I was born/grew up in: Picton, Ontario
I now live in: Kelowna, British Columbia
I completed my training/education at:
1. Bachelor of Environmental Studies – Honours Planning, Co-operative Education with Minors in Geography & Environmental Studies and French at University of Waterloo
2. Master of Management at Sauder School of Business – University of British Columbia
What I do at work
I work with communities to develop policy that will guide the future land use and growth of their community. To do this, I work with civil engineers, biologists, landscape architects, GIS technicians, local residents, and politicians. My goal is to make sure that all parts of land use are addressed in our policies.
We talk to local residents to see what they like about where they live. We also check to see how they would like it to change for the better in the future. Then we write policy to help reach that vision and goals. We write policy to address a range of topics related to land use. This includes such things as the infrastructure and land use needs.
Land use needs looks at how much land a community may need in the future. This could be for industrial, commercial, and institutional activities, as well as housing. It also describes how these can be reached both through the use of policy and maps. We also check to see if the area is under any environmental protection guidelines. We also consider the urban design and transportation needs as well as if there is agriculture or parks and trails in the area.
My career path is
My undergrad program gave me the skills and knowledge that I needed to be a Planner. The co-op part of my degree was really helpful. This is because it allowed me to work for four different municipalities (3 in Ontario, 1 in BC) and a provincial non-profit organization. In total, this gave me almost 2 years of work experience before I graduated! Having real-world experience before starting my career was fantastic! When I officially entered the workforce I already had a solid understanding of how planning legislation and theory are applied. In addition, as a consultant whose main clients are municipalities, I am able to better understand my client’s needs because I have been in their shoes once before implementing the bylaws and policies that consultants write.
I am motivated by
I love the planning profession because it requires a different way of thinking – there is no black and white or right and wrong. Planners must think about all aspects of a community from a higher-level viewpoint. We also have to know how all of these different parts work together. It involves a lot of working together and big picture thinking. These are the two elements that I love about it most! I enjoy working with other people and understanding how people choose to live. As someone who enjoyed geography, art & architecture, and the social sciences in high school, planning is a great career for me because it combines all of these subjects into one.
How I affect peoples’ lives
Land-use planning effects how our communities function and grow in the future. Every community has a plan with a 15- to 20-year timeframe. This outlines the changes it will experience and how challenges will be addressed. I love my career because it makes me a fortune teller for communities across British Columbia!
Outside of work I
Hiking, painting/drawing, reading, spending time with friends and family, cooking.
My advice to others
Read as much as you can about the profession and meet with a Planner for coffee to find out more!