First year Beedie School of Business undergraduate students Stefanie Huffman and Kimberley Venn could pass for twin sisters. The pair not only share an uncanny resemblance, but also an inherent ability to think alike and work together – one that made them a force to be reckoned with at this year’s Enactus National Exposition.
At the competition, held in Toronto from May 2 – 4, the two went up against older and more experienced students. Through a combination of preparation and teamwork they took home the Capital One Financial Education National Challenge award for their presentation on Enactus SFU’s financial literacy program, Count on Me.
“It was such an honour to be on stage with fourth year students and to see that we could do just as well presenting,” says Huffman. “Our success at such an early stage is testament to the case competition training programs the Beedie School has put in place.”
Venn and Huffman met for the first time less than a year ago, while attending a scholarship reception in summer 2015. The two quickly found that they have many things in common: they have many of the same interests, share the same birthday, and even frequently wear similar outfits – traits that have earned them the nickname, “The Twins,” among their peers.
“We don’t really mean to coordinate our outfits, but we just have so many things that look similar that it naturally happens a lot,” says Venn.
After hitting it off immediately, the pair applied to Enactus SFU together; Huffman becoming workshop coordinator for Hunger Actions, which helps low-income mothers live a healthy lifestyle through meal planning, and Venn becoming workshop coordinator for Count On Me, a program that teaches at-risk youth financial literacy and employability skills.
The two have roots in community service even before coming to the Beedie School. Venn worked with Free the Children in Ghana and Huffman teaches ice-skating through Canskate. Both came to Beedie with the intention to get involved in co-curricular programs.
“Choosing a university was a big decision for us and when I saw the clubs and opportunities at Beedie, I wanted to come here,” said Venn. “Obviously academics are important, but I don’t think it’s the only thing that makes a university experience. It’s also the co-curricular opportunities you take advantage of.”
Both were attracted to case competitions, so they participated in CaseCamp, a weekend long case competition training session, where they took first place. They then continued through the SFU JDC West first year training camp in order to learn from more experienced peers and professors.
The duo discovered through their training that competing on a national level requires a degree of trust that can only be built through hours of preparation and an agreement to work together. The training prepared them to face the judges for a rapid question and answer session, ensuring that they know their program inside and out.
“We both know when we’re critiquing each other that it’s because we want the best for each other and we want to improve,” says Huffman. “By the time we got to nationals we had that trust built. We knew we had each other’s back.”
Huffman and Venn attribute their first year success to the strong bonds they have formed with each other and the Beedie community.
“Time management and organization is so important,” said Venn. “So is having a support network you can reach out to when things are getting overwhelming, whether it be faculty, friends or family.”
For prospective Beedie students or even current students seeking to expand their experience, Huffman and Venn have some advice:
“Co-curricular activities definitely helped me build a new network of friends, so my advice would be to get involved in anything you can,” says Huffman. “Also, speak up in class.”
“It sounds really cliché, but apply for things that are outside your comfort zone,” says Venn. “I think you learn so much more when you do something that you don’t already feel confident in. Don’t be afraid of rejection.”
To learn about more Beedie School of Business students putting their business education into action, visit beedie.sfu.ca/bba/why-beedie/engaged/