Top Talent: Brock Communications Student Stacey Burger Gives Back To Her Community

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Stacey Burger is a fourth-year Communications Studies student at Brock University and she wants to use her career to make the world a better place.

That might sound like an unrealistic goal to some, but she’s already well on her way there.

“I have been a ‘Big Sister’ with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Fort Erie since 2009, and spend my summers working for non-profit organizations like the United Way of Niagara Falls and Greater Fort Erie and Community Care of St. Catharines and Thorold (a food bank),” she said in her entry to TalentEgg’s recent Get Noticed By Employers contest on Facebook.

“Volunteer one hour each week. It will improve your resume and help someone else sleep a little easier at night.” —Stacey Burger, Communications Studies student, Brock University

“I believe that I deserve to be recognized on TalentEgg because I have made a genuine difference in my community by mentoring youth and fundraising for underprivileged families.”

Stacey received nearly 300 votes – almost twice as many as the second-place contestant! It’s clear that TalentEgg-ers really appreciate the value of giving back.

To help her hatch her career even further, we asked Stacey a few more questions about why she’s Top Talent and why employers should hire her. Congratulations Stacey, and good luck hatching your career this spring!

What school do you go to and what program are you in?

I currently attend Brock University for Communication Studies (Honours) and I’ll be graduating this spring. I’m enrolled in a collaborative program, meaning I spent my third year at Mohawk College taking Public Relations. I would recommend collaborative programs for anyone interested in getting a combination of theoretical and hands-on experience. I really benefited from the Public Relations course because I was taught how to write news releases, uses Photoshop and InDesign, plan events, and so on. You simply can’t learn these things in a university setting.

Why should employers notice you?

I’ve always believed that a person’s character is what really matters. You can have all the job experience in the world, but what does that actually say about you? I believe that I should be recognized by employers because I have a big heart and treat others with respect. Troubles arise in all businesses so it’s best to work with people who are equally concerned with the bottom line and maintaining positive relationships. I am a non-confrontational person interested in shared solutions. When I become passionate about an organization’s mission, I won’t stop until the public takes notice.

What’s the story behind your passion for non-profit work?

I was hired as a summer student at a food bank called Community Care of St. Catharines and Thorold my first summer after university. Growing up in a small town, homelessness was never something that I thought about much.

I remember working at the client intake desk and a single mother came in. She told me that she was embarrassed and ashamed to need to ask for help. That was the moment that changed me. She didn’t have enough money to feed her children and she was desperate. Good people find themselves in hard situations. I convinced her to stay and vowed to help people who are struggling for the rest of my life.

The next summer I worked at the United Way of Niagara Falls and Greater Fort Erie. The Executive Director, Carol Stewart-Kirkby, inspired me to pursue this career path. There’s something so rewarding about working for a non-profit organization.

What are your career goals?

Eventually, I would like to work at the national office of a non-profit organization concerned with poverty or social inequality issues as the Communications Director. I’ve taken many Women’s Studies courses because I’m fascinated by gender pay differences in the workplace. Perhaps, that’s why the single mother found herself at the food bank in the first place.

I really enjoy the communications and public relations fields because we come up with creative ways to get members of the public to support our organization. You pat yourself on the back when you know your promotional materials have caught their attention. Most importantly, I want my career to make me happy.

What are you doing to achieve those goals?

I believe that it’s wise to take advantage of every new opportunity you’re presented with, so I say yes to everything. I won’t let fear get in the way of my goals. I’m doing at internship with Next Niagara and volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Fort Erie. I spend quite a bit of time on websites like Volunteer Niagara to see what interests me. I’d much rather volunteer than sit at home and watch television. Personal growth is a lifelong process.

I won the Debbie Skerrett Award for being the most well-rounded student in my graduating class. In order to be successful you need to create a good balance between work, school and physical activity. I always end up feeling refreshed after a trip to the YMCA. I make an effort to get involved with a variety of clubs, organizations and teams. I was also fortunate enough to receive the Wilfred Landon Scholarship and Fort Erie Chamber of Commerce Bursary which helped finance my university education.

Do you have any tips for your fellow students and recent grads?

Be persistent. You can accomplish your goals if you stick to them. Take baby steps. Nothing happens overnight and no new opportunity is too small. Stay positive. That’s the only way you will be able to move past your failures. Volunteer one hour each week. It will improve your resume and help someone else sleep a little easier at night.

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About the author

Cassandra Jowett is TalentEgg's Content Manager. She joined the team as a student intern in the summer of 2008, and since then her heart has never really left the Egg Carton. Cassandra is a recent graduate of the Ryerson University School of Journalism, where she earned a Bachelor of Journalism with a focus in writing and editing for newspapers. She has also written and edited for The Globe and Mail, The National Post, t.o.night newspaper and other publications.