Our people: Warrant Officer Tina Koutras

News Article / April 15, 2020

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By 12 Wing Public Affairs

When the call came, it invoked skills that Warrant Officer Tina Koutras had honed when not working as Air Maintenance Superintendent at 12 Air Maintenance Squadron, 12 Wing Shearwater, Nova Scotia.

In her daily role, Warrant Officer Koutras monitors members of the Aircraft Maintenance Control Records Office and is the unit’s Information System Security Officer. But, but like many people across the country, she is doing that work from home these days.

The global COVID-19 pandemic has prompted people to find new ways to connect to others. 12 Wing Shearwater has evolved, too, by tapping into the expertise of Warrant Officer Koutras.

“I am a motivational coach and online entrepreneur,” she says. “My experience with Zoom and Facebook both stem from teaching people how to use online markets to sell and promote their brand online.”

And this experience has proven invaluable to 12 Wing because, for the past couple of weeks, Warrant Officer Koutras has been helping the chain of command connect with members of the wing during the global COVID-19 pandemic by teaching them how to use Zoom, and sharing resources and training.

“I feel it is incredibly important for members to be connected to the chain of command right now, and that they see their faces, because we relate more to people when we can see their facial expressions,” she says. “So, when the commanding officers reached out after my first Zoom with Lieutenant-Colonel Tara Willis [12 Air Maintenance Squadron commanding officer], I was happy to help get them set up and teach them how to use the system.”

Warrant Officer Koutras recently helped set up a town hall for 12 Wing  Commander Colonel James Hawthorne and Chief Warrant Officer Bruno Poirier, enabling them to interact with 12 Wing members on both coasts – Shearwater, Nova Scotia, and Patricia Bay, British Columbia). She then set up live streams for them so they could address personnel and hold question and answer sessions from their respective homes.  

The format was so well received that subsequent town halls have maintained the flow of information.

“The COVID-19 situation has presented a host of new challenges, and we are adapting as we go,” says Colonel Hawthorne, “but it’s times like these where it’s extremely important to maintain connection with our colleagues and friends—to make sure everyone is okay as the situation evolves. I am thankful for Warrant Officer Koutras, and for her skills that have enabled us to interact with our members at home.”

Warrant Officer Koutras joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 1996 as an Aircraft Structures Technician (ACS Tech), following in her parents’ footsteps. Her mother was a Financial Services Administrator who helped close down 4 Wing Baden-Soellingen, Germany, in 1993, and her father was a Meteorological Technician, serving on board HMCS Margaree during his career.

Her postings and varying jobs have helped her develop the skills she is using today: working under pressure, innovation, developing her entrepreneurial spirit, and embracing new technology.

“As an instructor, I had a completely different view of Borden,” she explains. “I had to learn quickly and grow up fast because I was doing things outside of my comfort zone, like speaking in public and meeting tight timelines and schedules.”

In 2014, she was promoted to Sergeant and posted back to 12 Wing Shearwater at 423 Squadron. In 2015, in the role of Technician Adjutant, she organized events and parades. “There was a very strong learning curve,” she says, “but the administration skills I gained were very valuable.”  

These are skills she regularly uses as one of the administrators for the private Shearwater Families Facebook group. She recognizes the importance of positive morale, especially in today’s reality, so she regularly updates the Facebook group with work-related information to help people feel connected. “We also created a social Facebook group for some of our more extroverted members to share humour and keep an eye on each other,” she adds.

And if that isn’t enough, she is also an author. She penned a fantasy novel called “The Stone Garden”, and is currently working on the sequel.

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