Matthew ArmellinMatthew Armellin (2013-14)

“What will the world of work look like in the year 2040?” That is the question that my competition partner and I had the opportunity to try and answer as competitors in the FOCUS 2040 competition. At first I was unsure if I wanted to participate however, looking back I can honestly say that it was one of the best decisions I have made. From the initial stages right through to the final presentation, I learned so much about myself and others that I would not have if I did not participate. The year 2040 seems like it is quite a distance away but in reality, it is not that far off. As a student who will be starting my career within the next few months and will most likely still be in the workplace in 2040, thinking about what the world of work is going to look like is something that is very relevant to me. In addition to winning the competition, I was fortunate enough to participate in a summer internship with the People and Culture Department at WestJet Airlines in Calgary, Alberta. Not only was I able to gain valuable work experience, I was also able to expand my professional network through the people I met and experience living in a different part of the country. I would strongly recommend anyone who is considering participating to get involved!


Nadine ShantzNadine Shantz (2013-14)

Extra-curricular involvement has such an immense impact on the overall university experience, and I would strongly recommend Focus 2040 to all university students. I wish I had the opportunity to do it all over again! Not only did Focus 2040 give me an opportunity to be creative, but it gave me an opportunity to develop and improve my presentations skills in front of a panel of executive professionals with a great deal of industry experience. What made this competition unique was the first two formal essay submissions that put our research and writing skills to the test. Both days of the event were a phenomenal experience that I will never forget, being very well planned with amazing networking opportunities for students from all over Canada. Currently, I am now working for Loblaw in a Grad Rotational Program focusing in HR, which has been the perfect way to begin my career. Good luck to all future participants!


Mikael CastaldoMikael Castaldo (2013-14)

Focus 2040 was a great experience. Everything, from the competition’s structure to the details, was fantastic. As first year students, my friend Joseph and I didn’t think we had much of a chance; making it to the finals felt amazing, but placing in the top 3 was unbelievable. What’s great about Focus 2040 is that it encouraged us to think about the future from a pretty broad, interdisciplinary standpoint. I come from a strategy and economics background, my partner was an engineer, but the majority of our presentation was based off chaos theory and the properties of stochastic systems, something neither of us are experts in by any means, but have some familiarity. Being in Focus 2040 was the highlight of my first year of university.


Sinan NasirSinan Nasir (2012-13)

On the train en route to Burlington, I was unsure of what to expect from the two days of workshops, presentations, and networking events planned for this year’s Focus 2040 event. From excellent accommodation and transportation, to the delicious food (loved the crème brûlée), the entire event was skillfully organized. It was a pleasure to meet the visionaries behind the first ever Focus 2040, and to understand how they’ve helped take the competition from a simple idea to where it stands today. The most valuable aspect of the event for me, however, was the welcoming environment. The closing ceremony brought together a dining hall full of top executives, professors, and students alike allowing for invaluable networking with people from all walks of life. I think everyone who was present at the Closing Ceremony will agree with the feeling of belonging to the “Focus 2040 family”, and will remember the day for many years to come.


Sandeep AcharSandeep Achar (2009-10)

FOCUS 2040 has been a big part of my life since that day in Hamilton when I calmed some jittery nerves to get up on stage and present my vision of what the future workplace & society would look like. This was during the last phase of my MBA program at Queen’s and I’m glad I took the time out of a busy school season to participate. I met some great fellow participants and was inspired by their ideas and by the discussions we ‘ve had since then. I also met many great industry professionals, some of whom have now become good friends and mentors that I am still in touch with. After FOCUS 2040, I had a six month internship with Forester and later was hired into RBC into a graduate rotational program. I’m currently working in the Applied Innovation team at RBC with responsibility for facilitating the development and validation of innovative ideas and concepts sourced internally and externally. I also continue to volunteer with SCN and look forward to many more great FOCUS 2040 competitions in the future!


Brianna SmrkeBrianna Smrke

Focus 2040 was a terrific outlet for my creativity and ingenuity. It was fascinating, challenging and worth every second I spent preparing for or engaging with it. You can only shape the future if you have a vision, and Focus 2040 encourages you to develop one. I advise you to take on the challenge. You will not regret it.



Gloria QiuGloria Qiu

I’m current an insurance underwriter for Aviva. Although it has been several years since Focus 2040, what I gained from the experience still stayed with me. Focus 2040 didn’t just teach me a new set of leadership skills, work ethics, or expanded my breadth of knowledge in HR. It taught me a new way of thinking. To this day, I’m still very grateful for this opportunity.