Fanshawe's Ignite Career Conference is coming back

Header image for Interrobang article CREDIT: SUZANNE CARROLL
Ignite Career Conference, 2019.

The Ignite Career Conference: Your Next Normal is coming back to Fanshawe. The annual student career and leadership conference will take place from Nov. 3-6, with different keynote speakers each day.

“The goal for Ignite is to provide a conference experience for our students at no cost, as well as to give them inspiration and tools that they don’t usually get through our day to day workshops,” said Darlene O’Neill, the Director of Employment and Student Entrepreneurial Services at Fanshawe College.

This conference allows students to participate in workshops, ask questions to employers, and expand their professional networks. It will be held virtually to allow students to work around their personal schedules, so students can log on when they have time in their busy school schedules.

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The keynote speakers this year are Randall Adjei, the first poet laureate in Ontario on Nov. 3, Susan Aglukark, an award winning Inuk artist on Nov. 5, and Ginella Massa, the first hijab-wearing TV news reporter in Canada on Nov 6.

“Our keynote speakers over the three days are diverse, they’re enthusiastic, they represent what the Canadian mosaic of population looks like, and what our student body looks like. [Students] can also look forward to some really cool workshops that are very different than we offer on day to day,” said O’Neill.

Some of the workshops that will be offered are an improv workshop to exercise creativity, an opportunity to measure adaptability, five tools to change in your career toolbox to be successful amidst a pandemic, and an Adobe workshop about creating a professional brand.

“The workshops are on the second day and there are four. They’re being run concurrently, so the students will have to pick one of four, which is going to be a challenge. So we’ve duplicated it at another time in the afternoon. If they don’t get their first or second choice in the first round, they can try again in the second round.”

The conference will then end off with an employer panel.

“The employers are going to talk to students about the challenges and opportunities that have resulted throughout the pandemic and as a result of the pandemic.”

O’Neill said this conference is based on transitioning to a “new normal” because the work world will never be the same after COVID.

“We’ve got gamification through the platform, there’s lots of prizes, photo booths, and networking opportunities. Even though it’s all virtual, we are using feed loop through conference services here at Fanshawe, so we’re using our own products. We’re super excited to offer a really unique opportunity to our students.”

O’Neill’s hope is that students will walk away from this event feeling inspired.

“Particularly this year, there’s been so much thrown at students and I want them to come together and listen to the keynotes and hear the stories of inspiration, hope, perseverance, creativity, adaptability, and see that in themselves.”

Students looking to participate can apply at