CASA 2018 General Elections: Meet the Candidates

Your Guide to the CASA Elections This Week

The Commerce and Administration Students Association elections are under way. Voting will begin on Fed. 12, and go on until Feb. 15. This year students will be able to take full advantage of an online voting system. Photo Jeremie Gauthier-Caron
CASA represents about 7,500 undergraduate students from the John Molson School of Business. Quorum for the election is 2.5 per cent of their student body. Photo Jeremie Gauthier-Caron

The Commerce and Administration Students Association elections are under way.

Voting will begin on Fed. 12, and go on until Feb. 15. This year students will be able to take full advantage of an online voting system.

To vote, students must simply log into the MyConcordia portal, go click on the student services tab, and click on “My Vote.” There they will able to vote for the candidates of CASA, and their respective subsidiaries.

CASA represents about 7,500 undergraduate students from the John Molson School of Business. Quorum for the election is 2.5 per cent of their student body.



Karina Bosca

As the current CASA X coordinator, Bosca wants to further her involvement by running for CASA President.

Bosca wants to incorporate her learning experience from volunteering as a CASA X coordinator. There she managed a team of 20 board ambassadors for different types of events brought by CASA JMSB. She has been highly involved in many JMSB events and hopes she can relate to the students for better representation.

“[The students’] success is my success, and I wanted to do that on a larger scale, and actually think that I have the potential to give value to the students” she said.

Bosca also would like to represent the students by keeping their interests at heart and making sure they know about all the services JMSB provides for students.

Her background as being a first year representative for CASA X gives her practical experience on how to organize and manage teams.

She’s also volunteered to supervise events like 5 à 8, worked with the John Molson Academic Committee and general business case competitions.

Bosca feels she is the best fit to be CASA President and that unifying her managing experience with her people skills can help her succeed.

Vice President Finance

Tristan Lessard

Lessard is a fourth year finance student and has been involved with CASA for three years, mainly through case competitions.

He spent his first two years as a delegate and last year he was on organizing committee.

“I was in charge of the sponsorship so I saw the money move,” said Lessard. “I saw it get in, [and] get out. I know how hard it can be to get money. I will know how to manage it and keep it in.”

His campaign is based on value and transparency. He believes that the money should go toward the majority of students, making sure that all students get value from the money they give to CASA.

“Last year I was working with a $600,000 budget which is huge, but even though you think you have a lot of money, you don’t,” said Lessard.

“It’s easy to spend a lot, get fireworks and DJs, but is that what’s going to bring value? No. I want to focus on putting the money where you want the money.”

Vice President Marketing

Arvin Khalesi

Khalesi was this year’s assistant vice-president of marketing.

His platform mostly focuses on holding workshops to teach students the skills their commerce courses don’t, such as graphic design and digital marketing.

Khalesi has experience in startup companies, having completed multiple internships.

“I have a really good mindset for marketing,” he said.

“My experience as [assistant vice-president of] marketing furthers that experience and I believe that I am an outgoing person, have a leadership personality, and want to include as many students in our events by using that experience.”

Khalesi believes that the main issue is that only the same groups attend CASA’s events. He hopes to get other students outside of that circle to come to events through better marketing, making videos to talk about weekly events, and doing more class presentations with CASA’s ambassadors.

“I get a lot of enjoyment out of having people be happy and sending me feedback saying they loved our events,” said Khalesi.

“It’s why I love being at CASA. It’s why I want to run, I want to make more events, get more people excited about what we do.”

Erin Pasemko

Pasemko has been with CASA for two years as brand ambassador and now as the assistant vice-president of events.

She hopes to represent students and give them “new, original, and creative content.”

“I really like going out and talking to new students so I feel like we could expand just by doing that and connecting to more students,” she said.

Pasemko is running out of her love for CASA and wanting to continue her work with them as well as connect with more students.

“We’re going to make students feel more included with JMSB, we’re going to include them in our marketing campaigns,” she said.

She also wants to revamp the website to make it more accessible, to give “anyone who wants to get involved an easy starting point.”

“I want to improve the amount of students who know about CASA and that come to the events and feel a part of the community,” said Pasemko.

Vice President of Internal Affairs

Minhajul Mannan

Mannan is a first time candidate for CASA’s executive, running for vice president of internal affairs.

He said the position of VP internal is like a “wheel.”

“It’s a position that really facilitates communication within the executive, so that CASA-JMSB can function smoothly and provide services for students,” said Mannan.

An asset to his candidacy, he believes, is his time as a soldier in the Canadian Armed Forces. During his last three years in the army, Mannan said that he’s gained valuable communication and problem solving skills that would allow for the board to work seamlessly.

“Even though CASA is a body that has been running for a long time, there are a lot of miscommunications,” said Mannan. “I just want to be there to increase that level of communication.”

By minimizing miscommunication within the executive, Mannan hopes CASA will be able to provide students with better events and a better overall student experience.

The second-year finance major will be running for the position unopposed.

Vice President of External Affairs

Lee Alejandro Boswell

Boswell is a member of CASA X, which promotes, runs, and plans activities for JMSB students, as well as Concordia students. He says this experience has helped him identify the organization’s strengths and weaknesses.

His platform is based on growth for JMSB.

“I’m making sure that JMSB is represented across the city, not just in the Concordia community,” he said.

“It’s making sure that [we’re] increasing the recognition of JMSB, and making sure that JMSB students have the best chance for success, whether it’s now as a student or after [graduation].”

He wants to represent JMSB by volunteering at events, meeting new students, and doing classroom presentations. He also hopes to be able to provide more discount services available to students.

Boswell also wants to better the relations between the CASA executive team and the subsidiaries.

Anojan Kanagalingam

Kanalingam has been working on his platform to become vice-president of external affairs since last year’s CASA elections.

His goals include bringing back the business banquet and getting more sponsors for CASA.

At the business banquet, students wine and dine with people from different industries and can possibly land a job because their resumes get sent to the companies attending.

Kanalingam wants to rope in new sponsors to fund CASA’s academic and social events, and has already started working towards that goal.

“One of the companies I’m looking to land is Sun Life Financial,” he said.

“I want to focus on career fairs, [and] work with Concordia Management Service and hopefully get a career fair that meets the needs of the students rather than what the faculty thinks is best for us.”

Kanalingam said that one of the challenges a vice-president of external affairs faces is landing sponsorships for frosh since it has a negative connotation.

He also strongly believes in building good, friendly relationships with sponsors.

“You can’t just be a corporate hound wanting something in return, at the end of the day you need to be understanding and caring and that’s how you build friendships,” he said.

Keira Baldwin

Baldwin believes the most important parts of being vice-president of external affairs are the face-to-face relationships and getting as many people involved.

“I hope I can be able to have not only the relationship and connection with exterior sponsors, but I also want to be able to reach out to our JMSB students and make sure [they] know that we care about them” said Baldwin.

“I want to learn with JMSB and make sure that I bring the best value to each student” she said.

Since October, she’s been CASA’s first year representative and has been studying how each position works and what they need to be successful. She also got to look at internal marketing, the roles of the president, and knew right away that external affairs was meant for her.

“It’s about going and being out there and this part [of my] experience has really influenced me and I hope to continue with it,” she said.

Vice President of Events

Olivier Alexandre

Alexandre’s platform is simple, as he puts it. He wants to provide more than “just simple party events” for JMSB students. He wants to diversify the type of events CASA offers to ensure that they’ll cater to as many students as possible.

Alexandre also knows that new students aren’t always aware of how to get involved with school events, so he wants to ensure that all events are easily accessible and well advertised.

“I want to make sure that all students who pay tuition get something out of [being a JMSB student] right away,” said Alexandre, who majors in marketing with a minor in international business. “So that they can get something out of it afterwards, whether that’s with their personal life or work life.”

If elected, it would be Alexandre’s first time on CASA’s executive. He does, however, have experience in student politics as he is currently serving as executive vice-president of the John Molson International Business Association.

Michael Balliana

For the past six months, Balliana has been organizing all of the 5 à 8 events at JMSB and wants to use this experience by becoming the Vice-President Events. Billiana hopes to ensure that CASA’s events can involve as many students as possible.

“I definitely want to have an open-door kind of campaign. My goal really is to be for the students, by the students,” he said.

Balliana has experience with organizing events and working with promotion. He says he has experience not a lot of people have with managing events and booking venues, and that can give him the upper hand through the campaign.

His motivation to run for vice-president of events came from the many good times he’s had during recent CASA events. He said that in order to organize a noteworthy event, everyone’s ideas have to be incorporated.

“At the end of the day, it’s really about making sure everyone has a great time” he said.

Nicholas Gosset

Gosset’s believes that his past experience as a student representative at John Abbott can give him an advantage in his campaign. He was also involved in a student congress that discussed student issues and found ways to resolve them using ethical strategies.

“All of this was in order to have students be represented properly, in order for their values, and what they want to be imposed in the school” said Gosset.

Gosset wants to represent the students and their desires. He hopes students will be more inclined to participate to the events, by taking into consideration what the students want from the JMSB events. For Gosset, student participation is one the the most important aspects of being Vice-President of Events.

“Grabbing people’s attention is really necessary for people to actually come and learn about the events itself,” he said.

With his experience working so closely with students during his CEGEP years, he believes he can accurately represent the students of JMSB when it comes to planning events. Gosset wants to see more diversity during JMSB events, and spread the word about various CASA JMSB gatherings.

Vice President of Academic

Katherine Purchase

Purchase would like to return to CASA’s executive team after serving a year as their assistant vice-president of academic. This year, she’ll be running unopposed for vice-president academic.

She hopes to expand tutorial services at JMSB, especially those offered online. She plans to create a crowd-sourced online note-sharing site.

“There’s a ton of note-sharing websites out there, and I would like to create a free one specifically for JMSB,” said Purchase. “People already share their notes on the CASA Facebook page for free, so why not just put it all in one place and let them find it easily?”

In addition, the Halifax native plans to expand CASA+, a free smartphone app that helps JMSB students find tutors based on the course they need help with.

“I’ve done a lot of work in recruiting tutors in promotion for that, so I want to continue to promote that,” said Purchase. “Lots of students still don’t know about it, so I want to make sure the majority of students next year have it downloaded on their phones.”

Along with student politics, Purchase is currently the starting goaltender for the Concordia Stingers women’s hockey team. Her 91 per cent save percentage has helped her team reach ninth place in the U Sports national rankings.