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Don’t limit yourself, says Telfer Executive MBA grad Megan van Rijt

EMBA enhanced van Rijt’s leadership skills and honed ability to work together

Megan van Rijt
Megan van Rijt

Driving home from the orientation for uOttawa’s Telfer Executive MBA program, Megan van Rijt was in tears. “I was wondering, is my deposit refundable?’” she says. van Rijt didn’t know how she’d balance academics with full-time work. Fast forward a few years later, van Rijt says it was the most impactful experience of her life. “I actually think it was one of the best decisions I’ve made as an adult,” she says. 

van Rijt, 39, completed her EMBA in 2021 while working in Ottawa’s residential home building industry. With over a decade of solid experience, she felt she needed more tools and skills to really advance, and she certainly acquired them in the Telfer Executive MBA program. “One of the things that stands out to me would be the leadership skills we received, and working with so many diverse individuals,” she says. 

Telfer’s 20-month program, the most practical and real-world EMBA in Canada, boosted van Rijt’s skills by transforming theory into practice with both coursework and six consulting engagements. This included two international projects, which allowed van Rijt to gain global insight. “You’re socially honing your strengths and learning to work together,” she explains. 

Megan van Rijt, 39, is now director of sales and design at Deslaurier Custom Cabinets, where she has worked for over a year. 

At Deslaurier, van Rijt manages the entire retail customer experience, overseeing 17 employees and $20 million in revenue.  She was originally hired to activate a wholesale culture change and improve service delivery, as well as address the revenue gaps created by a soft market. 

Telfer Paves the Way

To this end, van Rijt drew on her experience at Telfer, which paves the way for students to create meaningful change across cultures, organizations, and markets, while challenging themselves to excel by expanding their abilities and growing into a resilient and well-rounded business leader.

van Rijt established several strategies and programs that improved the customer experience, ensured staff engagement, initiated baseline KPIs and implemented digital transformation programs. During the pandemic, these initiatives increased margins and spearheaded activities that allowed the company to pivot and maintain online sales. 

“Megan has achieved the large majority of these goals with an exceptionally soft market and a challenging manufacturing environment in just one year. She has single-handedly built a motivated and engaged sales force looking for growth and process improvement,” says Jill Sadler, vice president, customer experience at Delauriers.

Among van Rijt’s accomplishments, under her leadership in 2019, the sales team increased revenue by 25 per cent and she managed a team that achieved the highest ratings in Ontario for customer service in 2021, and during her time as sales manager, employee retention was 100 per cent. 

van Rijt says that the EMBA program, which can be attended in person or virtually, gave her the confidence that she was missing to forge ahead with some of these projects. “I was able to charge forward and make those decisions,” she explains. 

Read more about advancing your career with a Telfer Executive MBA here.