By Badri Murali
When Ayyna Budaeva failed her accounting course in her first year, she was unsure of her future at Ryerson.
Four years later, she’s now the marketing manager of the Fashion Zone and the only current student to speak at TEDxRyerson last Saturday at the Toronto Reference Library.
Budaeva was one of the winners of the student speaker auditions held in September. At the audition, she spoke of her uncle’s village of Tiksi. Situated along Russia’s Arctic coast, Tiksi had an electricity shortage for many years. Its isolation made it difficult for development, so her uncle decided to do something. Using what he learned from his engineering degree, Budaeva’s uncle built a windmill in 2006. It continues to produce enough energy to serve the village of 500 and was the inspiration for Budaeva’s TED talk.
TEDxRyerson is based on TED, a series of conferences centred around the motto “ideas worth spreading”. Budaeva’s talk was on the subject of creativity and how students can use creativity as a skill that extends beyond the arts.
“When people think of creativity, the first thing that comes up is something related to the arts. But it’s a skill that exists in all of us, and anyone can learn it,” Budaeva said.
Budaeva said that business students are often focused on their academics only, but they also need to understand the importance of creativity.
“Business is about solving problems, and they need as much innovation as possible to be resolved. If you’re just open minded and are willing to push yourself, you can learn creativity,” Budaeva said.
Chris Babic, the conference’s Curator and Speakers Steering Lead, says that Budaeva was selected because her idea was something that students could really sink their teeth into.
“She said that creativity isn’t something innate, but instead can be learned. That really struck a chord with students and I really wanted to hear more,” Babic said.
Budaeva is also the marketing manager of the Fashion Zone, a fashion incubator similar to the Digital Media Zone. The Fashion Zone was created by members of Enactus Ryerson, a student organization that creates and directs economic opportunities within Ryerson and the surrounding community. Budaeva joined Enactus Ryerson in her third year. During her time here, her friend Danielle D’Costa spoke to her about starting The Fashion Zone, and Budaeva happily agreed to help.
“I had an interest in fashion, and this [zone] just seemed like the right environment for an exchange of ideas and innovation,” Budaeva said.
Budavea looks back on her first two years, and how different they are from everything she has accomplished in her final two years.
“I was very shy when I first came and was really embarrassed by my accent, so I never did anything outside of class. But I was tired and bored of being like that, so I decided to join other groups and got started with Enactus,” Budaeva said.
When Enactus Ryerson represented Canada at the Enactus World Cup in Cancun, Mexico in October, Budaeva also went. Her role was the design lead, and she designed the annual reports for all competitions, as well as creative branding, photography and promotions. Even though Ryerson didn’t win, Budaeva learned a lot from the competition.
“It was proof to me that great things happen when students of different disciplines collaborate, it’s just incredible,” Budaeva said.
After graduation, Budaeva’s dream is to start her own business. For now, her focus is on helping the Fashion Zone realize other people’s dreams.
“I want to focus on making the Fashion Zone as well-known as the DMZ, and eventually make it a staple on the Canadian fashion scene,” Budaeva said.