Class of 2014 – USP
Innis Alumna, Cecelia Pye, is a new graduate of the Urban Studies Program. During her university career, she also captained the Varsity Blues Tennis Team. Cecelia is very interested in Toronto city planning and is passionate about culture-led developments and the integration of park space. Her dream job is to work as a city planner at Toronto City Hall.
What drew you to the Urban Studies Program? How has this program helped you thus far in your professional life?
I was drawn to the urban studies program because of its multi-disciplinary approach to the practical and theoretical applications of planning. It is a small program that allows us lots of interaction with the instructors. I was also drawn to the smaller third and fourth year courses, including Creative Cities and Urban Experiential Learning because they offered more hands on experiences. The Urban Experiential Learning class was especially helpful because we went through all the motions of professional life. The class taught me how to behave professionally, approach mistakes, and reflect on learning experiences. Professor Brail was very approachable and easy to talk to. She was a great help whether it was questions for the internship or for academic life.
Please tell us about your internship at Invest Toronto.
At Invest Toronto, I assisted the Director with the development of new resources and documentation assets that facilitate day-to-day business activities. I responded to daily emails and corresponded with businesses that wish to move into Toronto. My research project was to pull companies from Silicon Valley that could potentially benefit by expanding into Toronto’s market. To find these companies, I used Hoover’s database and professional forecasters to narrow down the up-and-coming companies in the technology industry. The focus of the project was to determine which companies could benefit from Toronto’s value proposition as well as whether the company would bring value to Toronto’s employment sectors. This project has helped develop my understanding of employer and business research.
What is Mediacorp? What will your new job entail?
Mediacorp is a publisher of specialized employment information. The company runs Eluta.ca, which is a job search engine, Canada’s Top 100 Employers competition, a large editorial with transparent reasons for selection of each company, and holds a policy-oriented conference called the Top Employer Summit once a year to celebrate Canada’s Top Employers. I am the new Research Assistant at Mediacorp. My team works on the Canada’s Top 100 Employers competition. In addition to our national competition, we manage 19 regional and special interest “top employer” competitions with 22 large magazine and newspaper partners. Employers complete a single application to be considered for all competitions. Each competition is editorially based and we publish our Reasons for Selection, explaining why each employer was selected, online at http://www.CanadasTop100.com. My role entails performing daily tasks in order to facilitate the editor, Kristina Leung. I also am the first point of contact for all companies interested in applying to the competition.
What is the role of a BIA? What will you be responsible for at the Trinity Bellwoods BIA?
In partnership with Toronto City Council, local commercial property owners and tenants can work together to form a Business Improvement Area, which helps in the planning and promotion of their neighbourhood. The Trinity-Bellwoods BIA stretches from Bathurst to Grace St. all along Dundas St. West. As the Administrative Assistant for the Trinity-Bellwoods Business Improvement Area, I prioritize multiple tasks required from the Board; my first project is to create an interactive map of the street. In order to complete this project, I meet every business owner on the strip, which has strengthened my ability to interact with employers. I also routinely respond to BIA member requests through e-mail and personal drop-ins. Furthermore, I transcribe all the board meetings and aid in planning their cultural events, like their upcoming Do Photo event.
Do you have any advice that you would like to share with current USP students?
My advice is to take as many internship and work experience positions as you can. INI437 was life changing. We learned how to be professionals in a comfortable environment. The Urban Studies Program has many opportunities to learn different skills through multiple perspectives. It is an important to market your skills in order to be viewed as an asset to potential employers.