Kellie Thai’s job could be likened to that of a tour guide.
An Employment Consultant with Epic Opportunities’ Career Exploration Service, she too takes people on all kinds of exciting journeys filled with both challenges and rewards.
While you aren’t likely to find her travelling aboard a double-decker bus, she logs plenty of kilometres in a typical work week. Her duties include everything from helping people to prepare for job interviews to assisting them in writing resumes and cover letters. She also works closely with a team of job coaches, organizes employment workshops, provides individual support during job interviews, advocates for paid employment and offers support to employers in the community.
The ultimate goal, she says, is to help people supported by Epic Opportunities make an informed decision when it comes to choosing a career that is right for them.
“Everybody has to take their own journey to get to whatever their goal is when it comes to finding employment,” Kellie says.
“My motto is I’m not here to help people find a job, I’m here to help them find THE job.”
Kellie currently works with about two dozen individuals who are at various stages of their career search. While some searches take longer than others, she says one of the most rewarding aspects of her job is witnessing the personal growth people experience throughout the process.
“Seeing people grow in their job and build relationships with their co-workers is a huge thing for me,” she says.
“Just seeing people be proud of what they have accomplished is awesome. It’s that whole holistic thing. It’s every little step that it takes to find a job that’s important.”
Kellie was recently shifted from Epic Opportunities’ day service location at 3421 Portage Ave. to the agency’s head office at 1644 Dublin Ave. The move is part of an effort to provide employment support at all of the organization’s locations including residential homes.
“I’m excited about the idea of Career Employment Services growing and expanding,” she says. “It’s an exciting opportunity.”
Director of Services Karen Hannem has worked with Kellie for the past three years, including a stint at the 2381 Ness Ave. day services location. She says part of what makes Kellie such a great fit for her role as Employment Consultant is her ability to connect with people.
“She has a great sense of humour. She’s hilarious. She kind of brings this joy into the room. She always appears to enjoy what she’s doing and that impacts on everyone else in the room,” Karen says.
“The other thing is she’s very valuing of the people we support. She’s very respectful. She always respects people. You can tell she really cares about people. It’s very apparent in her work.”
Kellie began her career in the community living sector in 1999 and worked for five years as an overnight residential support worker after graduating from Red River College. She was hired by Epic Opportunities as a Direct Support Worker in 2005 and began her current role as Employment Consultant in 2009.
“I always knew I wanted to do something with people. I either wanted to work with children or people with disabilities,” she says.
“Once I got into this career I knew this is what I wanted to do. I wanted to be part of helping people live life to the fullest.”
Kellie leads a pretty full life when she’s not working. She and her husband, Niec, have a four year old son, Kambryn. One of her greatest pleasures is getting to enjoy some family time, be it attending a soccer or swimming practice or just enjoying a day at the park. She also enjoys exploring her creative side, whether it’s helping design the interior of her new house or offering her makeup expertise to bridal party members.
“If I was not in this field I would either do something in event planning or interior design. People say I have a real eye for things.”