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SEIDO Program Coordinator presents at 2012 AIESEC Manitoba Alberta and Saskatchewan Seminar

AIESEC Saskatoon Chapter this year hosted its annual Manitoba Alberta and Saskatchewan Seminar, a conference which brings together student members of the organization and furthers their engagement in leadership opportunities, international internships and global network. Most content is delivered by student leaders, where those having been through the AIESEC leadership program are given the opportunity to share their experiences and pass on their knowledge to new AIESEC members. “Student leaders shared their experience in each of the functional areas where AIESEC works – the exchange program, finance, communications, sales and human resources – and also led sessions on leadership, collaboration, and cultural diversity,” says AIESEC Saskatoon President Carson Widynowski. “We held a simulation of AIESEC activities that allowed our members to practice the new skills that they learned in their functional sessions.”

While in the past, MASS has been used as a leadership transition conference, AIESEC Saskatoon shifted toward more international content. For this, both the Hanlon Centre for International Business Studies (Edwards School of Business) and the Saskatchewan Economic & International Development Officer Program (also known as “SEIDO”) were brought on board. “While we always had an element of internationalism, it became more prominent when the conference hosted SEIDO for delivery of two global business & trade seminars, particularly covering international business communication,” says Widynowski.

In addition to donating $5,000.00 on behalf of the Hanlon Centre in his capacity as Hanlon Director, Nick Kokkastamapoulos as SEIDO Program Coordinator was also asked to deliver the conference’s keynote address. The presenter and his topic, “International Business & Cross-Cultural Communication”, engaged an 80 plus student audience with an assortment of advice, trivia, and break-out sessions related to interacting with diverse ethnic and cultural groups. “Nick's session was about doing business in different cultures. He taught us about different customs in different cultures, like how to pass a business card in China, and about general etiquette and hand signals in other countries,” Widynowski says. “The topic was very relevant because most of our members work with AIESEC students in other countries. Plus, most of our students are interested in international business and this type of training will help them with their career objectives.”

Reports from MASS 2012 attendees show they were pleased with the topic. “The session opened my eyes to the importance of minor differences in cultural business customs. It was exciting, engaging, and informative – a truly top notch session,” says President of AIESEC Edmonton, Sam Turner. Vice President of AIESEC Calgary adds, “MASS was an amazing conference that brought together passionate AIESECers from across the Prairie Provinces. I especially enjoyed the session by Nick about international business and etiquette. It was extremely valuable and definitely relevant to students and future global leaders."

Widynowski deems the conference an overall success. “The result was good. All the students were very well engaged and learned a lot from the conference. We kept a high-energy atmosphere with lots of dancing and cheering. As one of the conference organizers, I was pretty happy with how well everyone was engaged.”

Moving forward, AIESEC plans to increase the amount of internationalism they bring to the conference. “I’m looking forward to seeing what the MASS conference will be like next year and, with the SEIDO Program as a supporter, I am confident that we can provide some really great content,” says Widynowski. “In 2012 we had the largest turnout in recent years with 75 attendees and we’re looking to improve that in 2013.”

* Please note this article has been updated to reflect the new name change of the “Saskatchewan Economic & International Development Officer Program” (“SEIDO”), from its former program name as the “Saskatchewan International Trade Officer Program” (“SITO”).

The Saskatchewan Economic & International Development Officer Program (SEIDO) allows university/college and high schools throughout Saskatchewan the opportunity build global business knowledge, related skills development, and training opportunities for a career in global business, international trade and development. For more information, please contact Nicholas Kokkastamapoulos (SEIDO Program Coordinator) at the Haultain Institute for Global Business Studies at or or by telephone at (306) 715-2260. Thank you.

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