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Q&A with VCC records management instructor Donna Sedlar

Donna Sedlar started teaching office administration courses at Vancouver Community College (VCC) in 2018, but her connection to the college started decades before.

What do you teach?
I currently teach Records Management Levels 1, 2, and 3.

How did you end up at VCC?
When I moved from Manitoba to B.C., I enrolled as a student at VCC in the daytime Legal Secretary program. I vividly remember feeling excited about learning something new (including Latin terminology) plus feeling anxious about completing the homework correctly, passing all my classes, and finding employment in Vancouver. My VCC instructors provided fantastic support and shared real-life stories about what to expect in the current job market. The training I received at VCC, combined with ongoing professional development, has kept me actively employed in the legal field for over 20 years. 

I returned to VCC in 2010 to study records management. I knew companies were moving from paper documents to electronic records, so I was eager to learn this new language and understand how to apply these essential skills in the workplace.

What do you do outside of teaching?
I am currently employed with Project Management Volunteers (PMV) providing both administrative and records support for the executive director while acting as workshop producer for online delivery of PMV’s introduction to project management training. It’s a privilege to work with project professionals and volunteers who give back to non-profits, social-profits, and charities.

What is your advice for VCC students and grads seeking work?
One of the challenges for students looking for employment or searching for jobs in a gig economy is helping the interviewer “connect the dots” on your resume to what special skills you can offer their organization.

I continually network with employers to learn what skills they need from VCC students. Companies search for candidates who understand the basics of records management and the need to protect sensitive data. Employers also want staff who can conduct research, write reports in their own words, and cite source material that can be referenced later.

When you combine the classes I teach with the VCC Librarians who can help students brush up on their APA citation skills and paraphrasing, our Records Management students are well prepared to meet these needs.