Catharina de Waal

Account Executive, Evolution PR; Co-Founder, Northgate Speed Skating Club

Bachelor of Journalism (Hons.), Journalism and Political Science, 2014

You walk away from King's feeling ready.

Catharina de Waal is driven by career and passion. She works at a boutique public relations firm in Johannesburg, South Africa, where she’s already earned a promotion. Prior to joining the firm, she worked on government contracts, helping establish the South Africa-Canada Chamber of Commerce, and assisting with the Governor General and Minister of International Trade’s state visits to South Africa.

Recently, Catharina got accepted to law school at the University of Calgary, which she’ll start in September 2016. But her heart lies with an NGO that she co-founded in Johannesburg --the Northgate Speed Skating Club (NSCC).

A speed skater herself in high school, Catharina is one of the NSCC’s volunteer directors. The NGO “focuses on providing an athletic and educational program to children from disadvantaged communities,” she says. “Our aim is to teach the children they can do anything they set their mind to, athletically and academically.” Currently, there are over 30 skaters in the club and 90 more on a wait list.

The club, which started in April 2015, has big dreams. In November they held their first race day, and they hope to hold inter-South Africa races and even an international race day with kids from other countries in Africa.

“It’s amazing seeing (these kids) get excited about a new sport they hadn’t even heard of before we started classes,” Catharina says. “We would like to give (them) something to strive toward so they stay away from crime and drugs, and instil a work ethic they can use to get themselves out of poverty, and into good universities and prosperous circumstances.”

While getting into law school was a big accomplishment for Catharina, she says she’s excited to continue to contribute to the NSCC.

The skills and hands-on experience, confidence and constructive feedback Catharina gained as a journalism student at King’s have prepared her to step into the world of law. “I am now a better writer, researcher and investigator, and (a) more critical (thinker). I am also not scared of a tight deadline or to ask tough questions,” she says. “You walk away from King’s feeling ready.”

Posted: Apr. 2016

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