“When my legs seized up, all I could do was be present, remind myself that I am okay and keep moving forward,” says BCIT alumna Kelsy Trigg, recalling the moment she hit the 220km mark of the Transalpine-Run 2017.
The 270km, seven-day race is renowned for challenging teams of two to conquer an extreme trail run in the dizzying altitudes of The Alps. But Kelsy and her teammate knew how to prepare for the 2017 event. In fact, they had successfully completed the race the year before. So they trained for the conditions. They built up their physical strength. They honed their communication skills.
But during race week, and after already racing for five days, her teammate couldn’t finish the course. Kelsy had to complete the rest of the race alone: “Day 6 involved some of the most awkward, painful and ugly hours I’d spent on the trail.”
How did she motivate herself to carry on when things weren’t going as planned?
“Sometimes, things go sideways, and you just have to regroup and rally,” explains Kelsy, whose ability to adapt to a changing environment is a big part of how she became a two-time Transalpine-Run finisher. This tireless agility is something the BCIT alumna says she sharpened while studying Computer Systems Technology (CST) – Management Information Systems. As it has for her racing, this skill has served her well in her career, which has also taken a few unexpected but rewarding turns.
When Kelsy graduated with honours from the program in 1990, she began her career as a developer, later moving into systems analysis and project management. Then she formed and ran her own consulting company for several years. After that, Kelsy joined SAP (then Business Objects) where she’s held two different director roles and VP roles, the last of which is her current: Vice President & Global Head, Human Resources Project Office.
She says when she was a CST student, she couldn’t have predicted where she’d be in her career today, but recognizes that her education became a foundation for her professional growth, no matter the changing environment.
While BCIT gave her important technical skills, it also reinforced the importance of persistently looking for opportunities. Kelsy says that when you put opportunity together with your education and strengths, you’ll find your sweet spot.
“Don’t try to have your whole career figured out right away,” she advises BCIT graduates. “Keep focusing on your strengths and be open to unexpected opportunities.”
When asked about her next step, smiling, she simply answers, “The mountains call to me.”