Meet the Chamber’s New Co-Op Team

Once again, the Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce (GKWCC) is excited to welcome a new co-op team! Our two new students – Katherine Schill and Mark Griffin – will be working alongside Allison Mitchell, Experiential Learning Outreach Coordinator, on the Access Student Talent initiative that the GKWCC is piloting in partnership with Wilfrid Laurier University, University of Waterloo and Conestoga College. Each of the new co-op students have a little to say about themselves.

Mark Griffin

Hello! My name is Mark Griffin and I’m a co-op student from Conestoga College. I’m in the Business Administration: Marketing program and this is my first co-op placement. I’m filling the position of Marketing Assistant with the GKWCC. I’ll be working on the marketing materials and social media as well as research and analysis for the Access Student Talent initiative.

Professionally, I’ve worked in many different industries and positions. This varied experience has taught me what I want out of a workplace experience (and perhaps more importantly, what I don’t). I’m very excited to bring my unique perspective and experience to the Access Student Talent Initiative. As such, I’m thrilled to be working with a local organization like the GKWCC.

I’m also very grateful to have been selected to work on the Chamber’s Access Student Talent initiative. The skills mismatch as outlined by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce report: Talent in Transition is concerning for many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that this is a widespread problem being felt by many employers in the region, province, and country. Initiatives such as the Access Student Talent initiative are uniquely positioned to address this mismatch. From the student’s perspective, the initiative that we’re undertaking is important as it gives the opportunity to gain much-needed skills early on. This enables them to integrate easily into the workforce and become valued members of the teams they join.

From the employer side, working with post-secondary students not only gives them access to some alternative forms of labour, but also generates some very important on-campus buzz about their company. Rest assured, students talk about prospective employers. The opportunity to steer the conversation by giving students a chance to interact with the company is vital to the perception that potential employees have when looking at the company. That type of discussion continues to grow and develop into a reputation, exactly the type of credibility that many small businesses are looking to develop.

I’m very much looking forward to the next 4 months with the Chamber and with the Access Student Talent Initiative. Keep up with the initiative by visiting our webpage or signing up for our enewsletter.

Katherine Schill

Hi I’m Katherine Schill and I am a co-op student from Conestoga Colleges Business Administration: Marketing program. This is my first co-op placement and I am working in the role of Business Development Assistant alongside Mark at the GKWCC. I am excited to help continue building the relationships between small businesses and post-secondary schools in the Greater KW Region through the Access Student Talent Initiative.

In my role as Business Development Assistant I am looking forward to connecting businesses with post-secondary students from the University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University and Conestoga College. Some of the ways that businesses can work with students include placements, capstone projects, and co-op placements. An overview of the ways that businesses can work with students can be better understood by watching one of our previous webinars: Accessing Student Talent Webinar with the University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University, and Conestoga College.  By building these connections it benefits not only students by giving them the ability to apply working knowledge to their future careers, but also for businesses to receive an influx of fresh ideas and temporary employment.

Experiential learning is a powerful tool to both employers and post-secondary students. It helps students gain hands-on experience in their desired career path and allows them to expand their knowledge beyond the classroom. The students will then be able to make a smoother transition from school to employment. The benefit to employers is it allows them to hire talent with the desired skill sets as well as gain fresh ideas for their business. Experiential learning can also help decrease the risk of mismatch skills in the work force long-term. This is an ongoing concern and cause businesses to lose time, energy, and money that would be invested in growing the business.


If you are interested in learning more about how you can work with post-secondary students, visit our webpage or contact one of our team members:

Allison Mitchell, Experiential Learning Outreach Coordinator

519-576-5000 ext. 6056,

Katherine Schill, Business Development Assistant


Mark Griffin, Marketing Assistant



Sullivan, Kathryn (2017) Talent in Transition: Addressing the skills mismatch in Ontario. Retrieved 2019-01-08 from