How Learning Made Me a True Professional

You just never know what direction your life or career may take after that initial learning is done.

05, Jan, 2015

As an ASET member, it takes a lot more than discipline-specific education to truly be considered a technology professional. You need to be service-oriented, ethical and knowledgeable of the current laws and regulations. You need to know how manage your time, work well within a team and understand how a business works.

For Darlene Samek, R.E.T., PMP, these soft skills, in addition to the intense technical training she received in school, truly makes her a professional.

“Someone once said if you haven’t learned something new every day (no matter how big or small), you haven’t had a fulfilling day,” she states.


Graduating from the Engineering Design & Drafting program from SAIT in 1989, Samek spent much of her career working as a consultant. She took a variety of courses focused on technical and personal development, business essentials and leadership training. Balancing a hectic life which includes a great deal of business and personal commutes, she made sure taking extra courses and seminars remained high on her priority list as it helped her become a more-complete technologist. As a result to her commitment, Samek was a two-time recipient of the Don Sterling Memorial Bursary, a scholarship created in memory of its namesake awarding ASET members for continuous professional development.

“I was so honoured to receive the award, specifically because Don Sterling was a personal mentor and friend of mine,” recalls Samek. “Receiving the scholarship is a great source of personal and professional pride, for both the accomplishment of completing additional professional development while balancing work and life priorities, as well as having an organization that promotes and recognizes these activities.”

It can be difficult to see the immediate benefits of investing the time and effort to CPD. Samek looks over her 25 year career and realizes the courses she’s taken have really helped her to think innovatively and communicate ideas effectively. She prides herself in thinking outside the box, especially in a profession which can be known for ‘doing things because they’ve always been done this way.’

Now in the position of Supervisor, Operations Engineering at Access Pipeline Inc., Samek looks to encourage all members to continue to learn and grow as it not only expands your mind, but life opportunities as well.

“Through the course of whatever learning endeavor you engage in, you are usually provided an opportunity to meet, share and grow with other like-minded individuals,” says Samek. “As a result, you just never know what direction your life or career may take after that initial learning is done.”