Posed with an arsenal of cameras, Grant Cree appears ready for action and adventure. Good thing, as he is a member of the Army Reserves at CFB Edmonton.
Grant Cree began his career as a communications professional in 2003 when he was working full-time with the Army.
“One day, I was given the Public Affairs Officer (PAO) job as a secondary duty. Since I was already quite busy with my main job and didn’t know anything about Public Affairs, let’s just say that I was less than delighted with this sudden career development. But I did it anyway and soon found to my surprise that I was good at it and actually enjoyed it. Funny how life works, eh?”
In 2008, he became the Editor of The Western Sentinel military newspaper. The Sentinel is an internal newspaper which is published every two weeks and relies on articles and photos from Canadian Forces members who serve in western Canada.
“Now I wear a suit and tie instead of a uniform. The job also allows me to occasionally get out of the office and cover various events on the base and in Edmonton.”
When one of the Army PAOs went to Afghanistan in 2009, he stepped up to the plate to cover his job.
“So now I’m a newspaper editor and public relations practitioner. That was three years ago, and I continue to love what I do.”
A typical day involves fitness training every morning followed by going to the office and staring at a computer screen.
“Sorry it doesn’t sound very glamorous, but that’s what happens. Typically I will action priority emails and then review the Internet news aggregators for recently posted stories about the Department of National Defense or the Canadian Forces. After those three morning rituals (fitness, emails, news) things can be quite unpredictable, and that’s what I enjoy about this work.”
On quiet days, he’s in the office editing articles submitted by military members who want their stories published in The Western Sentinel. Other days he may find himself covering an event at CFB Edmonton, or meeting troops at the airport, or conducting media awareness training, or interviewing someone for an article that he’s going to write.
“Sometimes I travel across Alberta or western Canada to help tell an Army story, and I’ve also been embedded news media on large-scale training activities involving thousands of troops. Busy days at the office are like paddling a canoe through whitewater rapids on the Kananaskis River.
It’s clear that Grant thrives on action and adventure.
“I’ve been lucky to match my need for action with work that I enjoy. It’s simple, but not easy. Some folks spend their entire lives getting the right mix of action and adventure.”
So what does the future hold for this GI Jo?
“We live in an era of communications and employers/clients will gladly pay those who have taken the time to develop their skills. I’m thinking about further education, but I am so busy at work these days that my schedule wouldn’t allow me the time needed to do well in a class.”
Chances are, Grant’s future will bring an arsenal of awards as well as action and adventure.