The Vancouver Convention Centre and BC Pavilion Corporation (PavCo) are proud to employ a dedicated team of diverse professionals. With our Team Meeting series, we want to highlight those people who help us shine.
With everything that takes place in a facility like ours, it is critical that our team has a firm grasp of everything that is taking place in order to maintain a safe environment for our guests and provide support where needed. That’s where our Guest Services Operations Centre comes in. Called ‘GSOC’ for short (pronounced “Gee-Sock”), they are the communication hub and command centre of our facilities operations. GSOC is responsible for 24-hour security operations, emergency response, access control and handling communications involving clients, retail tenants, facilities and event operations.
Leading this team is Kathryn Gidluck, Assistant Manager, Facilities Services, who has been with the Vancouver Convention Centre for over five years now after starting out as one of our Managers on Duty.
In addition to overseeing the day-to-day activities of GSOC, Kathryn’s role also touches on many other aspects of the Convention Centre’s operations including security, access control, emergency response preparation and workplace safety. And now, during these unprecedented times, Kathryn has been one of the team members helping guide our organization forward in making our facility safe for events that have returned once again.
Considering all that she does and how well she does it, it came as no surprise that Kathryn would be included as one of the International Association of Venue Manager’s 30 Under 30 Class of 2020. As one of “the best and brightest young professionals in the venue management industry”, Kathryn brings an incredible level of innovation and effectiveness to our team and the facility, and we are certainly lucky to have her in such a critical role at the Convention Centre.
Can you describe your role at the Convention Centre?
I manage the Guest Services Operations Centre (GSOC), which is the Command Centre and communication hub of the building. This room operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week and oversees the life safety systems and personnel in our two buildings.
GSOC is such a unique piece of the organization. While we oversee safety and security within the facility, we also work with many external stakeholders and contribute to a very important pillar of our organization, which is providing excellent customer service.
What does a typical day look like for you?
These days, my typical day looks quite different than it would have about four months ago! Transitioning to working from home has been quite the learning curve over the last few months. Recently, trying to keep our puppy from eating our couch has been a fun challenge in between meetings.
However, normally, each day the GSOC team and I work very closely with every department as well as external stakeholders to ensure operations at the facility are running smoothly and safely. With such a diverse range of responsibilities, every day is different and keeps us learning each day – it certainly keeps things very interesting! On top of that, it truly is a pleasure working with such a unique and highly skilled team made up of such wonderful people.
Is there anything particularly unique or interesting about the Vancouver Convention Centre as a facility that excites you?
I fell in love with the Convention Centre when I did my first tour with Rod MacLean many years ago. I was just starting my Hospitality Degree program and we had the opportunity to take part in a tour of the Convention Centre West building. That was the moment I knew I had to work here one day.
From our six-acre living grass roof, to the honeybees that live on top of it, to the wastewater treatment plant and not to mention the incredible views of the north shore mountains (when it’s not raining), there is just so much to be excited about here. I also just love seeing our facility as a blank canvas for events to come in and transform the spaces into unique and customized experiences.
What is your favourite part of your job?
Besides working with such an incredibly talented team, I love the diversity of the people and events we have welcomed through our doors. I love being a very small part of people’s first impression of Vancouver or Canada.
Do you have any advice to share for others looking to get into facilities services / venue management?
Work hard, keep an open mind, never stop learning and always push yourself out of your comfort zone. I believe that your professional growth is only as long as your career, but the impact you have on others is your legacy – so make it a good one!