Advertising students hear from successful grads



(from left to right) Kirk Allen, Alison Van Buskirk, Shaylan Austin, Rachel Brock, Kristopher Makuch, Meika Yeo and Shin Phan addressed the current Advertising and Marketing students, telling their story and fielding questions.

If you want a job after you graduate, be prepared to aggressively pursue every opportunity, a panel of Sheridan grads told students last week.

“If people follow up with me, it’s a great impression,” said Kirk Allen, co-owner of Re-Shift Media and Sheridan grad from 1982. “It shows that you want to work.”

Alongside Allen were, Meika Yeo (Cotton Candy), Alison Van Buskirk (Optimum Media Direction), Rachel Brock (Hamilton Spectator), Kristopher Makuch (Mindshare), Shin Phan (Maple Lodge Farms) and Shaylan Austin (UM Canada). Each one delivered a personal story about how they became involved with the program and then described how they used what they learned to succeed in the workplace.

“My experience here was fantastic,” said Allen. “Everything I learned was applicable to the job.”


After he graduated from Sheridan, Allen said he had three job offers within the week.

“There doesn’t have to be a job opening to get a job,” he said, mentioning that on more than occasion he has hired people even when he wasn’t looking for new employees.

Allen’s company is focused on advertising on social media, search engines and mobile devices. He’ll be taking on a Sheridan intern Jan. 1.

Each alumnus had nothing but good things to say about the program. Van Buskirk is now a strategist at Rogers, Austin works at Sony Pictures, Brock is at the Hamilton Spectator, Makuch is at Mindshare, Yeo is an account executive at Cotton Candy and Phan is a marketing coordinator at Maple Lodge Farms.

During a question-and-answer period, some students wanted to know if staying for their third year was a good idea or not.

“Third year changed my life,” said Yeo. “I had no idea what I wanted to do at the end of my second year.”

One big concern from students was how to counter the stresses of the job.

Brock said the Hamilton Spectator has just implemented a resiliency training to help combat the stress of the job. They had a guest speaker come in to help workers look on the bright side of any given situation, to focus on the positive instead of the negative.

“You’re not living to work, you’re working to live,” she said.

“It’s okay to say no,” said Phan, answering the same question. “You’re only one person and there’s only so many hours in a day.”

After the panel, program co-ordinator Cathryne Oliver said she was happy with the outcome of her third annual grad meeting.

“We had no difficulties getting hold of our speakers,” she said.

“I gathered that building contacts at college is very important to getting a job,” said Christian Collins, an Advertising and Marketing student who attended the session.