Edelaine Penaflor has never curled before. She says she is still learning winter play.
“I just know it’s sweeping and throwing rocks,” she told host Carolina de Ryk on CBC. sunrise north. “I still don’t know how you win.”
Although he can’t curl, the 28-year-old immigrant was hired as general manager of the Fort St. John Curling Club.
She landed the role in August last year and is now channeling her work experience from the Philippines into her new role in the northeast BC city.
The journey of an immigrant
Like many newcomers, Penaflor began looking for work as soon as she arrived in Fort St. John.
She submitted more than 20 applications for different roles in different industries, she says, because it’s not easy as a new immigrant to work in the same profession she had in her home country.
After earning a degree in hotel management, Penaflor worked for five years in event management at five-star hotels in Manila, including Sofitel Philippine Plaza and Conrad Manila.
She came to Fort St. John last July with her partner, who is studying business administration at Northern Lights College. Instead of pursuing another degree, she says she wanted to gain work experience.
Penaflor says she found the job posting for the general manager position at the Fort St. John Curling Club by chance and decided to give it a try.
“When I was looking for a job… part of the job description doesn’t say much about curling,” she said on sunrise north. “It specified that you … had to know event management, which is my experience coming from the Philippines.”
“So I thought, why not give it a try?
To her surprise, she got the job.
Penaflor says working at the curling club allows her to put to good use the event management and sales skills she honed in the Philippines.
“We actually have curling, we have a bar, we have a football pitch here. We also have a banquet hall,” she said of the club. “It’s not like curling anymore – we actually serve the whole community.
“What helped me in my past experience is that I know how to manage members here… I had good relationships with my clients [in the Philippines]so every time i move [between jobs of] hotels, they would come to me.”
5 star hotel experience
According to former club president Kenton Evenson, the Fort St. John Curling Club must operate year-round, so it is important to have a general manager who can occupy the facility when there is no need. no curling events in the summer, especially during the pandemic. .
“It’s a huge empty space of potential, so having someone who can see that space and sell that space and so…all of these organizations can access it, that’s something super important,” Evenson said, who was on the board of directors who hired Penaflor.
Evenson says he’s glad someone as experienced as Penaflor took on the role, despite his lack of experience in the sport.
“Being able to curl is great – you want people who understand the sport and how passionate people are about the sport, especially in Canada,” he said. “But… the most important thing is how to manage people, how to ensure that buildings [are] functioning.”
“That kind of experience was very evident at Edelaine, coming from something as big as a five-star hotel.”
Penaflor says his current priority is to increase the club’s income by renting facilities. The curling rink has already been used as a venue for events, which Penaflor plans to host more. Over the past month, they’ve had requests to hold proms and graduation ceremonies at the rink.
Penaflor says she is enjoying the role so far and lives in Fort St. John, despite the extreme cold.
“It was a great joy for me to be with the curling rink,” she said.
“Everyone has been so nice, and since I’m an immigrant and not from Canada, the people here who have been here for so long have been very understanding.”
sunrise north6:52The woman who runs the Fort St. John curling club still doesn’t understand the sport, but loves it anyway