Bow Valley College graduate soars in new career path
Over the last four years Catalina radically changed her career from a flight attendant at WestJet to a practicing nurse and an entrepreneur.
After 13 years of working as a flight attendant Catalina considered taking a nursing program. “I always wanted to get into nursing. I liked the aspect of helping people, ” Catalina says.
A 19-month-long program at Bow Valley College was quick and affordable, compared to other options.
Catalina enjoyed taking the program and the College learning environment, she even ran for student government with the Student’s Association.
“The program at Bow Valley College gave me confidence,” says Catalina. “I liked the support and the teachers. The teachers want you to succeed.”
During her time at the College, Catalina already had entrepreneurial ambitions to support Calgary’s ageing populations. She initially had hopes to help this population by developing a home care business. “I knew I wasn’t going to work at the hospital,” she shared. Instead, she found inspiration and a way to support seniors at a local footcare clinic. “I liked the seniors, the patients, and the staff. and I knew I wasn’t going to work at the hospital. Here, at the clinic, I got to see patients recover from their health challenges. I got to see things going from very bad to very good.
As Catalina liked the clinic she worked for, when the owner wanted to retire and sell the clinic, Catalina saw this as an opportunity and purchased the clinic herself.
Just before Christmas, on December 21, 2021, Catalina re-opened the clinic under her ownership. “The learning curve was amazing. It was very tough in the months of December and January, and it reminded me of that course I failed at Bow Valley College. I knew I couldn’t fail. But if I did, I still have a chance to try again and push it.”
Now the clinic has three nurses and two administrative staff, and the number of patients has doubled compared to the previous year to more than 400 patients a month. “As for the future I plan on having two to three clinics, either franchise them, or open another one just outside Calgary,” she says. ”The major plan is to have it everywhere in Alberta. I want to be the advocate for the community and seniors’ programs, give more to the community, and be able to have a spot for seniors to go to.”