McKenzie Lee '06

WHITTALL ‘o6

“Don’t let the what-ifs stop you from making the moves you need to make”

WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY DOING
PROFESSIONALLY OR OTHERWISE?
For the last seven years, I have been working as an environmental scientist in the private sector since graduating from the University of Victoria. I’m currently a Project Manager at Sartori Environmental Inc., based out of North Vancouver, BC.

WHAT ACHIEVEMENT(S) ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?
Having spent much too long in school, getting into the workforce within my dream field of Applied Biology was huge for me. Graduating from a very focused program and moving into self-directed training on legislation and wildlife with regard to construction projects was a greatly fulfilling experience. Learning about bird identification, techniques and bird calls has also been very interesting and gratifying. I happened to find a rare migratory songbird in the mountains outside of Pemberton in Southwestern BC. It was an Olive-Sided Flycatcher which has a distinctive call that sounds like “Quick, Three Beers.” Needless to say, it’s my favourite.

WHAT ARE YOU MOST PASSIONATE ABOUT?
Outreach for important environmental causes. I work with a number of volunteer groups such as Shoreline Cleanup, Pacific Salmon Foundation and several Streamkeepers groups within Metro Vancouver, regularly volunteering with their salmon release and information sessions. Community events are a pillar in the transfer of knowledge between those working in the environmental industry and the general public, especially when it comes to inclusion of our younger generation to establish a deeper connection to the sensitive ecosystems within our urban environments.

DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE QUOTE OR MANTRA?
It’s pretty bleak but I seem to say, “if you die, you die” a lot. The intention is to not let the “what if’s” stop you from making the moves you want or need to make.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU?
I’ve been taking on larger hikes in the summer months. I’m most looking forward to hiking the North Shore Mountain’s “Knee Knacker” race route this Spring, the entirety of the Garibaldi Provincial Park between Squamish and Whistler and ultimately a multi-day hiking trip to Nepal in 2019-20.

WHO OR WHAT HAS HAD THE BIGGEST INFLUENCE ON YOUR LIFE TO DATE?
It’s pretty easy to say that my biggest influence in life has been my mother. Not only was she responsible for sending me to Brentwood (which I credit for bringing me to where I am today), but she has always been an important professional role model to me as a marketing executive and small business owner; she’s had great success in real estate as well.

WHAT WAS THE LAST NEW THING YOU TRIED?
All the beers at a new craft brewery in my town; but I swear I’m normally more adventurous than that!

FAVOURITE BRENTWOOD MEMORY:
Bringing together a group of fellow 2006 grads for the Brentwood Regatta recently was fantastic. I really miss the annual Regatta and interhouse events and competitions that we experienced as students.

FAVOURITE BRENTWOOD TEACHER(S):
The most impactful teachers I had at Brentwood would be the Felix’s, hands down. Marius taught me Geography and Andrea taught me Psychology; both experiences resulted in raised interest and focus in my studies at UVic.

WHY?
The Felix’s were my houseparents in Whittall throughout my years in Brentwood. They were incredibly helpful to me during my transitions in and out of Brentwood. Their son Ben was and continues to be a close friend and I wish them all the best in their retirement and move to Ottawa!

WHERE DO YOU HOPE TO BE 10 YEARS FROM NOW?
Travelling with no end in sight.

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