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Q&A with Janaya

Air Logistics Officer Janaya Hansen was recently a part of our #DreamBig Career Discovery Expo with Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board and Peterborough, Victoria, Northumberland, and Clarington Catholic District School Board as a Dream Maker Panelist.

A lot of students were interested in Janaya and what she does for a living so we decided to talk further with her. Read on to learn more about what she does, what influenced her decision to enter the Canadian Armed Forces and advice she has for young women!

Build a Dream: Could you please tell us your title, what you do and what a typical day looks like in your job?

Janaya: I’m an Air Logistics Officer in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) currently serving as the Commanding Officer of a Mission Support Squadron. I’m responsible for the day-to-day workings of a military base, whether in Canada or around the world and making sure everyone has what they require in order to do their job. I ensure everyone is clothed, fed, housed, and transported, and that aircraft have fuel, spare parts, supporting equipment, and firefighting support. I like to compare my job to Amazon – but instead of transporting lipstick and Christmas presents around the world, we’re transporting boots and uniforms across the country and sending armoured vehicles and humanitarian supplies across the globe. A typical day in my job is looking speaking with a lot of people about how we can solve a problem we’re facing or finding ways to improve the service we’re providing; a lot of creative thinking, a lot of working with people, and a lot of very unique challenges.

Could you please describe your career journey? (i.e. How did you get to where you are today?)

I joined the cadet program when I was younger and really enjoyed travelling, having unique experiences, and the opportunities to be in charge and grow my leadership abilities. Since I didn’t know what I wanted to do after high school, I decided to attend the Royal Military College of Canada for one year since they allowed you to leave without any penalties after one year. I ended up enjoying the experience and have loved every year since.

Canadian Armed Forces - Jobs

What is the demand like for this career now? Will there be one in the future?

The CAF is growing and is especially trying to increase the representation of women and visible minorities within our organization. Since there are so many trades in the military (from a tank commander to a naval warfare officer, to an ammunition tech to an aerospace engineer), there are always countless opportunities to find an occupation that’s right for you.

What influenced your decision to choose this career?

My family was a great support since I had an uncle and grandfather who had served before me, but I think it was the leadership that I developed through the cadet organization and the community leaders that allowed me to take on leadership roles that helped me forge the believe that I “had what it took” to serve with the CAF.

Can you talk about a personal challenge you’ve experienced either throughout your career journey or at work? How did you overcome it?

Being from rural Nova Scotia, my family is very important to me, and being away from them as well as being away from my spouse and children during overseas deployments, have been the most difficult periods. What I soon realized, though, is that moving around and being away on deployments is just like when we go away to summer camp and end up coming away with a new best friend. After two decades of moving and deployments, I have found myself with close friends and friends who I consider as family, all across Canada and also across the globe!

Why is it important to keep trying new things, and to keep exploring when it comes to your career decision making journey?

Most people I know did not start out on a path when they were young to “do” what they are currently doing. Rather, they had an experience that led them to an opportunity that led to a discovery that led to them finding themselves in a job or career that fits them perfectly. There are so many careers that we are unaware that even exist that taking a step forward in one direction will help us discover whether that direction is right for us, or whether we would like to step a little to the left or right… until we eventually find the path that is right for us.

What is something that you know now that you wish you knew back in grade/high school?

I wish that I knew that my grades actually do matter! Not only do they affect my ability to be accepted into university, but any changes in my plan in the future (maybe I decide I want to study pharmacy, or business, or psychology, or a master’s degree in 20 years!) can be realized, or shattered, based on school grades in high school that I really didn’t think mattered once I graduated.

Thank you Janaya! For more information on joining the Canadian Armed Forces, visit their careers website.

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