"I know what drives me—what fills me up: people and service."
Nancy saw two possibilities. She could become a chartered account or focus on human resources.
“I love people and service,” she says, “but I also enjoy numbers—the finance and business side.” Taking a commerce degree meant she didn’t have to choose. She could specialize in HR while still completing finance courses to become a CA.
While still in school, Nancy had a part-time position supporting the HR team at University of Alberta Hospital. Take a person who loves people and place them in a caring environment. It’s a perfect match.
In 1993, she graduated with a BComm from the University of Alberta. Diploma in hand, she ventured off to Toronto to join the City’s HR department for six months before returning home to the hospital as an HR generalist.
“I had a wonderful team and boss,” she says about that HR experience.
Nancy looked after compensation, benefits, occupational health and safety, and training within a unionized environment. She loved the work so much that she left and returned several times.
“I know what drives me—what fills me up,” she says. “People and service.”
In 2000, she moved to Finning Canada and gained international HR experience for four years before going back home to the hospital, which soon after became part of Alberta Health Services.
In 2007, Nancy also became certified as a coach through Coach U.
Nancy stayed with Alberta Health Services for seven years until the numbers part of her brain began acting up. She needed to get reacquainted with accounting and finance. She joined a security services firm, which had many energy clients in northern and central Alberta. For the next five years, she spent time in Fort McMurray, Peace River, and Red Deer, working shoulder to shoulder with security officers and investigators. Nancy was a business manager, who oversaw administration, receivables, payables, accounting, finance, HR culture, client service, and sales development.
“It was a cool world,” she says about the eye-opening experience that introduced her to new and different people. Many of the employees were ex-RCMP, former police officers, investigators, and foreign-trained professionals.
In 2016, Nancy returned to Alberta Health Services to work at the Centennial Mental Health Centre in Ponoka. The centre cares for patients with mental illness and addictions. Once again, Nancy joined a great team in a caring facility. Once again, she met new people.
In 2017, Nancy joined Focus. Now she’s meeting new people in the communications and marketing business, along with the company’s many and varied clients.
Her role at Focus relies on both parts of her brain. She manages the office and the accounting, but she’s also taking care of the people side, leading the recognition and rewards committee, and generally making sure Focus reflects her HR, people-centred values.
“Trust is important,” she says. “That’s really important to me. It’s a cornerstone.”
At Focus, no one is arguing with that basic principle.