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Leading with humility

Submitted by
Sonia Munksgaard

You’re going to want to learn from Natalie Paetz.

At 20 years old, Natalie had recently completed the Pharmacy Technician program at Red Deer College, but she found herself in the construction business somewhat organically. Our careers can often take unexpected turns, especially as we seize opportunities or face things that challenge us. For Natalie, her start in the new home construction industry, as co-founder of Larkaun Homes, had a bit of both.

“When I reflect back on my early days in new home construction, it was very intimidating. Early on, I decided to volunteer through BILD Central Alberta, a professional group of businesses. I found myself sitting shoulder to shoulder with very experienced and respected business owners or employees. They have truly taught me so much,” she said in a recent interview for the Red Deer and District Community Foundation’s Women of Excellence Award.

Natalie received the 2020 award for Women of Excellence in Construction for a few reasons. She’s a rock star in business and, over the last 18 years, has helped establish Larkaun Homes as one of our region’s most decorated and trusted new home building companies. At the same time, Natalie is a dedicated volunteer and community leader. She has supported the Red Deer Kinsmen Dream Home and served in leadership roles with BILD-Central Alberta, including President.

A proud RDC alum, through Larkaun Homes, Natalie has also supported growth and development at Red Deer College, including support for scholarships and the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre. For Natalie, giving back to the community where she is raising her young family is natural. She looks forward to watching her children grow up and use the spaces on RDC’s campus.

I enjoyed meeting Natalie at a luncheon for women in business within my first few weeks as RDC Alumni Engagement Coordinator. Natalie was one of the first RDC alumni that I met. In that early conversation, it was evident that she is passionate about her work and our community. As I’ve gotten to know Natalie, and learned more about her community and business leadership, I couldn’t help but envision her as a guest presenter for Global Insights. As society continues to strive for gender equality in the workplace, Natalie’s unique experience of working and leading in a male-dominated industry gives her a unique and valuable perspective on the strengths and challenges of women in business.

“I’ve learned so much in my career. It’s okay to go against the grain. It’s okay to follow my gut because it’s led me here, inevitably. Feeling so intimidated in the early days taught me that it’s okay to ask questions if you don’t know. I’ve learned that it’s okay to make mistakes - I just have to own them, learn from them, get up and keep moving,” says Natalie. On Feb 24, join us for Global Insights: Perspectives of a Local Businesswoman and hear more from Natalie about gaining confidence, capitalizing on your pain points, and finding balance.

“It is great to have RDC alumni come back to RDC to share their experiences. So many alumni are leading waves of change, and hearing their stories first-hand shows us all how RDC is not just a school; it is a place where critical thinkers and innovators are shaped,” says Carley Misanchuk, Promotions Coordinator in the School of Continuing Education.

We’re excited to hear from Natalie in this free online presentation and to hear more about the valuable lessons she’s learned in her impressive career.

Learn more about Larkaun Homes in the RDC Alumni Business Directory

Learn more about Global Insights here

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