Naomi Papavero is entering the final year of her bachelor of business administration (BBA) at Redeemer, majoring in business management and minoring in international politics. As part of her business major, she enrolled in the co-op program, and after undertaking her own job search, she began her work term with WayBase.
“Naomi is pleasant, delightful and a calming personality. She was extremely committed to her own excellence during the whole co-op process.” This is what Redeemer Career Centre director Bruce Wilson had to say about Naomi Papavero, the 2022 co-op program award recipient. “She was extremely well organized and sensitive to both her own learning requirements and to delivering within the responsibilities of the role.”
That is some high, and no doubt justified praise, considering that all of Redeemer’s co-op students do such an excellent job, according to Wilson.
A Christian technology company focusing on bringing church leaders, charities and government officials together, and compiling data to better address people’s needs and connect them to necessary services, WayBase allowed Papavero to combine her passions for business and international politics.
“My co-op allowed me to use my business knowledge to address various issues that also enter the political field. Various not-for-profits I worked with helped support people experiencing poverty. I was able to better understand them because of my background in political science.”
Papavero noted that the experience shaped and supported her growth as a young professional, and solidified her passion for working with clients and empowering them through this work.
Daria Nardozza, Papavero’s supervisor during her time at WayBase, commented that she “could not believe how young she was because she seemed to keep up with everyone else.”
“I learned to always be willing to figure things out, to put myself out there even when there wasn’t an obvious solution to a problem,” said Papavero. “I never felt like just an intern. I felt like another co-worker. I took my responsibilities seriously and ensured that I asked questions whenever I had doubts. WayBase gave me the space to take ownership of certain projects and learn through them.”
I learned to always be willing to figure things out, to put myself out there even when there wasn’t an obvious solution to a problem.
Some of her largest tasks included the City Impact Tour and creating summaries of the discussions from each of the events that comprised the tour.
The City Impact Tour was a major project that involved organizing 14 events across Canadian cities. Partnering with Christian churches and organizations, it was meant to gather leaders and show the positive impact of collaboration.
“My main role was connecting with Christian charities to promote their work on the WayBase website. However, I also played a role in creating event websites, setting up registration links and supporting our project manager in tracking the various tasks related to these events.”
Additionally, a project that Papavero worked on for a significant amount of time was developing a format to best summarize the discussions that Christian leaders had at these events so that notable points, themes and conclusions could be on file for the future. Not only did Papavero play a crucial part in creating such reports for each city, but she also helped compile the findings into a Canada-wide report.
“This challenged me to find the major themes that Christian leaders identified in their discussions such as barriers within their communities and ideas that should be explored in the future. We sent [the reports] to over 800 Christian leaders across Canada.”
At the award ceremony hosted this past March, Nardozza remarked that there were two things about Papavero that stood out. First was her amazing resourcefulness, initiative and ability to figure things out. Second was Papavero’s servant leadership heart, and that she did what was needed for the team with a smile.
“I am very excited for where God is going to lead Naomi.”
Though clearly Papavero’s accomplishments and effort during her placement are reflective of someone deserving of the co-op student of the year award, her influence on co-op at large and her involvement outside the classroom and workplace also set her apart.
An international student—who has lived in Argentina, Mexico and Spain—and a proponent and self-described “champion” of the co-op program, Papavero has been active with advising younger year students about this opportunity and encouraging them to pursue it. She has been involved with the school as the international student advisor, a position that both encompasses her passion for the co-op program and transcends it.
I am very excited for where God is going to lead Naomi.
In this role, Papavero has worked alongside international students, planning events, providing orientation, acting as support and getting to know them. As well, combining this position with her connection to co-op, has allowed her to be a liaison between international students and the Career Centre, advocating for these students and helping provide information about how the Career Centre team can support them.
Papavero says she is aware of “the obstacles involved with moving to a new country,” as well as “the unique challenges [international students face] navigating the various opportunities that are available to increase student employment.” Such efforts show Papavero’s ability to balance schoolwork, co-op work and community involvement.
“Seeking academic excellence and being particularly dedicated to the process and eventual success of being a co-op student set her apart,” believes Wilson. He also remarked that being involved as an international student and encouraging other students to become involved with co-op, has shown her intentions to facilitate program growth.
Papavero believes the reason she excels at school is that she seeks to glorify God by pursuing the potential that he has given her.
Now, as the recipient of the Co-op Student of the Year Award, and the praise from both employers and faculty members to match, it is clear that Papavero’s desire to glorify God means much more than academic success, and this pursuit will have a tangible and meaningful impact in the workplace, and the world beyond.