FKRM’s Kerri Chase announces retirement
Chase caps off a 35-year career in health and wellness
Congratulations are in order for Kerri Chase, the Joe Doupe Recreation Centre (JDRC) supervisor, who has announced her retirement after twelve years at UM.
Chase, a recognizable face for the faculty and Recreation Services members will be missed by her colleagues, but especially by the staff and members at the Bannatyne campus fitness facility.
Tanya Angus, director of Recreation Programs, says that Chase is someone who was a strong advocate for the JDRC and will be missed by the community.
“Kerri has significantly impacted the JDRC by bringing her energy, passion, support and encouragement to Joe Doupe,” Angus explains. “The student staff look up to Kerri as a mentor/motherly supportive figure and members appreciate that she’s reliable, willing to be there to open the doors daily to teach fitness classes.”
Chase has been working in the health and wellness industry for almost 35 years. She started at the YMCA and then went on to work as the employee health and wellness coordinator at the Canadian Wheat Board before starting her time with the University of Manitoba.
Chase was hired at Joe Doupe on a term position as a program coordinator and was quickly offered a permanent position. After some structural and organizational changes to the facility, she became the supervisor, and has been balancing the many responsibilities that this role requires ever since.
“We’re just so much smaller and that’s part of the fun,” she explains. “I wear so many hats. You’re running a business, but I jump in and teach classes and we do intramurals . . . I’ve loved it because I get to do a little bit of everything.”
Chase says that Joe Doupe’s small size made it appealing to her, as she enjoyed getting to know the community that frequented the facilities and classes.
Located at the Bannatyne campus, Chase explains that JDRC benefits from the positive attitudes and work ethics of the surrounding community, which consists primarily of healthcare workers and students.
“We have HSC and Cancer care and diagnostic services all around. The people are very people-oriented and they’re healthcare workers, for the most part, or aspiring to be, so it’s a neat dynamic,” she explains.
“We get to know them by name and we get to know what’s happening in their lives and I’d say that’s the biggest plus.”
Despite the fact that she loves her job and the community, Chase says it was time to make a change. Transitioning into retirement right after a pandemic feels strange, she admits, but the past few years have given her time to reflect on the importance of devoting time to spend with family. She adds that her husband had heart surgery right at the beginning of the pandemic, which “was kind of a wakeup call.”
“I just became a grandmother and my grand-baby lives out in Calgary so I need a bit more freedom to go visit family,” she explains.
Chase envisions some travel, lake time, and lots of time with family. She says the only thing she’s worried about is keeping busy, after working in such a high energy position for so many years.
“It was a very cool job and it’s been a wonderful for me and a fabulous way to end my career,” she says.
Kerri’s last day is June 30, so make sure to go say goodbye and wish her good luck before then!