Queen's University

Q&A with Karlyn Roberts

As an alumna and Queen’s parent, Karlyn Roberts, Artsci’82, is well connected to Queen’s. Those ties have grown even stronger now that she recently became a university employee. Karlyn is the new Manager of the Western Regional Office based in Calgary. Karlyn was a senior advertising manager at the Calgary Herald before joining Queen’s in October. She has a Master’s of Communications Studies from the University of Calgary and was a public relations instructor between 1994-97 at the University of Calgary and Mount Royal College.

[photo of Karlyn Roberts]Karlyn will be working closely with alumni to help maintain Queen’s University’s strong ties with Western Canada.

Q: Calgary is among the Queen’s University Alumni Association’s most active branches. Why do you think the Queen’s spirit is so strong in that city?

A: There are synergies between the Queen’s spirit of initiative and the entrepreneurial “can-do” culture that underlies Calgary. Amongst many alumni, there is also recognition that the strong Queen’s network is valuable regardless of age and years of work experience. Experienced alumni in Calgary give generously of their time and expertise to mentor and engage younger alumni.

Q: There are a lot of alumni in Calgary. Why does the  city attract so many Queen’s grads?
A: A number of Queen’s graduates are attracted to the oil and gas industry in Calgary. Calgary is also a very welcoming, vibrant, active, and entrepreneurial community that is a good place to work, raise a family, and enjoy a variety of recreational activities.

Q: What are some of the goals you hope to accomplish as manager of the Western Regional Office?
A: I want to help communicate the vision and priorities of Queen’s University to Western Canadians. I will work to engage, strengthen and support the Queen’s Western Canadian community and ensure their voices and issues are well represented.

Q: What is an average day on the job for you? What are your main duties and responsibilities?
A: I am responsible for developing and maintaining key relationships with Queen’s alumni, donors, volunteers, friends, and corporations in Western Canada. I will accomplish this through the development and implementation of strategic development and alumni programs in the region in coordination with key volunteer groups and Queen’s personnel. I spent my first month in Kingston becoming reacquainted with Queen’s and getting up to speed on Queen’s current priorities. Since I have returned to Calgary, I have started reaching out to key stakeholders to develop relationships.

Q: You studied politics when you were a student at Queen’s and were a features editor at the Queen’s Journal. How did your time at Queen’s help you in your career path?
A: My degree helped me develop the creative, critical and strategic thinking skills that have enabled me to build a successful career. My work with the Queen’s Journal allowed me to create a portfolio that opened the door for my first position after I graduated as the organization wanted to hire someone with writing and editing skills.

Q: What was your first job after graduation?
A: Marketing and public relations for the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra.

Q: You spent 15 years working at the Calgary Herald newspaper, working your way up to senior advertising sales manager. What did you like the best about your job at the Herald?
A: The opportunity to partner with clients across a variety of industries (including real estate, food, entertainment, and travel) to create programs that delivered results for their businesses.

Q: You have a Master’s of Communications Studies and spent three years working for Venture Communications, one of Canada’s largest independent marketing and communications firms. Why does the field of communications appeal to you?
A: Communication is an essential part of our society, as it is only through exchange of ideas and co-operation that a society can thrive. While the way in which we communicate with one another is rapidly changing, effective communication is essential to learn, teach, and persuade.

Q: Over the years you have had jobs in advertising, teaching, and public relations. How do you think those experiences will help you in your new role at Queen’s?
A: Every position I have held has allowed me to develop new skills which have been transferable to the next opportunity. Having a varied background helps me to see things from different perspectives and I will bring the sum of all my experience to this new role.

Karlyn can be reached at karlyn.roberts@queensu.ca or 403-266-6195.

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