alumni UBC’s afterwords is a digital conversation series that shares the stories of some of UBC Okanagan’s extraordinary alumni.
Meet JoséE Kreese
1. What is your current profession?
I am a Registered Social Worker.
2. What education did you receive at UBC?
I completed my Bachelor of Science in 2020, majoring in Psychology, and my Master of Social Work in 2022, both at UBC.
3. What do you think makes UBC Okanagan great?
I believe that the interconnected community on campus makes UBC Okanagan great! Because it is a smaller campus, it does not feel as daunting, people are willing and eager to make connections, and everyone is so friendly including the faculty and staff! The education I received was very profound, and I felt supported along the way.
4. If you could start university again, would you do anything differently?
There are definitely a few things I would change. However, my university path has made me who I am today, and I learned a lot along the journey. One thing I would change is to keep all my textbooks! Although it was nice to be able to sell some of them, I do enjoy having a collection of textbooks for reference, and to reflect on all the learning that came from them.
5. What was your first official job after graduation?
My first official job after graduating from the Master of Social Work program was serving as a Family Navigator at the Child Advocacy Centre of Kelowna. I completed my second practicum with this organization and feel very fortunate to have been able to continue working with them following the completion of my degree.
6. What is the best part of your current job?
The best part of my job is knowing that the organization is helping to support the response to child abuse every single day. The team at the CAC are amazing, and being able to work in a multidisciplinary team has a profound impact on the supports and services that are able to be offered to children and families.
7. What are some of the challenges you have faced in your career?
Being in the social work field is not always easy, and it can be challenging work at times. Taking care of myself and finding work-life balance has been a change since finishing university. As a working professional, ensuring that I set boundaries for myself and allow myself time to rest, decompress, and relax is extremely important, because doing so helps me continue to contribute to my work in the best way possible.
8. What would you like to share with current students who will be graduating in the coming years who have concerns with the current work climate?
My advice to you is to make connections. Go to networking events, talk to people in the field you are interested in, find a volunteer position that fills your cup, and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Be confident in your abilities, and always know your worth.
9. What's the best advice you can give to help plan a career?
Pick a field and career that you are passionate about. If you are passionate about the work you’ll be doing, it will make it feel less like work!
10. Do you have a mentor? How have they influenced you?
I have had many mentors throughout my lifetime. The biggest influence they have had on me is helping me find my voice, gain confidence, and ask all the questions I need to ask when more information is required.
11. What is something you continually find yourself saying?
Live a life of purpose. This saying reminds me to look ahead to ensure every decision I make is meaningful, and to also find purpose in what I am doing each and every day.
12. How do you balance your work and home life?
I think it is important to find hobbies and activities that you enjoy doing outside of work. That way, you always have go-to activities that can help you decompress and experience joy! It is also important to weave self-care strategies into your day so that the day itself feels less challenging, and allows you to feel as though you have the skills and capacity to cope with everyday challenges.
13. Where do you volunteer or how do you give back to your community?
Outside of being a social worker, I volunteer in the community as a yoga instructor to offer affordable, trauma-informed yoga to the community. I find this very rewarding and love connecting with different organizations to bring movement into the community.
14. Do you have any books that you would suggest are a must read?
Must-read books for me include Bessel van der Kolk’s The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma; Brené Brown’s Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversation. Whole Hearts.; and Susan Scott’s Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success at Work & in Life, One Conversation at a Time.
15. Who is one UBC Okanagan alum you would like to nominate for afterwords?
I would like to nominate Jocelyn Watson. Jocelyn also completed the Masters of Social Work program and is now working in the counselling field.