B.C.’s Most Influential Women: Kathy Kinloch

Kathy Kinloch, President, British Columbia Institute of Technology

Kathy Kinloch, president of BCIT, exudes confidence about her school’s role in training British Columbians for the economy of tomorrow. As she puts it bluntly, “We’re at the core of B.C.’s jobs plan from a trades perspective.”

The confidence is not misplaced: last year the province announced plans to earmark 25 per cent of the $1.9 billion it contributes annually to post-secondary for programs feeding in-demand occupations. Indeed, Kinloch—as leader of Western Canada’s biggest technical school—might be considered at the core of Premier Christy Clark’s most-hoped-for legacy: a richer B.C., backed by a booming LNG sector and supported by more jobs in the skilled trades.

“BCIT’s strength is in applied education,” says Kinloch, who was appointed president in January 2014. “How do we deepen those partnerships with industry? How do we make them more meaningful, current and relevant?” In the case of natural gas, “BCIT is in the wheelhouse of LNG because of our ability to offer skilled trades programs as well as academic programs.”

The Alberta native and former nurse is no stranger to transforming post-secondary institutions, having served as president of Vancouver Community College for nearly four years prior to arriving at BCIT. Nor is she a stranger to strategizing at a provincial level, having served as a senior advisor to the B.C. Ministry of Health a decade ago.

Now Kinloch’s days are spent running from one meeting or one event to the next. She speaks constantly with government, industry, faculty, staff and students in an effort to help steer BCIT “ahead of the curve.” And yet, somehow, Kinloch still finds time for family: a husband, son and two-year-old granddaughter. “We still do family holidays,” she says.

But the president, wife, mother and hobbyist painter admits her “hyperkinetic” schedule has felled one aspect of her life: “I don’t go home at nine at night and start painting.”

To see who else made our list of the 50 Most Influential Women in B.C., go here >>