By Karen Kelly

Marisa Maslink already had significant political experience when she applied for the Clayton H. Riddell Graduate Program in Political Management. She had been active in Conservative politics for several years, volunteering at both the federal and provincial level and holding leadership positions in the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario. While she loved working on campaigns, she knew there was much more to learn.

“I knew MPM would provide me with an enriched foundation and understanding of Canadian politics, which is necessary to improve the effectiveness of political staff and promote good governance,” says Maslink, who applied to the program on the recommendation of her political mentor. “It also allowed me to learn from former political staffers, communication professionals, and other Ottawa trailblazers in Canadian politics and governance.”

The master’s degree program distinguishes itself by connecting students to those in Ottawa’s professional political class, bringing in instructors and guest lecturers who offer valuable insights based on their expertise and wealth of first-hand experience in a variety of roles and fields.

“The lessons and perspectives I drew from the course lectures, speakers and incredible professors we had in the MPM program not only sparked new professional interests for me, but come out in the work I do on a daily basis,” she says.

During the program, Maslink worked in political operations at the Conservative Party of Canada. After receiving her degree in November, Maslink accepted a job as an associate at McMillan Vantage, a policy group affiliated with McMillan LLP. She works with a variety of clients across industries and sectors to lead impactful communications and government relations programs.

She adds that one of the enduring lessons of the program is the collaboration that developed among students who come from all sides of the political spectrum.

“One of my favourite aspects of the program was working alongside colleagues who brought a diverse set of experiences and perspectives,” says Maslink. “There were debates, of course, but that’s an invaluable lesson and important component for improving public policy.  A building block to strengthening Canadian democracy is finding common ground, and the professional relationships and friendships you build, alongside the productive discussions that take place during the lectures, all play a role in more constructive politics and well-informed policy decisions outside the classroom.”

Monday, July 13, 2020 in
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