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Meet Lisa Castle, UBC’s first Vice President, Human Resources. Prior to this, Lisa was Associate Vice President, Human Resources, a position she held since 2002. As the most senior HR position at the university and a member of UBC’s Executive Team, she is responsible for the departments of Human Resources at the Vancouver and Okanagan campuses.
If you weren’t in the field you are now, what role might have interested you?
LC: Being part of a team running an international airport like YVR. Travelling is getting harder, but airports are fascinating places.
What do you think of when you hear the word holiday?
LC: Two things: no e-mail; sleep.
In what instance would you say, I won't?
LC: …do something that causes harm intentionally.
What quality do you most admire in a leader?
LC: Integrity, and the ability and willingness to have difficult conversations.
What is the song you sang out loud as a teenager?
LC: Maggie May
Who is your favourite historical figure?
LC: Recent – Pierre Elliot Trudeau. I met him once, and found him unbelievably charismatic. Long ago: Probably Cleopatra. I recently read a book about her life and I was in awe of her accomplishments.
What inspires you about living on the West coast?
LC: The quality of the air (I take a deep breath when I return to Vancouver), the magnolia and cherry trees, the sunshine after weeks of gloom.
What makes you laugh?
LC: Life (for the most part, it’s really funny) and Monty Python.
One thing on your desk you brought from home?
LC: A picture of Tom (my spouse) and me.
What is the best advice you were ever given?
LC: Cut your own swath through life – it’s your responsibility.
What do you think is the most important invention?
LC: Tough one as so many things make a difference in our lives. The easy one for me is the internet. Perhaps the more thoughtful one is the invention that provides us with safe drinking water.
If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
LC: Vancouver, hands down.
Who are your favorite writers?
LC: I have eclectic taste in what I read. Three authors come to mind: Ann Patchett, Khalid Hosseini (The Kite Runner is one of my favourite books), Jane Austen.
What do you value in your colleagues?
LC: Compassion, humour, full lives, hard work.
What advice would you give a young student just starting out?
LC: Embrace the give and take, and enjoy the fullness of life – work is only one element.
What is your greatest extravagance?
LC: Shoes – OMG, shoes!
What would you like to be remembered for?
LC: That I made a difference in what really is the blink of an eye.
What is your motto?
LC: I don’t have one, and maybe I should!
What is the one question that you wished we asked but didn't?
LC: What has been the most formative event in your life? My father died suddenly when I was 12. It created a lot of changes for my family, and as much as our mother tried to protect us, my siblings and I grew up fast in a single parent home.
For you what makes UBC different?
LC: It’s more about the combination of things: really bright, committed and capable people; the energy of the places and particularly in the students; its belief in the possibility; its principled pursuit of social contribution; and its “can do” attitude.