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How the Chung Canadian Indigenous Award has impacted this RC recipient

This award recognizes students of Canadian Indigenous ancestry who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and community involvement.


Brenna Hamel, BCom '21

The impact of the Chung Canadian Indigenous Award, awarded through the Rotman School of Management, meant that this year’s recipient was able to choose her ideal academic next steps. Brenna Hamel’s (BCom ‘21) time in the Rotman Commerce program has been characterized by extensive involvement. Hamel has had numerous experiences learning and working abroad, from participating in a full-year exchange to Beijing to completing an entrepreneurial program in Singapore and working at a Singaporean startup tech consulting firm. She has also served as co-founding President of Rotman Commerce Students in Sports and has been a rostered athlete on the Varsity track and field team in the area of triple jump throughout her degree.

Here, in her own words, Hamel describes the importance of the award in funding her next steps post-graduation, as well as some of the key takeaways from her RC experience.

What does receiving this award mean to you?

I am a student from Saskatchewan who has been financially independent since I was 18 years old. In addition to income from summer jobs, I have relied on student loans, government grants, RESPs, admission scholarships and other scholarships. In my last two years of school, I worked part-time jobs during the school year to pay rent and to keep my fridge stocked. Now, in my final semester of school I was facing the decision of accepting a Graduate Diploma in Professional Accounting (GDipPA) offer for the summer of 2021 or taking the CPA Professional Education Program (PEP) modules. This scholarship gave me the opportunity to choose the program that is a better academic fit for me and has made the next steps in my life journey a reality.

How do you define success?

For me, success is defined by the set of feelings that I will have as I journey through life. I would like my life journey to include multiple careers in industries with impact, an entrepreneurial venture, children, travel, spontaneity, work-life balance, hobbies and family. I believe my life-journey will be successful if I experience happiness, trust, freedom, respect, comfort, excitement, adventure and love along the way.

How has Rotman Commerce impacted you?

The Rotman Commerce in its holistic offerings has impacted my character development and career trajectory significantly over the past six years.

While pursuing my Accounting Specialist, I gained a wide range of technical knowledge that will serve me well as I move forward in my career. In fact, I have already leveraged many of these skills in the workplace.

The staff at the Student Life and Career Centre are an inspiration: they have enabled me to grow into the best professional version of myself. Thanks to their example, I recognize how much value there is in offering kindness, consideration and respect in the workplace.

The diverse student body at Rotman Commerce has shown me that there is a big world out there. This diversity is part of the reason I chose to participate in exchanges to China and Singapore throughout my degree. The academic programming and the ambitious nature of the student body was humbling, and gave me insight into the talent in the job market.

It’s been six years since I started my degree, and I am a different person now than I was in 2015. Rotman Commerce has had a lot to do with that.

Looking ahead

Hamel currently works remotely as a part-time consulting associate at the Singapore-based firm LanciaConsult. After graduation, she will be joining Ernst and Young Assurance as a full-time junior consultant.

Note on the scholarship

Through highlighting the unique accomplishments of Indigenous students, the Chung Canadian Indigenous Award contributes towards fostering the Indigenous community at Rotman Commerce. Recognizing instances of leadership and community involvement on behalf of students like Hamel enriches the Rotman Commerce community by helping to establish an inclusive and representative space.

April 5, 2021

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