Karen Woitas, Partnership Lead

1) When did you begin working with Skills Canada Alberta?

Victoria and I started on the same day, January 12, 2015...we share a "Skills" Birthday!

2) How did you first get involved with Skills Canada Alberta?

Haley Schultz hired me. I think she might have thought I was a real keener because I showed up for my interview a week early. I was very excited to get this Skills thing happening! It seemed like an amazing organization rooted in partnerships, and it was where I wanted to be!

3) What is your role with Skills Canada Alberta, and what types of programs would some of our Skills followers be communicating with you about?

As the Partnership Lead, I am responsible for connecting industry partners to our programs and events through cash sponsorship. The Partnership team acts as the bridge between the thousands of youth we impact through our amazing programs and competitions, and the corporate and industry partners who want to connect with them for employment, training or marketing purposes. We have the best partners!

4) What has been one of your best memories while working with Skills Canada Alberta?

I love it that anything we do at Skills is measured by what kind of impact we make. One of my favourite programs is Skills Exploration Days. Capturing the imagination and engagement of junior high students is no easy feat. When students participate in this program it is inspiring to see them so actively focused, creative and connected to the whole process. Watching how this program has taken shape by the genius of our Skills team and seeing the impact it has on students when they discover a new skill and feel connected to it...you can't beat that!

5) What is your favourite thing about working with Skills Canada Alberta?

It is hard to choose just one thing. We work with a passionate group of people (industry partners, competitors, volunteers, educators) who are enthusiastic about exposing youth to trade and technology careers. And the Skills staff are one of the most dynamic, creative, and accomplished groups I have ever worked with. They know how to reach the youth audience with Impact! I work with really smart people!

6) Tell us one fun fact about yourself.

I love to be creative in a hands-on way. For me, it is mostly about transformation and repurposing. I love taking something hideous or forgettable and transforming it into something beautiful. Prior to coming to Skills Canada Alberta, I had my own repurposed art shop. I am still using my creativity, but my latest project is transforming a home in what some might believe to be an "undesirable" neighbourhood. I want to see and be a part of the transformation of my community. 

7) If you could learn any trade or technology, which one would it be and why?

I would love to learn photography. There are so many applications where great photography skills would come in handy in my little world. Learning how to capture an idea or feeling through a single image is a real talent. And then there is always that dream career of being the travel photographer for Boats and Yachts magazine, right? I can dream.