On Jan. 10 the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) announced that Ryan Hughes had been appointed the new general manager (GM). The announcement was released in a written statement from Vice-President (VP) Clubs and Services Kimber Bialik. The GM position had been vacant since August, when the previous manager resigned citing personal reasons after only six months. Hughes’ predecessor had been hired in a rushed process, without the standard consultation of an outside hiring firm. According to Bialik, the GM is an important part of SSMU and is a source of institutional memory.
“The General Manager role is integral to the smooth operations of the SSMU, working closely with both the permanent staff and the Executive team,” wrote Bialik in the press release. “The General Manager is responsible for ensuring the financial stability of the SSMU in collaboration with the Vice-President (Finance and Operations), managing the Society’s human resources in collaboration with the President, and managing the University Centre in collaboration with the Vice-President (Clubs and Services), while acting as the hub for institutional memory within the Society and facilitating the governance of the Society.”
Hughes previously served as SSMU’s building director until going on parental leave in October.
“Prior to his hiring for the General Manager position, Ryan Hughes held a variety of positions at the SSMU, including the Archivist and Communications and IT Director roles,” wrote Bialik. “As the building director of the SSMU, [Hughes handled] building administration and the implementation of projects.”
Hughes was selected through an extensive process that involved the hiring of an outside firm to aid in the selection of a capable candidate.
“We placed extra emphasis this year on ensuring that the process was thorough and involved as many stakeholders as possible because the last process was not successful,” said Kareem Ibrahim, SSMU president. “We therefore hired an external recruitment firm [….] It cost $18,000 overall which is very expensive for us obviously […] but we really [thought] that this was not something that we were willing to risk whatsoever [….] The failed recruitments can have very drastic impacts on the society financially […that] severely outweigh the money we [paid] them so we were definitely not hesitant to […] invest a lot of money into ensuring this process was thorough.”
The GM’s contract began on Dec. 21, although the appointment was not announced until Jan. 9. Hughes plans stay in the position for a significant time in order to ensure the quality of SSMU’s services.
“I’ve enjoyed my time at the SSMU thus far and I am rather excited for the challenges and opportunities ahead,” Hughes wrote in an email to the Tribune. “I have no desire to leave anytime soon [….] My first priority is to engage with the executives and staff members, to listen and to take their information, ideas and insight and create a stronger organization.”
Bialik had assumed the responsibilities of the building manager while Hughes was on paternity leave. SSMU will now move forward with seeking new candidates after revising the job description for the position.