Amy Jackson PSLP Student

Program details

The President’s Student Leadership Program is a non-credit, selected co-curricular program. This means that successful applicants will not need to do any prep work prior to the start of the program.

Expected duration:

The President’s Student Leadership Program runs for one week in June and continues through the fall and winter terms on select Saturdays.

Tuition and fees:

Successful applicants are fully funded through a student fellowship to cover the full costs of the program. These may include transportation to Winnipeg if necessary, meals, lodging during the week at the UM, transportation to and from site visits and a per diem for daily necessities. Also included is accommodation and transportation for those from outside of Winnipeg for the dedicated Saturdays in the Fall and Winter semesters.

Program info:

The President's Student Leadership program provides:

  • An immersive experience working with peers from diverse backgrounds
  • The opportunity to learn in an intensive format from top leaders about key leadership challenges
  • Access to mentorship opportunities
  • A letter of accomplishment and a certificate to complement your academic record
  • Funding for program participation in the form of the President's Student Leader Fellowship
  • Ongoing interaction and contribution with future cohorts of the President's Student Leadership Program, helping to form a network of future leaders in the province

Sample weekday itinerary 

Each day will follow a theme, e.g. increasing leadership impact through collaboration and partnership

  • 8 a.m. Breakfast in common dining room
  • 9 a.m. Student teams work together to plan approaches and questions for the day’s site visit
  • 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Depart for site visit*, lunch provided
  • 4 p.m. Team reports and reflections

After returning to campus, participants gather in their teams to prepare informal presentations for the group on their team’s findings during the visit

  • 5:30 p.m. Break
  • 6:30 p.m. Dinner in common dining room
  • 7:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. Post-dinner activity (guest speaker or leadership workshop)

*Site visit examples include:

  • Leading innovative company where the CEO, union leaders and top employees will dialogue with the participants
  • Leadership in the justice system: hearing from and engaging with key decision makers
  • Leadership in social services or healthcare: key challenges and approaches
  • Leadership in the arts

Saturday and Sunday will be preparatory work and workshops

Admission requirements

As a potential applicant to the President’s Student Leadership Program, you should have a history of impactful leadership in your community of student life. You should be committed to developing your collaborative leadership knowledge and skills to make positive change in your environment.

Your selection is based on a combination of your leadership experience and potential. Your leadership experience might be formal, through a student or community leadership role, or informal, through having an important impact on others’ wellbeing or on an important issue for the community.

To be admitted to the President’s Student Leadership Program you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be enrolled in a post-secondary program at a public university or college in the province of Manitoba
  • Be at least halfway through your program of study but not in your graduating year
  • Students in a two-year program should apply while in the second half of their first year of post-secondary study.
  • Students in the process of transferring to a different program or post-secondary institution will also be considered
  • Students must be enrolled in a program that is minimum two years duration with the exception of 12-month masters programs
  • Be available to attend all portions of the program

We are looking for students who demonstrate:

Active commitment

A demonstrated ability to develop, reflect on and question your own perspectives through learning from multiple viewpoints.

Social skills

An ability to collaborate with and motivate others, work effectively in a team to achieve common understanding, express yourself in different situations and to different people, and listen and value others’ opinions, experiences and knowledge bases.

Initiative and imagination

The potential to recognize where change is needed and work with others to pursue it.

Intellectual curiosity

An ability to collaborate with and motivate others, work effectively in a team to achieve common understanding, express yourself in different situations and to different people, and listen and value others’ opinions, experiences and knowledge bases.


Passion, ability and serious incentive to actively engage in the program, including a plan for how you intend to use what you learn after program completion.

How to apply

Complete your application by March 10, 2021.

Applications should include:

  • A 500 word (maximum) personal statement that explains:
    • Why you want to participate in the program
    • Your leadership experience to date:
      • Provide specific examples of recent formal or informal leadership you have exercised in your community, workplace or university/college. Comment on: 
        • what motivated you to take on the role(s) and actions; 
        • what challenges you encountered; and 
        • what you see as your key achievements and their impact
    • What you will do with the knowledge that you gain as a participant in the President's Student Leadership Program in your immediate and longer term future.
    • You may also identify in your statement if you are a member of an historically underrepresented group.
  • A current resume
  • An official transcript indicating proof of continuing successful status in your university/college program, and your year of study (this will not be used to evaluate GPA)
  • Two letters of testimonial from people you have worked with (instructors, supervisors, Elders, mentors, employers or others who can comment, with examples, on your leadership actions and potential). 


Term Application deadline Apply
Summer and Fall 2021

March 10, 2021

Apply for the President's Student Leadership Program
    Submit a testimonial for the President's Student Leadership Program

Applicants must submit their online application with supporting documentation by the deadline date indicated. 

Interview details

Applicant interviews will be held between March 9th and 18th. Those invited to an interview, to be held in small groups, will be given the choice between several time slots, including early evening. Interviews will take place at the University of Manitoba for Winnipeg applicants; those more distant will be offered in the applicant’s location. Candidates will be notified by Friday, March 12th if they have been invited to an interview. Full details about what to expect from the interview will be provided in advance.

Who we are

Connect with our team at the James W. Burns Leadership Institute.

The James W. Burns Leadership Institute offers undergraduate and graduate students from faculties across the university opportunities to develop leadership knowledge necessary to pursue careers in any field. Visit our site to learn more about our innovative educational leadership programming.


Tom Carson

Tom Carson is the Chair of the Board of Directors, St Boniface Hospital and Senior Fellow, Canada West Foundation. Currently a consultant focusing on personal and team development and workplace health, he has over 31 years of senior management and executive experience with the Manitoba government. He began with the Management Committee of Cabinet, through Northern Affairs, to Deputy Minister postings in the departments of Culture, Training, and Continuing Education and Health, as well as serving as a Deputy Minister for 14 years. He is the President and Principal Consultant of T. Carson and Associates Ltd.

Since moving to the private sector, Carson has focused on workplace health, team development, organizational analysis, and policy development. He serves on the following boards: the Winnipeg Art Gallery Foundation (as a consultant to Leadership Winnipeg); the President’s Advisory Council (to the President of the University of Manitoba); and the Health, Leisure and Human Performance Institute at the University of Manitoba. Carson brings a wealth of experience in policy and research, nonprofit planning, non-profit board administration, government policy, and management analysis.

Carly Edmundson

Carly Edmundson is a creative professional with more than 10 years of experience in marketing and communications. She is passionate about finding ways to create meaningful connections and a sense of community through marketing and communications strategies. She has worked in a variety of industries and has specialized in ’starting from scratch’ to take a vision to reality throughout her career. Her experience includes marketing at the Winnipeg Airports Authority where she focused on the marketing strategy surrounding building and opening the new terminal, and CentrePort Canada Inc., where she worked to build North America’s largest tri-modal inland port. Edmundson has also held roles at Manitoba-grown organizations such as Wellington West and Price Industries. She now leads the marketing and communications division at Cushman & Wakefield | Stevenson, Manitoba’s largest full-service commercial real estate firm.

Edmundson grew up in a small town in rural Manitoba, which taught her the value of being part of building a strong community. She regularly volunteers her time to support various local non-profits and has served on the board of the Learning Disabilities Association of Manitoba. In August 2020, she became the Chair of the Young Associates, part of the Asper School of Business Foundation.

Diane Gray

Diane Gray is the founding President and CEO of CentrePort Canada Inc., Canada’s first tri-modal inland port and Foreign Trade Zone encompassing 20,000 acres in the northwest quadrant of Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Gray previously worked for the Province of Manitoba from 1995 to 2009 and simultaneously served as Deputy Minister of Finance, Deputy Minister of Federal-Provincial and International Relations, and Deputy Minister of Trade. In December 2010, she was awarded the Lieutenant Governor's Medal for Excellence in Public Administration for Manitoba, and in May 2013, was awarded the Women of Distinction Award for Management and Leadership. In 2019, she was recognized by the Supply Chain Management Association as one of the Influential 100 Women in Canadian Supply Chain.

Gray currently serves as Chair of MITACS and is co-Chair of World Trade Centre Winnipeg. In addition, she serves on the boards of the Manitoba Technology Accelerator, Public Policy Forum of Canada, the Canada West Foundation, the UM Properties Board, and the Associates of the Asper School of Business.

Gray is a graduate of the University of Manitoba and University of Winnipeg's Joint Masters of Public Administration Program and has an undergraduate degree in political studies from the University of Manitoba.

Charles Henaire

Charles Henaire, FCPA, FCA, is the Deputy CFO, Chief Accounting & Control Officer, Great-West Lifeco. Graduating from the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor of Commerce degree with Distinction, and becoming a designated Chartered Professional Accountant, Chartered Accountant, he was one of the youngest CAs in Manitoba to receive his FCPA, FCA designation.

He joined Great-West in 1994 and worked on the Confederation Life Due Diligence in March 1994. He has participated in the following acquisitions: London Life – 1997, IGM of MFC – 2001, Canada Life – 2003, Putnam – 2007, and Irish Life – 2013.

Henaire exemplifies a commitment to excellence and encourages innovation not only in business, but also within the community through volunteer work. He continues to be involved in his community and profession, and was the first recipient of the Early Achievement Award from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Manitoba and the Deloitte Alumni Leadership Award. He has been involved in the following organizations: past President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of MB (CPA Manitoba), past board member and past Chair of the Audit Committee of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CPA Canada), current board member for Yes Winnipeg Investor Council, and past board member of The Manitoba Museum and Crown Corporations Council of Manitoba (this organization oversaw five provincial government Crown corporations). He is currently a member of the Canadian Accounting Standards Board (AcSB) and Chair of the AcSB Implementation Group for IFRS 17 (new Insurance Contract Standards for Canada).

Kirk Johnson

Kirk Johnson has been with Red River College for over 15 years, serving in a number of leadership roles throughout this time. As Dean of a dual portfolio which encompasses Business, Information Technology and Creative Arts as well as Hospitality and Culinary Arts, he is responsible for 23 distinct programs across four campuses. Johnson’s academic portfolio is comprised of programs such as Business and Commerce, Design, Animation, Creative Communications, Information Technology, and Hospitality and Culinary Arts. As Dean, he is responsible for more than 2,700 Indigenous, domestic, and international students who are supported by 200 dynamic faculty and staff.

Prior to his current role, Johnson held positions as both Director and Dean for Red River College’s School of Continuing Education. While in these roles, he was responsible for the development and oversight of more than 70 part-time, evening, and online programs. As a senior leader in this area, he focused on developing and delivering programs that prepared industry and adult learners with the knowledge and skills required to meet the demanding and ever-changing needs of today’s employers. He was proud to have had the opportunity to lead a number of pilot initiatives at Red River College including Transforming Futures and Raising Hope, which provide educational opportunities to non-traditional students and students with significant barriers.

Johnson’s primary focus is and has always been high-quantality relevant programming which exceeds the expectations of students and industries. Utilizing an educational background that has focused on political science, computer programming, business analysis, and education, he is an innovative and agile academic leader. Over the next year, he and his team look forward to leading the development of four new dynamic programs for Red River College’s new state-of-the-art academic Innovation Centre.

Lisa Kassenaar

Lisa Kassenaar is a Senior Writer and Editor, Global Women's Coverage, Voice of America, leading a special project examining how the U.S. government-funded news organization, which operates in 45 languages, covers women around the world.

She was previously editor-at-large for global women’s coverage at Bloomberg News in New York, where she also led a ‘Managing Diversity’ reporting team. She formerly covered Wall Street, global finance, and markets at Bloomberg for 15 years as a senior writer, editor, and reporter. She has won a Front Page Award from the Newswoman’s Club of New York for a story on residential development in Lower Manhattan, and a YWCA of New York ‘Salute’ Award for women leaders. She is also on the advisory board of, a New York-based non-profit that trains 150 women a year for careers in asset management at the University of Pennsylvania and Notre Dame.

Kassenaar has an MS in journalism from Northwestern University and an undergraduate degree in business from the University of Manitoba. She lives in Manhattan with her husband and two daughters.

Kathy Knight

Kathy Knight joined MITT after more than a decade at the helm of Tech MB (formerly ICTAM) and brought with her a remarkable blend of subject matter expertise, leadership skills, and relationship-building ability.

Under her leadership, Tech MB has become the leading voice of the ICT industry in Manitoba. Knight has brought ICT training to youth—an example of which is MITT’s partnership on PTEC with Tech MB. She also advocated for greater representation of women in technology, showcased how vital ICT is to Manitoba’s economic wellbeing, and spearheaded signature events such as Innovators and DisruptED, which bring educators and employers together to create a vision for the future of work.

The advancements Knight has orchestrated over the past couple of decades in Manitoba’s ICT sector have made her one of its most recognized and respected thought leaders and ambassadors—locally, nationally, and abroad.

Those in the business community who have met or worked with her know how adept she is at finding innovative ways to combine learning with employment opportunities, and creating a community of thinkers and doers united by the common purpose of making Manitoba the kind of place where big ideas collide with technology to create exciting new opportunities.

Chris Minaker

Chris Minaker was born in Brandon, Manitoba, but spent significant time in the United States (Pittsburgh) and southern Ontario (Brantford and Kingston) during his formative years. He graduated from the University of Winnipeg with a dual degree in Business and Conflict Resolution and went on to earn an MA from Royal Roads University in Victoria. While at the University of Winnipeg, he served as president of the Students’ Association and his achievements included creating a new home for the Aboriginal Students’ Centre.

Minaker’s professional career began at Volunteer Manitoba where he helped to establish the Leadership Winnipeg program in partnership with the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce. After that, he accepted a position with the Manitoba government as a Project Director and worked in the ministries of Agriculture, the Civil Service Commission, Families, Federal-Provincial Relations, and finally Executive Council, which is a key link between the political side of government and the professional civil service.

He returned to his alma mater, the University of Winnipeg, in 2015 as a member of the senior executive team, with direct accountability for external relations, policy, strategy, and events. In this role, he works extensively with community organizations, businesses, and governments to strengthen partnerships and relationships.

Minaker is married and has two beautiful children who are the centre of his world.

Jeffrey Morton

Jeffrey Morton is a graduate of Kelvin High School (1976) and the University of Manitoba Faculty of Commerce (1980), and qualified as a Chartered Accountant in Manitoba (1983). He took the Directors Education Program through the Rotman School of Business and obtained his ICD.D designation in 2014.

As a Chartered Accountant by training, Morton has successfully performed as a CFO for over 25 years in two significant and successful Manitoba-based private businesses, National Equipment Leasing and Piston Ring Service. He retired from the latter in June 2018 and currently works as a Corporate Board Director and a Business Advisor.

Morton has been a committed volunteer for almost 30 years, and serves or has served on 15 not for profit, for profit, professional association, and corporate boards. In that body of work, he has led two boards as Chair and served as the Chair of Audit and Finance or Treasurer in six cases. Currently, he is a member of the board of the Cambrian Credit Union and chairs its Risk Oversight Committee.

In 2002, Morton was elected a Fellow of the Manitoba Institute of Chartered Accountants in recognition of his extensive record of continuous volunteer service in the Winnipeg community and to the CA profession.

He has been married to Mary for 38 years, has two children, Sarah and Alexander, a son-in-law Raymond Gagne, and a grandson, Joshua.

Colin Ryan

Colin Ryan is Executive Vice President, Senior Portfolio Manager, Director, Wellington-Altus Holdings Inc. He began his wealth management career in 1992, and in addition to serving high net worth and institutional clients, he also spent many years in executive management at his prior firm managing the Manitoba and Saskatchewan regions. He was on the advisory committee that set policy and strategy for over 1200 advisors and over $120 billion in assets.

Ryan is a former finalist for the IDA Distinction Award given to investment professionals who represent excellence in the profession. In 2019 he was recognized as one of the top 50 advisors in Canada by Wealth Professional Magazine (ranking 11th). He is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and also has a B.Comm. (Honours – Finance) from the Asper School of Business at the University of Manitoba. He has completed executive education programs from the Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania and the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, as well as numerous industry programs. He is committed to lifelong learning and in 2018 completed the Institute of Corporate Directors Course (ICD.D).

Colin’s community work includes: Chair, Associates Asper School of Business; Advisory Board, James. W. Burns Leadership Institute, University of Manitoba; Advisory Council and Major Donor Member, United Way Winnipeg; Campaign Chair, 2017 United Way Winnipeg; past member of the Board of Governors for the Winnipeg Art Gallery; past member of the Finance Committee for Sport Manitoba.

Colin resides in Winnipeg with his wife and two young daughters.

Dr. Samar Safi-Harb

Dr. Samar Safi-Harb is a Professor of Physics and Astronomy and the Faculty of Science Lead for Equity, Diversity and Community. She is an internationally renowned astrophysicist who researches high-energy astrophysical phenomena, including neutron stars and supernova remnants that make the heavy elements essential for life. She completed her undergraduate studies in Physics at the American University of Beirut, acquired her MSc and PhD in Physics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and then joined NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre in Maryland as a National Research Council Fellow. She subsequently joined the University of Manitoba as an NSERC UFA Fellow with the goal of jump-starting an astrophysics program, and held the Canada Research Chair position in Supernova Astrophysics. She supervised some 50 highly qualified personnel throughout her career at the U of M, from high school students to postdocs. She is a passionate researcher and educator and is active in outreach, promoting science and (astro) physics, especially among women and under-represented groups. She has played a leadership role in involving Manitoba in space/high energy international missions. She serves on several national and international committees including NASA, the NRC, and the Board of Directors of the Canadian Astronomical Society. She is a recipient of the 2015 YMCA/YWCA Women of Distinction Award (Science, Technology and Research) and Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women Award (Trailblazers and Trendsetters). As of May 2020, she has served as the Vice-President/President-Elect of the Canadian Astronomical Society.

Trudy Schroeder

While working for the City of Ottawa’s culture division, Trudy Schroeder experienced the powerful impact that occurs when municipal leaders and policy makers create an environment where facilities, programs, and plans coalesce to enhance a city’s artistic and cultural development. Festivals, art galleries, performance venues, public art programs, libraries, museums, and performance series can transform neighbourhoods and the community as a whole.  
Upon moving to Winnipeg in 1996, Schroeder worked with the City of Winnipeg to research and draft its cultural policy review, alongside a number of other cultural initiatives. She became the Executive Director of the Winnipeg Folk Festival and saw the organization through a decade of great growth and development as an artistic, economic, and tourism asset to our community.  She is currently in her eleventh season as Executive Director of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, and she remains committed to fully engaging the power of great art to benefit the city and all of its residents.
Schroeder was born and raised in Winnipeg and holds a BA from the University of Winnipeg, an ARCT from the Toronto Royal Conservatory of Music, an Arts Administration Diploma from the University of Ottawa, and an MBA from the University of Manitoba. She has been active in community organizations, boards, and national arts advocacy and sectoral research initiatives.  She has been recognized for her community contributions with a number of awards including the YMCA/YWCA Women of Distinction Award, the Queen’s Jubilee Award, and the 2016 Leader of the Year Award from Tourism Winnipeg.

Dr. Dan Smith

Born and raised in Manitoba, Dr. Dan Smith studied higher education and public policy, receiving a PhD from the University of Manitoba in 2009. Smith worked for the Government of Manitoba and held various senior leadership positions in the Royal Canadian Navy (reserve) where he continues to be an active Lieutenant-Commander, before moving to the University College of the North in 2012. Smith was appointed as the UCN’s Dean of Arts and Science in 2012, and in 2014, he became Dean of the newly created Faculty of Arts, Business, and Science. In September 2015, Smith was appointed, and continues to serve, as Vice-President Academic and Research at UCN.

Dr. Christine Watson

Dr. Christine Watson is the current Interim President & CEO of Red River College. Watson joined RRC in 2013 and has held the role of Vice-President, Academic since July 2016 – a position she will return to when RRC’s new President starts in July. She is currently leading the College’s academic transformation in educational design and delivery. 
Watson has worked in senior administration, leadership, teaching, and research for the last 20 years, holding administrative and teaching positions at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, the University of Regina, and the First Nations University of Canada. 
In terms of her own educational background, Christine holds a BA (Honours) from the University of British Columbia, an MA from Queen’s University, and a PhD from the University of Queensland in Australia, all of which are in English Literature.

Peer Coaches

As part of building community and furthering learning across PSLP cohorts, previous participants are encouraged to give back to the newest cohorts by supporting them in executing summer service leadership projects. Peer Coaches take part in special training on leadership coaching. Five Cohort 2 participants (2020 graduates) are supporting Cohort 3 teams in the summer of 2021.

For 2021 the following students supported the program:

  1. Ben Fransoo, University of Manitoba, Bachelor of Science
  2. Jasmine Frost, University of Manitoba, Doctor of Philosophy in Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases
  3. Shanelle Gingras, University of Manitoba, Doctor of Philosophy in Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases
  4. Eliana Hotz, University of Manitoba, Bachelor of Science in Human Nutritional Sciences Dietetics Prep/Sociology
  5. Raveen Sidhu, University of Manitoba, Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Microbiology

2020 Peer Coaches


Eight Cohort 1 participants (2019 graduates) supported Cohort 2 teams in the summer of 2020.

For 2020 the following students supported the program:

  1. Anthonia Aina, Master of Kinesiology and Recreation Management, UofM, 2019 PSLP graduate
  2. Anthony Catalano, Diploma in Mechanical Engineering Technology, RRC, PSLP 2019 graduate
  3. Caity Curtis, Diploma in Business Administration, RRC, 2019 PSLP graduate
  4. Calvin Loi, Bachelor of Commerce (Honours), UofM, PSLP 2019 graduate
  5. Daniel Plourde, Master of Science in Civil Engineering, UofM, PSLP 2019 graduate
  6. Gursevak Kasbia, Bachelor of Education , UofM, PSLP 2019 graduate
  7. Ian Dimopoulos, Bachelor of Education - After Degree Program , UofW, 2019 PSLP graduate
  8. Lindsay Bain, Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy, UofM, 2019 PSLP graduate

Learn more

Visionary Investment
The James W. Burns Leadership Institute at the I.H. Asper School of Business has been created through the visionary investment from Canada Life, IG Wealth Management and the Power Corporation of Canada, as well as the Province of Manitoba.

Contact us

James W. Burns Leadership Institute
Room 414 Drake Centre
181 Freedman Cres.
University of Manitoba (Fort Garry Campus)
Winnipeg, MB R3T 5V4