Meet Our Newest Career Coaches in Residence

March 14, 2022 | Career Coach

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Ken Lee, Kadine Cooper and Catherine Crawford
Our 2022 Career Coaches in Residence L to R: Ken Lee, Kadine Cooper and Catherine Crawford

Our newest Career Coaches in Residence offers free one-on-one career counselling and job search help for younger adults, age 18-29, from March 7 to July 30, 2022. You can connect with a career coach by phone or video. Coaches are available to answer any questions about career and job help, resumes and cover letters, preparing for a job interview or general career advice.

We asked Catherine, Kadine and Ken a few questions about their career journeys, coaching experience, and their favourite books! 


What is your favourite part about being a career coach?

Catherine: Seeing others succeed is by far the best part of being a career coach. I learned early on that I was passionate about helping others and talking through strategies on how to solve problems. Career coaching allows me to ask open-ended questions to help clients better understand their motivators while equipping them with proven strategies to propel their careers. 

Kadine: What I love about being a career coach is sharing my industry knowledge and insights with others. I love supporting people with their career goals and aspirations and providing tools and resources needed to show up as top talent to land a dream job.

Ken: Meeting and getting to know the people I’m working with, and personally supporting them on their journey. It’s often challenging to truly support someone when we fail to understand them as a person along with their life circumstances. Case in point, perhaps we’re working with a young person who’s the first person from their family enrolling in higher education. They may have never received guidance on the importance of networking or even how to do it. So being more patient and understanding may be key in making sure they feel well supported during this stressful process.

We‘re not the experts of the lives of those we work with, nor are we the experts of what they need. And so, I feel as though ever since I went into the field of career coaching, it has been a time of learning, unlearning, and relearning. This is why I’m so grateful to everyone I have encountered because they have shared with me their own unique story, perspective and life experience, which has changed how I perceive and navigate the world around me.


What was the best advice you received when you were starting your career journey?

Kadine: The best career advice that I received early in my career was to be a life-long learner. If you stop learning you stop growing, so be a sponge that absorbs information and then share that knowledge with someone else.

Ken: Let’s go with, “while things may not be going in accordance with your plans you have set, it’s important to be flexible.” It’s important to know any opportunity can be a stepping stone, so allow yourself to build on the skills you need in order to be where you want to be one day. Don’t be discouraged if you can’t find a job in your desired field of interest because who knows what the next opportunity will lead to. If I can sneak in two additional pieces of advice with no context, one would be, “stay curious and enjoy all the future adventures you’re going to have.” As well, in honour of the Arthur series wrapping up, "having fun isn't hard when you've got a library card." So get your library card now!

Catherine: The best advice I received was to conduct informational interviews with people in the industry I was interested in before embarking on more schooling and training. Informational interviews are the best way to find out what a profession is really like and if it aligns with your interests and values. You will also be able to find out if there are jobs readily available in the market and what training or certifications you need to be considered for a position.


What are you most looking forward to as a career coach at TPL?

Ken: I’m looking forward to all the great programming that we’re going to do as a team and public library. Since this is my second residency with the library I want to continue to offer career support for folks through the Career Coach In Residence program. Thereby providing an accessible opportunity for young people to seek career guidance and advice. So tune in to our upcoming webinars, panel discussions, and so much more! What’s that idiom people like to use again? Oh! We’re cooking up a storm! It’s really building on everything that’s offered through the Toronto Public Library to support our community — from Overdrive, the library's Wi-Fi Lending and Entrepreneur in Residence programs to the time when we did an Ask Me Anything on the Toronto subreddit, /r/toronto. 

Kadine: What I am looking forward to the most is making an impact in the life of every single client, giving them a sense of hope, that they can do and be anything they put their mind to because you are the CEO of your life and career. CEO for me means to "Create Every Opportunity

Catherine: I am really looking forward to continuing to work with youth. This is an exciting time for many as they embark on early adulthood, but it can also be overwhelming with all the career possibilities. Helping people at an early age find career clarity is an important process for career success, engagement, and overall happiness.


What book would you recommend to a young person starting out on their career journey?

Catherine: Being intentional about what work you do and ensuring it aligns with your values and preferences, will help you thrive in your career.

What Color is Your Parachute 2022

A fantastic book and one of the most popular career books on the market, is What Color is Your Parachute? A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers, by Richard N. Bolles. His new edition features the latest resources, case studies, and perspectives on today’s job market, revealing surprising advice on what works—and what doesn’t—so you can focus your efforts on tactics that gets results. This book provides a unique self-inventory that helps you design your career around your key passions, transferable skills, and traits to ensure career success!

Kadine: I also recommend What Color is Your Parachute! This book is a great guide for anyone in the job market with amazing tips on how to sharpen your interview skills, resume writing, intentional networking, interviewing with confidence and salary negotiation strategies and techniques. 

Ken: Career development can definitely be a lifelong journey.


One book I recommend reading is Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges, by Amy Cuddy. I love the personal stories embedded throughout the book. Lastly, as someone who continues to battle imposter syndrome, the author provides practical advice on how to bite at it.


Meet the Coaches!

Join us March 16 at 6 pm for our first event with Catherine, Kadine and Ken. Bring your questions! Our coaches will answer any questions you have and offer their career advice. This will also be an opportunity to find out more about the Career Coaches in Residence program. Catherine, Kadine and Ken will be in conversation with E-Lin Chen, one of TPL's 2021 Career Coaches in Residence.

The Career Coaches in Residence program is generously supported by RBC Foundation and with the support of several donors.

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