SELECT Program - Module Instructors

Our co-curricular program would not exist without our module instructors. They are our special guest speakers, leadership trainers, workshop facilitators, and mentors. They are our role models in professional and personal leadership, and we are very fortunate to have them come and share their insights and expertise. Alumni and friends of the Faculty of Engineering, they come from diverse backgrounds, including engineering and non-engineering. Our module instructors are involved in the planning and development of workshop contents, as well as their delivery.Current module listing and more details can be found HERE.


Charlie Elliot "Great leaders develop great leaders."
Director (Business Management) of Caribbean & Andean, Research in Motion
B.Eng.Mgmt in Engineering Physics

Interesting Fact: Has an 8 month-old son named Lucas. He's awesome, and a NY Jets fan.

Charlie's hopes for SELECT members: To learn practical things & have some fun!
Why Charlie is part of SELECT: Charlie simply enjoys working with students!

Justin Ha
"Believing in the shared vision with a willing commitment to achieve common goals."
Senior Engineer, Exel Inc.
B.A.Sc, Industrial Engineering

Interesting Facts: Went into Engineering without knowing what Engineering was (not even the stereotypic image of building bridges) - and loves it. Competed in dragon boat races with New College New Dragons (2006-09).

Justin's hopes for SELECT members: To take advantage of the learning opportunities a normal classroom can't offer, and actively engage in networking with other peers and the speakers.

Andrew Kasza "Leaders are not born, they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work."
Process Engineering, Anaergia Inc.
B. Eng & Biosciences, Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering

Interesting Facts: Competed for many years as a flatwater sprint kayaker in which I was 5-time Canadian Champion and 2-time Canadian record holder.

Andrew's hopes for SELECT members: To move forward with a good understanding of how they can leverage their engineering training and exceptional leadership qualities to not only inspire other engineers around them but to also achieve their own personal goals.

Why Andrew is part of SELECT: To teach students about the importance of leadership and involvement, at any level, in achieving their personal and career goals.

Michael Kukhta
“It's the first person to follow that makes the most important leader."
President of Ci2 (consulting and education practice); Instructor/Facilitator at Sheridan College and University of Oklahoma

Michael's hope for SELECT Members: To grow by getting a taste of what leadership is and how they can learn to be better at leading

Why Michael is part of SELECT: "Selfishly, I learn a lot and grow through helping others and hearing their stories and experiences. Also, the strength and excitement that the participants bring strengthens my faith in the belief that this generation of students will continue to build and change the world to be a greater place"

Interesting Fact: Started the “Red Suits” and what is now “Engineering Coop and Career Services”, as a former MES President (and later MSU President).

Kyle Kivimaki "Effective leadership is about enablement."
Services Pricing Manager, Research in Motion
Honors BBA & MSc Marketing and Consumer Studies

Kyle's hopes for SELECT members: To have fun, to walk away from the sessions having learned a key aspect of: what it is to be a leader and how to shape their career as a leader
Why Kyle is part of SELECT: To learn from the participants on how they look at problems or challenges.

Interesting Fact: Absolutely loves to golf, even watching it on TV. Get on his good books simply by asking to go golfing.

Braden Kurczak
"People becoming empowered and encouraged to exceed their own expectations."
Division Head, Green Buildings, Enermodal
B.Eng.Mgt in Mechanical Engineering

Why Braden is part of SELECT: To encourage and enlighten the program participants.

Interesting Facts: Part of the only troupe of acro-dunkers to perform for Saudi royalty. Named to two 40 under 40 lists in 2011.

Pierre Marchand

Vanessa Mazzetti "Bringing a team together to successfully achieve a common goal."
Steelmaking Technology - Improvement - Refractory Engineering Coordinator, ArcelorMittal Dofasco
B.Eng.Mgmt. in Materials Engineering 2008, McMaster University

Interesting Fact: Studied abroad on exchange in Leeds, UK. It was an exciting challenge to study in a foreign country, meet new people and travel.

Vanessa's hopes for SELECT members: To come to the sessions with an open mind and eager to participate. To learn from our experiences and provide feedback on how they would handle situations in the working world. I am looking forward to hearing their opinions as I know I can learn a lot from them as well.
Why Vanessa is part of SELECT: To reflect on her experiences and transfer as many learnings as possible to students, in order to assist them with their future experiences.

Leah Mojeski "Inspiring others to develop, create, innovate and execute solutions, to give forth discretionary effort to achieve a common goal."
Property Manager, ArcelorMittal Dofasco
B.Eng.Mgmt. in Civil Engineering

Interesting Fact: Is a Unit Guider for Sparks (Girl Guides) dealing with girls ages 5-7

Leah's hopes for SELECT members: To actively engage in the program and gather as much information and experience as possible.
Why Leah is part of SELECT: To share her experiences and challenges with students such that they can develop a realistic picture of the working world today.

Tristan Retelsdorf "Leadership: Planting trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in."
Senior Product Manager for Smartphones at TELUS
Bachelor of Management (Marketing) & Bachelor of Business (Administrative Management) from University of South Australia

Interesting Fact: Just got back from Peru hiking the Machu Picchu trail!

Tristan's hopes for SELECT members: To feel more confident when they enter the workplace!
Why Tristan is part of SELECT: To pass on some of the experience he feels lucky to have obtained over the years.

Jim Ribau "Empowering people for the greater good."
Technical Sales/Service for Vanchem Performance Chemicals; Peak Development Coach (
Bachelor of Engineering in Chemical Engineering & Certified Professional Co-Active Coach

Interesting Fact: 2007 Ontario Bantam Weight Bodybuilding Champion!

Jim's hopes for SELECT members: To become aware of how their values shape their decisions and learn tools to move towards what they want in all areas of their lives.
Why Jim is part of SELECT: To contribute his passion for personal and professional development!

Vince Silvestri
Vice President of Software Systems, Evertz
Bachelor of Science in Honours Computer Science

Interesting Fact: Was working behind the scenes for Vancouver Olympics!

Vince's hopes for SELECT members: To understand themselves better and learn at least one practical thing that makes them better leaders.
Why Vince is part of SELECT: To inspire at least one person to have the confidence to act on their vision and to have the focus to follow it through.

"A leader is best when people barely know he exists. When his work is done, his aim fulfilled they will say: we did it ourselves."
- Lao Tzu

“If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people together to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.”
- Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Tyler Wright

Greg Zilberbrant
"Inspiring in people the desire to succeed."
Environment Manager for Holcim (Canada) Inc. Mississauga Cement Plant
Bachelors in Civil Engineering, Master's in Engineering and Public Policy, & PhD (in progress) in Human Geography.

Greg's hopes for SELECT members: To formalize their career ambitions (and expectation) and take away some soft skills that may help reach them.
Why Greg is part of SELECT: Interacting with young and engaged students is an opportunity to understand what they expect in the workforce and how to accommodate that as an employer.

Interesting Fact: Had a potential employer (and family friend) choose his university. Greg provided the list he was considering and asked where the family friend would hire him from. The employer chose McMaster. Greg signed the acceptance letter and sent it in on the spot.



SELECT Program benefits much from our facilitators' passion and commitment to give back to the University community, and to invest into the younger generation by sharing their experience and insight. They engage and interact with the students through various learning activities, and also provide feedback for our ongoing program development.

Module 1: Introduction to Self and Group Roles (Sept 28th and 29th)

Charlie and Tristan bring in a dynamic discussion on the application of MBTI and similar tools in recognising strengths, enhancing self-awareness and self-management, understanding team development and functions. Charlie and Tristan's strengths in team facilitation, inclusive dialogue, sincerity and sense of humour are altogether combined to effectively challenge us to think in new ways about how we work with one another. They also provide their experiences and insights from their directorial/managerial roles at Research in Motion.



Module 2: Communication in Team Leadership
(Nov 2nd and 3rd)

Greg is passionate about the connection between the academic and professional fields. He sets enthusiastic, high expectations on young people's ability to master personal and team leadership, which will further prepare them to exercise organisational leadership. He introduces a framework for understanding purposes, types and strategies of communication in a team setting, and puts them to a test in challenging group activities. Greg serves the role of Environment Manager at Holcim Inc., while also being engaged in doctoral research.


Module 3:  Values and Goal Setting 
(Jan 25th and 26th)

Jim's ability to inspire positive change and engage with what meaningfully drives people make him, truly, a life coach. As Jim walks us through the session, he helps us ask thought-provoking questions about why we do the things we do the way we do, as well as how to purposefully direct and effectively accomplish our goals. As a Chemical Engineer and Life Coach, Jim places a priority on seeing young people, especially engineering students, live out of their core values for their personal and relational wellbeing. 

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Module 4:  Decision Making and Managing Problems (Feb 29th and Mar 1st)

Braden's exciting venture to different parts of the world with basketball is only one part of what distinguishes him as a special alumnus from McMaster Engineering. His insight into the group culture, personal character and relationships involved in the processes and impacts of decision making helps us re-evaluate our challenges and our approaches. Braden also focuses on deeply engaging with the students as they work through group problems. Braden serves as the Division Head of Green Buildings at Enermodal, while continuing to provide Project Dunk as the President and Acrobat at Slam Dunk Entertainment.  

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