Day in the Life: Krysia – Summer Law Student / Aboriginal Relations

Krysia is your typical 25 year-old, who likes to hang out with family, friends, and also loves a good episode of Sex & the City. Krysia is also a driven over-achiever, who has accomplished much for her young age. Having just missed the 2000 Olympics trials in the swimming category by .003 seconds, the devastating loss did not deter her from achieving her dreams. Currently, Krysia is an eighth-year summer student at TransCanada Pipelines in Calgary, aspiring to become a full-fledged lawyer with the company. As a summer law student in the Aboriginal Relations department, Krysia shuffles between reviewing legal agreements, providing feedback on Aboriginal issues and inspiring other Aboriginal youth about the numerous opportunities available in the oil and gas sector.

A high school assignment studying media led Krysia to her passion for Aboriginal issues. Already working on her second degree in law at the University of British Columbia, Krysia applies this valuable knowledge in the legal negotiation process between TransCanada and oil and gas communities. The combination of legal duties and Aboriginal relations creates what Krysia calls the “best of both worlds.”

“When I was 17, the TransCanada recruiters came to my reserve (Carry the Kettle), and my grandmother encouraged me to apply. I made the list as a summer student and the rest is history. TransCanada has really opened up a lot of doors and opportunities I never would have known about. I really feel that oil and gas chose me!”

Other special projects 
“Every year, I get to be part Aboriginal Awareness Week, where I coordinate a tipi display to build awareness of the culture. I also volunteer at the Calgary Stampede’s Indian Village, helping out with a few administrative duties. I was also involved with the CFAR Society, which is a non-profit made-up of Aboriginal liaison professionals. I assisted the founding members with organization and administration, and since my involvement the organization has grown to one hundred members. Another great part of my job is acting as a representative of the company at various career fairs, telling people what I do and the great opportunities available for summer students at TransCanada. Being Aboriginal myself, I really enjoy working with other young girls and educating them about the endless opportunities, such as scholarships and programs available for Aboriginals. I am definitely a strong advocate of that and will do anything I can to encourage Aboriginal youth to stay in school.”

What I love about my job

“TransCanada has opened a lot of doors for me. I’ve developed so much self-esteem and confidence. I can now hold a conversation with senior management and not bat an eye.”

If I could change one thing about my job, it would be…

“Nothing! I have the best job – people want my job!”

Culture at TransCanada — “It’s really like a second family here. The team has seen me grow up. Lots of opportunities!”

What surprised me most about the oil and gas industry 

“There were a lot of men when I first started, and I also heard that it was a man’s industry. I met a female executive and I was inspired. People in this industry have been really open towards me. I started as one of the few women, now our Alberta team has an even number of men and women.”

My best ‘pat-on-the-back’ moment at work

“I was at a Q&A session, where there were a lot of senior execs and management in attendance. I asked a very unique question, which my supervisor took notice of and paid compliments on asking such a great question!”

What inspires me most at work — “Knowing that I can have it all and that I have access to such great opportunities. I follow the example of my supervisor, and know that I can do the same.”

Favourite teacher or mentor, and why 

“My parents. They taught me the most important life lessons. They came from poor families and taught me to put heart in everything I do.”

My life’s mantra (favourite quote, saying, etc.)

“I have a coin that I kept from my swimming days to motivate me. It says Believe to succeed.”

Company: TransCanada Pipelines

Location: Calgary, AB

Department: Community, Safety & Environment & Aboriginal Relations

Education: BA in History, University of Calgary, 3rd year law student, University of BC

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