Brenda Crompton

BA '88 Economics

Crompton calls on you to help

Brenda Crompton.Brenda’s story is one of courage and fortitude. Growing up in Toronto, ON, Brenda learned a valuable lesson in life: that it is just as easy to make a good decision as it is to make a bad one. For her own safety, she called a help line that provided her with the resources and support she needed to leave home in her final year of highschool. Although she had to live in a hostel and eat at local food banks, it was a safe haven, a place where she stayed the course, determined to make something of herself – and she did just that.

Committed to giving back, last year Brenda became an ambassador for the Kids Help Phone, and chaired the Kelowna 2008 Bell Walk for Kids Help Phone.  

Currently, Brenda is the General Manager of Optimed Software Corporation, a very highly ranked vendor for electronic medical records systems in Kelowna, British Columbia.

Can you tell us about your time here at Waterloo?

I remember the day when I got the acceptance letter from Waterloo – I was on the ceiling! I was living in the hostel with my two roomates who didn’t understand why this was so important to me. I was thrilled to get in. 

I lived in Village 2 (now Ron Eydt Village) and worked very hard. I didn’t play at all….except when you would find me Friday nights in the computer room, chatting with people all over the world on the internet.  

I wanted to find the courses that would teach me how to use technology to build business. I wanted to find the courses that would support my interests. I started in the School of Accountancy. I even had a part-time job working in the School. It gave me a good foundation but it wasn’t right for me. I chose economics because there were a lot of choices for programs and that worked better for me. I also took many Computer Science courses because I knew I would be working with programmers, and I took an entrepreneurial night course which offered no credit value but was interesting. 

I also remember that I got my first computer virus in 1985 in the math building! I had an assignment which was saved and due a few hours later, and luckily we were able to retrieve the file.

How has your degree helped you in your career today?

I wanted to be a generalist, to know about multiple things. In the last 10 years, people have embraced the idea that they need to be cross-disciplinary. I am happy with my general economics degree. I am able to speak like an economist, an accountant, and a computer scientist. It has served me well. If I am in a room with a computer scientist and an economist, I am able to bridge that gap. 

You’ve been described as a Social Entrepreneur; what does that mean to you?

An entrepreneur is not afraid to go into unchartered waters – everything is pliable to me. Rules are made to be broken if they aren’t right. When I came here, new to the Okanagan, I found no one knew about Kids Help Phone. I was raising awareness and funneling my skills towards a social cause. I was so pleased that we raised double the amount from the year before, and I am optimistic that we can do even better this year!

Visit the Kids Help Phone website for more information or to find out how you can help.

Affiliation: 
University of Waterloo

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