Renee Pope

Superintendent, Operational Business

Canadian Coast Guard
St. John's, NL

Why did Renee choose this career area?

Renee’s grandfather was an inshore fisherman, and her dad was a master mariner. She grew up surrounded by nautical careers; and she knew about the excellent salaries, lifestyles, and schedules. She was also drawn to the untraditional work for women but not sure the career was the right choice for her.

What’s Renee’s educational background?

Renee decided to earn a degree in business at Memorial University, and she completed the full co-op program. This gave her valuable computer and management experience.

After five years in university, Renee graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce degree. She could have taken a job on the mainland, but she wanted to make a life in NL. Renee decided to take the plunge and explore her marine career aspirations. She and her brother enrolled in the Marine Institute’s Nautical Science program at the same time and completed the program together.

Renee did her work terms with Canadian Coast Guard, Maersk, and Provincial Ferries, gaining excellent deck, engine room, and logistical experience.

Renee enjoyed the Nautical Science program and is very happy that she went back to school. Since graduating, she has also completed a Bachelor of Maritime Studies degree.

What’s Renee’s job all about?

Renee’s current job blends marine, operational, and financial responsibilities; so it’s a perfect fit for her unique educational background.

She manages a team of eight employees who all work on the operational plan for Coast Guard’s fleet of 17 vessels located within the NL region.

With a budget of more than $70 million, there are varied responsibilities. Duties include managing fuel consumption, assessing program requirements, and meeting client needs. The challenges are complex, but the work is rewarding.

What are Renee’s working conditions like?

These days, Renee works in a modern St. John’s office located only a 10-minute drive from her home. She works a 37.5 hour work week, and she has flexibility with regard to workday start and end times. The work environment is comfortable, supportive, and professional.

What benefits are associated with Renee’s job?

Renee makes a very good salary. Just as importantly, her position offers the pension, health, and generous employment benefits that come with a federal government job.

Having worked at sea earlier in her career, Renee is very appreciative of her current job on shore. While she enjoyed her job at sea and loved the great time off that came with working on a ship, the land-based job meets her current lifestyle needs. As it happens, her husband also has a sea-going career and spends significant time travelling and working on a vessel. Because of Renee’s land-based position, they are now able to enjoy more time at home together. It works well for both of them.

What’s exciting or cool about Renee’s career area?

Working for a national employer affords Renee opportunities to do lots of training and travelling. It also means collaborating with her Coast Guard colleagues from all across Canada.

Renee has monthly travel to meetings, many of which happen in Ottawa. As part of her job, she has also visited Coast Guard offices in just about every region of the country.

What advice would Renee give to people considering a marine transportation career?

This is a male-dominated career, but Renee says things are changing quickly. She suggests women considering a nautical career need to not let themselves be taken advantage of. At the same time, they should not take themselves too seriously.

To work at sea, it’s critical to get along well with others. Since working on a ship means colleagues also share living space, good relationships are very important. As with any job, adaptability and hard work are keys to success.