Throughout her life Christina Benty has had many careers, including fitness instructor, teacher, optician, and more recently, politician. However, her newest professional venture has got her more excited than she ever thought she would be.
Pursuing a higher level of education had been in the plan for a while, but during her term as Town Councillor, circumstances abruptly changed.
“I had already been accepted to a public administration program. So that was the plan, but then Aman died,” said Benty, referring to her good friend and former Mayor Aman Virk who passed away suddenly while still in office.
Benty decided to run for the position, and went on to serve two and a half terms in office. Her experience in that role, as well as the changes the Town of Golden was going through, changed her perspective, as well as her passions.
“At that time the Town was going through its asset management process, and the entire way the organization was looking at its future planning,” said Benty.
That is when she shifted her focus, and enrolled in Royal Roads University for a Master’s Degree in Leadership Studies.
“It completely transformed my leadership style, and I learned so much about myself. It was more of a spiritual transformation than expected. I learned to embrace uncertainty, and I lost the need to be right all the time, and to know everything,” said Benty, who admitted that she was quite hard on herself when she didn’t know absolutely everything about her job.
Making the call to not run for a third term as Mayor of Golden was a difficult decision, but since leaving office Benty has started her own company, Christina Benty Strategic Leadership Solutions, and a whole new world has opened up to her.
Her experience as mayor, as well as the research project she undertook at university, has made her a sought after expert in the area of asset management (the practice of future planning to prepare for the replacement of aging infrastructure that municipalities all over the country are struggling with).
She has been contracted by local governments all over British Columbia and the Yukon to help them create a plan to deal with this “infrastructure deficit.”
“I absolutely love what I’m doing,” said Benty. “I didn’t expect to be saying that at this point in life, but I am just so excited about the work I’m doing, and making a contribution.”
Discovering your passions in life is such an important thing, and Benty believes that a huge part of that is recognizing what you’re good at. The best way to do that, she says, is ask yourself the question: what do people thank me for?
“Finding out what you’re good at, and using it to make a contribution is such a rewarding thing,” she said. “And the way people are making money is changing. Traditional jobs are starting to disappear. This shift is going to be uncomfortable, but it just means that people are going to have to get creative and carve out their niche in the workforce. It’s actually really exciting.”
That’s not to say that making leaps like this isn’t scary. In fact, Benty gets butterflies and anxiety every time she walks out on stage at a public speaking engagement. But as soon as she starts speaking, and her passion bubbles out of her, she realizes she is doing exactly what she is supposed to.
It was difficult to make the decision to move on from local politics, but she couldn’t be more proud of the current mayor and council and what they’re doing.
Only a year into her new career and business, Benty is unsure of exactly where it will take her. But if she can help any town in B.C. become better prepared for the future, she’s happy.
“My dream would be to develop a reputation for local governments as the ‘Governance Doctor’,” she chuckled. “But if I can do anything to help them set the stage for success than that is great.”