Life has its twists and turns, and for the most part, things come together as they should – if we only put the pieces together.
Decked out in Lethbridge College garb, Vicki Charge prepares to board the last connecting flight from Calgary to Lethbridge. After another successful meeting, she’s eager to share news on what’s trending in the fashion world with her colleagues and students. Suddenly, the college President and VP Academic join her line and ask “So, where were you this time?”
Charge, chair of the School of Media and Design, is always on the go. She brings passion and a wealth of experience to her leadership role. When she left her career as a classical musician to pursue an education in fashion design and production, she took her idea – her vision – and turned it into a beautiful work of art. A designer takes a simple idea and turns it into something great.
Charge started her fashion career immediately upon graduation from Collège LaSalle in Montreal. With her credential, Technique en Design de Mode, in hand, her career took off at lightning speed. She landed her first job as an assistant designer and production manager in Calgary in a serendipitous way. Long story short, she learned the value of networking right off the bat.
“You never know how something you say to someone is going to turn into them saying something to someone else, and then the dots start to connect. The next thing you know it could be a wonderful project that gets launched and is successful,” she says.
Charge believes networking is a critical component to success. As a result, she maintains valuable industry contacts through participation in influential groups. She sits on the executive of the board for the Apparel Human Resources Council and is on the coordinating committee for the Apparel Affinity Group. She’s a respected leader in both of these national, government-supported groups. Her connections bring incredible value to the School of Media and Design.
“It allows me to bring back news and information to our college so that our fashion program can stay up to date,” she says.
The fashion program is keeping pace with trends and producing successful grads. Brittney Wright, alumna from 2006, is working for Erin Kleinberg Inc., a Canadian clothing designer, and The Coveteur, a website showcasing the closets of all the amazing people in the fashion industry. Wright says Charge played a key role in her success. In fact, she was the one who introduced her to the program before she applied. “She was so humble and full of such great advice that I knew I would be crazy not to sign up for the program. She guided me throughout the two-year program, especially when it came to picking classes for the second year.” Wright adds, “She continues to keep tabs on me and I know if I ever needed any advice or guidance she would be there to help, which is so unbelievably comforting in this type of industry.”
Charge says, “With any graduate, my goal is to prepare them as best I can to succeed in this very fast-paced and competitive industry. Graduates who are able to combine strong technical skills, creativity and a healthy work ethic will see their careers blossom.”