Job Title: Executive Director, Special Olympics Edmonton
Celina Foster isn’t shy about how close she is with her family — “We’re actually obsessed with each other,” she laughs — but when she thinks about who helped her get to where she is today, one name sticks out — “Mama Comeau.”
“I actually almost flunked out of university in my first year, and then because of my mom — I sometimes call her the ‘Mob Boss’ — I got back on track and ended up graduating five years later on the dean’s list.”
Given this is her second Top 40 mention — Foster’s older brother, Curtis Comeau, also acknowledged their mother in his 2014 Top 40 feature — Mama Comeau is clearly doing something right. For Foster, the support she received inspired her to be an equally positive force for children living with special needs.
“If I didn’t have that supportive person like my mom, I wouldn’t have been able to do it,” Foster says. “I know a lot of these kiddos with special needs might not have those kinds of supports.”
Foster’s career took an unexpected turn after university, however, and rather than becoming a special education teacher, she found herself as the executive director of Special Olympics Edmonton. And despite assuming the role at only 25 years of age, Foster has been intentional about creating the same family environment at Special Olympics Edmonton that was so instrumental to her own success.
“I think anyone who says they do things by themselves isn’t being honest. You always have a team behind you, whether it’s obvious or not.”