The people that you will meet at the UWinnipeg Foundation
The University of Winnipeg Foundation is a registered and incorporated charitable public foundation dedicated to fundraising and asset stewardship in support of the University’s mission and vision, to strengthen, deepen, and advance The University of Winnipeg. You can find them on the 9th Floor of the Rice Building, (491 Portage Avenue). Meet some of the people (in alphabetical order) at the UWinnipeg Foundation that help make that possible.
Mark Bezanson is the Manager of Information Systems and Development Services. He oversees the Alumni/Donor database as well the receipting of donations to the University/Foundation. Bezanson says he enjoys his job, “There are different challenges every day. No two days are the same.”
His advice to students is this: “The world does not owe you anything. It is up to you to make your dreams come true.”
His favourite thing to eat on or around campus is curry chicken vermicelli soup at Nhu Quynh, his favourite movie is The Shawshank Redemption, and he is currently watching House of Cards on Netflix. Bezanson’s favourite book is Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom, and his favourite word is “accountability.”
Maria Cristina Laureano
Maria Cristina Laureano is the Communications and Annual Giving Assistant. Her role is to provide communications and technical support to the Foundation, particularly the Annual Giving Department, and update the Foundation’s website.
“I also do a lot of filming and create videos to promote our different fundraising campaigns, particularly our crowdfunding projects,” shared Laureano. “What I like most about my job is that I do a bit of everything — designing, filming, editing, writing, research, etc., and that I work at the University. I really loved my time here as a student.”
She offers this advice to students: “Go for every opportunity that is presented to you — you never know where it will lead.”
Laureano says her favourite spot on campus when it’s warm is outside, “I love sitting on the grass against the trees outside Wesley Hall. But when it’s cold, I love going to the grey room (Bernice’s Reading Room).”
Her favourite lunch spot is down the street from UWinnipeg on Ellice. “It’s a Vietnamese restaurant, Nhu Quynh. They are very accommodating to me as a vegetarian and will let me customize orders.”
When she is not on campus you can find her doing many things. “I have a lot of random hobbies that range from crocheting to volunteering. I also take every opportunity I can to travel, and I go somewhere every year for my birthday. This year I’m going to Singapore!”
What people might not know about Laureano is that she was a camp counsellor for a circus and magic camp for inner-city youth for two years, where she picked up some circus tricks and acrobatic moves along the way.
Laureano says she loves movies, “I go to the theaters almost every week, especially during awards season — I’ve watched every Academy Award Best-Picture nominated film over the past ten years. My favourite film of 2015 is Brooklyn, and my favourite film of all time is Amelie.”
She is a Shomi watcher, and says “I know award shows are a bit of a farce, but I’ve discovered a lot of great shows through the Golden Globes. I recently finished Transparent and Mozart in the Jungle. Both are very original and high quality shows!”
Her favourite book is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. “I have a beautiful special edition that I got as a Christmas present that I have on display in my living room.”
Laureano also says, “I don’t have a favourite word, but one of my most common phrases is “Guess what?!”
Brian Daly is the President and CEO of The University of Winnipeg Foundation. He enjoys talking to researchers and donors, a predominant role of his position.
His key pieces of advice to students are to “sometimes skip class with a buddy”, “go the GoodWill” and “don’t worry so much.”
Regarding his favourite spot on campus, Daly says he is “Not telling, so it doesn’t get crowded.” His favourite snacks on or around campus are the chicken stew at Pangea’s Kitchen in Riddell Hall or the breakfast burrito from the Malecon on the 4th floor of Centennial Hall.
When he is not on campus you might spot him around town with his camera. He would rather take a photo than have a photo taken of him.
His favourite movie is Raging Bull. He is currently watching House of Cards on Netflix. His favourite book is Confederacy of Dunces by the American novelist John Kennedy Toole. Daly’s favourite word is “yes”.
Cindy Doyle’s position with the UWinnipeg Foundation is Senior Development Officer – Major Gifts, which is responsible for raising major gifts ($25K+) on the Foundation’s behalf. She finds The University of Winnipeg an inspiring and exciting place to be.
Doyle works with a variety of donors who give at different levels. She meets with them to learn about their philanthropic interests in order to find the right match for their support. She also meets with faculty and staff on campus to learn about their projects and what they need. “Our University is doing amazing work, both academically and socially, so there are many generous individuals out there excited to get involved,” says Doyle.
“I enjoy bringing a donor together with the right project, be it supporting at-risk youths with much needed community programming, innovative research, or scholarships and bursaries. It’s incredibly moving and rewarding to witness the passion of the donor who is excited to play a vital role in the good work of the University; but also the passion of the faculty or staff member who is encouraged by the support; and then finally, to see the transformation of our community and students who benefit both directly and indirectly from every gift which comes through our office. Earning an education can be life changing; it’s very meaningful for me that I can be a humble mediator for such worthy endeavors.”
Doyle’s advice is, “Always be the best version of yourself, whatever you are doing and also be gracious to yourself and quick to forgive yourself. Harboring shame or self-loathing is a fruitless endeavor that can eat up too much of your life if you let it.”
What might be a surprise to know about Doyle is that while a university student and working at a premier hotel in Winnipeg, she once found herself making chicken wings for Bon Jovi, who she says she is on a first name basis with. After treating the singer’s party to drinks and wings cooked by the regular kitchen staff, when the still-hungry group asked for more nosh, Doyle attempted to wing it in the closed kitchen, all by herself. “The result looked pretty crispy, but I felt confident and went ahead tossing them in sauce and brought them to the table. They ate one wing, and then called it a night. I couldn’t help but feel a little offended, but at least I didn’t get anyone sick.”
Doyle says her favourite movies are, “Planes, Trains & Automobiles; Trainspotting; The Darjeeling Limited,” and adds “Basically anything that involves trains or has the word train in its title.”
Currently she is not Netflix binging but says she is “very excited to be watching season 2 of Better Call Saul.” Picking a favourite book was hard for Doyle, who says, “I love many, many books. Fiction, non-fiction, creative non-fiction… If I have to pick, I guess I should say The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, although I realize it’s a little bit like saying the Beatles are my favourite band. Yes it’s obvious, but it’s also a book I’ve read many times and loved, from high school throughout my adulthood, and one I even studied in University. Few novels speak to the human condition so beautifully. I mean, it’s the great American novel.”
Doyle says her favourite word is “speechless”.
Dallas Goulden is a Finance Officer, a role which includes managing the day-to-day finances of the Foundation’s operating budget, gifts donated to the University, and the Endowment Fund (one of the sources of income for the scholarships, bursaries and awards at The University of Winnipeg.)
She says she has always enjoyed working with numbers, “The best part of my job is analyzing financial transactions and then being able to provide useful information.”
Goulden says her advice is to, “Find something you love to do and go for it. It will make every day so much more enjoyable.”
Her favourite thing to eat for lunch on campus is the “pesto, tomato & Havarti sandwich from Stella’s.” When she is not on campus you can find her hosting dinners with her friends and family. She says her favourite movie is “The Shawshank Redemption or pretty much any movie with Morgan Freeman.” She is currently watching Suits on Netflix; and her favourite book is The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger.
Bunny Gutnik is a Planned Giving Officer at the Foundation. She assists people who are considering a planned gift for the University or The University of Winnipeg Collegiate (UWC), or who have already made arrangements for a planned gift. Planned gifts include bequests in a will, which would be received upon the death of the donor, and also gifts made during the donor’s lifetime, such as the transfer of ownership of an insurance policy.
“Planned gifts are a thoughtful way to contribute to the future of the University and generations of students,” explains Gutnik.
She says she enjoys the opportunity to meet and talk with a wide range of people and hear about their positive experiences at UWinnipeg and/or UWC. Her advice is to “never let anything deter you from pursuing your dreams.”
Gutnik says she will occasionally indulge in a “specialty” coffee on campus, and when she is not on campus you can find her involved in some activity with her son. What might surprise people of the seemingly soft spoken Gutnik is that she says she is not always so quiet, “I yell or cheer at the television when I am watching my favourite sports teams.”
She says her favourite movie is Field of Dreams.
Michelle Kauenhowen serves as Executive Assistant to Brian Daly, President and CEO of The University of Winnipeg Foundation, as well as the Foundation’s Acting Donor Stewardship Officer.
“I have the best of both worlds, I get to work and meet with donors who want to support our great University, and at the same time I get to work and meet with students and faculty who benefit from our donors’ generosity,” shares Kauenhowen, when asked what she likes most about her job.
Her advice is, “Always treat others the way you would want to be treated.”
Her favourite spot on campus is Convocation Hall. “It is a bright, beautiful, regal room thanks to gifts received by two of our exceptional donors, the late Dr. Douglas and his wife Louise Leatherdale, who are truly beautiful people.”
Her favourite lunch or snack on or around campus is Diversity’s banana bread; the Caramel Macchiato at Starucks and the University Club’s matador salad.
She’s self-described news junky and says she enjoys reading. “I just finished Wab Kinew’s The Reason You Walk,” she says.
What some might consider surprising about Kauenhowen is that she walks a great deal. “I like to walk home from work when the weather allows. It is just over 9 kilometres and takes me 1 hour and 40 minutes. It is a great way to unwind and appreciate the neighbourhoods from downtown to the suburbs.”
She says her favourite word is a phrase, “thank you”, and adds, “It provides me with the greatest feeling when received and always makes me feel pretty good to say it.”
Darren Nodrick is the Annual Giving & Communications Officer with The University of Winnipeg Foundation. His job is broad and his main responsibilities include: looking after online fundraising activities like crowdfunding and email communications, the student call centre, and the Foundation website.
Nodrick is passionate about his work, “We get to work on so many different initiatives around campus, from research and academic programming to scholarships and bursaries. Monday mornings are much easier when you’re excited about what you’re doing at work.”
His advice to students comes from his personal experience. “Whether it’s your studies or your job, you’ll be more likely to find success and enjoyment out of it if it’s something you care about,” he says. “Of course, finding a path that helps pay the bills is important but being proud of what you do is just as important (at least for me it is). Being happy at work or school goes a long way in being happy with life in general.”
Nodrick’s favourite lunch or snack on or around campus is the spinach feta wrap at Starbucks in the AnX. He says when he is not on campus, you can find him at the lake.
His favourite movie is the “Shawshank Redemption.” Currently, he says he has temporarily run out of things to watch on Netflix, but has been watching Better Call Saul and Billions.
Nodrick’s favourite book is This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein and he apologizes that his favourite word is actually two: “Right on.”
Rayna Reiger is a Major Gifts Development Officer at The University of Winnipeg Foundation. She joined the Foundation two years ago where she began learning the ropes in fundraising.
“It was all very new to me as I had never worked in this area before. Learning the names of our donors names and their interests, learning about all the different programs at the University, and learning about the Foundation itself; it was very overwhelming at the beginning. A couple months went by and I began to recognize donor’s names, and started to know who to ask certain questions, etc. I was getting the hang of things.”
Reiger works closely together with Cindy Doyle to raise major gifts, largely in the category of $25,000 and up.
“Our starting point is normally research, it’s a very large part of what we do, and then move onto summarizing our research into proposals and grants. Once that is complete we will set up meetings, build rapport and hope that we have found the best match possible for our donors and the University.”
Reiger has two favourite parts to her job, “First, I truly enjoy finding an area that the donor is excited about supporting at UWinnipeg – it’s like putting a puzzle together. We have so many great opportunities for support.”
“Second, I really enjoy when a program/project gets funding and is able to operate because of it. For example, our Science Kids On Campus program recently received very generous financial support, enough so the program can run for two full sessions. It’s moments like these that make this work so fulfilling!”
She has this advice for students: “Study hard, work hard, but don’t forget to have fun every once in a while. It’s making sure that you are happy in all aspects of your life that will get you where you want to be.”
Her favourite spot on campus is “where the hotdog cart parks,” and it would be no surprise to guess her favourite lunch or snack on or around campus is… “The hotdog cart—I wait all winter for that!”
When she is not on campus, Monday through Thursday you can find her at the dog park, with her two year old rescue named Indy. “But once Friday rolls around you can find me on my deck enjoying Friday Happy Hour,” she says.
What might not be known about Reiger is she was an avid soccer player that played for Team Manitoba when she was “young and fit.” As for a favourite movie, “This is a hard one,” she shares. “I love most movies, but I think I would have to go with Rent.”
Currently she is watching Scandal on Netflix, and she also admitted to recently binging on Fuller House.”
Steve Pataki is the Alumni Development Coordinator as well as the current Acting Manager of Alumni Affairs, and he says he enjoys the constant interaction with people with the alumni, faculty, staff, and, of course, all of his co-workers on the 9th floor of the Rice Centre.
His advice is simple. “Enjoy your university years because they pass by so quickly,” shares Pataki, “And try to spend as much time on campus as possible. Don’t just go to classes and then go home. Stay and study! My fondest memories of university are the time I spent on campus to both socialize and study. Campus was a ‘home away from home’ for me. And, balance your time wisely between study and fun. There is time for both but keep in mind why you are here.”
Pataki enjoys the renaissance of UWinnipeg’s “outdoor campus” and how it has developed into a people friendly space. “The Spence Street Promenade, the greenspace on the Portage Commons, the patio outside of Elements: All are so inviting. They are a welcoming presence in our city’s downtown.”
If Pataki is not on campus you can find him at home, in his yard, at a hockey rink, in the gym, on a golf course, or riding his bike on the various paths across the city in the spring, summer, and fall.
His favourite movie is Vanishing Point. He says it was a natural fit for someone who grew up obsessed with cars, and from the first time he saw it, he was hooked. “The car, the story… I went to the theatre every week, paid my 50 cents admission — and stayed for two showings each time. It wasn’t in the theatres long, as it was panned by the critics at the time, but this existential movie is now somewhat of a cult classic. Hard to put into words, but it is a movie that just resonates with me and always will. With the advent of the video recorder and a chance airing of the movie on TV, I was even able to hook a few high school buddies on it during our university years.”
Pataki is not watching anything on Netflix since he prefers MTS Video On Demand and mostly watches sports games and talk shows. He is currently reading Saucerful of Secrets: The Pink Floyd Odyssey by Nicholas Schaffner.
Naniece Ibrahim, Communications Officer, The University of Winnipeg
P: 204.988.7130, E: email@example.com