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Recent Grads: Where are they now?

Benjamin Turner (MIR ’17) recently started his career as a HRIS Analyst at the Canadian National Railway Company headquarters in Montréal, QC. In response to upcoming Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) regulations and First Line Supervisors' need to view comprehensive employee profiles, CN is transforming by implementing an HRIS (Human Resources Information System) which will be the first milestone in providing managers a 360° view of their employees. Benjamin is involved with the implementation and delivery of this business solution.

The primary catalyst to my professional launch was undoubtedly the MIR program at Queen’s University. The program provided me with the knowledge, skillset, and professional network necessary to begin my career in Human Resource Management. Foremost, the MIR designation enabled me to work in an organization with a largely unionized workforce, such as the Canadian National Railway Company. It exposed me to the legislation and union-related processes required for working in a unionized environment, particularly one with employees in safety sensitive positions. Coursework on organizational change prepared me to work at an organization undergoing transformation. The HRM facet of the program moulded me to be an HRM professional who operates on a strategic rather than transactional level. Finally, the professional contacts I developed through the program’s alumni network opened the door to my career. Thank you QU MIR for giving me a leg up!

Morgan MacKay (MIR ’15) is now a Human Resources Business Partner at Bombardier Transportation. She is responsible for overseeing employee relations for more than 800, primarily unionized, employees under Bombardier’s Canadian Services contracts including the West Coast Express, Ottawa-Carlton Project, GO Transit and Union-Pearson (UP) Express. The railway industry is highly regulated with high safety and security standards which present a variety of challenges that keep her work exciting every day.
This role is located in Toronto, Ontario where she works with her local HR team, as well as other Bombardier HR departments across Canada, the United States and Mexico, handling everything from recruitment and performance management to payroll and benefits administration.  Morgan’s primary responsibilities include recruitment for GO Transit’s Operations employees, conducting workplace investigations as well as managing the Short-Term and Long-Term Disability caseload. Outside of these responsibilities, Morgan sits on the Return to Work Committee, and Committee for Respectful Workplace. These committees are joint Union-Management teams that work together to coordinate the safe return of employees from work and non-work related injuries or illnesses and ensure a safe workplace free of discrimination and harassment.
The multi-disciplinary nature of the Master of Industrial Relations program provided Morgan with both the skills and competencies to launch her career as a successful Human Resources and Labour Relations professional.
“The MIR Program has been the most rewarding experience of my academic career. The support and dedication of the program’s staff and professors to my professional growth and development was above and beyond anything that I could have expected. The coursework, although challenging, has provided me with the knowledge and skills to succeed in my everyday activities here at Bombardier. The practical nature of the program and in-class simulations have been particularly invaluable, providing me with confidence as I find myself in many of the same scenarios daily. As our site will be renegotiating our collective agreement at the end of 2016, I am excited at the opportunity to sit at the table and put my newly acquired negotiations skills to work.”

Ashley Strohan MIR ‘14
"My application for the Employee Relations Consultant position located in Iqaluit, Nunavut started with me seeking a challenge, an opportunity to be exposed to both case and culturally distinct diversity and the chance for adventure- all in one. Now, after nearly 2 months of working in my position and living here I am beyond happy to say that both my personal and professional experiences have exceeded my expectations. Working for the Government of Nunavut and assisting my clients (government department employees and managers) has been a phenomenal learning experience. In such a short time, I have been exposed to a variety of situations that will afford me a strong foundation in transferable skills".

Sarah D’Alton, MIR '14, has moved to accept a career opportunity in Calgary, Alberta.
The interdisciplinary nature of the Master of Industrial Relations Program combined with its commitment to professional development provided a challenging and exciting learning environment.  The reputation of excellence that the MIR program has established is one that employers recognize. The skills I developed and the knowledge I gained through this program not only prepared me for a career in labour relations but helped me to obtain my dream job as a labour relations consultant in a post-secondary institution.   
Sarah D’Alton was the 2014 recipient of the Cameron-Wood Prize in Industrial Relations.  This prize is awarded annually to the graduate with the highest academic standing in the MIR program completing within twelve months. 


Ryan Plener, MIR '14
"The dual Master of Industrial Relations/Juris Doctor program has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my academic career.
A few months after beginning the program, I thought to myself, ‘what have I gotten myself into’? Juggling the many group and individual assignments from the MIR portions with the seemingly endless barrage of readings from the JD program I began to question my choice. Attempting to balance the academic requirements of both programs while having an active social life proved extremely difficult. It is quite true that both the MIR and JD portions are demanding separately and combined, they create a difficult program in which to excel. However, with all of that said- I wouldn’t change a thing.
The MIR program has provided me with the tools and skills to become a competent professional- not to mention the fantastic colleagues I had the opportunity to work with and become friends. The program emphasizes and prides itself on creating realistic working scenarios in order for graduates to seamlessly enter the workforce. An abundance of group work forces you to become proficient in organization and effective communication. The benefits of the MIR degree in combination with the JD are boundless. Seen as an incredibly desirable set of skills and attributes in the workforce, MIR/JD’s are trained to integrate both legal and workplace concepts into a single analysis. I have found this extremely beneficial in both my professional and academic practices.
At the beginning of the program you are faced with choosing a three or three and a half year route in which to graduate. I chose the former and completed a certificate in the Global Law program at the Bader International Study Centre. Studying international business law at the Herstmonceux Castle in the UK for eight weeks was an experience that I will never forget. Having never been to Europe, it was a chance to experience and engage with the local culture and travel to world landmarks. The program is designed to give students both an academic and practical perspective of international law. Not only is this an opportunity to graduate in the typical three-year JD timeline and study international law; but you also have the opportunity to meet new colleagues and form long lasting bonds.
The program has provided me with the tools and skills necessary to secure employment in the labour & employment area of the legal profession. This summer I will be employed as a summer law student at a management side labour & employment law firm and am ecstatic to begin.
It is important to also mention the fabulous administration of both the MIR and JD programs. Inevitably conflicts arose as between the two programs and I knew, without hesitation that I could always count on their help in solving the matter.
I am extremely lucky to have been given this opportunity to be enrolled in two fantastic programs at Queen’s. I look forward to my future career, with the support of both the MIR and JD programs."