WLUSU executive director chosen
After an extensive search that lasted roughly five months, the Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union announced on Tuesday that Roly Webster, associate director of alumni relations at Wilfrid Laurier University, has been hired as the new executive director and chief operating officer (COO), effective Dec. 3.
The position was previously held by Mike McMahon — which was under the title of “general manager” — until he stepped down in June. Chris Hyde, the director of policy and research at WLUSU held the position on an interim basis.
“Roly is very diligent, he considers things from each and every angle and he has a very strong business mindset and operational mindset with working for the university,” explained Michael Onabolu, the president and CEO of WLUSU.
Webster graduated from Laurier in 1995 with a bachelor of arts and stayed in the Laurier community to work various jobs within athletics and the alumni relations.
For Webster, the fact that he will be working with students again excites him.
“I totally understand the value of student engagement on this campus and the sense of volunteerism, and the development of our students,” Webster explained.
“I know it’s not the Laurier I went to school at, but I never left, so I’ve seen the changes and understand the value the students have outside of the classroom.”
While Webster has never been actively engaged within WLUSU before, he noted that his knowledge of the school and his involvement with working with them with his previous positions will be a valuable asset when he takes on the role in December.
“18 years ago Laurier was a lot different than now too, and WLUSU wasn’t the organization it is today either,” he said.
Onabolu echoed Webster’s remarks.
“He knows the environment, he knows the campus partners that we work with,” Onabolu continued. “We try and have a professional relationship with the university and he definitely will maintain those strong relationships that we have.”
According to Onabolu, the reason the title has been changed from general manager to executive director is because the restructuring and the focus of the students’ union has changed, especially since it has handed off its control of businesses to various companies in the past year.
When asked if Webster’s experiences at Laurier had an impact on the final decision, Onabolu responded by saying,
“It wasn’t a large factor in our decision, because it would be funny that we would go through such an extensive process just to find someone six feet away.”
“But it definitely was a positive one as well ,” he said.
For the time being, Webster will be getting himself familiar with the structure and workings of WLUSU. He will also be contacting and speaking to McMahon to understand the role better.
“He will be great resource and I want to know what he did, why he did and so on,” Webster added.
“I really feel I can have an impact on the students.”