Have You Met… Marina Mair Sánchez?

Have you met Marina, Business Analyst with the U of A's Advancement Information Services team? Spend the next few minutes getting to know…

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Have you met Marina, Business Analyst with the U of A's Advancement Information Services team? Spend the next few minutes getting to know her a little better.

Where is your favourite place on campus?

Arts & Convocation Hall in the winter. I'm originally from Mexico, I still feel a little enamored with winter as opposed to most Canadians who just hate it by this point. I still think snow is beautiful. It sucks, but it's beautiful. It's also a building that's unlike architecture in Mexico, so for me it's like an I'm in Canada now and this is beautiful moment.

Tablet or paper?

Interestingly enough - both. I use paper, but I have a smart pen that digitizes what I write. For example, I have a planner (they call it a paper tablet which is really dumb) that when I write an appointment or meeting in it with my pen, it syncs it up with my Google calendar. So both!

Name one thing you've brought to work from home.

My good answer is plants - I have a few potted plants. The slightly embarrassing answer is I have an extra pair of pants in my drawer because I very recently, for the first time in my life ever, had my pants rip at work. I called my partner, and he was willing to bring me an extra pair of pants, and an extra-extra pair just in case I wanted to leave it in my cubicle - and it's still there. Just in case.

What is the one thing you can't live without?

Cheese! I mean food. I just love food. I like trying new things every time I go to a restaurant. Sometimes I fail, especially if I find that one thing that's just excellent - I gotta stick to it. For instance, I used to prefer chocolate to cheese. But now it's cheese.

If you won airfare to anywhere in the world, where would you go?

I'll say New Zealand because I am a Lord of the Rings fan and it appears to be an absolutely beautiful country to see, and I'd get to let my geek out too!

You can invite anyone - alive or dead, real or fictional - to dinner. Who would it be?

I would really like to meet Elon Musk - only because his brain seems to be very intriguing. I do think he needs more business advice sometimes. But the way he approaches problems is just so unique. Maybe Tolkien as well so I can talk more about his relationship between [his] books and his experience in World War I.

If you could switch jobs with someone else on campus for a week, what would you do?

I would like to be the President of the University of Alberta. Dr. David Turpin here I come! I'm used to doing a lot of the groundwork and understanding the building blocks of things because I started at the U of A with advancement records, which is very much the little grain of sand that usually explodes into everything else. But I don't know what the everything else is. I don't know what running the U of A means. I can't even wrap my head around what that's like. Is it mostly meetings? Or is it very hardcore like you must choose now what happens?

What does "uplifting the whole people" mean to you?

Looking at the bigger picture. It's very easy, living in a society, in a capitalist system, to forget what the bigger picture is. It's hard to think about the good for everyone and uplifting everyone as opposed to uplifting oneself.

Sometimes it's daunting, sometimes it's overwhelming, and sometimes it feels a bit hopeless, you know? What can I do? But if we can all start opening up our perspective and start embracing the whole as opposed to the individual, we could make a change.

If you could solve any problem in the world, what would it be?

We're all very interested in living in a world where "wealthy" means "successful" and we are used to there being a discrepancy. So that's what I would try solving - the discrepancy of wealth in the world. A billion dollars is a lot of money and it could help a lot of people. We're very used to things being discrepant. We're used to there being rich people and poor people, but I don't think that has to be the case.

What 3 words best describe your U of A experience?

Mind-opening. Challenging. Growth.

About Marina Mair Sánchez

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Marina Mair-Sánchez is a Business Analyst with the University of Alberta's Advancement Information Services team. Originally from Mexico, she moved to Edmonton to pursue her BFA in Acting from the University of Alberta. She spent many years working in both Edmonton's worlds of arts and education, and in Fall 2018, started her MBA.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.