Carlson School student Stephanie Shrider won the individual best speaker award at the CaseIT competition, held February 14 to 17 on the Vancouver campus of Simon Fraser University. She is only the second Carlson School MIS student to win this prestigious individual award in international competition.

In addition, Shrider and her teammates Clyde Carver, Emma Marion, and Amy Olsen, made it to the final round of the competition.

“We had 24 hours to work on a case for Dress for Success Vancouver, a nonprofit that helps women below the poverty-line prepare for upcoming interviews and achieve career growth post-placement,” Shrider said. “We were challenged to extend its reach into the surrounding Vancouver area with limited resources.”

The team recommended a three-part solution focused on helping the nonprofit meet its three-year goals as well as fostering continual growth.

Part one is an ambassadorship in which volunteers keep a small inventory of suits in their homes and service women in their community. The ambassadors promote Dress for Success Vancouver's long-term career growth programs and maintain relationships with clients. 

Part two is a process to collect quantitative data to show donors and prospective clients the success of Dress for Success Vancouver's programs. The team created the criteria for success, method for gathering feedback, how the feedback would be stored, and how the data would be used. This process was paired with a campaign to encourage clients to provide feedback. 

Part three focuses on integrating its scheduling system with Salesforce in order to track workshop attendance and the impact workshops have on the career growth for women in the program which provides invaluable information on what programs are best suited for different career goals.

“We presented three different times to three very different audiences in the final eight hours of the competition,” Shrider said. “For the final round, we presented to the board of directors of Dress for Success Vancouver as well as judges from Microsoft and SAP.”

Shrider said it was incredible to be able to collaborate with such an amazing team under a lot of pressure as well as learn how to navigate different styles of presentations and understand how different audiences place importance on different things. “It was so much fun to meet students from all around the world during the competition and learn more about the global IT community,” she said.

Teammate Olsen agreed. “It was amazing to be able to meet people worldwide and be able to compare how we address and work towards various situations differently,” she said. “My skills in performing under high-pressure circumstances have improved as well.”

Shrider adds that the team is grateful to its coaches, corporate sponsors, and all those behind the scenes for the opportunity to compete at CaseIT. Some of these individuals include faculty advisors Ken Reily and Corrie Fiedler as well as Tim Olson and Jan DeGross, who help curate financial support for the team.