Special Profile: Karen Henderson, Guest Services Manager, Kwa’lilas Hotel and Pier Side Landing

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Karen Henderson is a proud member of the Gwa’sala ‘Nakwaxda’xw Nation and our new Guest Services Manager for both Kwa’lilas Hotel and Pier Side Landing!

Growing up on the Tsulquate Reserve with three brothers and three sisters, Karen comes from a loving and supportive family who has encouraged her throughout her educational and spiritual journeys. She credits much of her success to her parents who have taught her that there is no such thing as failure as long as you continue to try your best.

After living in Port Hardy for 18 years and graduating from Port Hardy Secondary School, Karen attended Eton College for Business Administration with a major in hospitality management. There, she also completed 13 American Hotel and Lodging Association certificates. These additional courses have equipped her with a deep understanding of the hospitality industry from the front and back office operations. She was thrilled to be named class valedictorian which was a strong validation of all her hard work. Karen also graduated with 300 hours of practicum experience as a Front Desk Agent at Providence Place Inn, where she was then hired full time for the year.

In 2011, Karen left Providence Place Inn to continue her education. Her education background includes Tourism Management at Capilano College, where she gained 500 hours of co-op work experience with Riverside Whistler as a Guest Experience Agent.

In Whistler, Karen discovered a deeper passion for the tourism and hospitality industry. As a Guest Experience Agent with Riverside Whistler, she was able to go on familiarization trips with tourism companies and take part in activities such as canoeing, ziplining and ATVing. Karen returned for another six months with Riverside Whistler as a Guest Experience Supervisor.

Karen’s other hospitality ventures include her time as a Snowplay Guest Service Member at Seymour Mountain and as a Guest Services Agent at Atrium Inn Vancouver.

After her outstanding academic and career accomplishments, Karen has returned home to the North Island to surround herself with loved ones, explore the beautiful outdoors that she has yet to discover and to share her experience with others.

Karen jumped at the opportunity to be part of the Kwa’lilas Hotel team and is excited to bring her experience, education and ties to the community to her role as a manager. She wants to see the community in Port Hardy become a booming tourist destination and share her love for everything it has to offer.