Student project helps land Juno nomination

Mar 16, 2014

Beedie School of Business teachers have a reputation for innovative class assignments with an emphasis on experiential learning. One such group project in the Executive MBA in Aboriginal Business and Leadership has resulted in an outcome that will be familiar to those with an interest in music – a Juno Awards nomination.

Tasked with developing a marketing plan for a real business by class lecturer June Francis, the group of students opted to focus on Inez Jasper, one of Canada’s top Aboriginal musicians, and the wife of Otis Jasper, one of the student group’s members.

The group’s strategy included an overall rebranding and an increased focus on social media messaging. They targeted not only the Aboriginal community, but also explored how to raise Inez’s profile with more mainstream audiences.

The increased exposure that resulted from the revamped marketing strategy helped her land a nomination in the Aboriginal Album of the Year category of the Juno Awards, Canada’s largest annual music awards, for her latest album, Burn Me Down.

“In the past I have had some ideas for Inez’s career, but the Executive MBA in Aboriginal Business and Leadership has helped me look at how to approach the music industry and her business through a different lens,” said Jasper. “Everything under the marketing umbrella has become more streamlined and efficient as a result of our strategy, helping to further shape her overall business plan and providing more direction for her career.”

In addition to Jasper, the group consisted of Executive MBA in Aboriginal Business and Leadership students Cal Albright, Sheryl Fisher, Conrad Walton, Rosemary Stager, and Pamela Goldsmith-Jones. According to Goldsmith-Jones, a former Mayor of West Vancouver, the huge volume of research the project required produced an extremely fulfilling result.

“None of the group had any experience with the music industry, so we had to build from the ground up, and in the process gained a tremendous education in putting together a marketing plan,” said Goldsmith-Jones. “We set a benchmark that Inez would be nominated for a Juno award in 2014 if she executed the plan. It is rewarding to be part of something that has been so successful for her.”

“The strategy the group undertook while working within a very limited budget has resulted in a unique and dynamic exposure for this very talented artist,” said class lecturer June Francis, Associate Professor at the Beedie School of Business. “Through rigorous analysis and a creative approach to the marketing plan they were able to focus on key market segments and produce phenomenal results.”

The Executive MBA in Aboriginal Business and Leadership responds to the growing need by Aboriginal managers and entrepreneurs, as well as individuals and organizations collaborating with Aboriginal communities, for senior-level management education.

The winners of the 2014 Juno Awards will be announced at the awards ceremony on Sunday March 30. For more information, including a full list of nominees, visit

For more information about the Executive MBA in Aboriginal Business and Leadership, visit

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