This is the third of a four-part series of articles on previous CNA Skills Canada medal winners in recognition of National Skilled Trades and Technology Week Nov. 6-12, 2017.
ST. JOHN’S, NL -
Despite being pushed to attend university by her parents, St. John’s native Becki Peckham knew it wasn’t the right fit for her creative spirit.
After finishing one semester, she transferred to College of the North Atlantic’s (CNA) Graphic Design program, it was then she discovered her true passion.
During her first year of study, Peckham became involved in Skills Canada, an organization which encourages and supports the promotion of skilled trades and technologies to youth, and hosts annual competitions to showcase various projects. She competed in 2007 and 2008 in the graphic design category, taking gold at the provincials both years. This allowed her to move on to the national competitions where she was awarded bronze in 2007 and silver in 2008.
“(Competing) was both terrifying, and exciting,” she recalled of her experience. “I had no idea I was a competitive person until I started training for Skills. When I won gold in 2007, it was the first time I had won anything! Traveling to compete nationally made me feel confident in my skills. I had no idea what to expect, but came away with new friends from all over the country.”
Peckham says the Skills Canada competition definitely taught her time management skills, how to work under pressure, and even changed the way she followed through with projects for clients.
Her later volunteer involvement with the organization also created an opportunity for travel and invaluable networking across the country. In 2009, she travelled to World Skills International in Calgary where she worked as the workshop supervisor assistant for the graphic design competition.
“I was super thankful to have been there to experience it without the stress of the competition. Seeing how a big competition like that was organized from the other side was definitely an eye-opener on how much work is involved to pull off an event of that magnitude.”
In 2010 and 2011, she once again travelled with Skills Canada, but this time, Peckham participated in the youth leadership program. In April 2014, she went to New Orleans for a second time with Together by Design, a volunteer group of students and mentors which consist of plumbers, electricians, carpenters and engineers who work on post-disaster reconstruction projects. It’s a project she would have never had an opportunity to be involved in if it weren’t for her Skills Canada family.
In fact, Peckham sat on the board of directors for Skills Canada - Newfoundland and Labrador (NL) for six years, only recently vacated her position to move out of the country with her newlywed husband, Chris Nicholas.
As for her career, Peckham says she has been quite busy since graduating from the Graphic Design program in 2008. She had a job lined up one month before graduating with m5 Marketing Communications in St. John’s. The atmosphere was a perfect fit for her artistic abilities, and she learned so much in her two years with the company before striking out on her own.
She started Bold Creative, a photography and design studio that provided a one-stop shop for branding work, web and print design, small video projects, photography and wide format photographic printing. The company, which she started with Nicholas, developed its own clientele, but also collaborated with larger marketing agencies on a freelance basis, including m5 and the home design website Houzz.
Outside of her successful business, the past five years have seen Peckham quite busy on the interior design front, transforming each room in their traditional 1980s house to reflect their modern style.
“My husband and I started a home renovation blog back in 2012, where we documented our entire progress and DIY (do it yourself) projects in the form of written content with photos,” Peckham said. “We originally started it to track progress on our home renovation and hold us accountable to finishing projects.”
Fast forward two years, and they were taking the top spot in an international DIY contest called Creating With The Stars, which Peckham said helped her realize could actually turn this in to a career, so they started posting more frequently.
Last year the couple moved across the country to Vancouver so Nicholas could complete his last year of medical training. While Peckham had to give up the majority of her clients, she didn’t let it her get her down because that new adventure led to a new creative direction.
“Video was always a skill we had in our back pocket and never really used for our own projects. Chris had been producing films since he was 14 years old, and I had been making videos here and there for a few years. I had always really wanted to document our travels through video,” Peckham said.
She quickly turned her focus to creating weekly lifestyle/adventure vlogs for YouTube while trying to maintain blog content. She recently started a photo club on Facebook called Pixel and Lens Visuals Club, and along with Nicholas, spoke for the first time at a conference for bloggers about video production.
What’s next for Peckham? She is embarking on an even bigger adventure. She and her husband are moving to the U.S., where they both have jobs and look forward to exploring the areas and documenting it for their growing audience.
To see the amazing design they created in their St. John’s home, visit www.beckiandchris.com/ and be sure to check out their Vlog on YouTube at www.youtube.com/c/beckiandchris.
Public Relations Specialist
College of the North Atlantic