Your impact

Brian Hesje
Brian Hesje

Strategic thinking at its best

Brian Hesje, former chair of ATB Financial, is bringing his passion for strategic thinking into a unique learning space at NorQuest College. Thanks to his generous $100,000 gift, the Hesje Strategic Thinking Room provides students with state-of-the-art technology. For example, the zSpace computer delivers interactive 3D images to help students better understand math, physics, and biology concepts.

"I think NorQuest College provides unique opportunities for their student population. I believe knowledge helps make better life decisions so to have a room named in my honour where the focus is strategic thinking at all levels of education is very rewarding.""

Blaine LaBonte and Irene Mertz-LaBonte
Blaine LaBonte and Irene Mertz-LaBonte

In 2018, Blaine LaBonte and Irene Mertz LaBonte honoured NorQuest College with the largest planned gift in its history, naming the college as the beneficiary of a life insurance policy.

"We’ve had NorQuest grads impact us personally." Says Irene. "Blaine’s father was in a nursing home and NorQuest alumni were caring for him. Naming NorQuest as the beneficiary of Blaine’s policy feels right and makes a statement about what we value."

The LaBonte’s are long-time friends of NorQuest, having supported the college with multiple donations over the years. Their love stems from the positive energy they feel whenever they visit the campus and they are proud to support such a dynamic and diverse institution.

"We feel like our donation gives us a great return on investment," adds Blaine. "We know that an education from NorQuest gives people a huge boost and leads to a better community. And a gift of life insurance is an easy way to make a big difference."

Dr. S. Ann Colbourne

A New Era in Modern Workplace Culture

Today’s expert advice to business from NorQuest College: diverse and inclusive workplaces pave the way to a respectful and profitable future.

"Organizations that invest in diversity and inclusion not only transform their culture, but attract top talent, and maximize that talent through respect, a feeling of belonging, equality, and growth," says Dr. Lori Campbell, former Principal of NorQuest’s Colbourne Institute for Inclusive Leadership.

NorQuest has been a proven leader in diversity and inclusion for many years. The Colbourne Institute for Inclusive Leadership provides a broad range of training services that encourage and support organizational capacity in developing and sustaining inclusive cultures.

"I have a deeply held passion for the agenda of diversity," says Dr. Colbourne. "As a college, NorQuest really helps shape the mosaic of the communities it serves. It honours and respects where individuals come from, but still creates a cohesive whole."

In today’s world, companies operate in an increasingly complex and global context. Studies show the inclusive workplaces boost employee engagement, profitability, and brand recognition. The Colbourne Institute for Inclusive Leadership provides services and training to organizations of all sizes that want to unleash and maximize the potential of their diverse workforces and work better together.

Oshinique Williams
Oshinique Williams

When Oshinique Williams first came from Jamaica to Canada, she was approached by other international students at NorQuest College and it made her feel welcome. Immediately, she knew that she wanted to do the same for others.

An Early Learning and Child Care student, Oshinique is continuing her studies this fall at NorQuest and is looking forward to welcoming new international students to NorQuest this year. Besides her work with the International Team, Oshinique volunteers with the Students’ Association of NorQuest College, and is an RBC Ambassador. The enthusiasm for creating community at NorQuest is what got her nominated for a Shine award by her instructors.

"At first, I was simply honoured by the award, but to receive the cheque was a nice surprise," she says with a laugh. The financial assistance from a Shine award was a welcome boost towards her tuition costs. "Every bit helps!"

"I felt really happy and encouraged by my Shine award," says Williams, "to know that your peers and your instructors see the potential in you motivates me to do better. I think this Shine award is pretty amazing!"

Steven and Day LePoole
Steven and Day LePoole

Longtime supporters and friends of NorQuest College, Steven and Day LePoole have stepped forward with a major contribution of $250,000 to Maximizing Opportunities – The NorQuest Campaign.

In recognition of their friendship to the college and generous support of the campaign, a student gathering place located in the new Singhmar Centre for Learning will be named the Steven & Day LePoole Knowledge Commons.

The LePoole’s have supported many different college initiatives. From the Learner Access Bursary, to the 1000 Women: A Million Possibilities movement, and the Steven and Day LePoole Social Work Scholarship.

Steven LePoole is a former member of the NorQuest College Board of Governors, a recipient of a NorQuest College Honorary Diploma, and a past mentor of Pathways to the Future presented by the EPCOR mentorship program.

"I am an immigrant like many NorQuest students, but I have only a small understanding of what the current generation of immigrants have to deal with when they come to Canada," says Steven. "They have a very steep learning curve and I am happy to help with that learning curve."

Thank you to the LePoole’s for their amazing generosity and friendship over the years and their continuing support of our students.

Tammy Kaglik
Tammy Kaglik

Tammy Kaglik knows the true value of an education. It helps people land better jobs and improve their income of course, but also brings wealth in the form of confidence and self-worth. Tammy has those qualities now, but that wasn’t always the case.

Originally from Inuvik and raised in Whitehorse, Tammy left northern Canada at a young age and then called Edmonton home. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a happy home; she found herself struggling and living on the streets at times. After years of walking a tough path – and now a mother of young children – Tammy knew it was time for a change. "I had been out of school for almost 25 years," she says. "I knew that I needed education to get back on my feet."

Tammy first took classes in NorQuest’s Academic Upgrading program and then entered the Community Support Worker program. Her dedication to education was recognized and rewarded with the Peter Elzinga Family Foundation Award, Alumni Association Award, Indigenous Careers Award, and Lorraine Osadchuk Award.

With the strength of a NorQuest education boosting her confidence, Tammy is now aiming higher: she has set her sights on becoming a social worker after completion of the college’s Social Work diploma in the future. "I’m very grateful for what NorQuest has given me," says Tammy, "to believe in myself, and work hard to get myself where I want to be."

Natasha Korosi
Natasha Korosi

Natasha Korosi is a fighter. From homelessness, to mental health issues, to experiencing challenge after challenge in finding a daycare she trusted for her son, Eli Korosi, she discovered ‘the best gift ever’ at NorQuest College.

"I wouldn’t be able to go where I want to go without a starting point," says Korosi. "That is the Intercultural Child & Family Centre. Without it, I wouldn’t have this chance to pursue my long-tern goal of becoming a psychiatrist. I probably wouldn’t be going to school at all."

The 28-year-old single mom is currently completing Academic Upgrading at NorQuest. With the child care centre right on campus, Korosi says she has so much time to study, do homework, and spend quality time with her son.

"Before moving to downtown and coming to NorQuest with my son, I was on the bus for four hours. I bussed an hour to drop him to daycare, then an hour to go to school, and then the same routine after school. That was brutal. I knew I needed to make a change; I had no quality of life with my son because I had no time. It was pick him up, feed him dinner, and then bedtime. I couldn’t do that as a single parent."

Since winter 2018 when she started at NorQuest, and Eli joined the child care centre, Korosi has experienced a whole new world.

"With Eli having developmental disorders, other places treated him like he was half of his age and they did everything for him. At this centre, they empower him to do things himself. I am so happy – I go in and I’m surprised with something he has started to do! They don’t treat him like he has a disability; they treat him like he makes the room more diverse. He adds something different to the room that another child can’t bring."

With a career plan in place and a child care centre that she "100 per cent trusts," Korosi is more driven than ever to succeed.

"This is giving me hope for the future – not just for my future, but his too."

Brett Funk
Brett Funk

What do you get when you combine a health care aide, a licensed practical nurse, and an instructor? An extraordinary champion for Alberta’s health-care system.

NorQuest graduate Brett Funk is employed as a licensed practical nurse in one of the most dynamic medical facilities in Edmonton, the Orthopedic Surgery Centre at the Royal Alexandra Hospital.

"There’s never a dull moment," says the 29-year-old, whose job is to assist patients before and after surgery.

Like many young people, Funk worked in the trades for 10 years, starting in high school. With a desire to expand his horizons, he completed his Health Care Aide certificate in his home province of Manitoba. He then found work in Edmonton, but still wanted to go further in his career.

"That’s where NorQuest came in. Deep down, I always wanted to work in the medical field. The Practical Nurse program at NorQuest gave me the foundation I needed to move forward in my career."

Today, in addition to working at the Royal Alexandra Hospital, he is back in NorQuest classrooms – not as a student, but as a practical nurse instructor, assisting with teaching at the college’s Whitecourt campus thanks to his front-line experience.

"It’s a great feeling to support students and pass on what I’ve learned."

Funk’s story is just one of many NorQuest graduates serving on the front lines of health care. The next time you walk into a hospital or continuing care centre, you’re likely to see them busy as unit clerks, health care aides, licensed practical nurses, or pharmacy technicians. And when you do, you can expect extraordinary service and care.