“Hospitality brings people together like nothing else. It’s through the simple acts of sharing food and drink, providing a comfortable place to rest, and swapping stories of travel and adventure that we come together as humans.”
It is that feeling of connection that lead Karin Ogilvie to a career in the Hospitality industry. Though she earned Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Physical and Health Education degrees, with honours, it was the informal education she acquired at the bartending and serving jobs she took on to help pay tuition that led her to the vocation she loves.
“Once I graduated, I moved to Banff and spent the next 15 years in a variety of leadership roles in restaurants and hotels.”
Though a diversion from her formal education, Karin was attracted to hospitality not only because of how it brings people together, but because of the diverse skills she is able to use.
“I love that hospitality leaders often do it all: operations, human resources, accounting, sales and marketing,” she said. “It’s high energy, busy, fast-paced, and so rewarding.”
In 2019, Karin began sharing her passion for the industry with students in the Hospitality Management diploma program at the College’s Invermere campus.
“I love sharing real-life stories and situations from my industry life with students,” she said. “I think it brings a lot of relevance to the course material.”
In turn, Karin is rewarded through the lessons her students provide to her.
“It’s interesting to hear the different opinions and perspectives of our students,” she said. “I have learned a lot of interesting philosophies and cultures from students from diverse backgrounds. It’s really fascinating to apply different global events and unique celebrations to the course materials, and it’s been a wonderful opportunity for the students to showcase their cultures to the community.”
Though adapting to instructing during the COVID-19 pandemic took some getting used to, Karin seized the opportunity to learn creative ways to use online platforms and tools to mimic a face-to-face setting.
“Because hospitality is so collaborative, it was important for me to provide a safe and inclusive environment for students to engage with each other,” she said. “Being more flexible with my teaching methods proved successful and I plan to continue to adapt my instruction to the circumstances. There is a lot of pressure on students, so I also encourage them to find balance in their lives.”
To find her own equilibrium, Karin spends time either outside hiking or inside cooking. As someone who grew up figure skating and who always dreamed of skating outside, she is lucky enough to live close to the world’s longest outdoor skating trail – the over 30 km Lake Windermere Whiteway, as well as to a variety of other outdoor skating spots.
“My favourite time of year is that magical mini-season in early winter when the ice freezes and the snow has yet to come,” she said. “The local lakes are like glass and you can skate for kilometers on end surrounded by the beautiful mountains.”