Minds We Meet—Interviewing Students Like You!

Say Hello to Brandon Simmons

All-around interesting fellow, our AUSU President, Brandon Simmons, reflects and comments on his life, books and television, kids and education, and hopes for the 2019-2020 Council period.

How did you originally find our wonderful AU community?

I was working as a contractor and due to my high school football injuries, it was difficult for me to keep up with the demands of my career.  As a result, I started looking to see if there was anyway that I could go to school and change careers.  Since business was a passion of mine I looked into the process of becoming an accountant and that is how I found AU.  I attended a CMA webinar and they listed all of the accredited universities in Alberta and they mentioned that AU was a great option for someone who did not live near a university or if they were working, both of which fit my scenario.

What is the last book you read?

Aside from textbooks it has been a long time since I have finished reading a book, but I am currently reading the Effective Executive by Peter F Drucker.

What show do you think everyone should binge watch?

Due to my work for AUSU, full time studies, part time business consulting company, and four kids I don’t have much chance to watch TV, so I wouldn’t know what to recommend.

Why did you choose to run for AUSU council and, of course, the President of AUSU?

I first ran for council back in the byelection that occurred in 2015.  At that time there were a lot of challenges facing the student union and I thought that with my business background I could help.  Once I got on council I ran for the VPFA role and then later VPEX.  Throughout the past three and a half years I have loved working for AUSU and having the opportunity to stand up for students.  With the experience that I had had in both the VPEX and VPFA roles I felt that I could continue to help AUSU move forward as I had a strong understanding of all aspects of AUSU and a strong relationship with our external partners, so I decided to run for president.

What are your academic goals for 2019?

I am hoping to nearly be finished my third year of my Bachelor of Commerce program by the end of the year, but my big focus is on completing LGST 369 before the end of March so that I can receive my certificate in marketing at this year’s convocation ceremony.  Yes, starting in 2019 students will be able to convocate with certificates which is a very exciting change.

If you could have a meal with someone from history, who would it be?

It may sound boring, but I would love to sit down with Peter F Drucker.  He is often revered as the father of modern management.  I have always been fascinated with his writings and his views on business management.  One of my all time favourite quotes comes from Peter Drucker.  He states that businesses need to stop solving problems and pursue opportunities, this is a concept that I have tried to implement in all my work.  I actually ran for AUSU on that principle and am happy to say that we are now at the point where we are looking at opportunities rather than just solving problems.

What is the smartest thing you have ever heard?

I would have to say it is the quote I just referenced by Peter Drucker.  To often in our lives and our businesses we get caught up in the day to day problems that arise.  When this happens, we do not grow.  Solving problems is absolutely necessary but we need to make sure that we are always looking for and taking advantage of opportunities that arise so that we can continue to progress in life.

What is the wisest advice you have ever been given?

I would have to say the wisest advice I was ever given came from my father.  He is a contractor and at a very young age I would spend my summers working with him.  As he taught me various skills he would always tell me to watch others around me because you can learn from everyone.  This concept of learning from everyone has helped me throughout my life.  Sometimes you end up learning what not to do but there are many times where you are able to learn ways of doing things better.

What is one thing you would like to complete personally in 2019?

With everything on my plate, I am often happy to just keep moving forward with school, work, and still spend time with my young kids.  With that said it is always a goal to get into better shape the challenge becomes trying to fit working out into my busy schedule.

Since being elected as a councillor and as the President (congratulations!), what are your hopes for the 2018-2020 period?

This is a very exciting council term because we have an amazing council to work with.  Everyone is excited, ready to work, and willing to bring fresh ideas to the table.  On top of this AUSU is in a great place compared to prior years.  Over the past three years we have worked hard to address the problems that the organization faced.  We have re written our bylaws, policies, and financial controls.  We have also created a multi year strategic plan and implemented an annual council retreat so that we can spend a few short days all together to really do some great strategic planning.  All of this work has now left AUSU in a position to really start looking for new opportunities.  Right now, we are working on developing plans for increased government advocacy, increased student engagement opportunities, and looking at how we can help provide more career services.  It is exciting to be able to start pursuing new opportunities to enhance our members educational experience.

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