Insights from Recruit in Canada’s former Owner on the history and future of the business
With our acquisition of Recruit in Canada last year, we’re excited to be able to celebrate its 30th anniversary this summer! See below for our interview with Anita Kuehnel, former Owner of Recruit in Canada.
Anita has 25 years international education/exhibition management experience, in Canada and Turkey (IEFT). She has also travelled extensively in Western Europe, Southeast Asia, Japan, Korea, USA, UK, Australia, and New Zealand, and is currently a consultant for international education providers and exhibitions.
So, Anita, what’s the history with Recruit in Canada and how did you get involved in the business?
Recruit in Canada — RIC — was founded in 1993 by Penny Bissett, at that time to serve students mainly in Ontario who were looking for opportunities to study outside of Canada. Because of her background working with high school guidance counsellors, Penny had extensive knowledge and a great network to capitalize on, and with the support of the high school counsellors and her hard work on creating connections with international universities, she was able to run these successful events. While she did try to go to other provinces, her strengths were in Ontario, so that was her focus.
I met Penny in 2008, after I launched the Canadian Student Magazine — a publication that contained information directed at exactly the students who were attending the RIC events. Penny allowed me to hand out my magazines to her student visitors, and we became a good team. When Penny decided she wanted to retire, I acquired the company in 2010. Along with three exceptional colleagues — Katie, Sheila, and Ender — we immediately took the events to greater heights: new, student-facing branding called Study and Go Abroad Fairs; expansion to running events twice a year, in three to six cities each time; revamp of the RIC website, as well as GoStudy.ca and StudyandGoAbroad.com; immediate involvement in social media; and participation at global events that focus on student mobility.
What was the most rewarding part of being involved?
I always felt completely rewarded when I saw students coming with parents — sometimes even the whole family — and engaging with the universities with purpose and intensity. We would see visitors with file folders of information that they had already researched on the schools they wanted to speak with; and, when they left, they left with heaps of information about their options, and we just knew they were serious and had a solid goal. In addition to that, the honour of hosting amazing university representatives from around the world, often forming long-term friendships, made the work an absolute pleasure.
What’s one of your favourite memories from the events?
I couldn’t actually narrow it down to any one definable moment because there were so many, but the biggest thrill was just before we opened the doors to the event: Our energetic and efficient team would be going full-on from 6am, getting everything and everyone organized; then, seeing the long line-ups of eager people, waiting for the moment we opened the doors…well, it was very exciting. There was always a buzz, and our entire team loved those moments, just before letting in the rush of visitors.
What’s your hope for Recruit in Canada moving forward?
I hope for RIC to keep up with the constantly-moving trends in international education, and student mobility in general. The reason I was so pleased to hand over the reins to the SchoolFinder Group was because of how well you are positioned in the Canadian market. While international education is a different beast from domestic, you have all the tools and knowledge to keep the torch burning — and making it even brighter! I know you can continue to be the leader in the industry, and wish you all the success possible.
Thank you Anita!
Katie Idle is still on board as the Director of Sales & Marketing for Recruit in Canada / Study and Go Abroad, as well as Ender Birer, our Web Designer.
If you’re interested in participating at one of our upcoming fairs, you can connect with Katie at Katie.Idle@RecruitinCanada.com.
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