Q & A with an MBA: Dean Beleyowski [BComm. (Hons.)/92, MBA/03]
Asper alumnus prioritizes community support during COVID-19
One of the positive outcomes of COVID-19 is the increased awareness of the importance of giving back to the community.
For this month’s Q & A with an MBA feature we share the story of one of our Asper alumni and highlight the generosity and community support of the local organization he works for.
Asper MBA and BComm alumnus, Dean Beleyowski is the Director of Marketing for the Assiniboine Credit Union (ACU), a Winnipeg-based financial institution known for their devotion to the well-being of their members and the community. Dean connected with us to speak about the importance of the networks he developed in the MBA program and to highlight the outstanding support ACU has been providing to those in need during COVID-19.
You’ve held various roles at different organizations before your current position as Marketing Director for ACU. How has your MBA degree supported your career journey?
My MBA has been extremely helpful throughout my career. The leadership experience and the exposure it gave me to all different kinds of business has been helpful no matter the role I held. I started applying what I was learning even before I graduated in 2003. Because I did my MBA while I was working, I was able to implement the concepts I was learning into my workplace. Every time I learned something interesting I thought “Oh, I am going to have to give that a try!” and it was great to get that immediate practice. Sometimes the idea worked, and sometimes it didn’t – but that just meant I could provide real feedback once I got back into the classroom.
I also found the program gave me a lot of connections, and I still find myself running into people everywhere – there’s even alumni here at ACU! Whenever I want to bounce an idea off someone, I have a huge network of people I can reach out to.
Speaking of reaching out to others, how has your organization adapted to support the community during COVID-19?
Our company really focuses on the importance of people, our planet, and prosperity of all – and when COVID initially hit, we noticed that certain areas of our community were suffering more than others. We began our efforts to help by pausing our regular marketing programs to provide as much information as possible to our members about supports available – whether that was about changes to our own services, or new government programs. For example, we shared a lot of information about online banking, our increased number of free transfers, and our increased tap limits. We wanted to do whatever we could to make life easier for our members and allow them to avoid using touch payments as much as possible. On the business side we are also trying to do whatever we can to help out those that are still struggling. We want people to know that we are here for them and that we have advisors that can help guide your business through this “new normal.” We’re here for our community.
Assiniboine Credit Union is well-known for its connection to our community – what initiatives has your organization run to offer support during this time of uncertainty?
One initiative we did was convert some of our regular marketing budget into a donation to the United Way’s Emergency Relief Fund and into funding for a series of community supply drops to different organizations such as Winnipeg Harvest, IRCOM, Bear Clan, Oak Table, and Sunshine House. These organizations always need support, but they need it now more than ever. We wanted to make sure that these organizations could continue their important work and support their communities.
We also supported the Cause for Coffee Initiative put on by Fools + Horses. They went to several deserving organizations and delivered food and coffee to give the front line workers a well-deserved break.
Additionally, we ran a thank you campaign – we had digital posts and billboards up across the city thanking everyone for doing their part to keep all of us safe and also thanking our front line workers for doing everything they could to make sure the rest of us could still live our lives as normally as possible.
To learn more about what Assiniboine Credit Union is doing in our community, please visit https://www.assiniboine.mb.ca/Community/.