Beth Cougler Blom, MEd’05
Tell us about your job
I have my own business, Beth Cougler Blom Facilitation, through which I do instructional design and facilitation work. I work with various types of clients including non-profit organizations, educational institutions, associations and for-profit companies.
What was your first job after graduation?
My first job was actually working at UBC! I worked in the casual temp pool and shortly was placed into a several months-long contract in the Educational Studies department as Secretary to the Head. Soon after I was successful to a position as Program Coordinator of the International Programs Office in the then-named Faculty of Commerce.
What would you tell your graduating self?
I think I would tell myself to remember to consistently set big goals after graduation. As a student you spend a long time moving towards the goal of graduating, and I remember “looking up” after a few years in the work world and realized I was a little rudder-less. I might have achieved some things for myself sooner if I had been more of an intentional goal setter when I was younger.
What was the best advice that you received?
Honestly I don’t really remember any one specific piece of advice that I have received that has made a big impact on me in my career. However I’m fortunate to have worked with a few wonderful supervisors so far who really taught me – mostly through watching their role-modelling – what effective leadership looks like and how to create a motivating environment in which to work. These are two things that are very important to me wherever I work and with whomever I work.
Did you ever have an ‘aha’ moment in regards to your career? What was it?
Even though I probably often looked very confident in my abilities and knowledge during my early career, I believe it took me until my mid-thirties to really feel that confidence. I finally felt at that point that I knew what I was talking about (mostly!) and that I could be taken seriously for what I knew and could do. Of course, the flip side is that I was still very acutely aware of how much I still didn’t know! So good thing that I am a complete and utter lifelong learner and relish in that act of continuing to learn about the world and my role in it.
Looking back at your career, if you could go back in time, what would you do differently?
Well, related to the comment about not setting enough goals in the earlier question, I think that I would have been more intentional about this had I to do it all over again. And not to diminish administrative work, but I probably spent too long in administrative roles when I could have been starting to grow my skills as a facilitator even in my early twenties. I took a little while to get around to doing what I really began to love, even though I did enjoy my time in administrative work and was very competent at it.
What quality do you think is the most important thing for people entering the world of work to have?
I think one of the most important skills in the world of work is to be able to connect with people and connect people with each other. Approach the world of work with an authentic “how can I help others?” sort of attitude, be truly curious about what other people do and are looking for, and try to help them get it. Don’t worry about when and how the rewards will come back to you – but know that they absolutely will!