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Welcome to CorrTalk, a podcast series designed to connect you with BC Corrections leaders from across the province.

This series has been created as an extension of our leadership model to increase opportunities for communication and engagement throughout the organization. As our world and our workforce change, we are exploring creative ways to support and connect with our people. Our goal is to help listeners get to know our leaders through casual conversations highlighting their experiences and insights on leadership and development in BC Corrections,

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Meet Your Podcast Hosts

Sarah Ratel

I will be co-hosting the Corrleader podcast with my friend and partner in obscure projects, Peter Stevens.

I joined the headquarters team in 2018 and have oversight of the leadership development portfolio, with a side of provincial communication and engagement.

Although I am relatively new to BC Corrections, I have a long and winding history in and around the business that brought me to this role. Since graduating from the University of Victoria in 2006, I have worked with youth and adults in custody and community as far south as the United States and as far north as the Yukon. Before coming to headquarters I spent several years working at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre, then transitioned to probation where I supervised clients in the therapeutic courts. I eventually transitioned into a supervisory role with oversight of Yukon Community Corrections. While the Yukon provided me with tremendous opportunities and experiences, I was homesick and tired of the inhumane climate; when the opportunity to join BC Corrections arose, I jumped on it, and returned to Victoria with my family.

Over the past three years, I have done a deep dive into the world of leadership development generally, and leadership within the organization specifically – an incredible learning opportunity for me. My role is responsible for coordinating ACD’s leadership assessment and panel processes, researching, and implementing leadership development opportunities and resources for the division. For me, an important piece of leadership development is mentorship; I think there is great value in learning from the stories of others. I wanted to find a way to broadly share the knowledge and experience held within our leadership team. This podcast is an effort to build connections, share insights, and learn from each other.

Peter Stevens

What began as a summer part-time job in 1981 turned into a 35-year career in BC Corrections. The original job came at the request of a family friend wanting to know if I needed a summer job. At the tender age of 21, I began working at the Lower Mainland Regional Correctional Center (LMRCC) also known as Oakalla. I began working on the weekends, overseeing the intermittent population, and picking up extra shifts when I could. This work allowed me to continue my education and eventually lead me to work with Young Offenders towards the early 90’s.

I soon found myself gravitating to the training side of corrections and eventually landed a position at the JIBC as an instructor/trainer. This was where I found my home and enjoyed the next 20 years; helping new staff learn the ropes, experienced staff to grow and flourish and assisting senior leadership to navigate the future.

As a retired person now, it is with fondness that I look back and remember the times travelling to the various centres.  It was always a privilege to be allowed in and the connections and friendships I made last to this day.

My education and the latter part of my career was focused on leadership. All parts of it, from the staff member on the front lines working with a troubled and troublesome clientele, to  the supervisor leading by example and setting the right tone, to the senior leader setting direction and focus for a centre or division. How it all weaves together in one organization, how much an organization can accomplish and how quickly both the individual and organization can lose direction and focus.

I remember over the course of my career coming across staff who were strong leaders, they might not have seen it in themselves or be able to articulate what might have set them apart, but they were the glue that helped shape and guide the unit, team, centre or division. In most cases these leaders were quiet and did not seek attention, very often it was the opposite. They were the type of people that no matter the rank people just saw them as a strong leader.

I have always thought that in a big organization, spread out over the province, it is possible to work ones whole career and never really get to know or learn from other leaders, especially if they are not at the centre you work at. Each centre has them, yet often, because of shift work and geography one might never cross paths.

It is this idea of being able to listen and learn from other leaders that the idea for this podcast came about. Hopefully you find the people we talk to interesting, people with interesting stories that you can relate to.

This podcast is just one way to share some of these stories from some of these people. It is not an exhaustive list of leaders or questions for them. It is hoped however that in listening to the stories and experiences of others that it might help ones own leadership journey.

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