People of Georgian: South Georgian Bay a ‘small but mighty campus’

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The Georgian community is full of unique, inspiring perspectives —and we’re sharing them as part of an ongoing series.

People of Georgian: Meet Margaret Thibideau

One thing that was kind of career altering for me happened after I started working at the South Georgian Bay Campus.

Somebody called about the Academic and Career Preparation (ACP) program, and they said it took them two years to work up the courage just to make the phone call. That broke my heart. So, we talked for over half an hour about a path forward for her.

When people come into the ACP program, quite often they’re multi-barriered for a lot of reasons. Life maybe hasn’t been an easy ride for them, so I always try to be welcoming and non-judgmental.

Three people sit on a couch and take a selfie.
Margaret sits between her boyfriend, Clarke, and step-daughter Victoria.

Our campus is a very supportive environment.

We have a lot to offer here, and sometimes people can’t believe they didn’t know about it.

Through ACP, we have a whole slate of programs, such as biology, chemistry, communications. We also have employment readiness programs, which are gaining the interest of workplaces that want to send employees to upgrade their skills.

Buildings on a college campus. A sign reads "Georgian John Di Poce South Georgian Bay Campus."
Georgian’s South Georgian Bay Campus in Collingwood.

The South Georgian Bay Campus is very cozy. We make things fun and engaging.

I often tell learners that when you come in the door, you’re not a number. It feels like family here. Even if you don’t have a class that day, you’re always welcome to come to campus and study, hangout and participate in events.

Our buildings are fully accessible, and we get a lot of room rentals from community organizations, too. Plus, we have top-notch technology that’s quite the draw.

We’re a small but mighty campus.

In the summer, you can sit outside in the gardens. In the winter, there’s a lab where, during evening classes, you can see Blue Mountain all lit up.

A lake and rock formations in the distance.
Margaret loves to spend time outside around Ontario.

‘Sometimes all people need is to connect’

But my favourite part of working at South Georgian Bay Campus is helping other people.

Last year, I spoke to a woman who always loved science shows and forensics, but she didn’t know how to turn that into a career, so we created a kind of reverse plan for her.

She knew what program she wanted to take, so we figured out what admission requirements she needed, which included a degree. We found her a degree program and connected her to coordinators of that program through an Open House, and then she was well on her way.

Sometimes all people need is to connect with someone and get advice.

Two people take a selfie while sitting in a concert venue.
Margaret with her boyfriend, Clarke.

I don’t have a master’s degree or anything like that, and I haven’t solved all the world’s problems, but if I can make a difference for one person in a day and make them smile and feel like there’s a path, then it was all worth it.

How many people can say they love their job like I do?

Margaret Thibideau, Academic Upgrading Officer and Academic and Career Preparation (ACP) faculty member at the John Di Poce South Georgian Bay Campus in Collingwood. Margaret is also a Georgian alumna of the Secretarial – Legal program (class of 1987).

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