Patty Beug-Jang | A lot to be proud of

About 10 years ago, Patty Beug-Jang joined the human resources (HR) team at the University of Calgary as an HR co-ordinator.

Author

Melanie Tibbetts, Cumming School of Medicine

About 10 years ago, Patty Beug-Jang joined the human resources (HR) team at the University of Calgary as an HR co-ordinator. Just five months later, she became the manager of the Office of the Associated Dean Research at the university’s medical school. 

Prior to her work with the university, Patty and her husband Les were entrepreneurs. “We had to manage everything from HR, to marketing to financials. It was an exciting time filled with opportunity, change and a vision for the future.” 

“Les and I met at the University of Saskatchewan while completing our bachelor of commerce degrees,” says Patty. “We had always dreamed of starting our own business, which is what brought us to Calgary. Instead of just having one business, we ended up with three.” 

Patty and Les had businesses in wholesale, retail and distribution. Their distribution business successfully spanned western Canada for 10 years. Eventually, they were acquired by another company in the industry. 

“We had originally approached another distributor to see if they’d be interested in selling to us,” explains Patty. “They weren’t, but they were interested in expanding and wanted to buy us. We were left with a big decision; one that ultimately brought me here.” 

When Patty began working for the medical school, her position was new. The office didn’t have a manager, there was a lot of repositioning of team members and things weren’t running as smoothly as they could be. Patty has since created a strong, dependable team that helps the school and its researchers with financial management, infrastructure, endowments and more.

“I really love the team that I’ve built; I’m very proud of them. They’re my work family,” gushes Patty. “I relate my team’s attitude back to business and growing up on a farm. You have to know how to do a lot of different things and can’t ever say, ‘It’s not my job.’ When people come to us and need assistance, we always try to help them. We all have the same mentality and I’m very grateful for that.”

In addition to her team, Patty is also extremely proud of her two children. Her daughter is attending the University of British Columbia to study psychology and her son is attending Mount Royal University to study accounting.

“For a little while, I was called ‘Dr. Phil’ because everyone would tell me their problems,” laughs Patty. “I think my daughter inherited some of those traits and my son picked up my passion for business.”

Looking ahead, Patty’s “Dr. Phil” side has some pretty great advice for our school.

“One of the best things about our school is that we really care about our people. Everyone’s important — students, faculty, staff — everyone participates in making things work. There’s no one person who makes a difference, it takes a whole group of people to make a difference. It’s nicer to stand on a stage with a group of people than to stand on a pedestal all by yourself. No matter how big we grow, we must always remember that.”

Tidbits from Patty:

Favourite food: “Nothing beats a carrot pulled fresh from the garden!”

Hobbies: “I’m a very avid reader. I loved reading Nancy Drew books as a little girl. Right now, I’m reading a series about the fall of the Roman Republic. It’s very interesting how history repeats itself. In the summer, I enjoy being outside in my garden. I have a beautiful perennial garden sprinkled with annuals. I’m also attempting container gardening for vegetables, with variable results!”

Role models: “My parents and extended family. Their get the ‘job done, creative problem solving, and always help others’ attitude is something to be admired.”

Hidden talent: “I think I could’ve been a jingle writer. If there’s a song playing, I’ll change the words in my head. I also have a strange knack for writing limericks.”

Pets: Three Siamese cats named Tweety Bird, Rex and Lucy.

On the Cumming School’s 50th anniversary: “I think it’s exciting that the school is celebrating its 50th anniversary. I’m so impressed with the tremendous strides the school has made in trying to help the people here — they’ve listened to the feedback and have taken steps to implement new programs that support both research and education.”

What the Cumming School should do in the next 50 years: “One thing I’d like to see is further support for the talent that exists here. I think it’s great that we’re still recruiting exceptional talent, but sometimes the next big thing is right under your nose. You just need to nurture it in order for it to grow.”