Jul 1, 2009 | News

Kate Dodd In Profile

Every five years during her adult life, Kate Dodd has switched jobs. Until she joined the staff at Mount Washington Alpine Resort, that is.

Now, she’s having so much fun she wouldn’t dream of working anywhere else. Dodd is the Resort Director of Finance “and sometimes Human Resources, and sometimes not,” she says.

Dodd and her staff are responsible for the safekeeping of all of the Resort’s assets. Human Resources intuitively fits into her role “because our biggest asset is our people.”

She takes care of capital, purchasing, future planning, budget reporting and controls.

She skis – badly, by self-admission. She leaves the on-the-slope activities to those who are more skillful, and dedicates her mountain time to her job. Dodd joined the accounting field in 1989 after a varied career. “I have a patchwork quilt past,” she says, smiling. Dodd originally earned a degree in psychology, “which qualified me to work in restaurants and little else,” she says ruefully.

While living in Winnipeg, Manitoba, she worked in restaurants in every capacity then moved on to a seniors’ centre and a wilderness camp for troubled teens. She gravitated back to restaurants, eventually owning a couple.

When she started a family she took the Certified General Accountants course by correspondence, deciding that restaurants weren’t the place she wanted to raise her children.

She was working in an accounting firm in the Comox Valley in 1995 when Mount Washington advertised for an accountant. A prairie girl through and through, Dodd wasn’t sure she wanted to work in a mountain resort, until she went for her interview. Now she hasn’t looked back.

In 2006 Dodd took over as Director of Finance. Dodd loves the way the atmosphere at the Resort changes virtually with the weather. “It’s truly seasonal,” she says. “In winter there’s 800 staff here. It’s filled with happy holidayers; people’s intentions when they come here is to have fun, so for the most part were assisting them in something good.”

The off-season sees the core staff shrink. There’s a mini-burst of activity when the summer season kicks off, then all of a sudden it’s autumn and time to prepare for the winter season again.

“Every five years I’ve changed careers, for my whole life. Until I got here,” says Dodd. “Now I’ve changed positions every five years but still stay with the mountain. It has yet to bore me – it’s so much fun.”

One of the things she particularly loves about working at Mount Washington is the sense of teamwork. “I feel down at my core that things are done best in teams. I’m free to explore new ideas around here because of the support and input and vision of the people I work with,” she said. “That’s actually my favourite part of the job – how much people want to contribute. How much this is a team.”

When she’s not working, Dodd can be found working in her garden, around the house or traveling with daughter and son, both who are in post-secondary school.

Last summer she built a brick patio in her backyard and redid her driveway in brick. This year she is remodeling the second floor of her Comox home. “We stripped it down to the 2x4s,” she says.

Her daughter’s boyfriend, who lives with Dodd’s family, is doing a lot of the work, and Dodd does the finishing work. “What I really want to learn is the building stuff – actual construction of things,” she says. “I think it’s because it’s the opposite of work that I really love to do things hands on.”

Dodd has always traveled since she was young. With a family she has done summer road trips to Los Angeles, down the Oregon Coast and back to Winnipeg. One year they traveled to Quebec and drove around the Gaspé Peninsula. She hopes to travel more in the coming years. “That’s my dream, once the kids are out of school. That’s when I’m hoping to be able to travel further abroad.” Three destinations on her list of places to see are New Orleans, Greece and Ireland. But she’ll always return home – to Mount Washington.