Mohammed, Paula

Paula completed her undergraduate degree through the BHK Sport Management program with the goal to have a career that combined business and sport. Paula had always dreamed of being in the Olympics or running the Olympics. As her dream evolved, she says, “by my realizing that what I love is creating experiences for people, experiences that move people and can cause a shift in how they think or feel resulting in lifelong memories.”

Paula reflects, “I have some great memories of UBC. I was involved in Intramurals and had a great time working on the events and doing the PR. Nestor Korchinsky was a visionary who inspired me and helped me launch my career. I was a member of the UBC track team and belonged to a sorority.” Paula believes that her time in Kinesiology taught her time management, to be curious and open doors to new opportunities, and to to get involved in community. For example she says, “I spent 6 months backing in Europe between 3rd and 4th year and ended up with credits for a full-year course and a $5,000 grant to attend a conference at Cambridge university. A big part of what helped grow my career were the people I met.”

Upon graduating, Paula says, “In the 90’s, event management barely existed as a career and there were very few opportunities in Vancouver to work in the field of sports marketing. I was lucky to secure a job with the one sport marketing company in the city at that time.” She continued to work as an independent contractor and on numerous projects as an Event Producer, Event Director, Event Manager and more over the next seven years. Some highlights of her career at that time include working on the Freestyle skiing world cups, culminating in the Freestyle World Championships, producing the first Big Air and ¼ Pipe shows in Whistler, being a part of the Vancouver Sun Run team, holding contracts with the PNE Entertainment department, and traveling to Portugal to work at the Expo in Lisbon in 1998. Paula became a business owner upon accepting the position of Director of Event Marketing for Tourism Whistler, and gained experience working in the non-profit organization, Arts Umbrella. “This led to 10 years of being the Event Director for numerous not-for-profit galas and events in the city.”

Paula founded In My Kitchen Inc, three years ago and reflects, “Growing up in a culturally diverse household with many passionate cooks, I came to cherish the experiences I had around the kitchen table, and that is how In My Kitchen was born. Pre-COVID, people would sign up at with one of our passionate and knowledgeable home cooks. Everyone would cook a menu together and then sit down and share the meal, share stories, and learn about another culture.” Through these experiences, Paula and her team hope to create meaningful cross-cultural engagement.
She states, “The learning curve was very steep as I learned how to operate and run an e-commerce business. We had 5 hosts and we were about to launch 7 more hosts when COVID hit. After 2 months, we jumped off the cliff into the world of online zooms. Another steep learning curve, but we kept putting one foot in front of the other and overcame our fears. We are now expanding our team and growing our business. The online element has proven to be quite a successful business model and has opened up more doors for us to pursue more opportunities.”

Paula has even larger goals for her business. “I want to take In My Kitchen global, so no matter where you travel, you can sign up for an In My Kitchen experience and cook with a passionate and knowledgeable home cook who will share their heritage recipes and culture.”