Whether you are new to BCIT, a returning student, or part of BCIT’s alumni, one thing that connects all of us is that we came to BCIT to find our careers. It just happens that sometimes the careers we prepare for are not the ones we find ourselves in. That is the case for one of BCIT’s most connected and involved alumni, Tyler Pronyk.
Coming to BCIT in 2006, Tyler originally found himself in the Human Resources Program, intrigued by BCIT’s respected reputation.
“I was the youngest one in my program. I had just come off a year of work abroad in Japan.”
Despite having the chance to travel, Tyler knew that he had to upgrade his skills to get further in life.
“BCIT’s School of Business really positions people well to have a range of adaptable skills. We need to recognize the skills we have, what you have that no one else has to offer, and then have the courage to offer it.”
Tyler told me that one of the most valuable skills he learned at BCIT was prioritization: “I was going to school full time and I was working. It helped me prioritize what was important and what was not. If something is worth 40 percent of your mark, that requires a lot of prioritization. I think it is what has helped define me as a leader in business.”
After a short period in the human resources sector, Tyler made a shift.
“I had a very uncommon career path. I started at A&W Canada and spent about 12 years with them, but only two and a half years in HR. From there I went into equipment supply changes, which was basically dealing with anything you did not eat or throw away in the restaurant, I started buying it. I spent about eight years doing distribution, leading environmental initiatives for the organization, and then moved into operations. And people would ask me, oh you went to school for HR, how come you spent so much of your career outside of HR? The honest answer is I have spent my whole career leading, developing, and managing people, and I think the HR program made me a better leader. So, when I moved away from those roles, I was better able to lead in a way that people without HR training would not have been able to.”
Tyler has found the way for him to stay active in the community by being involved in several boards for community organizations like the Sharing Farm, which protects four acres of land in Terra Nova and Richmond, and is primarily used to grow food to donate to local food banks.
Tyler also sits on the advisory committee for BCIT’s Human Resources program, joining a year after his graduation, and is currently one of the longest serving members of the committee.
“It’s a small commitment to give back to the program that has given me so much,” said Pronyk. “Every year that goes by, you reflect more on where you came from and where you are going. And for me it’s all about relationships, whether that is personal relationships, business relationships, political relationships. At the end of the day, it is about people. At the start of my BCIT journey, it may have been all about marks, it might have been about success; it was a checklist of emotions and things you need to do at 22 years old.”
Tyler recently decided to pursue a Masters of Business Administration. Like so many young parents (he is a father of four kids all under age nine), he is striving to find the perfect balance. As he pursues his masters, Tyler is still staying active as a private consultant working on projects like political campaigns and stakeholder relations.
“It’s not like there is a playbook that says this is what you need to do. There might be one that tells you what was done in the past, and you look at your current position. But so much of leadership in business is taking what is around you and making the best possible decision at the time. Whatever I am doing, I need to have an impact, but as far a checklist, that is not something I think about as much as 12 years ago.”
Tyler’s success and unconventional career path shows that it’s important to be passionate and interested in the world. Even when we think that our skills or credentials have little relation to an industry or a job, once you find the angle where you can show your leadership and work ethic, you can find a space in any sector or industry.
Jonah van Driesum is the senior editor of Link, and co-host of our the MicroLink podcast!