Meet OL’s newest team member: Taïssa Hrycay
Operation Lifesaver (OL) is pleased to welcome a new member to its rail safety team. Taïssa Hrycay took over the position of OL’s Eastern Regional Coordinator on April 1. And despite the timing of her arrival, Taïssa is well aware that rail safety is no joking matter.
In her role, Taïssa will support and manage the membership of OL’s Provincial Committees in Ontario, Quebec, the Maritimes, and Newfoundland and Labrador. She will also help to organize education and outreach efforts in those provinces, and to recruit new volunteers to spread the rail safety message.
Tapping into her railway roots
Although Taïssa may be new to the Operation Lifesaver team, she has a long history with the railways. In fact, you could say she’s keeping up with the family tradition. Her father spent his whole career working as an engineer for CN—and he even liaised with OL in the 1980s and 1990s.
“We often had that whole awareness raising at home, where my dad would make sure that my sister and I were very careful when we were around the tracks,” she says. “My dad was the one who was called if there was a derailment or an incident. He would be there on the scene for a couple days with Transport Canada. So it was always interesting having the conversations about what an impact inattention can have around tracks and trains.”
Using her communication skills to help save lives
A communications specialist for more than 25 years, Taïssa is fluently bilingual and has worked for large organizations such as Air Canada, SNC Lavalin, and Alstom. But it was through her work with Alstom that she was first introduced to OL.
“We had referred to a lot of the publications from Operation Lifesaver because more and more cities across Canada are building different types of rail infrastructure, but not necessarily the regular passenger trains that we are used to,” she explains. “We were looking at the best practices to raise awareness with people in these cities because they aren't used to having light rail in their communities.”
One of the things Taïssa is looking forward to most about her new role as OL’s Eastern Regional Coordinator is getting the chance to use her communication skills and expertise to ensure that people living in eastern Canada learn the same rail safety lessons she was exposed to growing up.
“At the end of the day, when you work in communications, you don't want to come home and say, ‘Okay, all I did today was send emails out,’” she says. “With something like Operation Lifesaver, you know that you are actually having an effect on people and that there's a purpose to the efforts that you are putting in.”