Alumna and business graduate Ella Greer (BBA4 ’16) is a globe trotter. The former Wesmen basketball player has taken her game across continents pursuing a career in business.
Her interest in international business and relations was sparked by a combination of things, not the least of which was inspiration from two of her UWinnipeg professors, Dr. Satyendra Singh and Dr. David Duval, and working with international students at UWinnipeg.
“I was grateful to get the opportunity to learn from my fellow classmates,” said Greer. “They opened my eyes on how different corners of the world work.”
Greer also credits Duval’s dynamic course, which involved real world examples and gave the power of learning back to the students, and its combination with Singh’s amazing work in emerging markets as important moments in her academic journey.
“Conversations with Dr. Singh were memorable,” said Greer. “He has a really interesting point of view and is a respectful communicator.”
Since graduating in 2016, Greer has worked for the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority and continued her studies at the University of Victoria’s Gustavon School of Business, completing a Master of Global Business (MGB) program. The program offered Greer a unique mixture of applied learning and international experience.
“I completed an intensive cross-continental masters that took me from Victoria, B.C., to Maastricht, Netherlands, followed by Lima, Peru, and I finished off with an internship in Düsseldorf, Germany,” said Greer. “The international study experience was really amazing. I learned so much about cross-cultural business and communication.”
One of Greer’s favourite places, Maastricht, is one of the reasons she has since settled in the Netherlands. Now based in Amsterdam, she works for Swapfiets, which is active in nine European countries in 65 cities and the world’s first bicycle subscription company.
As a Learning and Development (L&D) Specialist at Swapfiets, Greer manages, organizes, and facilitates learning for roughly 1,200 staff in six languages – though she jokes she can’t speak them all. One of her roles includes bringing 55 European store leads together in Amsterdam to discuss how they can coach their team to give standardized but compassionate and personalized service.
Greer has re-invented the on-boarding program for Swapfiets employees. She created a virtual store with interactive elements to make the “dry, must-know” stuff interesting, including adding games to make learning fun.
“It’s now a virtual escape room, that looks like Google Street, but you’re in a Swapfiets store,” explains Greer. “You have to complete tasks and play games to find the answer that will let you ‘escape’ the room.”
But its not all just fun and games for Greer. She takes her work seriously and takes joy in helping her colleagues reach their potential.
“I’ve always been a team player,” said Greer. “In L&D, I get to take all my experience, all my cultural learnings, and align it with my favourite thing: being supportive.”
Greer credits UWinnipeg with providing her with the combination of academics and practical learning to inspire her to follow her path in international business. She noted her professors were always willing to help her find a path to success, and she was never just a number.
“It was really nice to have people recognize you as a person and genuinely care,” shared Greer.
Greer’s advice for anyone charting a path is practical: keep your options open, don’t close any doors.
“You never know what is right for you, until it isn’t,” said Greer. “I ended up ‘living my best life’ by staying open to opportunities. It brought me the biggest challenges, the best experiences, and the greatest joys. Life is like a roller-coaster – it’s always more fun with your hands up, screaming at the top of your lungs.”