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Research Spotlight: Garrett Hall and Dr. Sujinda Hwang Leslie

Newsroom authorby Debbie SilvaJun 16, 2021

Garrett Hall and Dr. Sujinda Hwang-Leslie are marketing professors from Sheridan’s Pilon School of Business. Together with Sheridan’s EDGE Entrepreneurship Hub, professors Hall and Hwang-Leslie are joint recipients of a Shock-proofing the Future of Work research grant from the Future Skills Centre. Through their research, Hall and Dr. Hwang-Leslie are developing a digital marketing training program for underrepresented small business owners who have been affected by COVID-19 shutdowns and economic uncertainty. 

Here, Hall and Dr. Hwang-Leslie delve into their broader research interests, the personal passions that underpin their work, and how they hope to amplify the impact of their funded research project. 

Dr. Sujinda Hwang Leslie and Garrett Hall

Why are you interested in this area of research?

We’re both previous small business owners and professors in digital marketing. We wanted to leverage our skills to help underrepresented business owners who are struggling during this pandemic. We also wanted to interact with real businesses and gain insights that could be used to further develop Sheridan’s Digital Marketing courses in the Pilon School of Business.

What does research mean to you?

Hall: Research, for me, is centered upon the scientific method, where a hypothesis is tested. On a higher level, research is a process to better understand something that you deem valuable to society. This particular digital marketing training research means a lot to me, where I can utilize my small business experience and digital marketing skills and give something back, particularly the small businesses we will support in our study.    
Dr. Hwang-Leslie: I've always been interested in applied research to find practical solutions for real business problems. With my background as a deaf, female entrepreneur, I understand the unique sets of challenges faced by underrepresented small business owners. The pandemic has been incredibly challenging, and we would like to do what we can to help business owners pursue their passion and grow their businesses.

What is next for you both?

Garrett Hall: I’m excited about taking our research findings and the small business needs and digital marketing learnings from this program and applying them the Digital Marketing courses at Sheridan. Through the focus groups we have had so far, the discussions have been extremely valuable in better understanding what these businesses need from Sheridan graduates.

Dr. Hwang-Leslie:
We will be working on the next stage of our research, which is the critical development and testing of our training prototype. 

For more information on the Building Small Business Resilience training program, please visit digitalmarketingresearch.ca.

Pictured: Dr. Sujinda Hwang-Leslie (left), and Garrett Hall. 

Garrett Hall
is a professor of Marketing program from the Sheridan Pilon School of Business, and primarily teaches Marketing, Digital Marketing and Entrepreneurship. He is also a Mentor-in-Residence at Sheridan’s EDGE Entrepreneurship Hub, and a Faculty Advisor with ENACTUS (Entrepreneurial Action for all of US) Sheridan. Hall brings over 30 years of business management and marketing experience from entrepreneurial and large-enterprise organizations, having held positions across multiple disciplines including advertising agency Account Executive, Director of New Business, Product Group Manager, eCommerce company Business Owner and a marketing & business consultant.  

Dr. Sujinda Hwang-Leslie is a professor in the Marketing program of the Sheridan Pilon School of Business and has over 25 years of experience as a Design and Marketing practitioner in Australasia. Her initial areas of interest were in digital design where she was the Creative Director/Partner at a multimedia company, and later founded her own design studio. Over the last ten years, her passions have shifted to entrepreneurship and social innovation, helping entrepreneurs launch and grow their businesses through product innovation and digital marketing. 

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