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Graduation Special: Jen Parente Full Interview

Jen Parente, Human Resources student and VP of the Human Resources Association at BCIT, shared a little insight at her time at BCIT.

What would you tell the you from the beginning?

First, I would tell myself to just take each day at a time, and all the hard work in between is worth it! I would tell the me from 2015 that even though getting involved in extracurricular activities at school is added work, it is extremely worth it. I have found that being involved in the Human Resources Association and volunteering with the Student Association has made a huge impact on my time at BCIT, allowing me to meet and connect with people I otherwise wouldn’t have had the opportunity to. I’d tell myself to take a deep breath, and enjoy it (even during the most stressful times), because two years flies by faster than you think!

Who do you think has been the biggest influence during your time there? What would you like to say to them?

I think that all of my teachers at BCIT have had a huge impact on my experience. They have all influenced me in a positive way, and I’m so thankful for all of their hard work and dedication. Most notably, Deb Duffy has made a huge impact on my academic career. Her lessons were always engaging, and made me excited to enter the HR field. One of the most important lessons she taught us was to always remember that handling certain situations requires consideration for the human experience. We must always think of how our actions and decisions will effect people on a human level. This really stood out to me, and for that specific lesson I’d like to say thank you, because I know that this is something that will make me a better HR professional.

How did you discover your passion for HR and leadership?

When I graduated from university with a degree in Sociology and English Literature, I really didn’t know what I wanted to do. I spoke to several industry professionals about their respective fields, and HR really stood out to me. I liked the idea that HR had the ability to make such a significant difference in the worker’s experience, and the business as a whole. Work takes up a significant amount of one’s life; I believe that it is critical that employers understand this, and make changes to ensure that all employees feel engaged and excited about their jobs. The HR department has the ability to provide and improve this experience, and so I’ve always felt that it would be a rewarding and important career.

Words of wisdom for future students of your program?

I would leave two pieces of advice for future HR students. The first would be to value the relationships you make in the program, I’m stealing this advice from our program head Simon Bachrich! The people you meet and the friends you make will be your colleagues in the future, do not take these relationships for granted!

I would also encourage future students to get involved. This not only helps in building one’s network, but it also creates a balanced schedule. Getting involved really improved my experience; it pushed me to meet new people, increase my self confidence, and ultimately improve my practical skills.

What do you think has been the most impactful thing you’ve done since you started here?

I think my involvement with the Mentorship Program and the Peak Leadership Program has made an impact on the student body. Being able to get to know students and interview them allowed me to meet a variety of people and connect with them on a personal level.  It allowed me to understand their different personalities and needs, and then help pair them with a suitable mentor. I think that being paired with a positive mentor has the ability to make a real impact in a student’s future, and it’s definitely a program I am most proud to have been a part of.

Thank you, Jen, for being a part of our final issue of the year. Be sure to check out the other interviews in the April 2017 issue, on stands around campus now!