Stories

Find out how JA has influenced the lives of our Achievers and alumni across British Columbia.

Crystal Bouchard

Apprenticeship Advisor, Northwest BC
Industry Training Authority

Participated in 1984/85 in JA program A Business of Our Own at Prince George Senior Secondary

Terrace, BC

 

What did you do in the JA Program you participated in?

I was the President of my JA business. We built “Hope Chests” and marketed them as the perfect graduation gift.


What did you learn and achieve in the JA program?

I learned that people thought I had leadership qualities – this was a surprise to me!! They voted me as President, and I learned how to run an executive team, do research, and pricing, marketing, budgeting, sales, public speaking, communication, conflict resolution, and building confidence. I watched, listened and learned from my mentors.

How has it impacted you in your career path? In your current job?

It has impacted me greatly! I was a very shy and underprivileged youth who didn’t have goals or believe that I could be successful in a respectful career. I was given an opportunity to uncover my natural talents and abilities, and to learn in a safe and encouraging environment while away from family.

I had previously quit school in grade 10 the year before and left home to work and live on my own in another city. While this was exciting, I quickly realized that I needed to return to school and get an education so I could afford to live in a decent situation. I was hopeful that the school experience would be better but didn’t know how that would happen. I saw the JA poster and asked my School counsellor about it. She suggested that it would be a FABULOUS fit for me, and she helped make the connection with the coordinator. I strongly believe that participating in the JA Business Mentor program kept me in high school, got me through graduation and gave me hope and belief that I could be successful in life.

One of my first job offers was to manage a high-rise apartment building at age 19! I had the confidence and courage to apply, and they hired ME. I took my business skills and accounting training from high school and launched a successful work life.

I didn’t pursue further post-secondary schooling until 10 years later for Psychology and Education programs. I worked for the provincial government and then started my own business, HAWK Employment Services, in which I contracted to the federal government, school districts and the private sector. Later, I took a turn in my career and learned to be a professional truck driver and industrial process operator in the oil and gas Industry. Then I transitioned to Woman-in-Trades Program Coordinator, WorkBC Quality Assurance, ITA Apprenticeship Advisor, and I still have my own business. I completed my Provincial Instructor Diploma. I’m a Certified Career Development Practitioner, Motivational Interviewing Trainer and a Professional Class One driver.

I continue to set goals regularly, have a mentor or role model and to give back to the community. I have been a Rotary member since 2003 and have held several volunteer leadership positions.

Any insights or advice you can offer to future JA students?

Embrace the adventure of learning and growing. Commit to life-long learning. Respect the people who offer their experience and wisdom.

Any feedback you can offer to JABC?

Keep it going! Your programs are full of fun, interactive learning which is so valuable and needed. They help grow healthy and ethical future leaders, making a difference in everyone involved!

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