Making it in marketing: Second generation Fraser Valley alumna shares her journey to success

After high school, Carly Wethersett was searching for her next move. Hoping to gain clarity on her future, she attended post-secondary in the Fraser Valley, and then took a gap year while she decided what career path she wanted to go down. It was her mom’s advice that led her to BCIT.

Having grown up in Burnaby just minutes from campus, Carly (now a BCIT alumna) was very familiar with BCIT. Her mom, Trudy Handel, had worked at BCIT for years, eventually becoming the program head of the FilmFLEX program before she retired.

“Both my parents went through the Broadcast program at BCIT in the ‘70s, which is where they met,” Carly explains, adding, “BCIT was really a part of my family.”

Naturally, when Carly was ready to pursue her education again, she knew where to go.

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A rewarding passion for marketing and BCIT

“I started the BCIT Marketing Communications program when I was 20, so I had a lot of energy,” Carly laughs.

After graduating with her diploma in Marketing Communications in 2004, Carly went to work in the BCIT Biotechnology program, later moving to the institute’s Marketing and Communications department as a marketing strategist: “I was marketing School of Business programs and involved with the instructors who taught me how to market to students. It was a very unique experience that really came full circle for me.”

While working at BCIT, Carly also earned her second BCIT credential, a Bachelor of Business Administration, a program she completed at night. She graduated in 2008: “I did two classes per semester, two semesters per year, and it took about four years, but they made me valedictorian!”

Carly also received two awards during her time at BCIT: a winter bursary and a graduating award (2004).

The now two-time BCIT alum can’t speak more highly of BCIT. There’s a difference, she says, between learning a theory and actually doing what you learn – and it’s that hands-on learning at BCIT that really set her up for success: “My last semester in the Marketing Communications program, I spent four days a week at my internship. It really introduced me to the real world.”

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Carly uses BCIT marketing skills to ramp up marketing at local company

Now, as the Director of Marketing and Communications at Shear Force Equipment & Work Truck West, Carly sets the tone for the strategic direction of the company’s marketing campaigns for external and internal audiences.

“Making the switch from working for a large public body like BCIT to a medium-sized, family-run business that was just starting up their marketing plan when I joined was a great experience,” Carly says, adding that she was the first marketer the company had ever officially hired. “My bosses were doing all the marketing themselves off the sides of their desks until they got to a point where they knew it was time to call someone in that could guide them. That’s when I joined back in 2013.”

Carly’s advice to those looking to be successful in the marketing and communications industry?

“Stay connected with new tech advances,” she says. “From social media to digital outreach, things are constantly changing. Always be curious, and don’t think you know everything. Be open to learning and you never know where you’re going to get new ideas from that you can apply to your business.”

Living and working in the Langley-Cloverdale area, Carly is also a proud member of the BCIT Fraser Valley Alumni Chapter.

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