Like Mother’s Day every day: former Miss Teen Calgary contestant celebrates, emulates mom in tech career path
11, May, 2023
EDMONTON, May 11, 2023 – It’s no coincidence that, as a newborn, Cassandra Yousph was brought home from the hospital on Mother’s Day. Not only was her engineering technology career inspired by that of her mother, it has mirrored it in many ways.
Sharing the same determination to flourish professionally, Yousph, an electronics engineering technologist-in-training and member of the Association of Science and Engineering Technology Professionals of Alberta (ASET), and her mother, Jo Klitzke, held the same title of project manager and responsibilities. They studied, learned, and practiced programming skills and used similar software programs, worked in oilfield and manufacturing environments, and been sole proprietors and owned and operated their own small businesses over the years.
Yousph, a former Miss Teen Calgary Pageant contestant, is now a project manager for a Calgary-based firm that provides industrial automation solutions. She recalls how driven her mom was right from the start. Having skipped a grade in elementary school, her mom graduated from high school a year early and was hired as a coding clerk for a large Canadian company. She later took on a position as a project manager for an oil and gas industry company.
“She got married, had me and my brother, and went back to work after a few short months of maternity leave,” said Yousph. “I can always remember her as a confident, intelligent, and hardworking career woman, earning as much as or more than my father and always contributing to our family so we could live a good life. I remember going to work with her and seeing the giant reel-to-reels in the networking room.”
Yousph’s mom started her own work-from-home business in the 1990s called Jordan Cully Computer Services. When Yousph was only 12-years-old, her mom would pay her to help with administrative tasks on the computer, such as invoicing and mass mailing.
At the time, the family was living in Ontario. Yousph’s dad was laid off from his job and her mom, being a sole proprietor, wanted more financial stability and put her name out to a headhunter. She soon landed a great job in Calgary, which resulted in the family relocating to the area.
“My mom drew a circle on the map around Calgary as she wanted to raise my brother and I in a small town. I believe she looked at about 56 houses in Okotoks, Chestermere, Airdrie, and surrounding areas. We finally decided on Carstairs,” said Yousph, which is where she lives to this day.
At 14 and as ambitious as her mom, Yousph contacted temp agencies in Calgary for employment. She was told that she had to be 18 to work for them but could challenge the proficiencies test, which she subsequently did and passed. She was given a summer temp assignment in downtown Calgary where she could drive in daily with her mom.
Yousph later landed a role as an assistant office manager with a firm specializing in the oil and gas industry. After graduating from high school, she enrolled in the computer control program at SAIT. Following completion of her diploma, she worked for an executive recruitment company until being offered a position with an engineering firm. Since then, she has married, had children, gone on maternity leave, and returned to her current role of busy, full-time working mom - the same that her now-retired mom had.
“Within ASET, we have observed a wonderful trend of young women following in their fathers’ footsteps in careers related to engineering technology,” said ASET CEO Barry Cavanaugh. “It’s less common to see them emulating their mothers’ career paths. However, we expect that to change as more and more women open doorways for the next generation in this exciting and diverse profession.”
ASET is the professional self-regulatory organization for engineering technologists and technicians in Alberta. ASET currently represents over 17,000 members, including full-time technology students, recent graduates and fully certified members in 21 disciplines and more than 120 occupations across a multitude of industries.
Michele Penz, Calico Communications for ASET