Meet Our People is a recurring blog series where we introduce to you a fellow staff member here at Calgary Sexual Health Centre.

This month, your featured colleague is Becky Van Tassel: she’s an avid reader (Becky doesn’t have a top 10 list; she has a top 50 of favourite titles*), a passionate feminist, a dog lover and yoga enthusiast. Van Tassel admits that she hates talking about herself, but she was a good sport for the interview and added in some additional tidbits to make this a great first interview for the MOP segment.

Name: Becky Van Tassel

Official Title:
I’m the Community Development Manager: I’ve worked at CSHC for over three and a half years, coming up on my fourth.

Describe your work at CSHC in one sentence:
I provide training, education and community development within a feminist, pro-choice perspective.

What’s the best part of working for CSHC?
I’m both humbled and grateful to work with the community that surrounds CSHC; the clients and the staff. It’s a truly unique work environment. Our jobs are one of a kind: We get the chance to work with people to see things from a different perspective. I’m a feminist and for me, my work is an awesome opportunity to be able to make a difference and share my views with other people through my paid work!

Describe yourself in three words:
I think there is a difference between how you want to be described and how others would actually describe you. That being said, I’d probably say “passionate” and “dedicated” for the first two. Then, I’d probably say “funny” as the third word, but I’d add in “I hope”. I’m funny (I hope).

What is a [non-CSHC-related] cause that you’re passionate about:
Animal rights.

Favorite outside-of-work activity:
It’s a tie: Walking Olive (my French Bulldog) and yoga (any kind of yoga).

Coffee order (or, How to be Becky’s Best Friend):
A venti americano misto with soy. Specific, I know!

What’s your favorite place in Calgary to hang out?
My favorite place in Calgary to hang out is probably anywhere outside, especially River Park.

Where’s the most incredible place you’ve ever traveled?
Hmm, I’d have to say Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. I wanted to do something different, so I lived there for a while teaching English and working in tourism.

What’s your favorite book (this is where Becky got stuck)?
I can’t even give you a top ten. I love reading, especially non-fiction. I have so many books that count as favorites that I can’t narrow it down; if I had to choose, I could maybe make a Top 50 list. *

What professional accomplishment brings you great pride?
I’m proud of all of the work here at Calgary Sexual health Centre, especially the work we do with people with developmental disabilities and within that community. It’s an opportunity to support people who might not always be included, and it’s really important.

What personal accomplishment brings you great pride?
Well, for eight of the nine years of post-secondary education I’ve completed, I’ve worked full time while attending school full time, too.

{Interviewers note: After picking my jaw up off the floor, I inquired about how she did it. Becky shrugged, smiled and just said, mysteriously, that she is used to it. She is currently working on her Masters in Adult Education. She already has a Bachelors of Social Work, and completed a college social service work program in Montreal. Her projected graduation date is spring of 2015. When asked what she was going to do with all her extra time, Van Tassel laughs. “Relax!” she tells me. Well earned, Becky!}

What do you want people to know about your work or the work of Calgary Sexual Health?
I’d bring it back to the humility and gratitude I mentioned before. It’s an incredible, unique place to work, and we get to make a real difference in peoples’ lives, which is really rewarding.



Becky and Olive