Like many 14-year-olds, Karla Cabrera had no idea which direction her life journey would take her. Starting high school was a challenging enough experience on its own, let alone wondering what life would be four years down the road. But one Wednesday morning in November 2005, she caught a glimpse of the many possible paths ahead of her which made her decisions leading up to graduation a little easier.
As one of more than 250,000 students who take part in Take Our Kids to Work day across the country each year, Karla went to work with her father, the Assistant Chief Engineer at The Fairmont Waterfront Hotel in Vancouver, British Columbia to spend ‘a day in the life’ of a Fairmont employee.
Karla felt a little nervous and shy being in such unfamiliar surroundings, not knowing what to expect. After an orientation with Human Resources (HR) and a tour of the beautiful hotel, she spent some quality time job shadowing her dad. At the end of the day,  it was the people working in HR that piqued her interest. She had never heard of the kind of work they do and she really enjoyed her personal interactions with them. Before going to bed that night, Karla thought to herself, “I think I want to be an HR person when I finish school.”
That thought bounced around the back of her mind up until Grade 12. When choosing her courses and a major for university, she came across Sociology as an option – with Human Resources as one of the career fields she could enter. She recalled her experience from Take Our Kids to Work day and that was the deciding factor to go ahead and major in Sociology at the University of British Columbia. She also found out that Sociology involved learning about gender and racial inequalities and how it affects people from getting jobs. As a visible minority, that affected Karla personally and further reinforced her interest in HR and her desire to be part of a department that has the power to change that.
After graduating from the program in 2013, Karla decided to pursue additional schooling for HR and is now earning a diploma for BCIT’s two-year program.
“Take Our Kids to Work helped me make a lot of decisions and opened my eyes to the different options out there,” said Karla. “Now I have a career path that I may not necessarily have had. I could have gone another route and probably would have gotten a bachelor’s degree and not know what to do with it. My experience that day gave me focus. I am truly thankful for that day in Grade 9.”


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