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Connor Hasegawa: VP of Human Resources for Enactus Windsor

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UWindsor chapter.

Connor Hasegawa is a 2nd year student in the Bachelors of Commerce program. He plans to complete a double concentration in finance and strategy and entrepreneurship. A typical day for Connor includes waking up at 7 or 8 am and getting to the university as early as possible, taking care of Enactus paperwork, projects, meetings, and interviews around his varied class schedule, and heading to the ice rink to be a freelance skating coach a couple times per week.

What or who influenced you to enroll in business?

That’s a funny story actually. I was not planning to go into business. I have a very strong music background. I play piano and violin. I studied at the McGill Conservatory so I have the equivalent through the Conservatory of first year classes in these. I moved here for figure skating and met, at a neighbour’s backyard party, the director of the NBA program who is also the executive director of WHIFF, Dr. Vincent Georgie. We talked about film scores until like 3 in the morning and he asked me what my plans were for education. I told him I wanted to study music but that I was planning to go back to McGill, and he asked me if I wanted his help with applications here. So I took him up on that because I wasn’t quite sure if I wanted to go to McGill or not because I like Windsor. He met me, we went to lunch, we talked about the University of Windsor, and then he toured me through Odette and I quickly realized that Odette is not the music building. At the end of the day he told me, “I think you should apply for business.” At that point he had sold me on it. I was convinced that this was going to be the best thing to ever happen to me. So he basically forced me into business, but I’m really happy that he did. The experiences that I’ve had thus far have been hugely impactful in my life.

What do you plan on doing with your business degree?

I would like to start my own business. I don’t see myself working for someone else for too long, preferably never if I don’t have to. Almost all the jobs I’ve had I’ve been self-employed – as a figure skating coach. I like the flexibility and degree of independence that it gives me. I’m pursuing strategy and entrepreneurship to try and help me with that and finance because it’s just a good solid foundation to have. But eventually I’d like to have my own company.

Any ideas on what type of company you would like to own?

I’m not sure actually. I would love to be able to combine my passion for music with business and maybe start an independent record label or maybe a sports management firm. I haven’t really decided yet.

Are you a part of any clubs on campus?

I am the Vice President of Human Resources for Enactus Windsor. It’s one of the larger clubs on campus with approximately 110 members last year. We try and help other people through entrepreneurship. So we develop projects that target economic, environmental, and social issues. It has been a life changing experience for me. I moved to Windsor and knew almost nobody. Starting university was tough. I went to classes and didn’t really know who to talk to. I was fortunate enough to get involved with Enactus really early on. It’s a lot of fun and a lot of work, but the impact that I get to see on people in the community and people overseas that we help through our projects on a day-to-day basis is really inspiring for me. We like to take pride in the fact that we try to do so much to help other people.

What is Enactus?

We run projects that are usually either consulting based or social enterprise based. So we run a couple projects that work with people in our community in different demographics: local students, local immigrants, graduates of St. Clair who want to run food businesses, and people on social assistance.  We mentor them one-on-one through either 10 or 12 weeks depending on the project to help them start their business, help them with marketing skills, their finances – basically whatever they need. It’s tailored to their needs. We have had a pretty big impact thus far. We’ve helped, I believe, 11 people get off social assistance thus far through 3 years of City Thrive, which is the name of one of our consulting projects, and, in the process, have saved the City of Windsor over $300,000. It really is a cool experience, something that lets us give back to the community while gaining valuable business experience.

Can you describe your figure skating background?

I grew up in Montreal where there is at least one arena for every 15 minutes that you drive, so almost everyone learns how to skate at some point in their lives. My sister (Victoria Hasegawa) and I were encouraged to try ice dance at an early age. We tried that, found that we were much better at it than freeskate, and our parents were very supportive so we quickly moved through the ranks. We had a ton of different coaches and competed internationally for a couple of years as well, which was also another fantastic experience that I think has given me a much broader outlook on life and business in general. Then I moved here to work with a world renowned skating coach over in Kenton, Michigan and ended up at the University of Windsor.

Was there any point where you were thinking of not continuing skating and, if so, what made you decide to continue?

The only point where I considered not skating was when Victoria and I were in our last year together.  I was 23, she was 21. I was at an age where I knew that education was supremely important and that there were limited career opportunities open for me if I only pursued figure skating. It was either become a skating coach or do really well and perform at ice shows for a couple years then retire from that and become a skating coach. I love coaching but I don’t want to do it for the rest of my life, so I figured I’ve always wanted to go back to school and now is a good time. So we retired in early 2015 and then I started school in September of that year.

What is your favourite part of coaching skating?

There’s not a lot about coaching that I don’t like. It’s hard to see progress when you coach the same people week to week because it’s such a close environment; you’re so heavily involved that you just look at technical stuff. When I get to sit back and watch people skate either at competitions or at test sessions and really see the improvement from a distance, it’s very rewarding to me to see that my work has paid off and that my students have been in some small way impacted by me.

For more information about Enactus or how to join, visit enactuswindsor.com or visit their Facebook page (facebook.com/EnactusWindsor).    

Alanna Keren

UWindsor '20

Alanna is currently a 1st year student at the University of Windsor pursuing a degree in Education. She graduated from the University of WIndsor with double major in English and French in 2018. She was Co-CC/Editior in Chief of HCUWindsor from 2015-2018 and is now the Tresaurer and Guidance Counsellor. She is a figure skater and loves to get in some extra ice time in her free time. Her favourite animal is a polar bear and her favourite colour is purple. She love sparkles. Her clothing style is girly and kind of dressy. Sparkly make-up and big earrings are a big part of her look. When she is not doing homework, working at her job at Tootsies Shoe Store, coaching figure skating, or writing for Her Campus, she likes decorating cakes and cupcakes and hanging out with friends.