Looking at a map of the Northern Health (NH) region, there’s no denying it: The North is huge. With half the province in its jurisdiction, the variety of people and places in the NH region is unmatched in BC. This is why it’s so important for us as an organization to utilize our most valuable assets: Our local people! Enter the role of a Recruitment and Retention Ambassador. We caught up with Byron Stewart in Fort St. John to discuss more about his role in the Northeast.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background?
I was born in Saskatchewan and raised in Fort St. John, BC, along with my younger brother. My father was the city’s Fire Chief and upon retiring, he was elected to City Council. My mother was a registered nurse and, later, a legal secretary. I went to post-secondary in Grande Prairie, AB and Brandon, MB as well as Northern Lights College here in Fort St. John. I have a varied employment background of working with youth, recreation and leisure services, the oil and gas industry, live entertainment bookings and management, and I have been an elected city councillor for the City of Fort St. John since 2011. I have been happily married to my beautiful wife, Lisa, since 2008 and I have an appreciation for hats, colourful socks, and the sound of people laughing and enjoying life!
What’s your current role at Northern Health, and can you explain a bit about what you do?
I am Northern Health’s Recruitment & Retention Ambassador for the Northeast (NE). I was hired in December, 2021 and my role has two main branches of engagement. The first aspect is recruitment. This means creating a long-term recruitment strategy by engaging the youth of the Northeast and raising awareness of the opportunities available for education, mentorship, financial assistance, and the various pathways into the health care industry. The second branch is retention, meaning I meet with newly hired Northern Health employees here in the Northeast and offer support and assistance with onboarding, community connection, and any challenges they may be facing while adjusting to their new role at Northern Health.
What is your favourite part of your role at NH?
Coming into this role with no previous experience in the health care industry other than being a patient, I have truly enjoyed the steep learning journey I am on. The conversations shared with newly hired professionals and the varied ways of connecting our health care professionals with youth has been very enjoyable and positive. I very much enjoy having a role within the long-term vision and planning of Northern Health here in the Northeast.
What’s your favourite thing to do in your community / region?
The natural beauty of our region simply must be explored and enjoyed. My wife and I, along with a great group of close friends, started our Pelican Club a few summers back, with each of us purchasing Pelican kayaks. With so many lakes and waterways within our region, kayaking has been a wonderful activity to enjoy. In the winters, snowshoeing throughout the region is the choice activity that our group is getting out to enjoy more of together. Whether it’s summer or winter, here in the Northeast the skies are most often blue with plenty of sunshine!
If you could show someone one thing about your region to prove its awesomeness, what would you show them?
The vast natural beauty of our region is all around us: The blue skies and sunshine, the clear star-filled night skies with the Northern Lights, the rivers, mountains, lakes, forests, farms, ranches, and wilderness. Additionally, the people that make the region their home are always warm-hearted and welcoming – a feature you will find year-round.
Anything exciting in your region that you’d like to promote?
The Crystal Cup Pond Hockey Tournament is back!
After a much longer break than anticipated, the Crystal Cup Pond Hockey Challenge and Sid Davis Youth Memorial Challenge returned to Charlie Lake this February 24 to 26, with over 100 teams and lots of great hockey action!
This event was, and still is, the vision and creation of our Fort St. John Hospital Inpatient Manager, Neil Evans, along with his recreational hockey team and many regional volunteers.
The annual Crystal Cup Pond Hockey Tournament is located 5 minutes west of Fort St. John, BC at the public boat launch at Charlie Lake, BC.
Big ups to Byron for sharing his story. If you reside or visit Fort St. John and the residing area and happen to see him, don’t be shy to have a chat!
Interested in job opportunities in the Northeast? Check out our job openings here: Job Opportunities