This month, we caught up with Jacqueline Cook (BComm'13). Cook is the vice president of growth at Vendasta Technologies, which was recently named one of Deloitte's Technology Fast 50 fastest growing technology companies in Canada. She is an alumnus of The Next 36, Canada's premier entrepreneurial leadership initiative. She also co-founded and was CEO of Triumf Mobile Rewards. Cook has been a recipient of a CBC Saskatchewan Future 40 under 40, the YWCA Women of Distinction Award and serves on several boards and organizations across Saskatoon.
Tell us about the campus when you went to the U of S; how is it different today?
One of my favourite things about the U of S is its timeless charm. The campus is sort of like London meets Melbourne - it has a mix of rich, historical "Thorvaldson" class with hints of modernism. While it wasn't that long ago that I attended the U of S, the campus has attracted beautiful new architecture like the Health Sciences Building and the brand new Gordon Oakes Red Bear Student Centre which have both followed this artistic mix of "old meets new/knowledge meets innovation" style of architecture.
What's one of your favourite memories you had outside of the classroom?
One of my favourite memories outside the classroom was attending the women's basketball CanWest final at the PAC. The crowd was absolutely on fire, we sat court side, the beer was ice cold and the Huskies were unstoppable. Some of my good friends were on the team and they went on to win the CanWest final and progress to nationals - a first CanWest win at home in Huskie women's basketball history.
Overall, how was your U of S experience?
My U of S experience was unforgettable. It was the perfect balance of structure, guidance and freedom.
How did going to the U of S shape your career?
I was not your average student at the U of S. In my first year, I played Huskie soccer and was on the road a lot. I dropped out to work and travel around the world for a year. When I came back, I started a company and took classes in the afternoons and evenings. Toward the end of my degree, I was on the road a lot with work and other delegations. Because of this, I wasn't a model student and definitely didn't get straight As. The U of S provided me with the flexibility to pursue my dreams while pursuing my education. My profs allowed me to incorporate the things I was learning in the 'real world' into my own student experience, and because of this, I feel like I was provided a truly incomparable university experience.
What did you wish you would have known on your first day at the U of S?
I wish I knew how fleeting those years would be. I wish I took it was more seriously, but also less seriously. University is the perfect place for accidental collisions - meeting a potential lifelong friend, business partner, spouse, mentor, employer. I wish I opened myself up to more opportunities for those accidental collisions early on, as those led to some of my greatest relationships and experiences.
Check in for monthly Q&As with alumni from all the U of S colleges, as we sit down to talk about their life after the U of S and how being on this campus shaped their careers. In case you missed any previous features, you can read them here.