© iStock Women of the Arctic Council: Kathy Nghiem, Vice-Chair of EPPR 5 March 2021Arctic PeoplesCanadaEmergency Prevention, Preparedness and Response In honor of International Women’s Day on 8 March, we spoke with some of the women who work with the Arctic Council to learn more about them, what it means to be a woman in their field and their advice for young women. Kathy Nghiem is the incoming Chair of the Emergency Prevention, Preparedness and Response Working Group (EPPR). We spoke with Kathy about her career path that led her to the Canadian Coast Guard, embracing being different from peers, challenging the status-quo and her advice on keeping an open mind when it comes to careers. Can briefly you tell us about yourself and how you’ve been involved with the Arctic Council? I’m a first generation Canadian and I grew up in a small town just west of Toronto, Ontario. I have a bachelor’s and master’s degree in sociology. I’ve worked for the Canadian public service for over 20 years. For the first 15 years I worked on various aspects related to the Government of Canada’s response to Indian Residential Schools. In 2015, I was ready for a new challenge, so I took a leap of faith and joined the Canadian Coast Guard to try something completely different. Much of my work with the Canadian Coast Guard has focused on forward planning and developing policy solutions for its emergency response programs, including search and rescue and environmental response. I started participating in the Arctic Council’s EPPR Working Group in 2019 as Canada’s Head of Delegation. This spring, I will be taking on the role of Chair of EPPR for 2021-23. What motivated you to pursue a career in your field of work? I first joined the Canadian public service through a work placement during my bachelor program. The job advertisement sounded interesting, but it was in an area that I knew nothing about. Figuring I had nothing to lose, I submitted my application anyway. Much to my delight, I was chosen from my written submission! This placement introduced me to the public service and I later decided to pursue a career in the Canadian public service because I was intrigued by the vast number of opportunities it presented. Admittedly, I was also looking for stability and predictability, both financially and professionally. And – to be honest – I didn’t really know where I could go with an education in sociology in the public service, but I was open to seeing where it could take me.