Abby Newman leading for connection
Sitting across from Abby Newman, it is hard to comprehend how someone with such an unimaginable to-do list spread across various roles can have such relaxed composure. The first question is straightforward: How do you do it all?
Abby laughs the question off with laid-back charm, but shares that the key was to break up the work with fun.
“The biggest challenge has definitely been finding the balance between doing well in my academic studies and being a student leader,” says Abby of the difficulty of balancing 5 courses a semester with student leadership.
“Whether it was taking part in a club event or going out for a meal with friends, balancing the work with time to disconnect and de-stress helps to balance the demands.”
Abby’s history at UBC Okanagan is short, and yet there is an indelible impact to her four years on campus. In 2020, when Abby began her Bachelor of Management, the impact she would have became obvious quickly. Following a year of online studies due to COVID, Abby arrived on campus with the mission to connect with her peers.
Abby was drawn immediately the Management Student Association (MSA), where she quickly began to make her mark as the Vice President of Student Resources.
“I knew that I wanted to be connected with my peers, and MSA at UBC Okanagan was the perfect way to get involved with students,” says Abby of the decision to take on the additional responsibility and duties as a second-year student.
Fast forward one year, and Abby’s name was on the ballot for President of the MSA. Following a successful election, Abby’ s mission was clarified. She wanted to make sure that the MSA was focused on inclusivity.
A challenge that Newman said her fellow MSA team welcomed as an opportunity.
“Working together the MSA executives, we reimagined events to ensure they were inclusive and welcoming for all students by trying to eliminate as many financial or physical barriers as possible and facilitate connection.”
Yet, another mission accomplished when following a year with Newman at its helm, the MSA received the Canadian Association of Business Students (CABS) Most Outstanding Business Student Association Award, which recognizes business student associations who have advanced their management and execution of operations.
An advancement that Abby credits in part to her own studies and role as a Teaching Assistant in management.
“I remember taking MGMT 230 and learning about different organizational behaviour concepts and without realizing it, I was applying this new knowledge to my role with the MSA.”
Abby’s mission wasn’t complete though, and she was drawn to learning opportunities like UBC’s Okanagan’s Interdisciplinary Co-op Program to continue to enhance her skillset. When an opportunity presented itself to join the UBC’s Student Recruitment and Advising team at UBC’s Okanagan campus, Abby knew it was the perfect fit to apply her passion for creating campus community.
And, Abby is already lining up her next Co-op position for 2024. So, how does she do it all?
“All my life, I’ve loved meeting new people, and yes, rejection is scary –we’re all scared of it— but how will you know the outcome if you never go for it?” says Abby as the one piece of advice she would share with incoming students.
“Whether it’s getting involved in a club or course union, asking your favorite professor about teaching or research assistant opportunities, or even saying hi to people you know from class, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.”
When Abby reflects on the last years and many roles as a student leader, it confirms for her that she is still on the same mission: connection.
“Getting to learn from so many individuals from all over the world at UBC Okanagan has truly opened my eyes to all the possibilities and fostered my love of human resources,” says Abby of her career aspirations to focus in HR and develop programs that foster inclusion.
A mission that Abby’s strong track record suggests she will not only accomplish, but become a community leader in.