Andrea Gordon grew up in Eckville, Alta, a town with a population of roughly 1200 people. Eckville is west of Red Deer, and the town is known for their indoor rodeo show and their winter carnival. Eckville is quite small, with Gordon saying with a laugh “I had to run around the entire perimeter of the town twice,” to achieve an 8 kilometer run. Her graduating class had 27 people.
Small town living was a challenge for Gordon, with her saying in a Teams call, “I was definitely born into a small town, but I was not a small-town girl,” and adding, “Some people are born in small towns and stay there forever, and some people are meant to break free.” Connecting with people and exploring the world was keen for her as well, saying, “I love people.”
Gordon says, all while holding her dog Hugo in her lap, that Eckville is a town with two industries, agriculture and oil and gas, “Almost everyone in Eckville is either a farmer or works in the [oil industry].”
After finishing high school, Gordon moved to Red Deer and attended the college on site. After finishing with Red Deer College, Gordon registered in a collaborative teaching program through the University of Alberta (UofA). After graduating, Gordon started teaching soon after.
“I came out at 22 years old as a fresh-faced, brand-new little baby, and started teaching in school,” said Gordon with a laugh.
After working as a substitute teacher in senior high schools and elementaries, Gordon taught grade 3 for a year and a half, and soon after Gordon had her first child in 2003, and left teaching briefly.
Gordon did go back to teach in 2006, but it wasn’t long until she found something new to aspire to. It was at this time that she moved to Calgary and found work with an oil and gas company.
“I started and I thought, ‘I’ll work here for six months and then I’ll go back to my real job,’ but sometimes the career path trajectory just takes its own course,” said Gordon.
Gordon worked for that oil and gas company for 11 years, until the company laid her off due to budget cuts with the commodity market crash, “There were six rounds of layoffs at our company before,” said Gordon.