Carla Thebeau is a student in MRU’s Event Management program, which she will complete this year. She takes classes online while working full-time as General Manager for the New Brighton Residents’ Association.
“Our community centre hosts all sorts of events – activities, programs, recreational opportunities. We also take care of some of the amenities within the community,” Carla says.
She is originally from Nova Scotia, where she attended St. Francis Xavier University. Like many maritimers, Carla made her way west in 2001. She fell in love with Alberta’s outdoor recreation opportunities such as kayaking, hiking and spending time in the mountains.
Throughout Carla’s career, one opportunity has led to another. “I’ve always loved planning special events, whether for student council or in my community,” she says. “I was lucky to start a career in recreation management very early. I was Recreation Director in the community of Lake Louise and then on to the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. I also had the opportunity to work on Disney Cruise Lines and with the Delta Lodge at Kananaskis.”
Carla always wanted a formal credential to bolster her on-the-job knowledge and experience.
“When I arrived in Calgary I found the Mount Royal program to formalize the event management education,” she says. “I wanted something to solidify all I had learned though experience. Experience is fantastic but it’s awesome to also get the education.”
Carla is hoping to improve her management style and organizational skills. The MRU program is also helping her to find ways to interpret her creativity and to bring her ideas to reality.
She is taking most of the courses online. “I didn’t know that I would be successful at taking it online, because I love interaction. But it’s actually so well laid out that it’s foolproof. The thing that I love most about it is I’m able to do it on my time, especially with working a very busy full-time job,” she notes.
Carla has already seen the benefits of the program on the job. “Prior to taking the marketing class I was able to raise about $5K in sponsorship. After taking the class this year we raised $15K.”
For those interested in event management, Carla advises, “Just go for it, if you have the passion for it, I believe this program can help make it happen. It provides you with the tools you need to be successful in this type of career.
Carla met her fiancé online last year. “Career and school takes priority right now,” she says. “But it’s nice because all the pieces of my life are finally falling into place.”
See more of Carla’s story.
— by Karen McCarthy
— photo by Sandra Loeppky