Karen Farbridge - President & Urban Connector

Karen Farbridge

President & Urban Connector, Karen Farbridge & Associates Ltd.

I was born/grew up in: I was born in England, emigrated to Canada when I was 3 and grew up in the country north of Toronto near the village of Kettleby, Ontario, Canada.

I now live in: I now live in Guelph, Ontario, Canada.

I completed my training/education at: University of Guelph and McMaster University

Describe what you do at work.

I spend much of my day bringing people together and connecting them to ideas and opportunities. I work with teams on research projects. Sometimes I spend time conducting interviews and writing reports. I work with people who want to make a difference by sharing my own experiences and knowledge. I am frequently asked to speak to people about my experience in leading change and building healthier and more sustainable communities. I also write about my experiences and thoughts on my blog. I use the critical thinking skills I developed through my science background to help people solve "wicked" problems like climate change. A lot of my work is about engaging people in their communities so that they can make a difference.

When I was a student I enjoyed:

How does your job affect people’s lives?

My work has always focused on helping people be part of the decisions that affect their lives and to empower them to make a difference in their own community. I have done this work through different roles including as the mayor of Guelph for 11 years.

What motivates you in your career?

I love working with people on projects that will make the world a better place for everyone. I enjoy the possibility that arises when you connect people with each other and the opportunities that they can create together. I have had the incredible opportunity to work in very different roles in my community - from academics, leading a non-profit organization, being mayor, to running my own business.

When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:

Describe your career path to this career.

I began my career in academics at the University of Guelph in fish endocrinology. I took a leave of absence from academia when I had my son. At that time I worked for a non-profit organization. I enjoyed working in the community so much that I took a significant turn to run for City Council and then Mayor. I spent 17 years in local politics. Now I have built my own business based on my past experience. I ran in 8 election losing 3 of them over this time which taught to keep pursuing my passion.

What activities do you like to do outside of work?

I like to hike in nature, garden, travel, cook and make mosaics.

What advice or encouragement would you give others seeking a similar career?

I would encourage others to take opportunities when they are offered, even if they seem odd or might challenge you, because you never know where they will lead.

CurioCity Careers

We hope you enjoyed learning about this great STEM career! The information in this career profile was provided by this individual especially for CurioCity. We hope it helped give you a sense of what this type of job is really like.

Let’s Talk Science is pleased to provide you with this information as you explore future career options. Many careers require a background in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Even jobs that don’t use specific STEM concepts on a day-to-day basis benefit from the skills gained through a study of STEM. People with a STEM background are very much in demand by employers across all career sectors. If you would like to learn about more careers that have a STEM connection, visit http://www.explorecuriocity.org/careers.

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