Rebecca Hiebert raised three children on her own. For many years, being a mother was her full-time job. But over the last year or two, those priorities began to change.
Her children grew older and became more independent. Gradually, she found herself with some extra time. And she knew exactly what she wanted to do with it.
Rebecca had always wanted to study business administration. With great determination, she returned to school and earned not one, but two diplomas in business from Herzing College.
Rebecca says her life has completely changed since graduation. She now works as an Administrative Clerk for an important Winnipeg organization, playing a key role in daily operations, customer service, office administration, and payroll preparation.
We interviewed Rebecca to learn more about her transition from stay-at-home mom to business professional.
We talked about her experience at Herzing, the joys and struggles of being a student, and how her new job is going.
These are the highlights from our conversation.
Q: Rebecca, can you share a little about your background and why you went back to school?
Rebecca: I am Ojibway and a single mom of three children. I am treaty and registered to Tootinaowaziibeeng Treaty Reserve here in Manitoba.
I have lived in Winnipeg all my life and raised my children on my own. Before I enrolled at Herzing, I was a stay-at-home mom by choice.
My children needed me while growing up, but now they are teenagers and independent. I decided it was time for mom to go back to work. Getting an education was my first step.
Q: What inspired you to study business administration?
Rebecca: I have always wanted to get a business administration diploma, but time and circumstances kept getting in the way.
Now that my children are grown, I was determined I was going to do it for me. Along with Business Administration, I have also earned my Accounting and Payroll Administrator diploma, through the Herzing Open Education Program (HOEP).
HOEP lets Herzing graduates take more courses, or a whole second diploma, without paying any more tuition. I was able to get two business diplomas for the price of one.
I graduated both programs with honours, which I am very proud to have accomplished.
Q: What was your overall opinion of the Business Administration program?
Rebecca: It was a fantastic experience. My instructor, Sandy Graham, is the best. She was very understanding and helpful, and always made sure that I understood what was being taught in class.
I made lifelong friends at Herzing. We helped each other and it was nice to have that daily interaction with my fellow classmates.
I really enjoyed coming to Herzing. It was a comfortable and welcoming environment, and I miss it a lot.
Q: What are some of the most important business skills you learned in class?
Rebecca: All the courses were very valuable and important to me, so it's hard to pick just one or two skills. But in terms of my current job, the skills I use the most are business communications, Excel, Microsoft Word, and English grammar/writing.
As I grow in my role, I know I will use even more business administration skills, and definitely my accounting and payroll knowledge will help me advance in my career.
Q: Can you tell us about the internship? What company did you work at and what was your role?
Rebecca: My internship was at the Metis Economic Development Organization. My internship lasted for a full month, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm each day.
I filled the role of Office Clerk. I did tasks like filing, inventory management, and entering accounts payable and receivable invoices in the Simply Accounting program.
I interacted daily with various departments in the building, getting to know the staff and the clientele.
I was constantly observing how the organization was run and applying that knowledge to my daily life as an intern. I learned a lot from the experience.
Q: What was the toughest part of the Business Administration program for you?
Rebecca: The toughest part of training for me was the introduction course on accounting. In the beginning, it was confusing, but as I learned more, I started to understand and it showed in my assignments.
Putting together my business plan was also challenging. We had to choose a business, do research, gather information, and articulate a strategy.
I've never done a business plan, so this part was tough for me. But I was so happy with my results. I felt accomplished and it helped me understand this fundamental aspect of business strategy and entrepreneurship.
Q: What are some favourite business projects you did in class?
Rebecca: I created a company from scratch for my Sage accounting class. This project taught me to pay attention to the smallest details, because in those details lies the success of your company.
I also researched, prepared, and delivered a speech using PowerPoint. This speech taught me to present myself with confidence and gave me stronger technical skills to communicate my ideas as a business professional.
Q: Where are you working now? What is your position and responsibilities?
Rebecca: I am working at the Aboriginal Health and Wellness Centre of Winnipeg, Inc. I am the Administrative Clerk.
I am responsible for providing a broad range of administrative support to ensure efficient operations of the office, including secretarial, clerical, and general office services.
My official duties include:
- Act as first point of contact for participants and community members, providing immediate support and screening
- Submit accurate program statistics to the Coordinator of Programs
- Ensure all program forms are utilized and used appropriately
- Ensure all time sheets and payroll documentations are ready for processing bi-weekly
- Provide general secretarial and clerical support for AHWC programs as required
- Prepare and type a variety of correspondence, such as internal memoranda, reports, letters, minutes of meetings and other related documents, etc.
- Reproduce and distribute materials to designated staff members, as is required from time to time
- Attend meetings for the purposes of recording minutes of the proceedings
- Maintain a thorough and accurate record of all incoming telephone messages, appointments, facsimile transmissions and correspondence for staff and distributes this information in an accurate manner
- Operate and coordinate maintenance of various office equipment including personal computer, photocopy machine, fax machine, mailing equipment, and telephone switchboard, etc.
- Assist in the development, maintenance and updating of the manual and / or computerized filing, inventory, and database systems to ensure the timely and accurate access to information
- Book appointments for program staff
Q: How long did it take you to get hired after graduating from Herzing College?
Rebecca: Because of the pandemic, it took me 7 ½ months to get hired after graduation. But I still managed to get at least 10 – 20 resumes and cover letters out each week.
I had moments of self-doubt and worry that I would never find a job, but with the support of Herzing, I did not give up.
Not too many companies and organizations were hiring at the time because everyone was working from home. But then the offices started to open up again, and companies started calling me for interviews.
Herzing was great at supporting me during those trying times, and sending me updates on job possibilities. I will always appreciate Herzing College for their continued support and encouragement.
As it happens, I am now working with a Herzing alumnus (class of 1977). It was so awesome to find out one of my colleagues also graduated from Herzing College.
Q: How has your life changed since earning your diploma?
Rebecca: My life has changed a lot. My self-esteem and outlook on life have given me the confidence to do what I love.
I have the skills I need to succeed, and I strive each day to do my best and always be a positive role model.
Q: Any advice for others who are considering the Business Administration program?
Rebecca: Do it! The Business Administration program is an awesome diploma to take. You need determination and dedication, but it's well worth the effort.
I enjoyed each course and soaked up everything that was taught. I still go back to my class assignments and remember how much I loved the experience.
My passion for business and learning will always drive me forward. I would do it all over again.
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