Meet Emily: A Young Conservation Professional

At Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA), we pride ourselves on supporting the next generation of conservation professionals.

We are proud of their accomplishments and love staying in touch to see what they do once they have finished our programs, and what lasting impact it has had on them.

We also enjoy sharing their stories with other young people looking to take the next big step in their careers.

In 2019, Emily was looking for an opportunity to level-up her career in conservation. She enrolled in TRCA’s Young Conservation Professionals (YCP) Leadership Program, a year-long personal and professional development program for conservation and environmental professionals.

Emily takes part in Young Conservation Professionals Leadership program retreat

Throughout her year in the program, Emily learned valuable leadership skills and pursued personal development exploration that has shaped who she has become both professionally and personally.

We had the opportunity recently to speak with Emily; here is what she had to say.

How has your career developed since participating in the program?

I’m a Water Resources Specialist at St. Clair Region Conservation Authority and have been with the organization for over five years now. YCP has helped me develop in this role and has taught me to be present.

I am an active voice at the table because I have improved my communication skills and increased my confidence, both in this role and as a professional in this industry. With the growth of my confidence, as well as the inspiration I took away from the YCP course and fellow attendees, I have found myself more eager to take on increasingly diverse and challenging opportunities that drive my career forward.

What were the goals you set for yourself at the YCP retreats?

I made the goal of moving out west to the mountains. It hasn’t happened yet, but the goal-setting lessons I took away from the retreats have shown me that it is healthy and vital to re-evaluate your goals.

Since then, I have re-prioritized and now work towards living an authentic life driven by my core values, while working on the objectives of my larger goal of the west coast.

“I am an active voice at the table because I have improved my communication skills and increased my confidence … I have found myself more eager to take on increasingly diverse and challenging opportunities that drive my career forward.”

How do you apply what you learned at the retreats to your work and everyday life?

One of my favourite activities from the retreats was learning about myself and diving deep into my personality traits. Getting to know myself better, coupled with the lessons on leadership styles, has bolstered my understanding and relationships with my supervisor, department, and organization as a whole.

By understanding how others work and lead, I have greatly improved how I approach collaboration with others and how to communicate more effectively.

YOU MIGHT LIKE: Meet Courtney, who learned all about her leadership style at YPC

What did you learn about yourself during the retreats?

This is going to sound corny, but through all the activities and lessons, the most impactful thing I learned about myself is that I’m capable of far more than I realized – and knowing that has pushed me to new heights that I never dreamed of before.

Do you keep in touch with any of the other professionals you met through the program?

YES! I connect with many of the other professionals through social media, and two have become really great friends – we go camping together every year!

Emily enjoys the outdoors with two colleagues from the Young Conservation Professionals Leadership Program

Is there anything else you want to share about your experience that future participants should know?

The immersive experience and overall vibe of this program are unlike anything you’ll experience in another training program. The version of yourself you will get to know through YCP will pave the way for your career and contribute to your everyday life in ways you won’t expect.

TRCA is now accepting applications for the 2023 Young Conservation Professionals Leadership program!

Please download a copy of the application form and complete all fields. Once you are ready to submit your application, update the file name with your name and email the pdf to

The application deadline is February 6, 2023.


Discover more opportunities for youth from TRCA.