Alison Dubreuil can still remember her first day on staff at Suncrest College.
Back then, in 2008, Dubreuil walked into what was then known as Parkland College to begin her role as a part-time evening instructor.
“I was asked to instruct a human resources, marketing and an economics class — of all things,” Dubreuil recollected. “What (teaching) provided me was an opportunity to come into Parkland College … into the workplace and observe staff. I heard how highly they spoke about the employer, how proud and passionate they were about their work. I had a chance to help learners be prepared and empowered to find their next career opportunity. It was during this experience, I thought to myself, ‘I have to work here, this is going to be my next home.’ I wanted to become part of it.”
And Dubreuil didn’t just become a minor “part of it.”
Her titles throughout the years changed, but the work ethic and professional culture instilled in those within Suncrest College’s 11 campuses did not.
From the Director of Human Resources to Vice President of Administration, to her eventual role of Interim President & CEO through the merger of Suncrest College – on July 1, 2023, Dubreuil’s role was solidified.
The President & CEO title is now hers, but did she ever imagine she would have made it to this point, way back 15 years ago instructing those SaskPolytech business classes?
“Absolutely not,” Dubreuil said with a laugh.
Suncrest College Marketing recently sat down with Dubreuil to learn more about the new President & CEO of the institution. The Q & A portion has been edited for brevity and clarity.
Q: Tell me more about your background in education, and your family connection to the industry.
AD: I am from a family of teachers. My dad taught for 30 years, and my brother and sister also have been in the classroom. I pursued a Business Administration degree and specialized in Human Resources and Marketing. So, when I got that call from Parkland College, I thought this was an opportunity for me to experience what my family found such great joy in. I thought, ‘This is my chance.’
Q: Can you explain where you're from, and how your connection to the community brought you to Suncrest?
AD: I was raised in small town, Ituna, Saskatchewan and blessed to live in a loving family. My parents were active community members, consistently volunteering for the betterment of the community. I moved away after high school to pursue my education at the University of Regina. I lived in the big city for a few years, started my work with SaskTel but always felt like that wasn't home for me. I wanted to come back to rural Saskatchewan to be closer to family. My parents were amazing role models and I still look to them today, but I recognized then that growing up in a small rural community gave individuals so many opportunities and advantages, and the ability to positively impact others.
Q: What is your overall future vision for this institute?
AD: I truly believe we are here to serve our learners, our communities, and the partners in our region. Suncrest College offers many opportunities to learners through accessible education and training that meets the needs of the growing Saskatchewan economy. Our smaller classroom sizes increase student success, our personal contact with learners, our mutually beneficial relationships with partners, and our ability to connect learners with local employers makes Suncrest College a place for Bright Minds, Bright Futures. Our new college is united in our future vision and we will continue to offer innovative and sustainable education to meet the changing needs of those we serve.
Q: What fuels your professional fire and drive?
AD: Well, I am pretty competitive, not with anyone else, but myself. I always want to do a good job and do it well. I am consistently inspired and motivated to work in post-secondary with talented and passionate instructors and staff that truly care about the work that they do and the learners’ success. But, it all starts with leadership. Leaders need to have a vision, be courageous, have a plan, be transparent, and treat people with care and kindness. The results that can come from that are enormous.
Q: As a leader, what qualities do you bring to not just the student population of Suncrest’s campuses, but also in terms of molding staff culture?
AD: I like to enjoy what I am doing, have fun and laugh but I like to work hard. I am calm, like to look at the big picture, and take personal accountability. I believe to genuinely create a learning environment and campus culture that ensures student success, it all starts with our employees, taking care of our employees who are responsible to do the good work. I lead with authenticity, humanity and humility. I am an optimist who believes leadership is influential so I hope that is contagious.