The University of Winnipeg



UWinnipeg Alumni Speak at TEDxWinnipeg

Alumni Spotlight

Left to right: Matt Schaubroeck outdoors, Margaux Miller with a white background, and Mike McGarry with crossed arm in his workshop.

Left to right: Matt Schaubroeck, Margaux Miller, and Mike McGarry

Three UWinnipeg Alumni graced the TEDxWinnipeg stage to share their big ideas in short condensed talks. Topics ranged from building air pollution to digital networking and urban resources. One thing in common between these three presenters is their experiences at UWinnipeg, which helped pave their way to become experts in their field. 

Matt Schaubroeck (BA 11)

Buildings are making us sick.

  Matt Schaubroeck

Matt Schaubroeck (BA 11) graduated with a BA in Political Science and French from The University of Winnipeg in 2011. “I have always been fascinated by politics and systems,” said Matthew.

While studying, Matt discovered systems are everywhere. “UWinnipeg helped sharpen my critical thinking. Whether it was literary analysis, political philosophy or policy; these courses helped me to better understand the world around me.”

Matt is a self-described impact-entrepreneur. In 2017, he completed his MBA at the Asper School of Business and found himself in entrepreneurship. “It was almost by accident,” said Matt. “But it was a career shift for me that stuck.” 

With his interests in the environment and passion for business, Matt founded ioAirFlow. ioAirFlow was built on the premise that buildings are emitting 17 per cent of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions and about 30 to 40 per cent of the energy consumed by the buildings is wasted, while poor ventilation and filtration infrastructure creates poor indoor quality levels. “Buildings are making us sick,” said Matt.

Matt’s TEDx Talk empowered people to advocate for their own health and the collective well-being. He will show how the impact of poor air quality in buildings is affecting our health individually and socially. “You can’t see it. You can’t touch it. But it doesn’t mean it’s not there. Air quality has this invisible presence that is affecting our lives and most of us are not aware.” 

Before 2020, Matt says no one was seriously talking about air quality. But that all changed when the perspective of air quality shifted from an environmental issue to a human health issue.

“Buildings are black holes where systems have been running for decades,” said Matt. “People don’t know how bad buildings can be for your health and if they did, they’d be horrified.”

Margaux Miller (BA 09) Gold Medalist

UWinnipeg Alumnus Margaux Miller (BA 09) is challenging folks to think bigger and to think globally when it comes to digital networking.

Margaux developed a passion for building communities early on. Studying Sociology and Criminal Justice at UWinnipeg taught her the importance of understanding social structures and human interactions. Achieving growth, community and connection are deeply embedded in her approach to community building today.

Margaux’s TEDx talk was on how to make better connections online. “If we’re not participating in online networking, we are leaving a lot of opportunity behind. Ultimately, it is paramount that people participate.”

I am providing a playbook on how to make meaningful connections.

Margaux Miller

“Digital online connection is not about being an influencer,” said Margaux. “You don’t need to have many followers or worry about what you look like to make a meaningful connection.”

People are overwhelmed and don’t know how to approach the vast network of online communities. “We have no playbook today of how to navigate digital networking,” said Margaux. “I am providing that playbook on how to make meaningful connections.”

By virtue of utilizing her online network, Margaux is the Global Director of Community for Toptal. Toptal is a global freelance marketplace of highly skilled experts in development, design, program and project management and finance. The community she connects at Toptal supports over 15,000 talents in 140 countries.

“Never underestimate the power of your network,” said Margaux. “Your willingness to engage can be the key to unlocking countless opportunities.”

Mike McGarry (Coll 10, BSc 21)

An alumni of both The Collegiate and The University of Winnipeg, Mike has always had an interest in trees. He completed his BSc in Environmental Science in the forest ecology stream. “I was fired up about trees beforehand, but having the science degree backing up my passion certainly helped my legitimacy in the industry,” said Mike.

Mike is a self-described woodpreneur. He is the co-founder and operations manager for Urban Lumber, a company that works to divert urban tree lumber into high-quality hardwood lumber and products.

Mike’s TEDx talk was on the enormous volumes of hardwood that end up in the landfill every year. “The staggering fact is, we chip and landfill more hardwood trees than hardwood lumber being imported here in Manitoba.”

The staggering fact is, we chip and landfill more hardwood trees than hardwood lumber being imported into Manitoba.

Mike McGarry

Mike spends his time educating and promoting the responsible use of urban trees once they have expired. Whether it’s through disease, or new development, there is opportunity to divert these trees from the landfill. “Instead of chipping and landfilling urban trees, we can use them to build, furnish and style our cities,” said Mike.

All of Urban Lumber’s products are crafted from salvaged trees in Winnipeg. To date, he and his business partner Carlee Farmer have diverted over 2,000 trees from the landfill.

When thinking about how to encourage new graduates embarking on their career, Mike says, “Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. When you take a chance on yourself, you might be surprised where you end up!”

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