The Reluctant Rising Star: Catherine Bariesheff shines for Tolko


The Reluctant Rising Star: Catherine Bariesheff shines for Tolko

When Catherine Bariesheff, Tolko’s HR Advisor, Recruitment, isn’t on the road trying to entice candidates to Tolko, she can be found tucked away in a cubicle on the third floor of Tolko’s office in Vernon, B.C. making plans on how to attract candidates to Tolko.

“This is what I spend the majority of my time doing,” she says. “Working on creating a great candidate experience and elevating our recruitment brand right from initial contact, through to screening, interviewing and hiring; my goal is to make sure people who are interested in working for us understand what we expect of them and what they can expect of us.”

It’s challenging work in a competitive marketplace and it is right up Catherine’s alley. A first generation Italian-Canadian on her father’s side, with some Scottish thrown in for good luck on her mother’s side, Catherine is young, outgoing, ambitious, open-minded, opinionated, competitive, dedicated, funny – all the things you want potential employees to see. She is a great representative – the face of Tolko if you will – attending recruitment events across Western Canada and beyond in a bid to attract the best and the brightest. She is a rising star in the company and in the HR field, recognized internally by her colleagues and recently, externally, by HRM Online.

There’s just one thing Catherine Bariesheff is not – an attention seeker.

“Noooo” is the first thing she says when she hears she’s getting her own feature story for being recognized as a Rising Star in the Human Resources field by HRM online. Her shiny black hair tumbles over her face as she covers her eyes, plants elbows on her desk and says, “Oh my gosh,” her go-to phrase when something excites, annoys or bemuses her. “I was afraid something like this would happen.” After a few prods, she mournfully gives in and agrees to let her story be told.

Kidding aside, however, Catherine is honoured to have been nominated and selected for the recognition and says she will do her best to live up to the title. “It’s a lot of pressure, but I am lucky to have such a great team around me, to help me develop, and be deserving of the recognition.”

Born in Prince George, B.C., she came to Vernon while in elementary school and has called the city home ever since. It’s here that she developed her interest in HR and came to Tolko in the role of HR & Communications Assistant 5 years ago. Eventually, she moved into the HR department full time as an HR Assistant, then into a term role as HR Coordinator for Tolko’s Woodlands group and finally into the HR Advisor, Recruitment role. Five years may seem like a short time, but Catherine has worked hard to get where she is today.
So what is the key to her success?

“Oh my gosh,” she says. “So many things, so many people. In the last couple of years, I really feel like I had the full support of my team. I worked with my Manager, Heather Press, and Brett VanderHoek, our Manager, Corporate Services, who also handles professional development, and together we put together a plan to help me address any gaps in my skill set, acquire any training and experience that I needed, and move into the Advisor role. I had a development plan that was directly focused on getting me here. Couple that with great coaching and mentorship throughout and here I am. Honestly, the whole process, their help, it made a huge difference in how quickly I progressed.”

As for her plans for the future? Catherine is happy in her current role with Tolko but has her eye set firmly on the future. “My favorite things about my job are the people I work with, that I am continually getting to work on recruiting for new roles with different hiring managers, and projects I get to work on. I am constantly challenged and developed,” she says. “As I look to the future, I’d like to continue to build my competency within the HR profession by taking on new challenges and working within different functional areas of HR. Tolko has provided me with lots of opportunities over the past 5 and a half years and I’d like to continue to grow my career with the company.”

As we end our Q&A session, Catherine jokingly tells me to make her look good, and when I tell her that won’t be hard, she puts her head down, shakes it a little, laughs and says, “Oh my gosh, this is so embarrassing, how did this happen?” However, when you get to know this reluctant rising star, it’s easy to see the acclaim is no accident and her future is very bright, ‘oh my gosh’ indeed.