Selkirk College, Attn: Cibylla Rakestraw
301 Frank Beinder Way, Castlegar BC, V1N 4L3, Canada
Cibylla is originally from Germany and moved to Canada when she was six. She grew up in Kingston, Ontario and went to Queen’s University after high school, majoring in French and German. When she felt this was not taking her in the direction she wanted to go in life, she spent a year as a fulltime volunteer in a treatment centre for emotionally disturbed adolescents in the States. During that time, she found a passion for helping people realize their potential.
In 1979, she moved with her husband Steven to Grande Prairie, Alberta. Here she spent a number of years in banking and lending with the Provincial Government before taking on the management of a small private vocational school. After several years, she bought the school and built the Business Career College from a one classroom vocational training centre to a $1 million operation. During this time, she also completed her Masters Degree in Leadership and Training at Royal Roads University in Victoria.
She sold her interest in the Business Career College in 2002 and stayed on for two more years to assist the new owners. In 2003, the Business Career College won the Grande Prairie Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year Award. After leaving the College in 2004, she participated in the provincial election as a candidate followed by working as Project Coordinator for the new Rotary House, Grande Prairie’s homeless shelter.
For the past 13 years, she has been teaching fulltime at the Grande Prairie Regional College, where she taught courses in Marketing Project Management, Contemporary Issues in Business, Entrepreneurship, Business Communications, Customer Service, and Personal Selling. She also piloted GPRC's first Work-Integrated Learning project for business students in 2017/2018.
Her teaching philosophy is summed up in the words of William Butler Yeats: “Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire.”
Cibylla and her husband have two grown sons, two grandsons, and, after living in the County of Grande Prairie for many years, now make their home just outside of Nelson, BC, where they enjoy the lake, the mountains, and regular visits from bears, elk, deer, and other assorted wildlife.