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At the Centre with Christine Burke

  • At the Centre with Christine Burke

At the Centre is an ongoing blog series that features Centre for Excellence in Immigrant and Intercultural Centre (CEIIA) faculty and staff. 

Christine Burke is the Business Development Officer for the CEIIA. In her role, she represents initiatives such as the Immigration Practitioner Certificate Program, DiverseCity onBoard, and Workplace and Corporate Training. She connects with candidates interested in these CEIIA initiatives and skillfully supports people in navigating pathways that can be life-changing.

What do you like most about your job?

Meeting people, learning about their hopes and dreams for the future, and how we can help them achieve their goals.

What’s one thing that you’ve learned since working here?

Before I was hired at Bow Valley College, I was a stay-at-home mom and had been for 10 years. It wasn’t a piece of cake to get myself back up and running. However, what I have learned is that we all have strengths. We have skills and experiences that make us valuable even if we are lost in the weeds of learning a new role in a new workplace. You are hired to provide something using your skill set whether you believe it or not. Make your experience something special by bringing ‘you’ to the workplace…and it’s ok to be you. In fact, it’s GREAT to be you. In the beginning, when it’s all new and you feel like a fish out of water, plug away...figure 'it' out.

What do you value most about your colleagues?

Not to be all blubbery but…wow. What does one say about such an amazing team of people, and I am most certainly a part of a TEAM. We work closely on our projects whether directly involved or not. We support one another’s events, we care ‘how’ what we are doing is impacting the department and the pillars of the college. But, most of all, we care about one another.

Who is an educator that has impacted your life?

There are two,

Gregory Barber, my Grade 6 teacher. I went to schools where art (music, art, dance, and drama) was the primary methodology used to teach all subject areas. Mrs. Barber was an artist. She ‘designed’ her lessons; she didn’t construct them. She taught with passion and flare not just for the subject matter or method but, for each of us, her students. Mrs. Barber was the one who taught me about the ‘Ladder of life’. I still remember her drawing as she spoke. How as we age and experience life we find ourselves climbing ladders. Always climbing. Sometimes we find ourselves at the top of a ladder as we were top of the school in grade 6. Confident, comfortable, the big kids. The next year, however, we’d find ourselves on the bottom rung. Nervous of the new school, bigger kids, new teachers, lockers, everything new. This analogy has stuck with me. Life isn’t to be feared. Embrace every step.

The other instructor who has had a huge impact on my life is Laurel Madro, my current boss. Leader to be sure. She is patient, kind, and fun, all the while staying focused on objectives. She has pushed her team when needed pushing and yet identifies and appreciates our strengths and talents. She never micromanages. She believes in us and we believe in her.

What are three traits that are important in your role?

The ability to engage with people, be able to present to a large crowd or a small intimate group, and the ability to adapt quickly to situations as they arise. Be a problem solver.

What/Who is your favourite go-to resource?

Like my colleague Anne always says: “Just Google it.” My other important resources are my husband, Ron Burke, and Student Information System Specialist, Reiko Yoshizawa.

What do you want to learn this year?

We are better to others if we are good to ourselves.

I wish to challenge myself more in areas that are both personal and professional. To take better care of myself. Our health impacts how well we work and play. We are better to others if we are good to ourselves.

And, to learn and advance additional strategies in the never-ending saga of ‘being organized’ would be top of my list of activities and deeds I am continually striving to improve on. To increase efficiency both personally and professionally. I hear from so many of us that there aren’t enough hours in a day. Time management is most certainly on-going learning.

Have you had an aha moment while working at the college?

I have one every day! 

What are your favourite books?

Kane and Abel by Jeffery Archer. Couldn’t put it down. Same with Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander and Pillars of the Earth series by Ken Follett.

Name one thing about yourself that most people don’t know.

I do home staging on the side. Interior design and home sales are a passion of mine. Yes, I watch ALL the shows on TV! A favorite part of my job at the college is hosting events.

I’ve completed ten triathlons and two half marathons. I inline speed skate and love mountaineering/scrambling and gardening. But the best of me is our twins, beautiful Marlo and our angel, Harrison. 


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