10 Qs with
Member of York Region’s Community and Health Services Department Emergency Management Team
1. HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN THE INDUSTRY?
6. Name the top 5 benefits of working in an
I went to school for it, I finished my bachelor’s degree in Disaster and Emergency Management from York University when I moved to Canada. After graduation, I was called to interview for an Emergency Management Assistant position with one of Ontario’s ministries and it all went from there. Couldn’t be happier where I currently am and excited for the future.
I agree with everything Jen said, the great thing about working in an all-Women’s Unit is that we can talk about anything.
7. What makes this team work successfully? How do you MANage this?
2. Tell us about what your unit does. How long has this been an all-Women’s Unit?
As we are in charge of our department – Community and Health Services Department – we all have portfolios/branches divided amongst us.
Jennifer P has Commissioners Office, Housing Services and Emergency Social Services. Leila B has Integrated Business Services. Sunny K has Seniors Services
Jennet R has Paramedic Services and Operational Planning, and Emergency Social Services. Every couple of years we get shuffled and get to support and work on other portfolios, so the branches get different perspectives, support and cross training.
- Strategic advice when developing emergency and business continuity plans
- Community emergency planning (including Emergency Social Services)
- Business continuity planning
- Incident response and incident recovery planning
- Emergency preparedness/response education, training and exercises
- Support when organizing After Action Reviews or developing After Action Reports
Officially, this unit became an all-Women’s Unit on May 12, 2022. Unofficially we’ve been one since mid-March.
8. What are your personal contributions to the team’s success?
I bring the fun! Jokes aside haha, I support the team with whatever is needed. I pride myself with being a great multi-tasker and planner but then we all are. We all have different perspectives, different backgrounds and experiences which makes us work well with each other like jigsaw pieces that fit together.
3. WHAT PROJECT ARE YOU THE MOST PROUD OF?
Oh, I’m proud of absolutely everything I’ve done – I think we can all agree that most of what we do and respond to is always a first for us, so we adapt, learn and get challenged all over again. I was hired to York Region to help manage day-to-day operations of the Voluntary Isolation Center and it’s been one of the top 10 experiences/project I’m proud of with the region so far.
9. Since the beginning of this team, what is an obstacle
that you have overcome?
Imposter syndrome for sure, coming to this team from a different side of emergency management it was a lot of learning on the job and quickly becoming a specialist in your area and of course responding to so many different pandemic response needs.
4. What is your favorite part about working in all women’s unit?
We all understand and recognize each other’s struggles in a different way and we can be more open about certain things.
10. What advice would give to someone getting their start in the field?
5. How has your experience been different working in all Women’s Unit vs working in a previous workplace?
You truly need to enjoy what you do. I love what I do because it is always changing, and you can be part of what makes it change for the better. With every response you learn lessons that you take for the next response and before you know it you’ve opened a different area of what emergency management means/can do. And as Jen said, talk to absolutely everyone – this is what will give you different perspective/support when you need it.
I’ve been very fortunate to have and have had wonderful managers who have given me a chance to prove my interviews wrong, haha. I’d say this question is tricky, cause it all comes down to the person/people.