Some people come into their own later in life, not because they are irresponsible drifters, but because they are explorers … wanderers … collecting experiences, knowledge, and wisdom as they search for the life and home that foster the undeniable urge to leave the known and familiar in order to become the whole, undiscovered person they have yet to become.
And for some like Kaitlin, also broken at a young age by a series of traumatic events, the journey was made even more difficult, arduous, debilitating, and even life threatening.
At first glance, Kaitlin’s work history appears to be an unfocused, rambling path, but both her professional history presented here and her personal history presented in her recently released non-fiction, “A Charmed Life … The Story Behind Connecting The Dots With The Respect Principle,” currently only available in ebook format, reveal Kaitlin’s true personality and character as a bold, multidisciplinary individual with a well-rounded perspective created by a dynamic blend of logical, innovative, creative, and compassionate talents, knowledge, skills, experience, and passionate drive.
A passion for learning limited by the factory education model and the social impact of having an uncommon personality type in family, school, and community curtailed Kaitlin’s linear traditional formal education. However as you will discover, certainly not the education needed to become a successful entrepreneur leading an innovative company driving the global initiative, Connecting The Dots With The Respect Principle … because as she believes … everyone matters.
By age 16, Kaitlin morphed from an enthusiastic A student to a D student by grade nine, mostly due to her skipping classes and even days of school. In the middle of grade ten, Kaitlin dropped out of high school on her sixteenth birthday to marry, quickly discovering the charming, handsome man three years her senior she married was also verbally and physically abusive. Her strong will and naivety manifested defiance, added more dangerous fuel to an already volatile relationship. Fortunately, her defiance empowered her enough to leave, though much more broken than she had already been.
Between the ages of 17 and 20, Kaitlin worked in a variety of jobs, such as waitressing, as a customer service clerk and meat wrapper for an abattoir, plus she briefly worked on several production lines for a plastic auto parts factory, a canning factory, and a poultry factory, all of which were caged not just her body, but her mind.
Before she remarried at age 21, Kaitlin had been hired as set-up staff for a big box department store, Peoples, then offered the position of full time Women’s Wear Manager, and later was promoted to Assistant Manager.
At age 22, after challenging the male Area Supervisor’s treatment of the female staff by staging a staff walk-out, Kaitlin left the department store and accepted a part-time cashier job in an independent grocery store. Quickly promoted to Head Cashier, her new role included recruiting, as well as, training, scheduling, supervising, and firing both high school and adult cashiers. The additional roles of Bookkeeper and Executive Assistant, included opening and closing the store, plus merchandising seasonal holiday products followed within months.
Streamlining her grocery store role and responsibilities from a five day week to a four day week, enabled Kaitlin to train in preparation to teach the aerobic classes she had been taking in the evenings as a DanceFIT aerobics instructor. Promoted to Area Supervisor, Kaitlin’s role was cut short by her first return to school and her husband’s job relocation. Additional successes included serving as a founding member of the area’s new Big Brothers Big Sisters organization, plus successfully passing the Power Squadron’s Basic Navigation Course and a community college’s Grade 12 Equivalency test.
By age 29, seven years flew by. Encouraged by her growing track record of successes, including contributing to the store’s tripling of sales that also drove the building of a store twice the size and from store owner’s accountant for her meticulous bookkeeping, Kaitlin applied and was accepted into a private college, Westervelt, for Business Administration studies.
At age 32, Kaitlin clearly demonstrated her learning passion, plus her abilities by achieving Honors in Business Administration, while also serving as elected Student Council Treasurer and Newsletter Editor. On the eve of graduation, Kaitlin discovered the teaching staff had selected her to receive the Chi Eta Scholarship for her Outstanding Student Cooperation.
Though one of her other passions, writing, was also curtailed in her early years by the admonishment writing was not a real job, writing resurfaced as her confidence grew from her job experiences, promotions, academic achievements, plus peer and teacher recognition.
After her graduation, her husband’s transfer from their small town to the city of Toronto resulted in Kaitlin securing a Junior Accountant’s position at Howard Johnson’s corporate head office. New to the city, Kaitlin had not been aware of the frustrating challenge of commuting from one end of the city to the other, but in the sweltering heat of summer in the city, the congested expressway drive in an old non-air conditioned Camaro, loaned to her by her executive sister-in-law, she knew the commuting and the boring job to her, recording and balancing ledgers only, had to end so she resigned.
Seeking employment closer to home, plus a more challenging, engaging, and diverse role, Kaitlin sought the advice of a recruiting agency. “You’re just what they look for,” the young woman told Kaitlin before sending her to the Canadian corporate head office of the international Levi Strauss & Co. corporation.
Another seven years flew by.
Indoctrinated into the Business Planning department, Kaitlin came on board as part of the annual and five-year business planning team. Developing spreadsheets from mainframe database downloads for more effective business plan reports, she also logged and prepared monthly management capital expenditures reports.
Within a year, excellent work performance resulted in her being recommended to the Operations Planning department to serve as the Operations’ Contractor Planner.
Kaitlin avidly took on the role of liaising daily with contractors in Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia to ensure production requirements were being met or troubleshooting when they were not, as well as, liaising with several internal departments. She also visited the national contractor facilities as an inventory auditor and as a trainer for system reporting.
Her proposal, development, co-implementation, and co-training of the automated monthly planning tool reduced the monthly planning cycle by one week every month garnering her global recognition in the company’s international newsletter for her Above and Beyond the Call of Duty performance submitted by her supervisor.
Concurrently, Kaitlin served as a Fit Test Model and for five years, she volunteered as Treasurer for the company’s Community Involvement Team, as a member of the community grant application review team, as company events’ volunteer, and she worked with the company’s Public Relations and Communications Officer on special projects.
Growing restless because of having maximized opportunities in Operations, an opportunity to learn more about Human Resources shifted her focus. However, it was the company’s policy on professional development, combined with her yearly performance rating, raises, and salary, and the mentoring of an outside professional that motivated Kaitlin to apply to York University with the goal of eventually securing a Ph.D. in psychology.
Evening university classes began exposing Kaitlin to a whole new world and quickly began shifting her life course once again as she rediscovered and reclaimed her passion for writing as a way to help and inspire people.
She was a far cry from the sixteen year old high school drop-out who didn’t believe the guidance counselor when she was told she should go to university. By then, with her self-esteem perilously low, she had developed what is called “Learned Helplessness,” but fortunately, at least professionally that was beginning to change.
Hungry for more, Kaitlin took the safe step and applied for the new job at Levi’s in the Human Resources. The role was to support head office and facility Humans Resources Assistants and the Salary Manager, plus liaise with the HRIS system provider, process executive expense reports, manage the employee awards program, and upload/verify the annual salary budget. Her role also required Kaitlin to serve as secretary to the company’s Job Grading team.
Within a month after her transfer, Kaitlin proposed a team-building workshop to the HR Director. Working with an outside consultant, HR teams from five facilities engaged in a successful two-day team-building workshop, but it was the company’s Aspirations program that pushed her out the company door to follow a different path, maybe even create her own.
KAITLIN ANN TREPANIER
Human/Animal Rights Activist Social Scientist Founder Entrepreneur Author Artist
Connecting The Dots With The Respect Principle
©All Rights Reserved 2015
April 12, 2018