UFCW Local 401 Member Boom Sommakettarin Blossoms at Safeway

Boom Sommakettarin says it best herself when she says, “what you aspire to be in your head takes you to where you want to be!”

Recently, when I sat down to talk more with this amazing UFCW Local 401 member, Boom described what she thought her dream job would be when she was young. Boom has always had a creative energy and spirit. Growing up, Boom explained she absolutely loved flowers and always wanted to work with them. So it is no surprise as a young girl her dream job involved working with flowers. This aspiration was in her head from a very early age and this is exactly what Boom Sommakettarin achieved when she came to work with Safeway and joined UFCW Local 401 as a union member.

Boom started working at the Capilano Safeway in Edmonton in September of 2014. She applied and was hired as a cashier initially but took the first opportunity she had to help out in the floral department. Linda Rivard, Floral Operator and a Shop Steward in this store, saw the interest Boom had when she was helping out in the department. Boom was encouraged to ask for a transfer to the floral department and in April of 2015, she was finally transferred.

As the Senior Labour Relations Officer representing the Capilano Safeway, I remember how excited Boom was to be working in the floral department. At this time, Boom was already learning some floral design skills from her teacher Linda who mentioned to me that Boom was learning everything so quickly. Boom’s passion for working with flowers was shining through.

With Boom learning new skills in the store so quickly, I referred both Boom and Linda to the free floral design webCampus courses offered online by UFCW Canada. Boom took the information and said she would look into the courses more and think about it.

The dedicated Shop Stewards in this Safeway location encouraged Boom to consider signing up for one of the webCampus floral design courses so she can continue to grow her skills. Boom was at first a little reluctant as English is her second language; she took the plunge anyway and went online exploring the options available to her on webCampus.

Currently, Sister Boom has achieved two of the three levels of floral design courses available online and she has found them to be very beneficial in developing her design skills. Boom explained that the online learning modules were extremely helpful, especially with helping her understand more of the technical terminology often used in floral design.

Soon, Boom’s nervousness with learning in English as her second language dissipated. webCampus was easy to navigate, and the use of audio, visual, and written learning aspects of the modules made it easy to successfully complete the courses. Boom continues to use the links provided to more videos and resources on the webCampus site as she hones her new design skills. As time permits, she is looking forward to taking the level three floral design course.

After transferring to the floral department at the Capilano Safeway, Boom secured a full-time position and within three short months, she was asked to move to the Edmonton Garneau Safeway location to fill in for the Floral Operator there who was on leave. More recently, Sister Boom was transferred again to the Coliseum Safeway in Edmonton where her floral design skills will be a great asset once again as acting Floral Operator. She could never have imagined how much she has been able to learn in a short time while doing a job she loves. Boom wants to continue learning new skills in floral design and one day become an established Floral Operator herself.

When discussing floral design, Boom noted that although some of the arrangements at Safeway are a structurally set formula, she has been allowed to experiment with some unique custom designs that she has created herself. It was one of these unique custom designs made by Boom that gained some wonderful international attention not too long ago.

While still working at the Capilano location, Boom created a one-of-a-kind sunny and bright floral arrangement made of sunflowers in a tall cream glass vase with small white flowers and tall grass like accents. This unique high-end arrangement quickly sold. Interestingly, it was purchased for Janet Jackson’s dressing room when she was on her Edmonton tour! When Boom arrived at work the next day and realized her arrangement was going to be enjoyed by an international celebrity, she was so surprised.

It would be entirely fitting to say that Boom has certainly blossomed in her new role at Safeway and we are all so proud of her initiative and passion for her job. Boom Sommakettarin is a great example of how to be all you can be!

Dee Mae Beler

Senior Labour Relations Officer
UFCW Local 401