Lorraine Craik: Pursuing her dream job
Loraine Craik BComm’09 considers herself lucky. She figured out what she wanted to do with her life in a high school Economics class. This led to a Bachelor of Commerce degree at Saint Mary’s University and now a “dream job” with Husky Energy in Calgary as a Planning Analyst.
The 25-year-old is continuing her studies at the University of Calgary, part-time, toward a Masters of Business Administration. And, just to add to her sense of good fortune these days – unlike many others in her city this past June, her home wasn’t flooded.
Lucky indeed, but it hasn’t been without a few bumps along the way. The world was in an economic slump when Loraine graduated in 2009. After years of hearing that retiring baby boomers would open up great job opportunities for her generation, Loraine found she couldn’t break into the local labour market. “There was absolutely nothing. Nobody was hiring,” she says.
As a young child, Loraine had lived out west. Her mother worked in the oil and gas industry and her father, also a SMU grad, was an investment banker. Fuelled by their stories, and frustrated by a summer of fruitless job-hunting, Loraine decided to go to Calgary, her birth city, and the corporate hub of Alberta’s oil and gas industry.
“I didn’t have a job so I knew it was risky but I figured if I had a chance anywhere, it would be there.” She spent an entire month applying for jobs and knocking on doors. Loraine finally got hired on with the grocery chain Safeway, in a middle management position. It wasn’t an ideal fit for her skills, but it was work and she was grateful. Then the call came from Husky Energy, one of Canada's largest integrated energy companies.
Giving back to the community She went in for a meeting and left with a job. Working with a corporate team in the area of portfolio planning, Loraine develops schedules for many of Husky’s large-scale projects throughout Canada and internationally. “It is still surreal to me to attend meetings where dollar figures are discussed in the billions,” she says.
Despite an intense work schedule, Loraine still makes time to give back to the community – volunteering as a coach for the Calgary Special Olympics soccer and alpine ski teams. Every Sunday through the winter months, she works with athletes at the Canada Olympic Park ski hill in Calgary, a legacy of the 1988 Winter Olympics held in that city. And just this past June, the co-ed intermediate soccer group she helped coach sent two teams to the Special Olympics Summer Games, held in Devon, Alberta. One of the teams took home the bronze medal in their division finals.
“It can be challenging fitting it all in, but I learned pretty quickly starting out in this career that work-life balance is very important.” Loraine credits SMU with a large part of the success she’s experienced in her career and life thus far, in particular the university’s international culture that added so much more to her learning.
“SMU works hard to attract students from different cultures and it makes a big difference to the campus experience. It also encourages you to think on a more global level. That has been so helpful to me in my work.” Loraine currently works with a team of 20 individuals and together, they represent 10 different countries. “My time at SMU prepared me for the real world of business.”