Empowerment, Competition, and Family – UNBC JDC West 2019

Lila Mansour | Writer

When Ben Walls, Captain of the UNBC JDC West 2019 team, approached me last February for the first time and told me about JDC West, I was hesitant. JDC West was a commitment and was usually for the ‘cool’ business students. Besides, I was an economics major with many other commitments. I remember telling Ben, flat-out, “no.” The secondtimeBenapproachedme,I appreciated how adamant he was to have me try out, but yet again, I said no. The third time, Ben was tabling in the winter garden and he gave me a UNBC JDC West bookmark and chatted to me some more. I even recall that Amrit Bhathal was there. By this point, just to make him happy, I told Ben that if I did try out, it would be for Not For Profit. That night, I recycled the bookmark and was prettysureIwouldnottryout for JDC West. By that point, I was somewhat determined to avoid Ben and that was pretty easy. If you see a guy in glasses that wears a green JDC West jacket 8 days out of 7 in the week, that’s Ben.

Finally, it was the day before the submission deadline to try out for the academic team. That was the

day Ben would not let me avoid him. He gave me his last ‘talk’ and another bookmark and left the final decision up to me. That night, I sat in front of my computer, contemplating whether to recycle the bookmark or follow the steps to apply to try out. I didn’t know if I was making a mistake or doing the right thing, but I filled out the application that night. I remember whenIclickedthesubmitbutton, I told myself, ‘I hope Ben gets a notification right now and sees my submission.’ To this day, all I know was that his nagging paid off.

After submitting my application, I never looked back. The skills, knowledge, experience, connections and friendships that I gained over the last ten months were invaluable. From case readings, presentations, seminars, mocks and team-bonding events, every moment was worth it. Everyone was committed to learning and was there to support one another. By the time we arrived at the competition at SFU, we were one big family.

For anyone who is not familiar with JDC West, it is an annual business competition (the biggest

in Western Canada) in which the top business schools in Western Canada come together to compete in a variety of areas, mainly academic, but also debate, athletic and social. As Ben Walls puts it, JDC West is like the business Olympics. Some of the academic teams include finance, accounting, business strategy, business technology and marketing. There are twelve universities that compete including UBC, UVIC, U of Alberta, U of Saskatchewan and U of Manitoba. The competition this year was held at Simon Fraser University from Jan 11 – 13.

During the three competition days, all universities compete, take part in a ‘business showcase’, perform a team skit, and participate in a variety of fun activities like ‘buffer zone’ and ‘swag swap.’ The event is wrapped up with an awards gala. Bytheend,wehadlostourvoices from the amount of cheering we had done! All in all, the experience was priceless.

Hear from the Wolfpack

At the competition, we were known as the wolfpack. We were not allowed to start our own cheer, so people from other universities would start it off by chanting, “U to the NBC…” and we would eagerly continue our cheer. By the end, there could be up to 600+ people chanting the UNBC cheer: “U to the NBC, spread the word and act like me. We’re the wolfpack, pack, pack, we’re the wolfpack, pack, pack!” (repeat). Talk about spirit!

This year we brought home three trophies, 2nd place in marketing, 2nd place in entrepreneurship and 1st place in charity. Our VP of charity, Amrit Bhathal couldn’t

Lila Mansour Writer

have been prouder. UNBC has won first place in fundraising for the last couple of years and we broke all previous university fundraising records this year. He worked incredibly hard throughout the whole nine months to plan our fundraising events, with the biggest fundraiser being Chillin’ for Charity, which ended with team mates plunging in cold water. AllJDCWeststudentsmakeagreat effort to raise funds as a way to give back to the community and create an impact. UNBC JDC West 2019 raised almost half of the total amount that all universities at the competition raised this year – over $166,000! Way to go!

The Captains of UNBC JDC West 2019: Adam Barlow and Ben Walls


It is clear that every person on the UNBC JDC West team always brings their full spirit, and many of them are eager to share this spirit and tell you a little about the JDC West experience. Due to other large commitments I have made, I will not be able to join the team again, and I know that I am going to miss JDC West dearly and regret some days not coming back. But enough talking for me, I will let others share their experiences and let you know why you should try out for JDC West. You won’t regret it!

The team always has two captains who manage the team and without their hard work, the team would be in disarray. They work incredibly hard to ensure that the experience is the best that it can possibly be for every individual on the team. The co-captains this year were Adam Barlow and Ben Walls, and both worked long hours, along with the executive team, to manage and organize every event, seminar and mock.

Both Adam and Ben have been a part of JDC West for 4 years (wow) and for their first three years, they were on the debate team together. Naturally,theywereaperfectpair for the roles as captains. Or as we call them, mom and dad.

For Ben, he loves the JDC West culture. “I can honestly say I’ve met some of my best friends through this program, even from the schools we compete against and I think that’s really special. As the largest student-run business competition in Western Canada, we get to compete with some of the biggest and best business schools in the West and that is an incredible opportunity for UNBC.” This was Ben’s last year on the team, and he believes that he’ll miss the culture and probably will never experience anything like it again.

I asked Ben about his experience as being captain as well. “Captaincy itself is tough, you have a massive amount of responsibility and balancing that with school and your personal life is really hard. Being captain is sort of like having 46 kids that you raise over a period of 10 months. Being able to watch all the hard work they put in pay off, made me indescribably proud. Adam and I were really fortunate to have had an amazing support structure with our godparents, executive, and other school’s captains to keep us sane through the process. The most rewarding part of captaincy is getting to see

how much each member of your team grows over the course of the year. Everybody gets something different out of JDC West and it’s awesome to be leading that experience for people. Getting a few podium finishes is also pretty great! I love my team, and I’m honoured to have been a part of their success this year.”

And of course, Ben wouldn’t end without trying to recruit you: “JDC West is the best thing I’ve ever been a part of, and I would encourage anybody in commerce to try out for the team or reach out to this year’s captains if they have questions.” They can be reached at captains@unbcjdcwest.com.

Adam, our other captain, really loved the community and competition. The opportunity to compete with 600+ business students with the same mindset was invaluable. “As an extracurricular, JDC West goes above and beyond to push people out of their comfort zone and gain valuable skills.”

And just as I have no regrets joining the JDC West team at UNBC, Adam had no regrets taking on the arduous, yet rewarding role as captain. “The most rewarding aspect of captaincy is getting to mentor and lead a team of dedicated and hardworking students. The skill set gained as a manager of this many people (46+) can take you a long way in business. I do not have a single regret about this past year, only learning experiences gained.” I wondered if he missed debate this year, but he believed he was ready to move on from three years of debate, and captaincy was the right step. When selecting the team back in March, Adam had hoped to select a team that would be passionate about the program and succeed at competition. “I saw those hopes come to fruition at Gala with three podium finishes, with two of them in academics.”

Adam has taken so much away from his experience with JDC West: “Never shy away from daunting roles and the challenges that come with them. Embrace those roles and reap the benefits of pushing

yourself to the limit.” Well said, Adam, well said. womenswear department, so we decided on the ‘Your holiday, featuring Hudson’s Bay’ message,

2nd Place Podium Finish: A word from Marketing Morgan

Morgan Kearns, along with her marketing team members, Sheridan MacArthur and Ryan West were able to bring home a 2nd place trophy this year. Morgan, who is known for always being eager for anything to do with marketing, has been on the marketing team for the past two years. “I love marketing because it gives me the opportunity to be really creative. [It] is unique because you don’t need to be as serious as a business strategy or financial team. Marketing cases are challenging because they are very open-ended. You only have 3 hours to make a fully integrated campaign, and sometimes it takes a while to think of the perfect campaign message.”

She has really loved JDC West because she’s had the opportunity to develop more knowledge and skills in the area of marketing through solving cases. Morgan is also very proud of the fact that the team is very committed to helping the community, as this past year we were able to raise over $166,000 for local charities.

I asked Morgan to sum up the winning presentation she and her group gave. “At competition we pitched a Christmas advertising campaign for Hudson’s Bay Company. We were given the task of increasing sales in the

as we knew the target audience was working female professionals who were looking forward to their Christmas break. We chose the advertising messages of ‘In the Snow’ for outerwear, ‘On the Glow’ for evening wear and ‘Under the Mistletoe’ for casual wear and showed the judges how to integrate these messages through social, digital and traditional media.” I was there for the presentation, and it was presented flawlessly.

For Morgan, being on the podium was amazing. “It was good to know that all of our hard work had paid off. Ryan West and Sheridan MacArthur were both amazing teammates, and they are both incredibly intelligent and super supportive. They worked so hard over this past year, and the results really showed at competition. I should also point out that we had an amazing coaching panel of local marketing professionals, and we would not have made it to the podium without our coaches.”

With both the experience and success, I was curious to know if Morgan would be returning for a third year. “I have not yet decided if I’m returning next year. If I do, I am excited to take the knowledge and skills I developed on the marketing team and apply them to other disciplines.”

Morgan truly believes that she took away so much from her experience in JDC West. “The JDC West experience taught me that even though UNBC is the smallest competing school, we have the

most incredible community. This is evident through our coaching support from faculty and industry professionals, as well as the community support through our charity initiatives. If anyone reading this is considering joining JDC West, do it! It is an amazing way to develop the skills you’ve learned in the classroom, meet industry professionals and support the community.” Morgan couldn’t have summed up academic in any better way!

Dabbling in Debate: Brighten Chiou

In addition to academics, each university has one team of four debaters. Debate often gets a lot of attention, as the discourse can get fiery and feisty, unlike a typical academic presentation. For Brighten Chiou, JDC West is all about being involved in the community, working in a team setting and having the opportunity to compete. Brighten is unique in that he has been on a different team for the last three years he has been a part of JDC West. The first year he was on tax, then accounting, and for his final year, debate. “I loved debating head-on with other teams at the competition, [it was] something I couldn’t do in academic teams.” What had him coming back year after year were “the comradery, charity events, community involvement, volunteer opportunities, traveling, networking, skill- building, experience, pressure, and challenge.” That is a mouthful!

Formanystudents,especiallyme, university is not just about going to class and attaining good marks. Brighten really stressed that JDC West allows people to get more out of their time at university. “My university experience is not just about focusing in my classes, but also about diving into new opportunities that build my future and are fun.”

To be honest, I was hesitant to be on ‘p-squad’ (practice squad) for debate, but when it was clear they needed people, I took the chance to get to know the debate team

(and try to take them down). It was great to watch Brighten, Micah Green, Erika Crossan, and Arsan Bahrami debate in the early hours oftheday.Debateisalotoffun,and the debate team this year worked really hard to learn and develop their skills. As Brighten puts it, “We had good chemistry and an equally strong desire to win. We each had our own strengths that made us a well-rounded team.”

Of course, at competition, everyone heard about the resolutions they debated (and then usually they were re-debated on the bus back to the hotel). I asked Brighten what the most memorable debate for him was, and his response was interesting. “[It was] the debate

came out to our practices, and the entire team for my best final year on the team. I plan to continue being involved as a coach for UNBC JDC West Debate in whichever way I can!” All the best to you, Brighten!

Another 2nd Place Podium Finish: Hope the Entrepreneur

Out of all the academic teams, the entrepreneur team is the most unique. Unlike the other teams that present for a full 20 minutes and then have a five-minute question period, the entrepreneur team has to present in a Dragon’s

who have taught me a lot over the last two years, and I believe these relationships will continue to be an asset to me after graduation.”

Choosing the right people to take on entrepreneurial cases is not easy, but Hope was one of the perfect people to take on this challenge. “I was really intimidated when I was told I would be on entrepreneurship this year; it’s slightly different from other case teams because judges can ask you questions throughout your presentation. However, I was able to grow in my case solving and presentation skills so much this year because of that challenge.”

At competition, I had the honor of watching Hope, Josh and Cameron present their pitch. From my perspective, it was surreal. The idea was creative and achievable, the financials were spot-on, and the implementation plan was well developed. I asked Hope to summarize her team’s presentation: “In short, we created a product that measured water usage in different devices in your home and then sent the data to an app that you would download on your phone, and the app would then show your water usage and whether you were below or above Vancouver’s per capita usage goal and also give tips on how to reduce water usage. One of the main goals in our product development was to partner with a smart home company to make it even more convenient for consumers.”

Then winning second place during the awards gala was just the cherry on top. “The energy and adrenaline of our whole team when they announced our placement was incredible, I am so proud of my team mates and it felt great to have all of our hours of preparation pay off.”

In addition to being on an academic team, Hope took on an executive role as VP internal. All JDC West teams rely on a team of executives to help the captains out in the planning and executing of all activities throughout the season, and this year’s executives did a wonderful job. “I really enjoyed just being able to help the

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where we faced off with U of C to debate a motion concerning property ownership for Aboriginal peoples living on reserves. It was memorable because Micah (my teammate) and the debaters of U of C were discussing this very topic for an hour prior to the debate. Neither of them knew that we would be opponents debating thisverytopic.Evenduringtheir discussion, they mentioned, ‘Wouldn’t it be funny if we were going to debate this topic against each other.’”

With graduation in May, Brighten knows he’s going to miss being a participant and competitor in JDC West. “It was my favourite year by far. The JDC West organizing committee did really well this year, the UNBC team was focused and well managed, and I loved debating. Big thanks to the 2019 UNBC JDC West captains, my teammates, the members that


Den-like style, in which questions can be fired at the presenters during the presentation. Entre was always the team everyone was eagertowatchduringourpractice mocks. The team this year worked incredibly hard to master their presentation style and understand the mindsets of entrepreneurs and investors. Their hard work paid off andtheyfinishedinsecondplace, beating ten bigger universities.

Hope Goudsward has been on the UNBC JDC West team for the past two years. Last year she was on the human resource team, and this year she ended up on the entrepreneur team with Josh Deans and Cameron Lang. For Hope, her favourite thing about JDC West is the connections she has made. “I have met so many incredible people through the program, including many of my closest friends. Aside from friends, I also have met many professionals


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team as a whole, and I really enjoy planning and collaboration, so being part of the executive team was really great for me.”

With two years’ experience and a trophy for UNBC, I asked Hope if she would be back for round three. “I plan to return next year, and I hope to gain even more friendships and to have a really fun last year as a part of the JDC West team.” She’s got a bright future ahead!

It’s Not Just About Brains: Catching Up with the Athletic Team

Essential athletic abilities in other sports such as speed and strength are not utilized in this sport. D-hoops ended up being where we performed the best. D-hoops is a variation of ultimate Frisbee where the challenge is to successfully throw a Frisbee into a slim rectangular shape hanging from the basketball hoop. This sport allowed our coaches, Dorion Van Caeseele and Brayden Marleau, to incorporate basketball plays that were very successful for our team.”

Despite having to graduate, Julia wants to continue to be a part of JDC West. As she puts it, it is

now, and some amazing records for the UNBC business program.” JDC West is truly an unforgettable experience.

The Veteran: Why Adam Leamy Chose JDC West Three Years in a Row

When I first joined JDC West, there was one person who seemed to be the ‘cool dude’ of UNBC JDC West. As I watched from afar, it was clear he was well-know, experienced and had been part of JDC West many times. It turned out his name was Adam Leamy, or by his nickname, Adam Memey. Memes are a part of UNBC JDC West team culture, and there is never a shortage of laughs. But memes aside, Adam is one of the greatest people to talk to in regard to the JDC West experience.

Adam was on the business technology team for two years, and this past year was on the business strategy team. He can’t emphasize enough how beneficial and enjoyable the experience was. “I love the networking, meeting new people, and social aspect the most about JDC West. I also love learning practical business skills and knowledge through real life scenarios you may not learn about in classes.”

“What made me return the first time was that I had fun at competition the first time, and I wanted to try again and do better the next year. After the second year I didn’t want to return, but thanks to our awesome captains, they convinced me to do it one last time, on a different team to broaden my knowledge and utilise the skills I have already learned.”

Business strategy is not an easy team to be on. Often you are tasked with coming up with one solution for a business with many problems, and most of these solutions come with risks. “I enjoyed the creative approach you can bring to business strategy, especially when we had opportunities to do something completely new for the company we were consulting. What was difficult was when some of the cases were too vague, and we needed to make assumptions.

Things didn’t always make sense to us and we had to hope for the best that our assumptions were right.”

Aside from Adam, the other members of the business strategy team were Kaleena Werbecky and Kavan Singh. Adam believes that it was the awesome friendships they had with each other, the dedication, and everyone’s ability to collaborate on awesome ideas that made the business strategy team unique and great to work with.

Above all, Adam was incredibly proud of UNBC’s successes this year. “I am incredibly proud of our school at competition this year. Given that we were mostly a new team, everyone gave it their all and as a result we took home three awards. Last year, we came almostdeadlastandnoacademic team placed above 7th. This year turned that around and were able to beat some of the big schools like Hill and Edwards. I am grateful to have been part of such an amazing team.”

“The list of what I took away goes on and on, but to focus on a few things, I took lots away from JDC West this year. I made new friends, strengthened relationships with old friends, gained valuable teamwork and problem-solving skills, case solving skills, networking skills, and strengthened my skills as a business student overall. Oh – and I got a sick Beedie baseball jersey of course. This was my final year on JDC West, and I can proudly say I was part of an amazing school and will forever be hot to go!” Adam’s words couldn’t have been truer.

Whole Bunch of Fun: The Inside Scoop on the Social Team

The first time I heard about social was from Krish Karande, and trust me, ever since, I have always been intrigued by the people that are chosen and the competitions that social takes part in.

For Vivian Kenkel, this was her first year on the UNBC JDC West social team, and she has no

JDC West isn’t only about academics; there is room for those of you who are athletes as well! Julia Babicz, one of our most energetic and enthusiastic team members, has been a part of athletic for the past three years.

As many have said before, it was the sense of community and spirit that got Julia roped in. “This program has allowed me to meet so many incredible individuals who are involved in the same areas of study as myself.”

Each year, the JDC West committee comes up with interesting sports whichtheathleticteamshaveto learn to play. This year’s sports were Tsegball and D – Hoops. I asked Julia to explain them to our readers.

“The only way I can describe [Tsegball] is that it is the most accuracy and strategy-oriented hand ball sport I have ever played.


difficult to leave once you join the JDC West family. “I will be back next year, either leading athletic to first place, or as a part of the executive team preparing the entire team for the best business competition in the West.”

Like anyone, it is difficult to pick one memorable moment. “It’s very hard to pick just one memory, but at competition weekend this past January, it was when we were at the banquet and our entire team was huddled around our entrepreneurship academic team waiting for the 2nd place team tobeannounced.Andwhenthe hosting school, SFU, called out UNBC, our entire team started jumping, screaming, crying and embracing our first academic team to place. I threw my wine in the air. It was an indescribable moment!”

“I take away long lasting memories with people I call my best friends

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was added to our pool. However, being from Northern BC made that a piece of cake for us.”

But being a sochie isn’t always fun, as there is the sleep deprivation part as well. “Many people often underestimate how hard social is and trying to compete in cardio competitions,whenyouonlyhave two hours of sleep in you over the course of a weekend, is incredibly gruelling. Trying to stay optimistic and not get irritated is a big [challenge].” Viv found that the most rewarding part of social was finishing a challenge and getting the chance to cheer on other teams. “It gives you a whole new wind of energy. It is the most fun I have had in my university career.”

Viv has hopes to return next year for a second round of JDC West social. “I can’t wait to meet more people, make new memories and take home the coveted ‘Sochie Belt.’ JDC West is honestly the best thing a commerce student can do in their university career. It taught me that having a university family makes all the difference.”

Looking to the Future: UNBC JDC West 2020 Captain, Ryan Tretick


With JDC West 2020 eleven months away, it means the planning for next year has begun! UNBC JDC West students voted in Ryan Tretick and Brandon Greenall as captains for next year and from my perspective, the support for them has been overwhelming.

Ryan Tretick, who is returning for his third year, has loved JDC West because it has expanded his knowledge, allowed him to think critically, apply classroom knowledge to real-life scenarios and he has been able to meet and

present to local business leaders. In addition to the practical knowledge he has gained, Ryan also enjoyed the social aspect of JDC West. “There is a lot to love about JDC West! Over the past two years I have met many new people, many of which I can call my friends. Working with and getting to socialize with fifty other people who share similar goals and motivations as yourself is a great connection, much like any other club at the university.”

Running for captaincy wasn’t an easy decision to make, but after being of part of JDC West for two years, Ryan feels like he now has the opportunity to have an impact and improve the program. “Initially I did not want to run for captain, I thought you would have to be crazy to do it. After having been a part of this year’s leadership team and contributing to such a successful year, I couldn’t help but feel the next step was captaincy. There is so much energy and drive from those who are going to do it again, and Brandon and myself are very excited to harness that energy to create a top tier team. I think it’s safe to say that Brandon and I share a lot of that excitement and love for the JDC West program

required to compete with larger schools in the competition.

“I am looking forward to just about every step that it will take to get to Regina this year. Creating the team, organizing the seminars, participating in our annual Chillin’ for Charity event with Spirit of the North,andfinallygettingtoRegina and supporting the whole team, are going to definitely be some highlights. [We want to create] an atmosphere[so]thatourmembers can succeed academically, socially and within their teams. We believe that by being a cohesive unit we can achieve our main goal of winning School of the Year at JDC West.”

So, What Are You Waiting For?

JDC West is truly a remarkable experience, and one you will never forget or regret. If you want to be part of something big, learn new skills, gain knowledge you’ll never get in the classroom and meet new people, JDC West might be right for you! There are a few requirements to get into the program (must have declared a major or minor in business, take a minimum of three classes during the fall semester and pay some fees). If you’re eager to learn more about what excitement and fun goes on at the competition, visit jdcwest.org for more information and links to social media and videos.

If you have any questions or unsure whether JDC West is right for you, reach out to this upcoming year’s captains, Brandon Greenall and Ryan Tretick at captains@ unbcjdcwest.com; they are awesome people who’d love to tell you all about JDC West! We hope to see you as a part of the Wolfpack!


regrets. “I love the connections and the people that you meet. In my first year, I never would’ve believed that I could’ve made 50 instant best friends in the first month of school. Plus, once you get to competition and meet everyone else from other schools, the networking possibilities are endless.” Along with Viv, Krish Karande, Ethan Mourgas and Mackenzie Higdon were also on the social team.

For us in academic, it can be hard to truly understand social, so I asked her to give us the complete explanation as to what on earth social is.

“Essentially, the whole nature of our team is spirit, teamwork, and thinking outside the box. At competition, you get dressed up in crazy costumes, cheer, stay up for 48 hours (Friday night until Sunday afternoon), and compete in 10 team challenges. My favourite challenge this year happened on Saturday afternoon when the Organizing Committee took all 48 of us ‘sochies’ to the Waterfront area in Vancouver. We went for a sightseeing tour and did the ‘Fly over Canada’ experience. Before we started our tour, they told us to take mental notes of everything we saw. Around 5am on Sunday, we had a challenge where we had to stand in a pool of ice water (about ankle deep) and answer questions about the tour. These questions were along the lines of ‘How many kayakers were seen in the videos’ or ‘what town was announced on the radio’ etc. For every wrong answer, more ice

here at UNBC; using that going forward will go a long way to our success as captains. We have a lot of complementary strengths that cover each other’s weaknesses as well as similar personalities that can help reduce the stress that will no doubt be coming our way.”

Ryan and Brandon’s aim for 2020 is to focus on increasing the knowledge of all individuals on the team and to utilize the resources in the school and community to bring forth the high-level knowledge