DECEMBER 21, 2020

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Welcome to the CATS Corner



Endings and Beginnings


We’re nearing the end of a year marked by profound change and constant disruption. Over the last several months, we’ve heard different iterations of this notion: we’re all in the same boat, but we’re not navigating the same storm. Whatever the storm that has challenged you, CATS hopes that your year-end is peaceful and joyful! Every ending springs hope for new beginnings, and as 2021 approaches, we can look forward with renewed optimism. We are currently planning activities for winter and spring 2021, and we are especially thrilled to bring you PowerSkills 2021 – Courage Strikes Back! You can read more about this major initiative below, but make sure you mark your calendars from January 21 to 23, for this free, immersive, next level virtual career summit!


Our offices will be closed from December 24 to January 1 (inclusive), and we are happy to connect with you before and after that by email at or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.


We wish you happy and healthy holidays and much success in 2021!


Virtually yours,



The CATS Team





National Virtual Career Fair

Tuesday, December 22nd 2020 | TIME: 1 pm - 4 pm (EST)





Did you know the Volunteer Bureau of Montreal has set up a new way to facilitate the process of applying to volunteer opportunities online and to offer you a better follow-up. Now, you will have to create an account to access the volunteer opportunities, such as joining the Canada Revenue Agency and Revenu Québec Income Tax Assistance program, becoming a member of the board of directors for Parkinson Québec, and facilitate an English conversation group for women in the YWCA Montreal!



The success of PowerSkills 2020 and the many stories of Resilience, Reinvention and Reskilling that stemmed from the inaugural event, inspired CATS to commit to hosting two PowerSkills events per year, with the next one scheduled for January 21-23, 2021! The next edition will continue the important conversations that began at the first event and will celebrate the acts of courage that propelled individuals from inertia to decisive action!



Balarama Holness to Kick Off PowerSkills 2021


Who better to speak to power skills and the courage to strike back, than Balarama Holness, who will kick-off PowerSkills 2021 with a keynote address on January 21, at 9 a.m. ET? No one!



Rosalia Felice


Me pre- and post-COVID – A Reframing


BC (before COVID), you could find me… running! Running from one meeting to another, one place to another, one responsibility to another and even one social event to another.


I often ate on the run and even found myself running in my dreams. I didn’t notice that I was tired until I was forced to stop running. Despite all of this, I mourned my life BC and when it came to an abrupt end, and I literally went through the five stages of grief as defined by Elizabeth Kübler-Ross: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. It took me a while to get to the acceptance stage, but here I am!


Acceptance has brought me to the understanding that like getting a cold, the pandemic situation forced me to stop. Stop running. Stop ruminating. Stop stressing. I reframed the pandemic as a time of rest and renewal. In doing that, I changed my priorities, my routines and my behavior. I invested time in things that I had neglected. What are the results? I actively and intentionally overcame a phobia that had limited me for more than 15 years! I went from absentmindedly eating at my desk to consistently cooking healthy meals. I connected with people whom I hadn’t spoken to months-even years. I rediscovered nature. And much, much more… If you are struggling with the pandemic, maybe reframing the situation can guide you to follow different paths that may lead to unexpectedly satisfying results.

Emilie Salvi

Career Advisor

What I Promised To Do During My Holiday Staycation - If you are anything like me, your to-do list is growing by the second. Rather than rushing to complete every goal on the 2020 vision board, here is what I’m aiming to commit to during the holidays.


  • Take a networking break - Put professional networking on hold, and take a pause from engaging with my social media network. Instead, focus on meaningful connections and quality time with close family and friends. I’ll also reconnect with myself; from journaling to meditation, to reading.
  • Be present - I know, planning our goals during the holidays is what old me would say. As Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now highlights, there is no time like the present moment. During the year, I’m overloaded with multitasking, that the moment goes unnoticed.
  • Unfollow a Diet - As a, you-are-what-you-eat advocate, I know that healthy foods directly influence my productivity. This holiday season, I’ll enjoy comforting homemade meals instead. I'll rediscover old Italian family recipes, exchange recipes with my friends and family, and explore new ones on some of my favorite websites: Giallo Zafferano and La petite casserole.


​​​​​​​Embrace Self-Love - The guilt was creeping in just as I was typing this. Who am I to disconnect? Did you know that unaddressed guilt can build over time, according to a recent Healthline article? The next time I will experience guilt, I’ll try to identify where it's coming from. Use a journal write down my feelings and maybe even try to get to the root of them. I will take this moment to leave guilt in the past and opt for self-kindness instead.


That’s right, folks. This is a time to enjoy your staycation. Who knows, letting go may lead you to discover new talents. It’s been a big year. There’s no better time than now to renew your spirits and sense of purpose.


Nayo Gariepy

Career Advisor

  • Carla Marouche's Vision Board recording/exercise will help you visualize your goals and make you 42% more likely to achieve them! Don't forget to look at previous workshops and panels to sharpen your skills and start the year by putting your best foot forward. View Video
  • Wellness and Gratitude are crucial, try this App and make sure to bring more positivity in 2021. Take time to relax and focus on yourself.
  • If you don't feel overwhelmed and hope to take advantage of your time off from school and/or work, here are 11 reasons why it's good to continue your job search during the holidays. Read more.
  • Look at Eventbrite and plan a few activities that will give you something to look forward to and get out of your comfort zone!
  • You've just received a new introduction on Ten Thousand Coffees, take advantage of the holidays to build meaningful connections and relationships. Mentoring is a safe and great way to give back to the community while getting to know someone new.
  • There’s no better time to create an action plan than new year! There are plenty of apps and tools available online and here is one resource from our Professional Transition Series, the CATS Goal Tracker, that will allow you to set SMART goals and keep track of your progress. Already looking forward to seeing all of you accomplish greatness in 2021!

Valerie Ndiweni

Career Advisor

  • In my downtime you will find me immersed in a book, from fiction that serves as a portal to flex my creativity and imagination muscles, to books that help me crush my goals or cultivate my personal and professional growth. Here are my top three career and professional development books for the holidays:




  • When was the last time you did a skills inventory? Why not use the holiday downtime complete one? If you are like me and have dominant strengths that could take your career in so many different directions, knowing and narrowing down your top skills is key.

    • The LinkedIn Career Explorer tool is a great and easy tool that generates your transferrable skills for your next possible career move.

    • Discover your talent DNA with the CliftonStrengths assessment. I recently took it myself and it has been instrumental in helping me embrace my competing strengths allowing me to better re-align and re-focus.

  • "One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain." - Bob Marley. Create a playlist that will help you relax, recharge, and rejuvenate your mind and soul. This is my current soulful streaming playlist as I vibe into the holidays.


It is my sincere hope that you all finish 2020 on an elevated note. Happy holidays to you and yours. 2021 is going to be a year of our choosing. I have already put it out there that it's going to be a phenomenal year for me, may it be a positive one for you too. See you all in 2021!


With warmth and love - Val 💙





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This message was sent to you by the Career Advising & Transition Services (CATS) of the McGill School of Continuing Studies.

Ce message vous a été envoyé par la Service-conseil en transition professionelle de l'École d’éducation permanente de l'Université McGill.


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