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Navigating Diverse Career Paths and Cultivating Inclusive Workplaces: A Deep Dive into the Professional Journey of Sashie Steenstra

I had the privilege of engaging with Sashie Steenstra, a leader in strategic workforce development, community building, curriculum design, and proposal writing.

Sashie shared profound insights gleaned from a diverse career, shedding light on the transformative experiences that have shaped her journey.

The Career Odyssey:

Sashie’s career trajectory stands as a testament to the unpredictability of professional journeys. Originating with aspirations of becoming an architect, she discovered and fell in love with anthropology, where she completed an undergraduate and graduate degrees (specializing in primatology). The winding path led her through unexpected roles, from a flight attendant at WestJet to an English teacher in South Korea. Sashie underscores the interconnectedness of these experiences and the importance of following one’s curiosity, a compass that often guides individuals towards the right direction.

Motivation for Advocating Inclusivity:

Deeply rooted in her Buddhist upbringing and shaped by a childhood spanning three continents, Sashie developed a staunch commitment to inclusivity. Her extensive journey of adapting and fitting in everywhere instilled a profound understanding of diversity’s value. Sashie’s advocacy extends beyond mere rhetoric, as seen in her work developing a soft skills course focused on shared control and genuine care.

Strategies in Workforce Development:

In her role as  Director, Workforce Solutions at ICTC (Information and Communications Technology Council), Sashie unveils effective strategies for workforce development. ICTC, with a mandate to fortify Canada’s digital economy, employs meticulous approaches to finding end-to-end solutions and pathways to employment, such as skills mapping to identify gaps. Sashie highlights the significance of cohesive program cohorts, just-in-time components, and maintaining an open feedback loop for continuous improvement.

Insights into Community Building:

Community building emerges as a cornerstone in Sashie’s professional journey. Emphasizing shared vision, diversity, cultural relevance, and accessibility, she elaborates on her involvement in the EDGE UP program, led by Calgary Economic Development. This multi-stakeholder initiative addresses the upskilling of mid-career displaced oil and gas professionals, earning accolades for its success and exemplifying the power of clear vision and collaboration in community initiatives.

The Art of Proposal Writing:

Delving into the intricacies of proposal writing, Sashie outlines the importance of defining problems or opportunities, providing data-supported evidence, and crafting compelling narratives. Leveraging her multifaceted skill set, Sashie helps to align proposals with broader goals, underscoring inclusivity’s impact on innovation, employee satisfaction, and organizational success.

Closing Thoughts and Career Advice:

In the concluding segment, Sashie imparts valuable advice for those navigating their career paths. Emphasizing self-awareness, she encourages understanding personal values and needs, recognizing that a strong understanding of oneself is the cornerstone of a fulfilling career. By gaining clarity on what truly matters, individuals can make more informed decisions that are in alignment with their larger aspirations. Sashie advocates for active engagement with the world of work through practice, print, and people, urging individuals to gain real-time insights and letting curiosity be their guide. Staying updated on industry trends, acquiring new knowledge, and embracing an open mindset, individuals can position themselves as an asset in any work environment. By letting curiosity be a guide and learning from the experiences of others, people can navigate the intricacies of the professional world.


Sashie Steenstra’s journey and insights stand as an inspiring beacon for those navigating dynamic career landscapes. Her commitment to inclusivity, strategic workforce development, and community building reflects a holistic approach to shaping thriving workplaces. This interview not only unveils Sashie’s professional wisdom but also provides a roadmap for individuals aspiring to carve their paths with purpose and resilience in the ever-evolving professional realm.

Sashie Steenstra

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