Yvonne Nakimayak, Community Connector, Communicator & Collaborator

Yvonne Nakimayak is a Yellowknife-based regional director of operations in the Northwest Territories government. Here, she tells FLARE how she made it

Yvonne Nakimayak

Yvonne Nakimayak; @ydoolittle

How do you describe your job to your family?

I tell them that I am the connector, communicator and collaborator for Northwest Territories residents, communities and our Cabinet. They still don’t get it!

Where did you go to school and what did you study?

I went to Arctic College in the Northwest Territories and studied recreation leadership.

What was your first paying gig out of school? (In your field, or not.)

I was super fortunate to get sponsored to go to school, and I had a terrific job energizing the community, region and the north as soon as I graduated.

What was your BIG break? How did you land it?

My boss saw that I was very capable to lead operations and management in my region—and anywhere, actually. He challenged me with assignments and identified me for executive training.

What would you say has been your most significant setback, career-wise, to date? How did you bounce back?

Back when I first started accruing pensionable time on my pay cheques as a student, I cashed it in to help buy a cool car. I lost four years of pension! Looking forward, I know how important it is to my future to think of that when choosing my next job.

Name one piece of career advice you always give.

Smile, be ready to explain your title, your connection to your community and what is the current or hot issue in your shop, even when you are not expecting to be recognized.

What’s the worst career advice you’ve ever gotten?

“Keep your head down and do your job.”

Have you ever disclosed your salary to a colleague in the name of transparency? Why or why not?

I have—I’m all about transparency and honesty. Most women need role models who have these values.

Looking to the future, what excites you the most about your career?

I see many opportunities to work with the people of the North and develop sustainable families, communities and systems.

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