Arguably the City of New Westminster’s biggest fan and proponent, Tej Kainth, Executive Director of Tourism New Westminster, has built a strong career promoting her own home town.
Fueled by her passion for the city, and a strong vision for the future, Kainth’s career has been on the rise ever since she started her first tourism job in the role of Front Desk Agent with the Inn at Westminster Quay. At that time, she was nearing graduation from Capilano University’s Tourism Management program.
“I had travel plans to go to Europe after graduation when a job opportunity came up for the role of Marketing and Visitor Services Coordinator with Tourism New Westminster,” says Kainth. “If I didn’t apply, I knew I would regret it.” And as it turns out, the day she walked across the stage for graduation, she landed her ultimate dream job.
Over the past eight years, working much of the time as a ”one-woman show”, Kainth has risen to her current role driven by her passion for the city. Now she has a permanent staff of one, and brings in a couple of temporary summer students. “It is such an adventure and it’s my life. I love this city, and I love promoting it,” says Kainth. “I get to work with the business stakeholders, there are community festivals, and so much more. It’s all part of a great vision that the city has for the rebirth of the city.”
As a young leader, Tej feels fortunate to have the opportunity to grow with the role, and says that learning from neighbouring destination marketing organizations has been a valuable resource as well. “My main challenge is time management as there is so much going on – new products, media attention, and so many different aspects that balance can be a challenge. This is not a Monday to Friday, 9-to-5 job, and sometimes I don’t know when to turn it off.” But she says she is learning to manage work-life balance as time goes by.
In addition to her role as Executive Director, Kainth is a certified WorldHost facilitator, a keynote speaker for a number of post-secondary events, and recently ran for New Westminster City Council. She says that she still has political aspirations, and may run again in the future.
When asked for advice to aspiring tourism career seekers, she suggests building relationships, networking and finding a mentor are key. “I have 3 to 4 mentors and they really do help. Find a person in a job or career you would love to see yourself in, and then find out how they got there,” suggests Kainth.
When asked what’s next for her career goals, Tej says she plans to do whatever it takes to promote New West. “I try to lead by example, and I am constantly out there enjoying what the city has to offer. I play in and experience New West, and I have recently invested there too in a new home.”
Tej was first profiled on go2hr.ca in 2006 as a Front Desk Agent. A true ambassador for the tourism industry, she has excelled and advanced in her career.