A Life Led in the Service of Young People
Where did you grow up?
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
What do you do now?
I do clinical supervision of future teachers. I am also involved in advocacy and mobilising of human resources along with the development of youth skills programs for economic growth. Additionally, I am a conference speaker with a platform geared towards uplifting women.
What drew you to this field?
My love for people, my passion to see others succeed, especially those who are underprivileged, vulnerable, experiencing challenges, struggling, or just had a difficult past. So I decided that I would do my utmost to inspire others to succeed in spite of their circumstances.
What educational preparation did you have to do?
My entire career has been in student life. I was a classroom teacher for 12 years
before I went to pursue my studies at SUNY Plattsburgh. I completed a Bachelor of Science in Education with focus on Special Education. Then a Masters of Science in Early Childhood Special Education. I then pursued a Certificate in Management Development, Masters of Art in Training and Development, and finally a Professional Certificate course in NGO Management.
How did you fund your studies?
Personal funds and some government assistance.
What is a typical working day like?
A typical day starts with children and ends with children. I have to transition everyday from working with younger children, where I help them focus on their daily routines, to working with young adults, where I deal with adolescent issues from dropping out of college to registering for classes, planning careers and applying to college among many other things.
What do you like the most about your current profession?
Celebrating the success of my students no matter how small, spending time conversing with them, listening to their ideas and plans. I learn so much from my students; it is so amazing when I hear their perspectives on issues and the passion they have to take on initiatives and make a difference.
What’s the most challenging aspect of your current profession?
One of my greatest challenges is in implementing programs. I think programs take too much time to be implemented, particularly if the idea is a new one. Most times we shut down rather than embrace new ideas. People do not like change. They get comfortable, which can often lead to stagnancy. I am a result-oriented person and I just want to get right on with the program, so therefore it can be frustrating when others are dragging their feet. I believe that we miss out on a lot of opportunities with that laid back mindset.
Who are your role models?
My parents are my greatest role models, particularly my mom. My mom taught to me to do my best in everything . She taught me to care for others and never look down on anyone. She would say things like “Where you see someone today is not where they will be tomorrow so be careful how you treat others”. She taught us the importance of having a spiritual foundation; we would hear comments such as, ‘“You are not going to heaven on my visa get your own visa” and “I may not have much money to give you but I will give you something that no one can take away that is an education and spiritual foundation. The money will finish, you will lose the car, but they cannot take your education or spiritual foundation from you”. My dad taught me never give up in life, have a plan and stick to the plan .
What motivates you?
My children keep me grounded. They are so full of life, adaptable and creative. There is never a dull moment hanging out with them. The level of maturity they display in handling difficult situations always amazes me. They are my inspiration. We believe in each other’s dreams. We support each other in our endeavors. They are all unique, different, yet the same.
What are you most proud of?
My personal growth.
What are the biggest obstacles/challenges you have faced so far in pursuit of your goals?
I feel that I can be my own enemy. It seems so easy to motivate others, but sometimes I doubt myself. In addition, self-care can be an obstacle for me. I often find it hard to get things done for myself. It is always easy to put others before me, not that it is bad thing, but I have a challenge in striking a balance.
What is the best piece of advice for someone wishing to enter your field of study/work?
Be passionate about what you do.
What do you like to do when you aren’t working?
I don't think I really stop working. I am always at work, whether it is in my formal work setting or informal...When I am not working I am inspiring others . Nevertheless in an effort to strike the balance I do [enjoy] hosting the Tuesday night "Get Empowered" radio program, reading and posting motivational quotes on Facebook...
Anything else to add (favourite quotes, interesting facts about yourself etc)?
I love reggae music and country music...I think sometimes I am misunderstood. Some may view me as conservative, boring , serious. I don't allow what people think about me to define me or my circumstance. I know who I am and what I want, and even when I face challenges I look for the opportunity for growth. I believe that everything that has happened in my life was part of my preparation for where I needed to be and what God has in plan for me. My situation MUST produce good for me.
CariScholar Q&A with Beverly Leblanc - Director of Achievement Learning Centre and An Advocate for Children with Special Needs
This CariScholar series aims to give a glimpse into the professional journeys of some of the most accomplished academics and professionals.
Find out more about CariScholar by visiting our website.