This is the next blog in the continuing series of interviews with top-echelon and renowned professionals. In this blog, we interview Stacy DuBois, Talented Technology and Business Specialist, Two-time National Champion Canadian Skills Competition, Member of Team Canada for WorldSkills Calgary 2009.
Stacy DuBois is a natural born problem-solver who loves music, joking with her friends and pursuing her dreams. A recent graduate of the Office Administration-Legal program at Algonquin College, she is confident that her aptitude with computer software will evolve into a career that she will enjoy and be proud of.
The Office Administration-Legal program provided Stacy with a high level of proficiency using word processing, presentation, Internet, e-mail, database, graphics, and spreadsheet skills in a network environment. While completing her Algonquin program, she also had the opportunity to work in an office setting. She found the experience to be very fulfilling, as she often received positive feedback from her colleagues while she solved their daily office software problems.
In her first year of the Office Administration program, a computer professor mentioned the opportunity for students to compete against their peers in skills competitions hosted by Skills/Compétences Canada-Ontario. Never one to back down from a challenge, Stacy was instantly motivated by this interesting event.
"I immediately jumped at the opportunity because I have a lot of confidence in my abilities. I like to take every opportunity to learn new things and perfect my skills."
After successfully competing at the provincial level, she went on to compete at the Canadian Skills Competition in 2007 where she won gold. In 2008, she repeated her success, earning her the right to represent Canada at the 2009 WorldSkills Competition in Calgary.
Being inspired by others who are not afraid to go against the flow, Stacy is excited to make an essential contribution to Team Canada 2009. She is also looking forward to the opportunities, benefits and rewards she will experience in her future career as an entrepreneur, an information management specialist, or perhaps a project manager. Besides preparing for the WorldSkills Competition, Stacy is currently working on obtaining a Bachelor of Professional Arts - Communications Major from Athabasca University.
To listen to the interview, click on this MP3 file link
Interview Time Index (MM:SS) and Topic
Stacy profiles her current roles including work and school.
What are you studying at university and what are your longer-term goals and objectives?
"....I'm still exploring my options, but being involved with media consulting, online marketing or telecommunications are all areas that really appeal to me right now...."
You recently keynoted at the Deans of IT Summit in Toronto. Can you describe this experience, what lessons you learned and the lessons you shared with the audience of Deans?
"...There are a lot more challenges than I'd realized in getting skilled technology graduates out there into the workforce. It really opened my eyes and I'm glad I was able to be part of that forum...."
Stacy profiles her journey with the Skills Canada Competitions.
"....Students and apprentices under 22 years of age all compete in these Olympic-style contests, in various trades and technologies. I've been competing in the "IT Office Software" category, just one of the many other areas...I've had a chance to get out there and meet a lot of people and learn a lot of new things. It has been amazing...."
What is the anticipated experience and expectations at the World Skills Competition in Calgary in 2009? When is it? What do you hope to accomplish?
"....It's September 1-6, 2009. You can find more information at http://www.worldskills2009.com or specifically for Team Canada go to http://www.skillscanada.com....I'm expecting it to be very intense, but very positive....It's going to give me the chance to really push forward with my technology skills and that is going to help me in my career..."
What five life and career lessons have your learned from these competitions?
"....Never underestimate yourself....Respect other people and don't be cocky....Be prepared....Keep a positive attitude....Take advantage of every opportunity you get...."
Can you share your views on Women in IT-the challenges and solutions?
"....Just recently I acted as a mentor at a networking dinner put on by Skills Canada-Ontario. It's called "Skills Work!® For Women" and it was an evening where high school students who were interested in exploring their postsecondary options had a chance to meet women working in skilled trades or technology positions....It's the kind of event that I think would have really helped me feel more comfortable in my decision-making back in high school when I was trying to decide which field to go into...."
What are issues and opportunities in post-secondary education for those looking at studying IT?
"....Most colleges and universities provide a lot of information about what sorts of skills you can acquire in the various programs and what kinds of jobs they'll lead you to. I think it's to a student's advantage to make use of guidance counselors to help them figure out which program best suits their interests...."
What would you say are the top resources for those under 30, who are interested in IT?
"....CNET.com....TechGuy.org....The Microsoft Developer Network (msdn.microsoft.com)....internet.com....zdnet.com....technabob.com ....Microsoft Office Bible - there's a book for Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint....tv.adobe.com....certification-crazy.net....informIT.com...."
Stacy shares several interesting stories centered around her experiences and travels.
What 3 questions would you ask and what would be your answers if you were doing this interview?
"....How did you get into technology?....Why Microsoft Office?....What makes you continue to focus on Microsoft Office? Why not something else?...."
What are your favorite features or what are some tips in Word or Excel or PowerPoint?
"....I really like customizing the menus....It's particularly useful to go in and customize the menu and put your favorite buttons where you want them. I really like automation...I'm learning how to build macros and go into Visual Basic and make the programs do stuff for you...."
The UN-founded International Federation for Information Processing or IFIP has their Professional Practice Partnership Program which received full ratification at the world general assembly in August 2007 with their first implementation meeting in Montreal hosted by CIPS in October. This marks an historical inflection point and speaks to IT as a recognized profession with global standards, profession-based code of ethics, and widely adopted professional certification-all happening in 2009. Can you provide your comments?
"....That's really exciting news! I'd have to say that it's about time that IT professionals are given the chance to be formally recognized in their field, much like so many other fields...."