2017 Influential Women in Business honouree Q&A: Kathy Kinloch

President, British Columbia Institute of Technology 
| Chung Chow

Each year, Business in Vancouver recognizes B.C.’s most outstanding businesswomen in private and public-sector companies. Honourees have risen through the ranks to become leaders in their fields. They help to influence and shape policy not just in our province, but also at some of Canada’s largest companies and organizations. This year’s winners include six women across a wide range of industries, with varying backgrounds and some very impressive credentials.


Kathy Kinloch began her career as a clinical nurse and taught nursing in both Alberta and British Columbia. Over the years, Kinloch served in a variety of senior administrative roles in Fraser Health and with the B.C. Ministry of Health, each with increased responsibilities. ​​Kinloch was the dean of health sciences at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) for three years until early 2010, when she was appointed president of Vancouver Community College. In January 2014, she was appointed to her current role as president of BCIT. Kinloch is a respected leader who brings a depth of business acumen and has helped to build partnerships with various stakeholders across government and industry.

What does it mean to be an influential woman? • I think we all have influence. For me, it’s simply a matter of how to channel it. In the case of BCIT, it’s a sector where influence can be so impactful, not only from myself as a leader in the system but through the faculty and staff. Every day we have contact with students and our influence is to ensure they have the best educational experience possible so they have success in their career, whatever it is.

What are some of the early lessons you learned in life and leadership that serve you today? • One of the key lessons for me has been to stay true to my own values, and aligned to them. No matter what situation you’re in as a leader, there’s going to be a tug that tells you something is off and it’s time to reassess and recalibrate the strategy that you’re working with.

What does work-life balance mean to you? • Work-life balance to me implies an end state, something you can accomplish and reap the benefits from. I see work-life balance as more of a journey. It’s about personal choice. We all have an internal compass and know when we’re getting out of balance. It’s not a steady, open road. It something one has to continually watch and assess our priorities and what we are doing. That might mean learning to say no to activities not aligned with what’s possible at the time.

What is your advice for the next generation of women leaders? • I love to spend time with young women. It’s a great energizer. I give them advice, and I learn from them as well. I suggest they differentiate themselves in their career. What can they do that gives them a little punch more? Also, create relationships outside of their organization. Network. Know what opportunities are out there and learn about new fields that might be of interest in the future. That is how I came across a number of opportunities in my career to date.

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For the record, November 7, 2017

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