I’ve known my friend Mallory Quinn since our elementary school days. She was in the French program, and I was in the English program yet somehow, we still managed to find each other and grow up together.  I like to think we’ve always been a part of each other’s lives in some capacity.  That’s the great thing about some friendships- you can just pick up wherever you leave off. 

For as long as I can remember, Mal wanted to be a doctor. I don’t know that I’ve met anyone who had a clearer path, or such a clear direction.  Being a teenager and having that figured out made Mallory motivated, driven… and oh so smart. I still whole-heartedly believe I never would have survived high school math without her. (Although, let’s be honest. When was the last time I needed that math!?)

Mal forged on after high school and chased after her dreams of becoming a medical professional.  Lots of twists and turns and some unexpected delays meant that she had to work extra hard.  I have so much respect for her, and I know that I’m not the only one.

A handful of years ago, Mallory moved back to Smithers to set up her own family practice with Northern Roots Primary Care. I know that she endeavors to provide quality care to her patients, and the Bulkley Valley is so fortunate to have her.  She continues to inspire me, and bless my life with her friendship.

Dr. Quinn, welcome to the table!

How long have you called the Bulkley Valley home? 

We moved to the valley in 1989 when I was 6. I’ve lived in many other places since graduating high school, but this is the only place that has ever truly felt like home. I was so excited to finally move back permanently three years ago.

What is one thing you’ve learned about friendship (or community)?

My biggest learning around friendship in my 30’s has been to give your friendships the freedom to evolve over time. As you yourself change your friendships will inevitably change as well. You’ll grow apart from people who you thought would be in your life forever, while growing closer to others in surprising ways. If you can advocate for yourself and what you need to sustain a friendship, similar to conversations with romantic partners, it opens the doors to cultivating deeper, sustainable friendships. I was in a course last summer where the speaker described these deep, fulfilling connections as your “soul sisters”, those people you could call when you’re in trouble and they would help you bury the body, no questions asked. (figuratively speaking of course)

What is one area you are growing in?

I am trying to get better at setting boundaries. Boundaries on my time, my effort, my relationships, my work. Growing up and through my 20’s I was always the “yes” person. I would take on extra commitments I didn’t have time for, extra work on projects that I wasn’t actually interested in, extra effort in relationships when I wasn’t getting anything in return.

I am trying to say “no” to things that I don’t find fulfilling, or don’t have the time for, but also working on not feeling guilty for saying no. Prioritizing myself has not been easy for me, but some health challenges I have had along the way have been great learning opportunities as to why continuing to work on this is vital to my well-being.

What is one thing you would say to your younger self?

Thank you. Thank you for being stubborn, confident, and actively pursuing our dreams despite setbacks. Thank you for deciding at 13 years old what career you wanted for the rest of your life. Thank you for being independent and adventuring out into the world. Thank you for not letting challenges break you.

Who inspires you and why?

I draw inspiration from many people in different aspects of my life, but if I had to pick one person it would be Michelle Obama. Her calm demeanor, steel backbone, and articulate manner in which she advocates and leads while she also shows emotion and truly values human connection. Those are all qualities I hope to demonstrate in some small measure.

What do you know is true, and how do you carry that day to day?

“We must not allow the clock and the calendar to blind us to the fact that each moment of life is a miracle and a mystery.” H.G. Wells