My Life Experience

I was born and raised on a farm in southeastern Ontario.  I am proud of that - farmfolk are honest, hardworking, down-to-earth.


Family circumstances saw me relocate to Fort McMurray in 1979.  I landed my first part-time job at the age of 14 with a major insurance firm.  I graduated highschool at 16 in 1982 -- an early graduation, as I skipped through two grades along the way, was an honour student.


I was independently living at the age of 16.  I carried on the insurance theme by working with a local Insurance Adjuster (learned a lot), and then later joined the great folks at the (formerly known as) Alberta Forest Service; it was with them that I transferred to Edmonton (again, learned a lot -- human resources issues, reforestation, forest protection, fire prevention, pine beetle!). 


After five years with the Alberta Forest Service, I moved into the private sector as the Office Manager for an Edmonton start-up office for a Vancouver-based pulp and paper engineering firm -- another great learning experience. 


After two years, I started to find the position unchallenging, so I joined a local (very reputable) Industrial Psychology firm.  (For the record, my own test results indicated that I would succeed at just about anything I put my mind to -- with perhaps the exception of chemical engineering!  Talk about wide-open options at a young age.)


For at least five, maybe seven of these early years, I also worked an evening job in order to make ends meet.


Restless and unchallenged, I moved into a local multi-disciplined engineering firm, A. D. Williams Engineering, where I worked closely with the President (Allen Williams), and ultimately became their Marketing Manager.  I learned so much about the various disciplines of engineering (civil, structural, mechanical, electical, etc.) as well as construction and project management processes, tendering and award practices..... it was time well spent, although the hours were brutal (the network would shut down at midnight for back-up, but I was back at 8:00 a.m. the next day).  The economy was not great during these years, and a lot of people put in a lot of hours; I was certainly one.  The engineering and construction world remain close to my heart; lots of great people, and I invested 10 years of my life into it.


In my spare time, though, I did find time to do some further advanced accounting training, and benefited from a Project Management Course specific to the construction industry.  I also became a Certified Yoga Teacher with the Yoga Association of Alberta, obtained a Professional Sales Management Citation from the U of A, and served as the President of the Canadian Liver Foundation here in Edmonton for a two-year term (volunteer).


I did end up leaving the engineering world to pursue my passion as a yoga teacher -- very meaningful work; strength, clarity, truth.  I taught full-time for four years -- six days a week, four classes a day (9:00 am, noon, 5:30 pm, and usually 7:30 pm [ending at 9:00 pm]).  This was one of the happiest periods of my life, working with between 200 and 300 people each week, each of them on their own unique physical/mental/spiritual journeys, while also running my own small business which included marketing, financial statements, etc..  Truly rewarding.


A spouse`s health situation prompted my return to the corporate world, where I was fortunate to land on the Executive floor of Canadian Western Bank (a great Edmonton start-up success story!) where I have been for the last seven years.  I work with some folks who are super-smart and wonderful human beings to boot; a fantastic organization.  I served as Marketing Manager for a major subsidiary of the Bank for approximately five years, and today I concentrate my efforts on Bank-wide marketing-based initiatives and special projects or assignments suited to my skill set.


In my spare time, after close to 20 years of volunteering with the Edmonton Folk Music Festival (much of it on a year-round basis), I was recently honoured to be elected to the Board, and I am also Chair of one of the most active committees (the Member Services Committee).


Also in my spare time since joining the bank, I re-engaged in some French classes (my skills were getting rusty), completed some residential and commercial lending classes as well as additional business management classes at the U of A, and continued the requisite ongoing learning and teaching hours to maintain my yoga certification.  Oh, and lest we forget, I also lobbied hard (on behalf of all taxpayers) against the funding model for the proposed downtown arena.


Anyone who has worked with me knows my ethics, my intelligence, my innovation, my `big picture thinking,` my ability to ask meaningful questions, and my commitment to the broader issue at hand (in other words, I am not ego-driven -- I am interested in the bigger picture).  I could not believe more in communication and collaboration.  I am logical and creative (balanced).  I am also known as someone who gets things done.