Kerry Gibson’s resumé includes a lengthy list of accomplishments.
She is currently President of EcoCentury Technologies, an engineering and consulting firm promoting clean technologies, and Vice-President of Strategic Partnerships for ZiphyCare, a New York-based health tech company bridging the gap between remote and in-person exams by providing proprietary tools for remote patient triage and scheduling, examination and communication.
She is Co-Founder and Partnerships Manager for the N-EAT (Nutrition through Engagement and Agricultural Technologies) project in Simon Fraser University’s (SFU) Faculty of Applied Sciences. In addition to her work, Kerry serves on the boards of directors for many foundations and organizations, including the Diversity Advisory Committee for the Joint Task Force of the Canadian Armed Forces. She also serves on the board of the Rose Academies, which works to remove the barriers that prevent equal access to education and healthcare information for the impoverished and oppressed rural poor.
Kerry regularly speaks on platforms in Canada and internationally, including the Canadian House of Commons and the United Nations, addressing economic development, clean tech innovation, diversity and inclusion and labour rights.
But there was one thing missing. One thing she had always wanted to do – earn a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree.
Kerry got her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Literature from SFU in the 1990s and started working as an art therapist before diving headlong into the business world.
“I had a lot of friends that were engineers and innovators, and they needed a pathway to commercialize their technologies,” she said. “So I helped them on that end, how to take a product and put it to market, and that led to working for a clean tech consulting firm.”
Kerry said she was so busy working, growing her career and volunteering that she never thought she would have the time to go back to school to pursue her MBA.
“It was something I always wanted to do, but I never had time,” she said. “I was too busy working.”
And then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and suddenly she wasn’t travelling for work or attending networking receptions for various causes and organizations several times a week.
“I’m not sure if the pandemic hadn’t happened if I would’ve been able to go through with it,” she said.
Kerry started University Canada West’s online MBA degree program in the Winter (January) 2021 Term.
“That was the great thing about UCW – it really was the only MBA program I could take entirely remotely,” she said.
Kerry was able to continue with her many work and volunteer commitments while concurrently earning her MBA. The program’s flexibility meant she could fit readings, work on homework and assignments, and complete papers in between Zoom meetings.
Kerry’s commitment and determination paid off – just 15 months after starting UCW’s MBA program, she graduated with distinction in Summer 2022.
“It was interesting, taking an MBA after being in business for so many years,” she said of the experience. “Usually the student experience is, you gain the academic background and then gain the practical experience. But I had the practical experience, and it was interesting to see it from an academic perspective.”
Kerry said that gaining the academic knowledge has already helped her grow in her current position.
“I was just in Las Vegas for a medical conference where I was the pitch person for ZiphyCare, and because of the knowledge I gained at UCW I was better able to articulate the opportunities for investors to get on board with ZiphyCare,” she said.
Kerry added that having an MBA gives students an understanding of what it means, and the skills needed, to be a successful leader.
“It’s about finding the passion, the drive and the take charge aspect of your personality,” she said. “In an MBA program, younger students, who might not yet have those sensibilities, are able to develop them in a safe space, which is imperative.
“When you are out in the real world, and you are the boss, you have to find that inner fortitude to take charge and make something successful.”