If you have graduated from a BC post-secondary tourism program in the past decade, it’s likely your path has crossed with Morgan Westcott. As General Manager of LinkBC, an organization with a mission to enhance professionalism in BC’s tourism industry by strengthening connections between post-secondary and the industry, Westcott has made a difference helping and mentoring many up-and-coming tourism career seekers.
The good news is that even though LinkBC is shutting down in April 2016, Westcott will continue to inspire tourism students as she transitions into teaching at the post-secondary level.
Like many other successful people working in the tourism industry, Westcott’s career has been fueled by a passion for the industry that started before it became her chosen path.
“My very first real job was at McDonalds, and then I worked at Starbucks,” says Westcott. While completing a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature at the University of British Columbia, Westcott went on to work for a locally-owned coffee shop, the Java Hut, where she became store manager. While she enjoyed the role, she realized food and beverage wasn’t quite her cup of tea, and started to explore further education in tourism.
“I learned about BCIT’s (British Columbia Institute of Technology) Marketing Management Diploma with a specialization in Tourism Management – it was a perfect fit,” says Westcott. Through the program, she landed a practicum working with the Van Dop Arts and Cultural Guide for BC that turned into a full-time job in sales and marketing.
A couple of years later, Westcott received a call. “The BC Centre for Tourism Leadership and Innovation was looking for a communications manager, I applied for the job and got it. When I first started, there was no website, and we were just coming up with a strategy for running student events. Then the organization was rebranded in 2008 to become LinkBC.” In 2013, the General Manager retired, and Westcott took on the role.
“Personally, it has always been about the students. Having them approach me after an event to tell me how they met a contact, or landed a job from a LinkBC networking event, has been very rewarding,” adds Westcott.
But change was on the horizon, and in May 2015 the LinkBC Board of Directors decided to suspend operations, and look for a home for the programs. go2HR was selected to take on the core student initiatives starting in April 2016.
While change can be scary, Westcott is excited to be transitioning her career where she can still work with students. “I am getting my feet wet with some teaching contracts at BCIT, University of the Fraser Valley, and Royal Roads University,” says Westcott. “I am really enjoying it. Working with the students was always the most exciting part of my job. My goal is a full-time teaching gig, and this is the path to that.”