The District of Houston has seen great success in various levels of their organization from Northern Development’s local government internship program.
“The north truly is benefitting from Northern Development’s internship programs,” said Shane Brienen, mayor, District of Houston. “We’ve had some excellent graduates come through the local government internship program and it’s good to have young people stay and work in the north. Through the program they’re entering into professional jobs and are doing outstanding work. The District of Houston appreciates all the past and present interns that have worked with us and how they have made a tangible difference in our community.”
Holly Brown is one of the former Northern Development interns that is serving the community of Houston.
“After graduating from UNBC with a bachelor’s degree in Human Geography in 2019, I accepted a local government internship through Northern Development with the District of Houston, which allowed me to quickly flourish within the organization,” said Brown.
In September 2019, Brown accepted the role of executive assistant and grant writer, which she held for eight months before being promoted to deputy corporate officer/communications officer in June 2020. This summer, Brown once again moved up in the organization and is now the director of corporate services.
“The most rewarding aspect of a career in local government in Northern B.C. is the visibility of the positive impacts of your work,” explained Brown. “In smaller communities, it is likely that you know and live with the people who benefit from municipal projects and services. I think it can really enhance a person’s sense of fulfillment in their employment and belonging within the community when they feel connected to these outcomes that they contribute to.”
Earlier this summer, Brown was acting chief administrative officer (CAO) after Gerald Pinchbeck, former CAO, resigned after more than three years in the role. Pinchbeck was Brown’s mentor during her internship with the District of Houston and a former local government intern. Pinchbeck joined the District of Houston as the corporate officer after wrapping up his internship with the City of Quesnel in 2015.
Working with Pinchbeck and other members of the senior leadership team stands out as an exceptionally positive experience during Brown’s internship.
“The highlight of my internship was working with an incredible senior leadership team in Houston,” said Brown. “They helped me grow professionally from a recent post-secondary graduate to a working professional and develop a diverse skillset to adapt to changing priorities in local government and a variety of issues we face in our work.”
Brown recently hired Madelaine Swift as deputy corporate officer/grant writer with the District of Houston. Brown and Swift were both members of Northern Development’s 2019 intern cohort. With Swift joining the team, the District of Houston is currently employing two former interns and one current local government intern.
“I highly recommend a Northern Development internship to anyone who is looking to enter the field of public administration,” Brown said. “It is an excellent opportunity to gain direct mentorship from industry leaders and become familiar with the special communities in Northern B.C.”