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Alumni News

James Cunningham

Words of wisdom from the trenches: Alumni share their advice with the Class of 2015

June 18, 2015

Each year at Sheridan’s Convocation ceremonies, grads return to offer nuggets of advice to the latest crop of Sheridan alumni. Pictured right is one of those grads, James Cunningham (Theatre and Drama Studies, 1996, far left) celebrating with his fiancée and alumna, Natasha Alexandra and Patrick Young, Theatre and Drama Studies Program Coordinator.

Here’s a snapshot of the alumni speakers’ remarks.

Tariq Adi
CEO, Adi Development Group Inc.
Business Administration – Finance, 2005
When I started my company at 25 there were plenty of naysayers. I had to resolve to succeed and to follow my dream and passion. If you have an idea, or a plan, I urge you to pursue it to the maximum. Take action TODAY. Have a plan, write it down and follow it. There will be times when you’ll want to quit but never listen to those voices.

Ryan Andal
Partner & VP Technical Director, Secret Location
Interactive Multimedia, 2005
Get comfortable with failing, learn how to fail properly, and fail fast. Now is the time to go all in. We live in a world where your ideas can more easily become a reality, a world of Kickstarter and Patreon and 3D printers. Think about how incredible the landscape we live in is and how much our world will change in the future because of it. Now is your time to be a part of all that. 

Victoria Ballah
Supervisor of Prosecutions, City of Guelph
Paralegal, 2006
As a mature student I knew I was likely to be one of the oldest students and older than some of my professors. I was right but at Sheridan it didn’t matter. I was an equal from the first day and throughout the program. It’s because of Sheridan and the encouragement of its professors that I am where I am now. Sheridan gave me the courage to succeed. 

Nikki Clarke
Producer/Host/Founder of The Nikki Clarke Network
Early Childhood Education, 1997
I knew after my first class that not only was going to be challenged intellectually, I would be groomed into a woman of substance. The faculty showed me by example professionalism, patience, empathy, and kindness. I learned that the backbone of any successful project was based on creating authentic relationships.

James Cunningham
Television Host, Comedian, CEO of Funny Money Inc.
Theatre and Drama Studies, 1996
If you have a job you HATE your art will be your salvation. While you’re at your crappy day job all you’ll be thinking about is getting on stage that night, designing the next Eames chair, absolutely NAILING that next audition. Make your art the thing that will get you to where you want to be and it won’t be work – it will be your passion. When you love your art failure isn’t failure it is the next step in the process of greatness. Click here to see grad and comedian James Cunningham's alumni address.

Jason DeBrum
Associate, Michael Spaziani Architect Inc.
Architectural Technology Co-op, 2004
Be open. So many times in life, we encounter situations that challenge us. Accept that we cannot change them, but be flexible and open enough to find a way around them. So many of us are afraid of not being fully prepared to do something that we watch that opportunity go by.

Anne Hartley
Certified Athletic Therapist, Osteopathic Manual Practitioner
Athletic Training Management, 1975
Be your own trailblazer and when doors open, always consider the opportunities. Thirty years from now, you should not look back and see the opportunities that you missed. You should see the interesting journey that you made for yourself. Start tomorrow.”

Sonya Jenkins
Marketing Specialist, Foreign Agricultural Service (USDA)
International Business Co-op, 2010
Don't underestimate yourselves. Your program at Sheridan has given you more skills, knowledge and hands on experience than you may realize. When starting your career you may be listening more than speaking up, but if you feel strongly about an idea or solution mention it. If you see a posting for your dream job, go for it. 

Christine Longo
Outreach Counsellor, Bereavement Educator, Alzheimer Society Peel
Social Service Worker – Gerontology, 2010
As a parent my advice is to work hard, as a student please never stop learning. Buddha says, “the trouble is you think you have time”….What you have to make happen is life. Sometimes “later” becomes “never.” The moment is now. 

Sarah Thornley
Marketing Manager, Harry Rosen
Advertising 2008
Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through. Often in an interview we focus on demonstrating that we have a certain skillset and don’t always present ourselves in the most authentic manner. Remember that everyone else they are interviewing also has the same skillset as you do. You need to set yourself apart from the competition.