Theresa-McCurry image

Theresa McCurry

Job title and employer:

Chief Executive Officer, Applied Science Technologists and Technicians BC

 

What does your job title mean?

I provide leadership by working closely with the Board of Directors and the organizational team to achieve the goals, priorities and strategic vision of ASTTBC as the sole regulator of engineering technology professionals in BC and the Yukon. At the end of the day it means meeting the needs of a number of groups including employees, registrants, government, communities and the law.

 


Background information:

Where were you born?

My parents immigrated and landed in Edmonton and we then moved to Penticton where I grew up.

Where do you live now?

South Surrey, BC where I have lived for the past 19 years. Previously lived in Vancouver & Calgary.

Where did you complete your training or education?

I attended the University of Calgary and completed a BSc in Psychology with a minor in Communication.  I have taken courses at Duke University and completed various online courses.

 


What you do at work?

ASTTBC is the sole regulator of engineering technology professionals in BC and the Yukon. I provide leadership and work closely with the Board of Directors as well as the organizational team, to achieve our goals, priorities and strategic vision. At the end of the day, it means meeting the needs of a number of groups including employees, registrants, government, communities and the law.

To do my job, I need to see where trends and issues are heading while actively planning the impact.  I make human resource decisions and work to create a better workplace, including how people work. Sometimes I need to challenge peoples’ assumptions and perform what I call ‘myth busting’.  My science background allows me to read technical questions and understand the ideas presented. My background also helps me ask the right type of questions.  Daily I make use of my critical thinking skills. I also use my emotional intelligence to help form alliances and partnerships for the organization and my own network.

 


How does what you do affect people’s lives?

Over my career, I have helped change peoples’ beliefs about themselves and helped them go beyond what they saw as limitations. I have had positive experiences with families, mentees and whole communities.  It is my belief that putting capable people together, with the right resources, builds networks and communities that are highly talented. These networks and communities have a common connection which goes beyond a building a tribe.

 


What motivates you in your career?

Working with people can be invigorating!  Being able to have the freedom to be curious is important to me. I love change. I enjoy looking at a problem and finding a better solution.  I have been fortunate to be a leader early in my career. This has allowed me to have some very satisfying experiences. I am the first woman in Canada to lead a biotechnology association. I received an award from BIOTECanada for creating Biotech Week in Canada, which now runs globally. I have been a guest lecturer in many countries, including a course offered at Oxford University, in England.  Overall, it always comes down to meeting and working with highly talented people on important topics.

 


How did you get to where you are today?

If I listened to my career counsellor in high school, I would be delivering mail today.  I was given one test and because I love being outdoors, it ignored my love of science and gave me one suggestion.  The best lesson I learned was ignore what people say if it doesn’t feel right. This is especially so if they are not invested in you.  Truly find out what interests you and then that passion will help you develop a career. Be tenacious, not overbearing, about what you need. If you don’t know what you want to do for a career, take the time and keep learning (formal or informal) as a priority. Growing up as a competitive swimmer, I often trained with the men on the team. They helped me push myself to better performances.  Going into a male dominated field (e.g., petroleum, biotech and engineering technology) seemed to be no different. Learn more about my career path at my LinkedIn profile.

 


What activities do you enjoy outside of work?

I volunteered a lot before I had my own kids.  Now between aging parents and my kids I spend as much time with family doing sports, gardening or having fun outside as much as possible. When I can find the time, I do some volunteer work for projects.

 


What advice would you give to a young person interested in a similar career?

Develop a number of skill sets.  If you have focused on science then make sure you take business courses.  Learn to become a good communicator – many assume they are but often are not unless they are good listeners.  A lateral career move can be more strategic than just climbing the ladder upwards.

 


As a female professional, how can you influence the advancement of women in engineering and technology?

Being inclusive, not exclusive. Ensuring what we learn about the needs of the sector are shared. Finding those people who want to make change occur for the betterment of the profession.

 


 

When I was in high school, I enjoyed…

Physical Education

Science

Leadership class in grade 12

 

When I was in high school, I was someone who…

Brought people together

Enjoyed doing things on my own

Always wanted to be outside

Liked helping people

Played on a sports team

Was motivated by success

Liked being given free range to explore my ideas

Engaged in volunteer activities

Wasn’t sure what I wanted to do

Liked change and challenging myself even if I wasn’t great


 

ASTTBC thanks Let’s Talk Science for their partnership in developing this career profile.  Let’s Talk Science – a leading partner in Canadian education – is a national charitable organization committed to inspiring and empowering Canadian youth to develop the skills they need to participate and thrive in an ever-changing world. To accomplish this, Let’s Talk Science offers a comprehensive suite of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) based programs to support youth, educators, and volunteers across Canada. For more information about Let’s Talk Science, visit letstalkscience.ca.

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