Communications & Development Coordinator, Dixon Transition Society
UBC Program(s) of Study
Hometown
Coquitlam, BC
Current Location
Coquitlam, BC
UBC Experiences & Involvement
Arts One
UBC Orientations
UBC English Students’ Association
The Garden Statuary
UBC Pre-Law Society
Arts Internship Program
Work Learn
Go Global
Tri-Mentoring
UBC Awards
Professor Mo Steinberg Memorial Award in English Literature
Robert and Kazuko Barker Award
Margaret Lawrence Scholarship in Arts
Go Global International Learning Programs Award
Katherine Brearley Arts Scholarship
University of BC Scholarship
Website or Social Media Profile

Why did you choose your program at UBC and what did you enjoy most about it?

I chose Arts One and then the Honours English programs because I loved reading and writing, which I did end up enjoying, but what I enjoyed the most was the built-in community of driven and curious peers who also happened to be lots of fun to be around as well.

What were some of your most meaningful experiences at UBC?

Too many to name! But being involved in the UBC English Students’ Association as a member, as part of the executive team, and on the editorial board of the Garden Statuary developed my ability to work as part of a team, and skills in editing and leadership. More than that, the ESA formed my community on campus.

What choices did you make at UBC that contributed to your career success / journey?

I participated in the UBC Arts Internship Program, where I got a position as a Communications Assistant with Canadian Women in the Literary Arts (CWILA). I also had a Work Learn position as Project Assistant with the Master of Public Policy & Global Affairs (MPPGA) program on campus for half of my degree. Both of these have been invaluable to my career success, and they’ve also directed my career journey in a surprising way.

What was your first job after graduation and what other jobs did you have before your current position?

My first job after graduation, and my current position, is as Communications & Development Coordinator at Dixon Transition Society. Other jobs I had (all of which I did while completing my degree) included: Programs & Communications Assistant at Mom2Mom Child Poverty Initiative Society, Project Assistant at MPPGA, and Communications Assistant at CWILA.

Is your current career path as you originally intended? What challenges did you face in launching your career?

Coming into UBC I thought I was going to be a teacher and a writer, which I laugh about now, although I still am a writer in a lot of ways. I didn’t think I would be working in the non-profit sector, and I didn’t think I would be working so closely to the social justice sphere, but I’m happy with where I am and I’m glad I landed in this space. I found it challenging to identify what I wanted and could have in a career: I spent a lot of years listening to people ask what I was going to do with an arts degree, so I applied to a lot of positions I really would never have done or enjoyed. That does say a lot about the breadth of opportunity available to arts grads, though. The opportunities available to someone with an education in arts is both a gift and a curse!

What do you like about your current job and what do you find challenging? How does it relate to your degree?

I love knowing that the work I do makes an impact in the lives of vulnerable populations, even though I work in an administration office. Because Dixon is a small non-profit, I also get to “wear a lot of hats,” so I perform a large variety of different tasks, which has been so valuable to my learning and professional development. It can be challenging to work in a field that’s so closely tied to my values, but that is a good price to pay to know that I’m doing meaningful work. A number of skills that I gained through my degree have proven invaluable for this position: my ability to read, write, and think critically play into my every day work; and my knowledge about the issues affecting women, people of colour, Indigenous peoples, and so on.

From your experience, what has been the value of having an Arts degree?

The versatility. “What can’t you do with an Arts degree?” is a far better question than “What can you do with it?” because the answer to the latter question can be very long. Arts degree holders, and their skills, are so varied and versatile, but what makes them stand out is their ability to think critically about human issues and problems.

What advice would you give to students and alumni interested in breaking into your industry?

Let yourself care deeply and genuinely about the issues that make you tick. Be open and generous, while being mindful and respectful of your boundaries. The non-profit sector is full of passionate individuals, but we need people who can do this kind of work in a sustainable way.

What advice would you give to your first-year self?

It’s a privilege to learn and grow at UBC. Take advantage of everything you want and can, and then breathe it all in because these incredible experiences can go by so fast.