Krystell and Tim O'Haraletmein@top5050
34 & 44 Years Old
Class of 2020
“I am originally from Colombia, which is a beautiful country with good people, but also a long history of armed conflict. When living in a country with so much social injustice people often get used to it, but many of us also feel empathy and know that is our responsibility to do something, to advocate for others peoples rights, and that is what I chose to do.”
Krystell is a Human Rights, Equity, and Inclusion leader. She holds a Magna cum laude degree in International Relations and Political Science, studies in Management Systems, and is a Certified Community Interpreter. She holds a Diploma in Laws, Policies, and Procedures of Immigration from the University of British Columbia.
“I started volunteering for organizations helping children in vulnerable conditions and researched marginalized women that used to be sex workers, because of my passion for human rights I decided to study political science and international relations, I felt that leaders in positions of power have a better chance to influence positive change in society if they fight for giving everyone the best chance to succeed in life.”
Until recently, Krystell was the Coalitions Creating Equity Coordinator, a province-wide initiative that involved similar collaboratives in Wood Buffalo, Lethbridge, Red Deer, and Calgary, to collaboratively address discrimination, inequity, and racism. She also co-developed a project called I See You: Sawubona, under the leadership of RACIDE and the department of Community Services of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. The project was nominated for the excellent Arts Awards last year, and was the recipient of the 2020 Family and Community Support Services Association of Alberta Award of Excellence in the category of Population Between 20,000 and 85,000.
Before her role as CCE Coordinator, Krystell was Project Manager of the Interpretation and Translation Unit of the Multicultural Association of Wood Buffalo (MCA) where she facilitated the Community Interpretation Training to certify individuals as Community Interpreters. She is also an alumnus of Leadership Wood Buffalo.
During her time with MCA, she also served as Events and Volunteer Coordinator engaging and encouraging more than 30 different ethnocultural communities to exercise their right to freely participate in the cultural life of the community by expressing their cultural heritage.
Together with her husband, Tim, Krystell is kept busy with her children Connor and Liam, and has recently been making unforgettable memories camping across Canada.
“Since the pandemic hit, I have slowed down to be with my kids, but I have recently developed training content around unconscious bias and allyship for an organization in Red Deer that is working with leaders in the region to fight racism in central Alberta, and I’m serving as the co-chair for the Equity and Inclusion Committee of the Arctic Winter Games.” she said.
“I have a firm belief in the power we have as individuals to make a positive change in society. I want to give everything I have to leave a better world for my kids and other children that are relying on us for them to grow up in a more just society; this is the reason why my passion is to fight for equity and social justice.”
“Success to me isn’t just about meeting financial goals, or positions or titles; it is about life in general.”
Tim O’Hara’s story could be titled “Planes, Trains & Automobiles.”
He attended Trinity Western University on a scholarship with the Canadian Armed Forces through their Regular Officer Training Plan.
While at university, he acquired his Class 4 license and started driving sports teams, choirs, and other groups around.
He went on to obtain his Commercial Pilot license, all the while working for the Canadian Pacific Railway. From there, he drove a taxi and finally transitioned into a career in student transportation.
“I had a lot of learning to do, and as I researched the laws and regulations and reached out to others in the industry with questions, I quickly gained a lot of knowledge. Soon after, I was the one who started receiving calls from others,” Tim shared.
“Student Transportation is a small industry, and almost everyone in management roles knows each other. This is one of the reasons that I enjoy working within the industry. Additionally, everyone involved in school busing does it because they have a passion for the business and want to keep our children safe.”
Now, the General Manager at Sparksman Transportation, this husband and father is also the company’s official safety officer and senior driving instructor, and he also handles the majority of their Human Resources duties.
Outside his professional role, Tim’s community involvement is primarily as a trustee for the Fort McMurray Public School Board.
“When we’re not amid a Pandemic, being a Trustee allows me to attend several events in town, and also to go into several schools and classrooms to see what amazing things our children are learning, doing, and creating,” he said.
Tim was also the Chair of Internal Transportation for the 2015 Western Canada Summer Games and the 2019 Wood Buffalo Alberta Winter Games. He is looking forward to volunteering in a similar role for the Wood Buffalo 2022 Arctic Winter Games.
Although 2020 has brought with it many challenges, Tim recognizes the importance of setting aside time for himself and his family and looks forward to a future with more camping and more travelling with them.
“Success to me isn’t just about meeting financial goals, or positions or titles; it is about life in general,” he said.