For devotion and commitment to her community, Powell River Employment Program Society (PREP) executive director Lyn Adamson was recently recognized by BC Career Development Association as its career practitioner of the year.
As PREP’s executive director, Adamson is responsible for Career Link and providing a range of employment services for job seekers, including job-search assistance, workshops, career counselling and access to job postings. As with most leaders, she said the award is shared by her team.
“It somehow doesn’t capture the whole picture because I can only be career practitioner of the year if there’s a really great team working with me,” said Adamson. “It shouldn’t be singled out as a single honour; it’s working together for the services we provide in this community.”
Adamson said she looks for special qualities in people who are on her team, which are not necessarily obvious skill sets found on a resumé.
“I look for people who are welcoming and compassionate,” she said. “I look for personality above skills, because working as we do with people who might be unemployed, there’s more than just the hard skills of getting a resumé or knowing what school to go to. It’s important to treat people really well at what might be a difficult time in their lives.”
PREP is beginning the process of hiring a replacement for Adamson as she prepares for retirement. When someone who brings integral change to an organization through their leadership prepares to leave, those in charge of finding a candidate to fill the position have a difficult task, said PREP board director Laura Cocksedge
“Because Lyn has been here so long and understands massive programs, it’s almost as if she needs to be replaced by six people,” said Cocksedge.
Cocksedge added that Adamson, who informed her team and the board that she will be leaving in July, is dynamic and involved in Powell River.
“She creates and maintains wonderful connections, whether it’s personal or professional,” said Cocksedge. “She has this wonderful way of helping everyone feel valued and doesn’t discount anything anybody says.”
Adamson has worked in the employment-services sector for more than 20 years. Prior to that, she said the most memorable job she had was building an indoor swimming pool in the Arctic.
“That was a job where I had to think on my feet more than any job I’ve had since then,” she said. “I was 700 miles above the Arctic Circle.”
It was called the Above Ground Pool Project and included 13 pools being built, said Adamson, who was responsible for a build in Igloolik, Nunavut. The pools were not common recreational pools, but were built for a practical reason: to teach the Inuit how to swim, she added.
“They were having a lot of drownings,” said Adamson. “Drownings were occurring because the Inuit people weren’t wearing as much traditional sealskin clothing, which provided both buoyancy and warmth.”
Adamson said she is “kind of retiring,” but more likely just changing careers. For someone who is so much a part of Powell River, questions have been asked, she said, about whether or not she might enter politics one day.
“Not yet,” she said.
Adamson said her plans include becoming a real estate agent and partnering up in business with her partner Kathie Mack.
“I won’t be ready to go until the summer,” said Adamson. “I have to finish my job here, and that’s going to take a while.”