178 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 77 PART 2 MARCH 2019
Caroline comes by her adventurous spirit through her family of origin.
Armed with a math teaching degree from Queen’s University in Belfast, her
father, Denis, took her mother, Lillian, on a not-too-smooth four-and-a-halfweek
honeymoon boat journey to New Zealand the day after their 1961 wedding.
Caroline was born in New Zealand in 1963. The family later returned
to Belfast, where Caroline’s sister, Ngaire, was born. The family’s next
adventure led them to Rossburn, Manitoba on a teaching contract with a
principal who happily explained they would be only 20 miles from “blacktop”.
Her mother mistakenly thought that was the name of a mountain. Caroline’s
brother David was born there, on the very flat prairies. The next
teaching contract in Ladysmith on Vancouver Island led to a permanent
position in beautiful Kimberley, B.C., where her family spent the rest of
their time together.
Caroline proudly considers herself a Kootenay girl by virtue of spending
most of her school years there. Among her early career highlights was a
stint as a library assistant at Kimberley Public Library and as one of the f irst
two women hired to do East Kootenay geochemical exploration for Cominco.
She notes that the precedent was not exactly welcomed: in the midst
of serious bear country, the men were given guns and a cabin, while the two
women had flare guns and a tent.
Caroline loves to travel, a passion her parents instilled in all their children
when they got permission from the Kimberley School Board to excuse
their three kids from school for six months when she was 13. Together, they
explored France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Austria, Switzerland and
Yugoslavia in a camper-converted Mercedes-Benz van. Each of the kids reentered
their next grades and passed with flying colours, proving the value
of having a teacher as a parent!
Caroline graduated from high school at 16 and left Kimberley for the University
of Alberta, the only one of her graduating class to do so, knowing U
of A had a great science program. Genetics was a passion but she quickly
learned that the only two choices in that f ield in the early ’80s were lab
research or genetic counselling. Neither one appealed at that early age. Her
curiosity about the world led her to travel to France, England, Wales and Ireland
by herself at the age of 18 (not telling her parents until too late that her
travelling partner had bailed). At 25 she traveled to Fiji, Australia, New
Zealand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, India and Africa, along the way
gaining a lifelong skill in and love of scuba diving.
A highly political and social justice–oriented person, Caroline was wooed
away from university by two amazing female mentors in the world of public
relations and never looked back. She became a go-to public affairs profes-