A graduate of McMaster University and Seneca College, Sheel Webber has an inspiring career journey as a leader within post-secondary education, working as the Placement & Employer Relations Manager at the University of Toronto Mississauga. Approachable, kind, and dedicated to the students she helps, Sheel is motivated by Maya Angelou’s belief, “When you learn, teach, when you get, give.” In fact, it is this very quote that her greatest life inspiration, her grandmother, holds closest. At 91 years of age, a mother of 4 and now retired, Sheel’s grandmother continues to volunteer her time, energy, and resources to uplift her local community.
Day-in, day-out, Sheel enjoys witnessing the personal and professional growth of those she supports – seeing students and graduates actualize their goals. Heavily invested in growing the potential of those she guides, Sheel sees to it that every graduate is given the tools they personally need to pursue their hopeful career paths and thrive outside classroom walls.
A campus partner of Orbis, the University of Toronto Mississauga uses our Outcome solution. We’re proud to work with leadership, like Sheel, who remain dedicated to supporting students with the experience and connection required for their long-term livelihood
Q: What university or college did you attend and what did you study?
A: I attended McMaster University where I completed my Honours Bachelor of Arts and I studied Humanities and Sociology. After graduating from McMaster, I completed my certification in Human Resources Management at Seneca and after a few years in the industry, I moved to Australia and completed a Masters of Teaching. I knew that my ideal job would be a combination of HR and education, I just did not know the “title” of that ideal position.
Q: How did you get where you are now in your career?
A: After starting my career at UofT (2008) at The Rotman School of Management in an HR position, I realized that working in a post-secondary institution was where I wanted to be. It was here that I realized that I would ultimately work in career education.
I worked in different areas of HR at the university, from compensation to engagement and training, to recruitment and placement. I also actively began volunteer coaching with a program at Rotman called ‘Business Edge’ in 2014 (to present), and that is when my decision to move from HR to Career Education was solidified. In this role, I was coaching internationally trained professionals to break into the Canadian job market, and/or move/promoted into and within their specific industries.
I applied to a position while I was working in recruitment at Central HR for the university, and I accepted the role of ‘Career Educator’ at Rotman Commerce. That job led me to my current position at UTM (UofT Mississauga campus) working for the Master of Management and Professional Accounting Program (MMPA). This current role is “Placement & Employer Relations Manager” and it really is the unique blend of my background in HR and Education. I finally learned the “title” of my dream position!
Q: What do you do in your current role?
A: In my current role, I act as a liaison between our students and our valued employer partners. The main objective of my role is to help students (domestic and international), find co-op and full-time positions by getting them career and job-ready. To do that, I conduct one-on-one consulting/coaching with students on career advice, resume, and cover letters, interviewing and networking, offer acceptance, and performance management. As part of the larger placement team, we offer on-going group workshops on various career areas to help students from when they join us at orientation, to when they graduate and become alumni.
On the employer side, we develop and build strategic partnerships to successfully bring them career-ready students to widen their candidate pools. This helps these companies fill both co-op and full-time positions that they recruit for. We partner with employers to hold various networking events prior to campus recruitment season and invite them to the different campus events (e.g. Career Day) that we hold to bring the students and employers together. Under my portfolio, I partner with some of the Big 4 accounting firms, such as KPMG and PwC, financial institutions, and medium-sized firms.
Q: What about your role do you find the most fulfilling? What do you find most challenging?
A: The most fulfilling part of my career is that I get to be part of my student’s career journeys. I get to witness personal and professional growth every day and be a part of their goals being actualized. It is very rewarding to see transformational growth and success!
The most challenging part of my position is the growing pains that inevitably can come with any transformational growth! Often we have students that are stressed or anxious, and it can be hard for them to see the potential that we see in them and that we try to encourage. Effective coping strategies and time management are often easy to discuss but harder to implement given different individual circumstances. It’s challenging to see students struggle with the stresses of school and finding employment, along with other aspects of life.
Q: What is the greatest career lesson you can impart on graduates navigating their career journeys?
A: The best career lesson I have learned so far is in the power of networking and understanding that your personal and professional networks play a big role in shaping your career – whether immediately, or ten years down the road. It’s important to build mutually beneficial relationships, as these are the relationships that point you in directions to discover opportunities that you did not know even existed!
Q: Favourite quote?
A: Favourite quote is by Maya Angelou: “When you learn, teach, when you get, give.”
Q: Who inspires you?
A: I look up to my grandmother, who at 91 continues to live with purpose, and who lives her life by example and exactly like my favourite quote by Maya Angelou. She has been an active volunteer in the community her entire life – while she was a working mother of 4 to after she retired to this very day.
Q: I’m currently reading “They Said This Would Be Fun” by Eternity Martis – it’s a memoir on race and campus life.
A: The three skills I think that are most beneficial for someone trying to get into Career Education include experience in recruitment and placement, experience/skills in coaching and teaching, and strong communication.
Q: What is something you feel most proud of in your career?
A: An initiative that I feel most proud of with my MMPA team is very recent, as we hosted our first very first virtual Career Day for over 200 students and employer partners. It was a success and I commend our team for being both agile and adaptive in responding to the pandemic and our new way of doing business. We have quickly and creatively embraced the necessary circumstances and continue to thrive despite challenges and remain solution-focused!