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13 Questions With: Kyle Johnson

June 3, 2013

Information Resource Center Director, U.S. Embassy Ottawa

Kyle Johnson with President Bill Clinton. 1995

A hero who has inspired you in your career?

The people who inspire me in my career are the same people who inspire me in my personal life, which makes sense to me because you should work as you live: my mother and father who lovingly raised 11 children, a mentor who works and lives with grace, a friend courageously battling disease and ignorance all at once, and really, anyone, anytime they display uncommon kindness and strength. We can all be inspiring heroes.

The first job you ever held and at what age?

My first job was strawberry picking in Aldergrove, BC as a young teen, with my older brothers and sisters. I was terrible at it. I think I put more berries into my mouth than into my basket and we got paid by weight. But it was lots of fun.

Your first position in the library and/or information services field?

A summer job at the library of the Bank of Canada.

Coolest thing in your cubicle or office?

A picture of me shaking hands with Bill Clinton, taken in 1995 in Halifax at the G7 Summit.

What is your guilty pleasure?

I’ll read almost anyone’s biography.

Career advice – what’s your top tip?

Don’t be afraid of trying new things, of saying what’s on your mind, of being wrong, of speaking up for what you believe in, of success, of failure.

What useless skill(s) do you possess?

Um, Vulcan salute?

Proudest moment in your professional life?

I wrote a piece on the U.S. thanking Canada for its friendship and assistance on September 11, 2001 – taking in planes, sheltering stranded passengers and much more – that was forwarded by our Ambassador to the White House and that was eventually sent in the form of a letter from President Obama to Prime Minister Harper and released publicly on the tenth anniversary of 9/11.

If you had 24 hours all to yourself, how would you best like to spend it?

Being lazy, on a sunny beach, with a great book and some simple foods.

If you didn’t work in the information industry, what would you be doing?

Nutritionist – it’s a field that has always fascinated me.

Finish this sentence: “In high school, I would have been voted the person most likely to … “

Go into the library field, honestly.

How do you stay current in your field?

By attending professional conferences and meetings, through a network of excellent colleagues from US Embassies worldwide, and by regularly reading a blog that a friend of mine keeps:

What would you like your headstone to read?

“Here lies a flawed woman who gave it her best” or I’d be fine with just “RIP”.

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