In Community Spotlight, News

“Community Spotlight” is a feature dedicated to spotlighting those who were involved in the Enactus SFU community in the past, and see where they are now. The current team would not have existed without its amazing supporters and alumni.

This week, Community Spotlight features Maria Sandjaja, who has been a very active volunteer within Enactus throughout the past few years. Her strong work ethic and personable nature made her a strong member of the organization as a program manager, two-time presenter and executive member. Read on to find out more about Maria’s experiences within Enactus SFU and what she is up to know.

Name: Maria Sandjaja

Graduation: December 2012 (June 2013 Convocation)

Faculty/Program: Health Sciences

Positions held: 2007/2008 Program Manager for Learning in Fundamentals and Ethics (LIFE) | 2008 Financial Education Presenter for Regionals Exposition | 2008/2009 Director of Community Development | 2009/2010 Presenter of National Exposition


Q: What were some projects that you were passionate to see grow when you were Director of Community Development?

I was the program manager for LIFE, which focused on teaching high school students about ethics and business concepts. It was a small pilot program to start, which I was happy to help grow. When I moved on to become Director of Community Development, along with LIFE, there were a few programs I helped develop and grow. I wanted to see all of the educational and consulting programs grow, while fulfilling the program criteria at the same time. Ultimately, I wanted to make sure that all of the hard work that students put into each program was presented in the competitions.

Attending Regionals and Nationals competitions really inspired me to launch new programs and impact as many people as possible. In addition to LIFE, I rebranded the existing financial education program and determined ways to better the contents into FUND, which was led by Steven Wang. I didn’t want to limit our programs to strictly business programs, like our human resources-based consulting program, Recruit & Retain. Banner Bags, which started as a classroom project and is still operating today, turn into a full program during my year, which fulfills the environmental sustainability component. The main reason I wanted to create more programs was to increase awareness for the organization, as this was during the transition where our team was rebranding from ACE to SIFE. By creating more diverse programs to meet the needs of a diverse group of members, it helped to expand our organization I think.


Q: What were some of your main goals throughout your time within Enactus?

When I was the program manager for LIFE, my main goal was to create a program that was able to satisfy the competition criteria at the time, which required a program related to ethics. This was a time when the organization was drastically restructuring, so it was great to have the chance to take ownership of this component of the organization. When it came to being Community Development, the goal was to create a lot more programs, as we didn’t have very many before. In creating a diverse group of programs, the plan was to target at-risk populations. One of these programs worked specifically with at-risk aboriginal youth.

In addition, there were two consulting programs created prior to my active involvement with the organization. The first was called the ACE Marketing Group (AMG), which was successful in helping a culinary program. The second program was called Recruit & Retain, which is an HR consulting program. That program, led by Ivy So and her team, was very successful and received media attention from CBC1 Radio. I saw the impact of these programs, and how beneficial they could be for both local entrepreneurs and SFU students, so I had a goal to continue to expand these programs during my year.


Q: What have you been up to since you finished your time with Enactus?

I took on a project coordinator role at BlackBerry, which was a fantastic opportunity. I have also been working as a research assistant for Dr. Susan Erikson, a medical anthropologist, as a research assistant at Simon Fraser University. I recently finished my degree, and I’m currently working as a project assistant at a small firm. I intended on pursuing law school in the future.


Q: What did you learn in your time with Enactus SFU?

A lot, that’s for sure. I expanded my knowledge and adopted a new mindset when approaching my life, and learned better time management, which was useful for university. Enactus really shaped how I approach new projects that I undertake, and a lot of the skills I learned in the organization were ones I was able to apply in the workplace when I did my co-op at BlackBerry. The biggest thing I learned, above all, was effective project management skills.


Q: What was your biggest accomplishment?

It was definitely increasing awareness of the organization and spreading the passion that the organization has for community projects to others. Seeing programs develop was incredibly rewarding.


Q: Any favourite moment?

Presenting at both Regionals and Nationals was huge. It was terrifying, but seeing how all of our team’s hard work paid off was really sweet. My absolute favourite moment, though, was when I was participating in a financial education program working with at-risk youth. At the end of the term, one of the participants came up to me and said that she planned on working harder, with the intention of completing high school, with the hope of eventually going to SFU to study English. It was amazing to see how our team could really empower people, even youth, to chase after their dreams and make them a reality.


Q: Do you have any advice for current or future Enactus SFU members?

While lots of people join organizations like this as a resume booster, don’t make that the sole reason for joining. Do this because you’re passionate about the cause. A job is good and all, but being able to create an incredible impact on the community is something that will stay with you for the rest of your life.

Connect with Maria on LinkedIn.

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