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Energy, enthusiasm, student well-being, hallmarks of Brenda Badgero’s three decades at SFU
Whether she is gathering students for customized presentations about career options, heading up the United Way bake sale, or bringing in a fresh tree for Yuletide every year, Brenda Badgero brings an infectious energy and ability to gather people together to all she does - and she has done a lot over her 30 years at SFU.
Badgero was awarded a 2020 Staff Achievement Award for Lifetime Achievement. Asked where she gets her energy, she says, “loving what I do, collaborating with great partners like co-op, topped off with a wee bit of dark chocolate or homemade baked goods.”
Badgero is a Career Education Manager at Career and Volunteer Services where she has been instrumental in embedding career education into students' experience at SFU. Her faculties of focus are science, environment, applied sciences and health sciences.
“Don’t ask me to remember all the different titles we’ve had,” she says, laughing about the many changes she’s seen the past few decades.
“SFU has been such a good employer and Career and Volunteer Services has been such a supportive team. We have worked hard and played hard. I’m proud of our achievements, and the evolution of SFU to being student-centred and putting emphasis on equity, diversity and inclusion issues.”
What does she love most about her role?
“The diversity of students and the range of issues we assist with, getting students connected with meaningful career pathways, guidance and resources,” she says, adding that the work is “very rewarding”.
The role suits her positive and optimistic attitude. She encourages hope at times when students might feel fear, anxiety or overwhelm.
“Brenda’s energy and good sense of humour allows her to engage with anyone - students, staff, faculty, deans, administrators and employers," says one of her nominators about her ability to initiate projects.
During her career, she has led projects that build community - as a baker and lead organizer for the United Way for the last 25 years; initiating Backpack to Briefcase, an annual conference for students and alumni; and championing career support for all students at SFU, including people with disabilities.
She is particularly proud of her commitment to tradition.
“I’ve brought a cut Christmas tree every year I’ve been there. People didn’t used to decorate, but it really started to catch on with others around SFU.”
“Brenda is an outstanding practitioner who is absolutely committed to SFU students and SFU overall,” says another one of her nominators. “The fact that she does all she does while not seeking praise or recognition makes her all the more deserving.”
Reflecting on her own career trajectory, she notices that it is just like how the career centre teaches students: to watch for opportunities, be willing to take a few risks, get connected and find mentors and let each step lead to the next.
What’s next for her?
“Spending more time with grandkids…and making a difference in the community.”
Looks like she’s not ready to stop, quite yet.