speech spoke to the theme of the evening: “Flourishing Connections”. Rocky highlighted the importance of building a strong network and making the most of opportunities to develop quality relationships with others in the industry. Speaking directly to the student attendees, Rocky emphasized the importance of having a well-rounded business background in order to gain further credibility as an HR professional. For students, this meant complementing your HR education with additional disciplines or taking time to learn the core business functions of the organization you are working for.

Next, Samantha Sallovitz, HR Manager of Western Canada for Canadian Springs, spoke to “The Impact of HR on Culture and Organizational Performance,” and shared some of the best practices in HR that she is currently implementing in her role. SamanthaShe presented tangible frameworks that she has adapted for use at Canadian Springs in order to successfully drive change within the organization. Samantha echoed Rocky’s comments of having a well-rounded business background, by emphasizing the importance of articulating concrete improvements on the bottom line that can be attained through best practices in HR. 

“HR is still not adequately represented in the board rooms of Canadian organizations and it is through value-adding initiatives that the profession will continue to grow.” – Samantha Sallovitz

Our last speaker of the evening was Agata Zasada, Talent Manager at HootSuite, who described the transition “From Student to Employee” by sharing her career path from a professional and educational standpoint.

“Experience. Network. Getting online. Everyone can do it.” – Agata Zasada

AgataAgata attributed the work experiences she gained – while simultaneously completing her undergraduate degree – as the differentiating factor that helped her secure her first HR position amidst an economic downturn. Agata expanded on the importance of networking by taking it one step forward and emphasizing the need for effectively using social media in professional networking.

Spring Soirée was a memorable experience and provided tremendous value for all attendees. The silent auction raised a total of $340 that will directly benefit the Union Gospel Mission.

Thank you to our volunteers, and our sponsors Safeway Canada, SFU Bookstores, Nesters Market SFU, the Beedie School of Business, and the Delta Vancouver Suites. The event also could not have been made possible without our wonderful photographer Julian Fok; check out photos from the evening here. See you all next year!

Written by Bal Khatra, Vice President of SFU Human Resources Students’ Association