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Winter 2020 (Volume 30, Number 4)

Who’s in the Rheum? CRA Staff Edition (Part 2)

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Welcome to the second part of our Who’s in the Rheum? CRA Staff Edition series! We hope to share some of the personalities behind the CRA who work hard to support our members.


Kevin Baijnauth

Please describe your role at the CRA in one sentence.
I am the Communications and Marketing Coordinator at the CRA; my role is essentially to support our team and committees on the amazing work they do.

How long have you been with the CRA?
Since October 2018.

What is your favourite CRA memory to date?
Definitely the CRA’s Gala at the Annual Scientific Meeting. I’ve worked several events and concerts before, but nothing prepared me for the Gala!

How has COVID-19 impacted your day-to-day operations?
My regular day-to-day operations were minimally impacted. However, I work a lot with external organizations who were affected, so I’ve had to adjust in working with other parties who are not accustomed to working from home.

What were your summer plans this year pre-COVID?
I was planning to go to Korea and Japan this year!

Where is your next destination once it’s safe to travel?
I’ve never been to an all-inclusive resort before! If anything, this pandemic has taught me to spend more me time on myself, so that’s my next destination for sure.

If you were shipwrecked on a deserted island, what two items would you want to have with you (excluding basic necessities)?
Simple, satellite internet connection and a gaming laptop that is solar powered!

Can you share any of your hidden talents or hobbies?
I was really into muay thai and boxing a few years ago. Now I’m interested in karate, though I’m still a white belt!

What are you watching or reading these days?
My good friend Louisa Onome is a contemporary YA writer from Toronto and is releasing her debut novel, Like Home, in early 2021. I love supporting my friends, and I know this story was a labour of love. It deals with a lot of heavy-hitting social issues but is full of charm and wit! I hope you can all check it out!

What’s your favorite ‘80s or ’90s jam?
No Scrubs by TLC. It’s also my go-to karaoke song!



Virginia Hopkins

Please describe your role at the CRA in one sentence.
As Manager, Research and Innovation, I am responsible for managing our research programs (CIORA, abstracts) and our technology platforms (website, mobile app, virtual conference, association management system, etc.).

How long have you been with the CRA?
Since October 2011.

What is your favourite CRA memory to date?
There are too many to choose from but the Gala dinners and Great Debates are at the top of the list.

How has COVID-19 impacted your day-to-day operations?
I’ve been very fortunate to have very little impact on my day-to-day operations.

What were your summer plans this year pre-COVID?
My daughter and I were going to take a graduation trip to New York City.

Where is your next destination once it’s safe to travel?
Italy for a wedding (fingers crossed).

If you were shipwrecked on a deserted island, what two items would you want to have with you (excluding basic necessities)?
My cell phone and a solar charger for my cell phone.

Can you share any of your hidden talents or hobbies?
I love to organize everything and anything. I also enjoy reading and playing sports.

What are you watching or reading these days?
I just finished reading In Five Years by Rebecca Serle, and I’m watching Schitt’s Creek on Netflix.

What’s your favorite ‘80s or ’90s jam?
Duran Duran, Culture Club, Depeche Mode (to name a few).



Claire McGowan

Please describe your role at the CRA in one sentence.
I work with CRA Education and Program Committees to ensure comprehensive educational programs are developed and delivered to the CRA membership.

How long have you been with the CRA?
Since December 2014.

What is your favourite CRA memory to date?
Favourite recent memory: a sea of colourful blinking party glasses on the dance floor in Victoria.

How has COVID-19 impacted your day-to-day operations?
Programs and planning have been altered by COVID-19 (and my internet has struggled with a full house at home!).

What were your summer plans this year pre-COVID?
Lots of cottaging and a road trip to the east coast.

Where is your next destination once it’s safe to travel?
Portugal.

If you were shipwrecked on a deserted island, what two items would you want to have with you (excluding basic necessities)?
A camera and EarPods (…and a little bit of chocolate).

Can you share any of your hidden talents or hobbies?
My latest pastime: furniture makeovers.

What are you watching or reading these days?
Book: If You Want to Make God Laugh by Bianca Marais
TV show: The Queen's Gambit

What’s your favorite ‘80s or ’90s jam?
Far too many to choose from. Top picks include Queen, REM, The Hip and Cat Stevens (he’s timeless).




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