If someone were to pass Dini Steyn on the sidewalk, they might just see her as an everyday businesswoman, but they would only be seeing a part of her.
While Dini owns her own business, Dini Steyn Consulting, she is not only a staff member at Okanagan College where she teaches in the certificate program of Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL), but also one of the founding fellows of the Institute for Leadership in Learning and Teaching (ILLT).
Dini Steyn has been at Okanagan College since 2004. When Dini was nominated to become part of the ILLT she saw it as an honour and a chance for her to give back to the community. She was especially excited about being a mentor, and having the opportunity to inspire people. When the ILLT was formed Dini was surprised at all of the different personalities and ways of looking at the world the fellows have.
There are those who are visionary, and those who are action oriented. Dini admits to being the latter, and earning the nickname “Cheerful Steamroller” because of her tendency to go all out for something. When the ILLT was first put together, it was just a group of people with different personalities and different areas of expertise, but they are now a community of OC staff members who have bonded over their shared passion for learning-centred classes, which benefits the students.
When Dini moved to Kelowna and was looking to start a business, she had to decide what she wanted to do with her skills and interests. She decided on a business where she could use both her instruction and project management skills. That is how she came up with Dini Steyn Consulting, where she advises businesses on how to improve and better manage their work. When she saw the goals for the ILLT she thought “Wow, this is me to a T.”
Dini’s ability to train teachers and manage projects efficiently both are wonderful skill sets to contribute to the ILLT.
Continuing Studies covers a wide range of classes from Business courses to Esthetics. The teachers of Continuing Studies courses are in a unique position because they are not on the campus so the instructors are more isolated. They may or may not have a teaching background, but are mainly hired for their knowledge and experience.
A goal Dini would like to accomplish for her department is instructional development for teachers and a community of practice where they are able to learn other teaching techniques from OC instructors. She also hopes to create programs in mentorship and peer appreciation, where peers are able to learn from each other.
Success for Dini would be if teachers were more open to sharing knowledge and resources.
“My hope is that teachers continue to see students as the ultimate beneficiaries,” said Dini. “The fellows are not doing this for themselves, but in order to benefit the students.”
Mentorship, a prime element in business, is important for teachers too, as it allows people to inspire others and share their knowledge.
At Connections 2009 when the fellows of the ILLT were introduced, Dini’s featured quote was “We never stop learning,” and that is what Continuing Studies is all about. Learning never ends, whether it is academic or personal development. She believes that “Continuing Studies is the epitome of that life-long learning concept.”