Winner of SIIT’s Leadership Award – a passion for fashion and inclusion

SIIT’s second annual President’s Award for Leadership was presented to Hunter McLean at the 2018 Convocation ceremony held today at Prairieland Park in Saskatoon. The award recognizes one graduating student annually based on three criteria: commitment to their education, enhancing the student experience, and demonstrating SIIT values.

McLean, a member of the James Smith Cree Nation, who calls Saskatoon home is graduating from SIIT’s two-year business diploma. Not his first foray into education, he also holds a diploma in fashion design. Following his first diploma, he worked in the fashion industry but wanted to enhance his understanding of the business of fashion which led him to SIIT. He plans to continue on to Edwards School of Business at the University of Saskatchewan this fall. Following completion of his degree he plans to open his own business selling ready-to-wear fashions and made to measure clothing. More recently he has added to his ambitions to include creating a co-working space directed to local fashion designers.

Hunter was jointly nominated by both his manager, Susanne Berg and his business instructor, Laura Negraeff. Berg and Negraeff have only positive things to say about Hunter. “Hunter joined our team in Marketing & Communications last summer and has continued on as an employee at SIIT, part-time during the school year and full-time again this summer. He has been an exemplary employee since day one and currently oversees our merchandise program and social media channels,” stated Berg

“For the past year and a half Hunter played a role in nearly every student led initiative on campus. Although he wasn’t holding the microphone and had no official title throughout his time at SIIT, he could often be found coaching, advising and supporting students and mediating disagreements,” stated Negraeff.

“Inclusion has always been an important value to me”, stated McLean. “As a child I always felt different and as a teenager I came out as gay.” He helped to found a Gay Straight Alliance at his high school. His dedication to inclusion and support of the LGBTQ2S community continued at SIIT.

Hunter was one of a few students who launched the first Pride Week at SIIT, he then continued to serve on SIIT’s first Pride Committee that developed the Pride Centre on the Saskatoon campus this past year. Currently McLean is busy coordinating SIIT’s participation in next week’s Pride Parade in Saskatoon.

“Helping other students have the best experience they can is important to me,” stated McLean. “When I came to SIIT I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. It isn’t always easy, but I was able to find the supports I needed at SIIT to be successful. If I can help make another students experience better, I will do what I can.”

“We received five nominations for this award. It’s always hard to choose one because we are so proud of all students but Hunter’s nomination form really stood out,” stated SIIT President and CEO Riel Bellegarde. “Hunter has been a great asset to SIIT as both a student and employee. He has set a great example for his peers and his contributions to building inclusiveness for the LGBTQ2S community will support students for years to come.”