BY: ALYSSA MAHADEO
Pauline Christian was born and raised in Jamaica where she attended Micro Teachers College and graduated with a diploma in Social Science and Physical Education. After immigrating to Canada, she pursued a degree in Business Administration, minoring in Political Science and Psychology. While attending University she also managed a busy home life as a wife and a mother to two children as well as being a caregiver to her own mother.
Pauline was always a very hard working and dedicated woman, accustomed to taking on a lot of responsibility and always rising to the challenge that leadership roles offered. After successfully completing her Masters in Project Management at York University Schulich School of Business Pauline worked her way up the corporate ladder to the position of Associate Director at one of Canada’s large corporations. Making her way to the top was not an easy job especially dealing with the unfair challenges presented by being part of a visible minority. As a black woman working in the corporate world she was constantly dealing with gender bias and racial prejudice. Her dedication, perseverance, and determination is what set her apart from the rest and demonstrated her skills as a leader.
For over a decade Pauline worked tirelessly to achieve her high-ranking position within the companies she worked for. Her unique and successful management style stemmed from a mentee/mentor strategy which has contributed to significant success in her leadership model and has worked in improving the performance of her staff. Pauline’s vision for greatness comes from the belief that her success is not measured by her own personal accomplishments, but by the success and growth of others, she has had the opportunity to work with, which are values that were instilled in her by her mother.
While working for Corporate Canada Pauline’s husband fell critically ill. She was faced with uncertainty as the doctors seemed to give up on him, when the prognosis of his illness could not be ascertained. After being hospitalized for two months they sent him home incapacitated and Pauline was left with both her husband and her mother who needed full-time care, as well as her two children attending University. It became difficult to manage her life at home, having to request more flexible work hours and working from home until things would hopefully get better.
Soon the demands of her job required her to be at work more often than she was able to and it was suggested that she consider taking a lower level management position so that she could address her situation at home. After all her hard work Pauline was not going to give up her position that she had put in over ten years to achieve. It was unfair, and as the main breadwinner of her family she could not afford to give up her job. Unfortunately, the inevitable happened and she was asked to take another job further from home. It was difficult for her to find a healthy balance with all the demands of her job and taking care of her family. In addition to that Pauline was very involved in the church as well as the community and those were commitments that she was not willing to give up.
In searching for a solution to dealing with things at home, Pauline needed to be creative and proactive in exploring new financial opportunities to take care of her family. Along with the efforts of her two children they spent many sleepless nights searching for different business opportunities.
Pauline founded the incorporation of the Best Lifestyle Residence Inc. a forty-bed retirement home in the county of Simcoe that is considered one of the top five of seventeen Health Care facilities in the county. Best Lifestyle Residence takes pride in giving respect, providing quality of life and long-term care for seniors as well as younger individuals with special needs, including developmental disabilities, mental health and addiction challenges. Pauline feels that the success of the business is due to love for humanity, especially elderly and youth as well as the fact that she sees it as a ministry.
After working for Corporate Canada for all those years and having to deal with the effects of her husband’s illness, it was a wake-up call for Pauline. She realized that the new opportunities of running her own business presented her with the flexibility that she needed and a sense of fulfilment that she didn’t feel working for Canada’s large corporations. She made the decision to leave the corporate world in November of 2008 and has never looked back, transitioning her corporate efforts into building and advancing her vision at Best Lifestyle Residence Inc. Within only two months of leaving the corporate world, and focusing on increasing the revenue stream for her business, she generated enough revenue to replace her income from corporate Canada and feel closer to fulfilling her own purpose to help people.
In addition to the business, she has created for herself within the realm of health care, Pauline is an active member of the church always sharing her spirit of service to give back to the community. She sits on many boards within the community and is currently the first vice president for the Black Business and Professional Association whose main purpose is to facilitate the advancement of Black business and professional community and co-chaired the Harry Jerome Awards from 2004 – 2007.
Presently she has partnered with her husband, who has now fully recovered from his illness and her daughter who is responsible for operations and twelve staff members in their quest to transform healthcare to meet the needs of residents in Simcoe County, in a meaningful way. Her passion and drive is evident in all that she does and she constantly works on community project almost twelve months out of the year. Pauline makes it her mission to engage and bring people together for service through the community events that happen to fall under her leadership.