Alan Maingot DipEng’81
Finding Creative Ways to Give Back
Alan Maingot DipEng’81
By Danielle Boudreau
Next time you’re brushing your teeth, doing your makeup or changing your baby’s diaper, you might want to give a little thanks to Alan Maingot DipEng’81.
The Saint Mary’s University alumnus has had a distinguished 36-year career as a senior technical and business executive in research and development with Procter & Gamble. He was instrumental in creating many of the products in your cupboards, closets, pantries and garages—everything from Crest toothpaste and Scope mouthwash to Charmin bath tissue and Pampers diapers to Head & Shoulders shampoo and Olay skincare products. He credits his time at Saint Mary’s University, and the mentorship he received from faculty, for shaping his career and putting him firmly on the path to success.
“What I learned in university was to approach a problem like a scientist, and to not be intimidated by it,” says Maingot. “I learned how to analyze a problem, take it apart. Today, when I talk to students about what a university education does, I use the analogy of language—our degrees teach us the vocabulary of science and the laws of science. It is our role to apply our creativity using this vocabulary and these laws to invent or develop new products and innovations, just like writing a new story!”
Now, he and his wife, Saint Mary’s alumna Carol Maingot BA'80 (nee Hollett) are paying it forward through the creation of the Dr. John C. O’C. Young Faculty of Science Research Award. The award is named in honour of the esteemed chemistry researcher who taught Maingot to think like a scientist and encouraged the sense of intellectual curiosity that has been a guiding force in his professional life.
“There are two kinds of professors—those who come to work to get the job done, to teach and mark papers, and they treat it like a job, and they don’t get to know the students as human beings, and then there are those who are interested in who you are and what you are about,” says Maingot. “Young brought his humanity to Saint Mary’s and he used chemistry to connect with you, whether you were a Science student or an Arts student, and tailor his teaching to you as much as possible. He got to know me as a person, and budding scientist, and went out of his way to include me in his research.”
“I learned a lot from my students and Alan was no exception,” says Young. “I remember him as being quiet, thoughtful, and very self-directed, which made him an ideal member of my group. He could not only plan and execute his research activity, he could also write about it as well.”
The Dr. John C. O’C. Young Faculty of Science Research Award will support a range of research activities, such as research job placements and travel to scientific conferences for students in the Faculty of Science. These are opportunities that weren’t necessarily available to Maingot during his student days.
When Maingot arrived from Trinidad to attend Saint Mary’s University as an international student, he chose engineering as a diverse scientific field with a wide array of career options. Later, his degree in chemical engineering presented opportunities in the pharmaceutical, food and oil industries.
After graduation, Maingot joined Procter & Gamble, working his way up to senior leadership positions in the beauty, paper and oral care fields. This successful career may not have happened without Young’s support and guidance. At a time when it was difficult for international students to work in Canada, Young developed research projects and helped Maingot obtain the work visa that enabled him to stay in Halifax. More importantly, Young taught him the all-important vocabulary of science and how to think with a curious, scientific mind.
Working alongside his experienced teacher and chemist taught Maingot about the scientific method and about good leadership, and he used those skills throughout his career.
“Young and I would discuss the problem we were trying to solve and he allowed me to bring my creativity to look at different ways to solve the problem,” said Maingot. “He allowed me to bring my ideas as a student. Many of them weren’t good, but I learned from those failures.”
That intellectual curiosity was what let him thrive in an industry where innovation ensured success. It also has led him to co-create the Human Energy Collaborative, which seeks to empower individuals and organizations to reimagine ways of working that increase collaboration, satisfaction, positive impact and performance. Through workshops and seminars, Maingot and his team teach executives, middle managers and employees how to unleash the potential of themselves and others using “mindful inclusion” and “authentic inclusive leadership,” and collaboration within their companies.
“These things have become more important than ever, in part as a result of COVID and the ‘great resignation’ that has forced so many people to leave the workforce,” says Maingot. “This has had an especially acute impact on women and minorities, and we want to change that, to train companies on how to listen and speak, how to collaborate and create, with everyone in the organization, and to bring mindful, authentic, inclusive leadership into the workplace, in big ways and in little everyday ways, every day”
Now a (mostly) retired snowbird, Alan and his wife, Carol, divide their time between the Caribbean, Cincinnati, Ohio, and Halifax. A native Haligonian, Carol was the main reason why staying in Halifax was so important to Maingot. A student of religious studies, she went on to work in the Archdiocese of Hamilton and later became a lay pastoral minister in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, working with bereaved families to help them through their most difficult times. They have two children and several grandchildren.
“Carol is an amazing partner and anything that I have achieved we have achieved together,” says Maingot, lovingly.
When asked what advice he would give to students today, he suggests exploring as many options as possible before choosing a path.
“Increase the diversity of your experience as you move from a child’s environment to an adult environment,” he said. “Make new friends, take a class that sounds interesting even if it’s not what you think you want to do.”
Research Matters: Saint Mary’s Announces Historic $3-million Gift to Graduate Student Research
Chancellor Michael Durland BComm'87 DComm'10 and Catherine Durland BComm'87 with MTEI students
Imagine the difference one person can make when there’s a community of talented, supportive and driven people—world-leading experts—to lean on, learn from and work with to innovate, disrupt and create change. Thanks to a historic gift in support of graduate student research at Saint Mary’s University, future generations of research pioneers and innovators will take another step on the path toward a World without limits.
Saint Mary’s is pleased to announce the establishment of the Durland Scholarships in Graduate Research. The graduate entrance scholarships are supported by a $3-million gift from the Durland Learning Foundation and the Durland Family to a World without limits: The Campaign for Saint Mary’s University, marking the single most significant investment in graduate student research in the university’s history.
“We want this gift to reflect the past, the present and the future. It’s our way of saying ‘thank you’ to all the many special faculty members at Saint Mary’s who have so greatly inspired me and so many others throughout the years. Words cannot express our collective gratitude for all you do,” says Saint Mary’s University Chancellor Dr. Michael Durland BComm'87 DComm'10.
“We also wanted to make a gift that will have immediate impact by supporting our current faculty members, students and their extraordinary research. And we wanted to invest in the future of research at Saint Mary’s—to help recruit great graduate students, to help support the future work of our wonderful faculty members, and to encourage researchers from around the world to make Saint Mary’s their home.”
“We want this gift to reflect the past, the present and the future.”—Dr. Michael Durland
Thanks to the visionary generosity of Chancellor Durland, his wife, Catherine BComm’87, and their family, the Durland Scholarships will strengthen the university’s ability to recruit and retain top graduate students to its research-based programs. The scholarship program will grant supplemental awards of $10,000 per year for graduate students and $15,000 per year for PhD students, as an addition to other awards and funding from the university. The awards are university-wide, renewable and available to students beginning in fall 2022.
“This transformative gift will support us in attracting the best and brightest graduate students to our university, strengthening our research capacity and positioning Saint Mary’s for the incredible growth and success that is outlined in our strategic research plan,” says Saint Mary’s University President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Robert Summerby-Murray. “On behalf of the entire Santamarian community, I want to thank the Durland Family—Dr. Michael Durland, our chancellor, his wife, Catherine Durland, both proud Saint Mary’s alumni, and their family, for their incredible generosity and their vision in supporting graduate research.”
Saint Mary's is known for research that addresses pressing world issues such as climate change and the environment, where leading researchers restore salt marshes. The university's researchers engage in scholarship at the intersection of climate and communities, including work with Indigenous and international communities on challenges facing their livelihoods and conservation efforts. Saint Mary's fosters innovative scientific research, from combating balance disorders to understanding black holes and building the newest great space telescope. The Sobey School of Business challenges our understanding of global migration, immigration and what it means to be a modern, global citizen. The school is also engaged in research around innovation in business and workplace studies, including the pandemic's impact on employers and employees and what the big virtual shift means for companies and their employees moving forward.
The examples above in climate change and the environment, community connection and innovative science, modern global citizenship, and innovation in business and workplace studies represent the university's five strategic research priorities, areas that will be supported through these new scholarships.
The Durland Scholarships in Graduate Research will promote and support a broad spectrum of graduate research activity in Arts, Science and Business aligned with these strategic priorities, bringing forth new collaborations, knowledge and innovations.
When Passion Meets Impact
Photo: Ryan Williams/Unbound Media Inc.
For Ryan Francis, passion is defined by his family, participating in sport and giving back to his community. As the first Indigenous Visiting Fellow at Saint Mary's, Francis is working closely with the Centre for the Study of Sport and Health and the Department of Athletics and Recreation on initiatives to increase the knowledge, research and awareness of Indigenous sport.
Reflecting on his role, Francis outlines his work as an Indigenous Fellow into three components: education, research and awareness.
Connected with the university's academic mission, Francis is educating athletic coaches, athletes and staff on Indigenous culture, specifically as it relates to sports. Using Treaty Education, the Red Tape initiative and Aboriginal Coaching Modules, he is bringing Indigenous perspectives into Saint Mary's sport and is empowering culture change from within the Athletics and Recreation Department.
Working closely with the Centre for the Study of Sport and Health, Francis is helping Saint Mary's researchers strengthen the relationship between student-athletes and their academic work while determining how to do so in a way that supports athletes' unique physical, mental and social health. His research focuses on the Indigenous athlete's pathway and experiences competing at the university sports level.
Francis also seizes opportunities to highlight and bring Indigenous sporting events to the university community. In November 2022, Saint Mary's celebrated Indigenous Sport Week, with events and initiatives to recognize and embrace Indigenous sport and the accomplishments of Indigenous athletes. Initiatives included: partnering with the Mi'kmaw Sport Hall of Fame to display banners across the campus of notable inductees; partnering with Mi'kma'ki Strong so that men's and women's basketball players and staff could wear orange in recognition of the Every Child Matters movement; raising funds for the Genevieve Francis Memorial Fund (Francis' late-grandmother) and honouring Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two-Spirit People; and the return of the "Red-Tape Game" aimed to combat racism in hockey.
As a natural born connector, Francis wastes no opportunity to work on important projects that unite community and sport. He is the Volunteer Sport Chair for the North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) happening in Kjipuktuk (Halifax), Dartmouth and Millbrook First Nation in July 2023. Saint Mary's will host accommodations for athletes and be a sporting venue for basketball, wrestling and field hockey. Working with NAIG and the university, Francis is helping to design safe spaces and offer education on Indigenous culture.
"My work at the university and in the community are closely linked,” says Francis. “I can connect Saint Mary's with the community and bring appropriate recognition and celebration while prioritizing Indigenous sport.”
In 2019, Francis co-founded the Indigenous Girls Hockey Program, which operates in Eskasoni, Membertou and Truro, and has seen nearly 200 girls aged 6-14 participating in the program. It focuses on creating safe and welcoming spaces for Indigenous girls to experience hockey with their peers and is fortunate to have SMU women's hockey player Erin Denny (Eskasoni First Nation) as one of the leaders in the program. The success of this program earned him recognition from the National Hockey League, being named a finalist for the 2022 Willie O'Ree Community Hero Award.
Shortly after his nomination for the Willie O'Ree Community Hero Award, Francis’ father, Robert, told him a story about his grandmother, Genevieve. When he was a young athlete, she found it challenging to watch him play due to the racism he experienced from players and spectators. She agreed to watch him play when he explained that he loved playing baseball because he genuinely felt he could contribute to his team. Tragically, she never made it to that game, as she was shot and killed attempting to break up a fight between one of her sons and another youth. The non-Indigenous man was found not guilty of her murder.
Learning this, Francis created the Genevieve Francis Memorial Fund to honour his grandmother. His passion for creating safe spaces for Indigenous sport is even stronger now because of his family's story. His grandmother did not get to see her son play baseball in a safe and welcoming environment, so in her honour, this fund aims to change that for future generations. Funds will be distributed to initiatives that create opportunities for Indigenous women and girls to participate.
The Centre for Sport and Health is making a difference in student-athletes lives. Your gift can help further research into the student-athlete physical, mental and social health while helping to make sport an inclusive and welcoming space for all.
Preparing the Next Generation for the Data-Driven World
Introducing the Master of Business Analytics (MBAN) Program
Dr. Michael Zhang, Assistant Professor, finance, information systems & management science and students
Over the past two years, the world has rapidly changed, moving more people online and faster than ever before. A trend that was gradually growing became a boom. From zoomers to boomers, digital engagement is at an all-time high. What does that mean for the future of business? Data for companies to analyze and lots of it.
“We’ve seen a significant shift across our economy, with most businesses and firms transitioning or increasing their digital transactions and data gathering to be able to continue to engage with their customers,” says Dr. Harjeet Bhabra, Dean of the Sobey School of Business. “As one of Canada’s leading business schools, the Sobey School of Business has been innovative in creating new opportunities for our prospective students. Recognizing the growing need of data in evidence-based decision-making pursued by businesses today, we introduced the new Master of Business Analytics program this fall.”
The Master of Business Analytics (MBAN) program, the first of its kind in Atlantic Canada, meets the growing need for talented data analytics professionals with the skills and advanced applied knowledge to develop, evaluate, refine and implement analytics applications to drive business innovation and success. A program to address the growing demand for business analytics is something one of Saint Mary’s University’s most prominent alumni identifies as vital to businesses in the future.
“Many companies realize the value of data and the importance it has on growing their businesses, but lots of people, organizations and executives are still somewhat intimidated about data and how to use it effectively. As a leader in Canadian business education, it is fitting that Saint Mary’s leads the way forward in business data analytics.”—Dr. Robert (Bob) P. Kelly, former CEO of the Bank of New York Mellon and former Chancellor of Saint Mary’s University
The Dr. Robert P. Kelly Master of Business Analytics Scholarships
To support students in the new program, Saint Mary’s is pleased to announce the Dr. Robert P. Kelly Master of Business Analytics Scholarships. The scholarships will be funded by a generous $1 million gift from Dr. Kelly to a World without limits: The Campaign for Saint Mary’s University.
“I am thrilled to be a part of preparing the next generation of our country’s top business, data-driven leaders,” says Dr. Kelly. “This program will allow students to further develop their statistical evaluation abilities along with the presentation and influence skills required to help management understand how they, and their customers, can use their data to build new products and improve insights and profitability.”
Dr. Robert (Bob) P. Kelly BComm’75 DComm’97
The scholarships are valued at $10,000 each and will be presented to four students per year who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada. In recognition of Saint Mary’s commitment to supporting greater participation by women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields, at least two of the scholarships will be available to female students.
“This $1 million gift to our campaign is a generous endorsement of Saint Mary’s and the Sobey School of Business’s commitment to bringing forward innovative, relevant graduate programs and in educating the business leaders of tomorrow,” says Saint Mary’s University President Dr. Robert Summerby-Murray. “I want to thank Bob for his generosity and continued commitment to our institution and our students.”
The MBAN program meets the job market’s growing need for talented business analysts with cutting-edge skills and applied knowledge. Organizations increasingly need professionals equipped with the skills the MBAN program develops: the critical analysis of data to support business decision-making and drive success. Research also shows a significant interest among organizations and businesses to partner with post-secondary institutions offering data analytics business education.
“Data analysis is growing across sectors and is increasingly important to all facets of decisions facing businesses,” says Saeed El-Darahali O.N.S BSc’02 CHR’02 MBA’04, President and CEO of SimplyCast. “Data-driven decision making is a key component of our business operations, and a program like the Master of Business Analytics helps address the increasing demand of companies for skilled professionals who can parse complex data for critical insights.”
“Demand for business analytics-related occupations is expected to grow by 19 percent between 2016 and 2026 in Canada,” says Dr. Michael Zhang, Interim Director of the MBAN program and Associate Professor in the Department of Finance, Information Systems and Management Science at the Sobey School of Business. “In comparison, projected growth across all occupations in Canada is just 9 percent over the same period. This program fills an important demand in the business sector while increasing scholarship in the cross-disciplinary field of business data analytics.”
The experiential MBAN curriculum
The program features many opportunities for integrated learning and can be completed in 16 months. Students have the option to pursue one of three experiential learning options: consulting, research or internship. The program integrates and emphasizes:
- data analytics skill development, including descriptive data analytics, predictive analytics, prescriptive analytics and optimization
- business fundamentals, management and organizational practice
- essential programming skills and computer languages
- ethics, security, privacy and governance
- decision-making, evidence-based practice, and responsible research
“As a student who is looking at my options as graduation nears, seeing Saint Mary’s launch a new program like this makes me think about new career paths and opportunities,” says Morgan Baker-Tucker, a fourth-year entrepreneurship student and winner of the 2021 Frank H. Sobey Award for Excellence in Business Studies. “Whether it’s discussions about businesses and start-ups, sports or reality TV and influencers, analytics is the driver behind how people approach their decisions. I think this program is a great opportunity.”
Consistent with the Sobey School’s commitment to the Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) and Evidence-Based Management (EBM), the program also emphasizes the need for socially responsible data analysis and decision-making informed by varied and credible sources of evidence. The MBAN curriculum is aligned with the competency map developed by the Certified Analytics Professional (CAP) for which the graduates of the program are eligible. It is also Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) accredited.
2022 Alumni Awards
Photo: Kelly Clark
On Tuesday, November 15, Saint Mary’s University hosted the annual Alumni Awards. This year’s celebration took place on National Philanthropy Day. The Alumni Association honoured alumni who have made remarkable contributions in their communities and/or to Saint Mary’s. The hybrid event brought alumni, faculty, staff and friends together to celebrate the Santamarian spirit of community engagement and volunteerism.
Congratulations to the 2022 Alumni Award recipients.
This year’s Giving Tuesday raised more than $33,000 in support of our students' food security and well-being. We are thankful to our full community—our board members, faculty, staff and alumni—who made contributions on this year’s Giving Tuesday, November 29.
The J & W Murphy Foundation is pivotal to this initiative’s success, who matched giving at ten universities across Nova Scotia. Our Saint Mary’s Alumni Association also helped to top up the match.
“Students still need our help,” says the J & W Murphy Foundation. “The material effects of the pandemic are still very real for so many people, often the most vulnerable in our communities. Food and grocery costs have been rising steadily. Student-led programs are well-positioned to make a difference, but they can meet the need so much more effectively with our collective support.”
The funds raised are channeled into the Saint Mary’s Student Wellness Fund, which supports programs like the Community Food Room, and Square Roots, a student-led Enactus Saint Mary’s project.
"The funding from the Wellness Fund that was donated last year has provided core operational funding for us in a number of ways—from addressing food security after Hurricane Fiona to supporting the well-being of students from the 2SLGBTQ+, Black, Indigenous and International community,” says Tom Brophy, Associate Vice President, Student Affairs and Services.
While Giving Tuesday is behind us, you, too, can contribute to the Student Wellness Fund. Click below to learn more about ways to give.