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The ACE of her class

Heather Comerford By Meaghan Whelan

Managing 86 people. Working with senior government officials to change legislation and develop new programming. Starting new programs that help seniors, immigrants, people with disabilities and at-risk youth. Representing Canada twice in a global competition. It sounds like a story about an exceptional grad until you find out that Heather Comerford did it all while completing her bachelor of commerce (co-op) degree.

When she came to Memorial, Ms. Comerford already knew she wanted to study business, but she didn’t realize that her university career would take her around the world and back through ACE Memorial, a student group dedicated to entrepreneurship.

Since joining ACE, Ms. Comerford has excelled, earning the 2006 ACE Canada Project Manager of the Year Award and the John Dobson’s Founder’s Bursary for superior leadership.

In 2007, Ms. Comerford was named the incoming ACE Memorial president. Her responsibilities include ensuring that all 17 projects are running smoothly.

“Most of my time is spent on new initiatives. We all try to apply the skills we’ve learned in class, but it can be nerve-wracking. It's as risky as starting a new business, there is a possibility a project could fail.”

So far that hasn’t been a problem for ACE. Under Ms. Comerford’s leadership, the team has secured new partnerships with organizations like Altius Minerals and Scotiabank, significantly expanded existing programs and started a variety of new projects for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. Altius Minerals' donation was the single largest donation any SIFE Canada had ever received.

All of this success had led to some exceptional experiences. For two consecutive years, Ms. Comerford has represented Canada in the Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) World Cup, an international competition for student entrepreneurial teams. Earlier this month, the team won their third national title and will be once again representing Canada in the World Cup in 2008.

“To represent our entire country was something I never thought I’d be a part of but we certainly had the programs to do it,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to representing Canada once more at the World Cup in Singapore.”

After years of juggling the demands of the commerce program with ACE Memorial responsibilities, Ms. Comerford is set to graduate in the spring 2008 convocation.
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