The people at BCcampus have a wide range of lived experience and cultural backgrounds, and this assortment of personalities helps us work together as a community of connection and compassion. We caught up with a few members of the team to find out what life in the (virtual) BCcampus world is like from their perspective.
Post by BCcampus’ editorial team
BCcampus seems to attract a unique mindset: proactive professionals eager to find innovative ways to support the post-secondary institutions of British Columbia. The 2020 pandemic has brought a ton of stress — some of it work-related, but a fair amount spilling over from our personal lives — and the level of compassion and support for each other has brought the team closer together, enabling everyone to adapt to the new normal and continue providing value to students, faculty, and support teams across the province.
Katheryna Khong started with BCcampus’ marketing and communications team as a full-time co-op student with a full course load, and she noticed the BCcampus difference right from the start.
“In previous co-ops, I never felt like I was taken seriously,” said Katheryna. “I felt like I was an intern and given the projects other people didn’t want to do. At BCcampus, everyone is really supportive, regardless of your age, gender, or race. I’ve never felt so welcome at an organization, and I’m excited to be here.”
“BCcampus is made out of real people — people who care,” said Selina McGinnis, project lead for user experience/internet architecture at BCcampus. “I’ve had more personal growth than ever before, and professionally, the projects are interesting and always changing. I always feel like the projects are to make somebody’s life better, and that’s what makes being at BCcampus so fulfilling. It’s definitely good for the soul to see the meaningful work we do.”
“My role is to help improve the user experience on our websites, designing and refining our web applications for the end users,” explained Selina. “Our goal is to improve the adoption and findability of the phenomenal resources being created through our programs. I’ve been with BCcampus for just over a year, and from the moment I started, people weren’t shy about giving me things to do and asking my opinion. I feel valued, which is why I choose to continue to work here.”
“A year or so ago, we started a superhero program,” shared Mary Burgess, executive director at BCcampus. “People can nominate anyone, asking the rest of the team if they have anything nice to say about the nominee, and everyone jumps in, saying, ‘Yes, I have a million nice things to say about them.’ We add it to the newsletter so everyone can see how valued that individual is, regardless of where they are in the organization.”
Inclusion is integrated into everything we do at BCcampus, even during a global pandemic. The energy and passion from each and every member of the team is almost palpable, whether you’re in the office or online. There’s so much sharing of knowledge and information that it’s virtually impossible to find someone nearby who doesn’t have the resources you need or a contact to connect with. And it’s not a façade of happiness – if anyone needs a moment or a break, they feel comfortable asking for it.
“At BCcampus, we do things together,” shared Katheryna. “There are regular meditation sessions with Mary, fun breakouts with different teams, and awesome activities, like the Scary Games on Zoom that Selina hosted.”
“An enthusiastic team member brought up the idea of playing the Jackbox party games,” explained Selina, “so we set it up to play over Zoom, with the players entering their responses via their smartphones. Everyone was welcome to join in on the trivia games, and for those who prefer to be more private, they had the option of playing as the audience, allowing them to win with their team without stepping too far out of their comfort zone.”
“Meditation has been very helpful for me,” said Mary. “Last January, I set up a weekly meditation session, where anyone could drop into my BlueJeans room. We just sat together — no cams, no mics — for 10 minutes, we listen to the meditation together. And since the pandemic ramped up again last month, we’ve been doing two sessions a week. I’m fascinated by who drops in, because it’s not necessarily who you’d expect to find there, but they see it as a tool that might help them. It’s only 10 minutes once or twice a week, but it makes a big impact.”
“Erin, our communications manager, does regular check-ins to see how we’re doing mentally and work-wise,” shared Katheryna. “It’s nice to have open communication and support, where you know that someone is ready and willing to lend a hand or an ear, and you’re able to learn as you go. I mentioned that I wanted to write more blogs, and they’ve given me the space to explore and grow, with the support I need to do it well.”
“We try to open things up to let people do what feels good for them,” said Mary. “For example, Selina hosting virtual games is something that’s comfortable for her and allows her to participate in a way that feels good. I want people to feel like they can do that. If there’s something they have to offer that is different than what they’ve seen before, but it feels right for them to interact in that way, I want them to be comfortable with making that happen.”
“Fundamentally, it’s really important that people can bring their whole self to work,” shared Mary. “Those are words, and words like them, that I often say to my team. I want them to feel like they can show up however they are, and be accepted that way. We’re constantly trying to humanize each other because it really helps with compassion and empathy. When we work with compassion and empathy, being curious about what’s happening with other people instead of making assumptions about what’s happening with them, and thus their behaviours, then we’re in a far better position to meet our goals as an organization and as humans.”
“There are no ‘stupid questions’ at BCcampus — if you’re asking it, someone else is probably thinking it, so it’s good to bring it into the discussion.”—Katheryna Khong, marketing and communications assistant, BCcampus
“BCcampus also acknowledges that we can do better. When you’re doing all this good work, there’s the potential to coast, saying, ‘Hey, we’re doing good work,’ but there are always opportunities to improve. We just did an assessment for diversity, equity, and inclusion, and there are definitely places that we need to change. I love that this is baked into what we do at BCcampus.”—Selina McGinnis, lead UX/IA, BCcampus