Visit career profiles of individual women in engineering and technology careers in the Mainland / Southwest region:


Maria Skyers profile image

Maria Skyers

Development Services Project Supervisor

I assist intermediate team members and senior staff in the...

Linda Duncan profile image

Linda Duncan

Corporate Senior Metallurgist

I work for a mining company at the head office...

Dali Mwandacha-Kianipour image profile image profile

Dali Mwandacha-Kianipour

Project Manager

I manage the design and construction for capital infrastructure projects...

Pam Chilton profile image

Pam Chilton

Owner and Principal Designer

I am the owner of my firm which means I...

Karen Stewart image

Karen Stewart

Chief Information Officer

I manage the Information Technology (IT) team for the City...

Nicole Brisson profile picture

Nicole Brisson

Water and Tailings Engineer

I work at an active gold mine site in Nunavut....

Megan Chambers

Structural Design Technologist

I work as part of a team consisting of Structural...

Katie Au

Katie Au

Project Manager and Partner

I’m an electrical engineer specialized in protection, control and automation.

Nichole Rama

Civil Inspector

I work independently and plan my own day based on...

Hallie Dau image

Hallie Dau

Research Coordinator

I help coordinate the day to day requirements of research...

Catherine-Roome image

Catherine Roome

President & CEO

I lead the organization. So that means every day I...

Theresa-McCurry image

Theresa McCurry

Chief Executive Officer

I provide leadership by working closely with the Board of...

Edith Tobe profile image

Edith Tobe

Executive Director

I develop, manage, and implement watershed based restoration activities for...

Maria Skyers profile image

Maria Skyers

Position: Development Services Project Supervisor

Job title and employer:

Development Services Project Supervisor (City of Surrey)

 

What does your job title mean?

I assist intermediate team members and senior staff in the Land Development Division by providing moderately complex technical and administrative support related to the completion of various city land development projects.


Background information:

Where were you born? Where did you grow up?

I was born in Williams Lake, British Columbia, Canada.

I grew up in 100 Mile House, British Columbia, Canada, and completed most of my post-secondary schooling in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada.

Where do you live now?

I live in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada.

Where did you complete your training or education?

I completed my post-secondary education at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada. The programs I completed include a diploma in Engineering Design and Drafting Technology, as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Technology Management. I am currently enrolled in the GDBA Program (Graduate Diploma of Business Administration) at Simon Fraser University, with a future goal of completing my MBA (Master of Business Administration).


What you do at work?

I perform detailed reviews for proposed construction project sites. This includes the design drawings, specifications and project cost estimates.  I coordinate with people in various departments at my workplace. As a result, strong organizational and teamwork skills are important.

I work as part of team and I often engage with my colleagues on various design issues. When a problem situation is familiar, our team collaborates to look at how it was resolved previously, and how to best resolve it moving forward. We discuss project success stories and share what has worked well. We also discuss what we did well and how we can improve future projects. My background in STEM improves my confidence engaging in technical team conversations. It also forms a solid base and deeper understanding of the topics I encounter daily in my career.

Some specific STEM skills I use are:

  • completing analysis of areas or quantities of volume to determine accurate cost estimates;
  • completing calculations to determine accurate grade of slopes for design coordination;
  • using computer software to complete detailed design reviews;
  • using data management software to assist in project tracking and milestone achievements to keep projects on task and on time; and
  • solving problems to resolve design conflicts and unexpected design constraints as they are revealed throughout the design and construction process.

How does what you do affect people’s lives?

My career is very fulfilling! It is not only rewarding for myself when a project is completed successfully, but also for all of those in the community who are positively affected by the project. They will benefit from the result for years to come. The infrastructure and buildings being constructed effect the quality of life for the community. This is very important as the population grows and the need for resources expand. Some of the most fulfilling projects I have worked on are those that provide much needed affordable housing for our growing and diverse community.

 


What motivates you in your career?

I get excited about the variety of projects I have the opportunity to work on! Each project has its own challenges.  I enjoy taking on new projects and finding better ways to solve problems. I also really enjoy the team of people I work with.  I think it is so important to get along with your colleagues and feel you can really thrive in your work environment with like-minded individuals.

This career is right for me because I truly enjoy going to work every day and performing well at my job.  I feel a sense of responsibility and accomplishment, but I am also challenged and rewarded often. The personal reward really comes down to the customer service aspect and helping people. At the end of the day, we are helping to build infrastructure that is needed by residents in the community. It feels good to be able to provide for people’s needs.

I have received many compliments on various projects I have managed over the years. Each project gives me new opportunities to learn and grow. Every completed project is another accomplishment for me. It is great to be able to continue to apply my skills and improve my technique.

In my STEM career, I have received specific software training to help lead our team through the transition towards a digital workflow. I have also received my BC CESCL credential (British Columbia Certified Erosion & Sediment Control Lead) as well as most recently my professional designation with ASTTBC as an Applied Science Technologist (AScT).


How did you get to where you are today?

I knew that I wanted a career in a technical field since my late high school years. It was my grade 11 year that I really started exploring courses in drafting and design, and really enjoyed it! I ended up taking every drafting course that my high school had to offer. I really thrived and excelled in this area. I decided to pursue my education following that path. I received a diploma in Engineering Design and Drafting Technology and a Bachelor’s degree in Technology Management.

There has been one unusual turn in my career. This was when I made the unexpected career change from the private to the public sector. There are definitely benefits of each sector. However, I prefer what I am doing now (public sector). The real twist is that I am now managing the types of projects that I used to design in my previous role. I find it very useful that I had exposure to both sides of design (the creative design side, as well as the more structured management side), since they both play an important role in the quality of the finished product. Check my LinkedIn profile for more information.


What activities do you enjoy outside of work?

Outside of my career, I enjoy keeping active with activities like yoga/meditation, hiking, and biking. I also like to play some organized sports in my community like softball and indoor soccer.

I am enthusiastic about volunteering and have been involved in many volunteer roles with various organizations such as cultural associations, activity groups, and other organized events. I am particularly passionate about volunteering with groups that encourage women to pursue careers in skilled trades and technologies. It was one of these group events that helped me really boost my confidence and gave me the courage to make the decisions I made about my career. Giving back in this way by sharing my experience is important to me.

 


What advice would you give to a young person interested in a similar career?

I would absolutely encourage a career in STEM to a young person, as it has so many wonderful benefits. I feel that the industry is very stable and reliable. In addition, the types of careers can provide a lot of opportunities and options that could suit many different skill sets. As with any career, it may feel intimidating or overwhelming at times especially as a woman in a typically male dominated industry. Nevertheless, I have seen things changing for the better – there is no better time to be a part of this positive change!

 


As a female professional, how can you influence the advancement of women in engineering and technology?

I would promote the importance of seizing opportunities and honing STEM skills for young women and girls early on in their schooling. I feel that gaining confidence in these areas as early as possible is key to feeling confident throughout future education and careers. Also, it does not stop with formal education, there is extensive learning that happens with experience on the job, and mentorship opportunities throughout your career. I am a huge advocate for life-long learning; if you never stop learning, you will always keep growing!


 

When I was in high school, I enjoyed…

Computer Science

Home Economics / Family Studies

Literature and English language arts

Math

Science

Technology

 

When I was in high school, I was someone who…

Enjoyed doing things on my own

Liked helping people

Enjoyed working with my hands

Was motivated by success

Liked being given specific instructions

Engaged in volunteer activities

Liked reading

Was really creative

Felt great satisfaction in getting good grades

Liked to design or build things


 

ASTTBC thanks Let’s Talk Science for their partnership in developing this career profile.  Let’s Talk Science – a leading partner in Canadian education – is a national charitable organization committed to inspiring and empowering Canadian youth to develop the skills they need to participate and thrive in an ever-changing world. To accomplish this, Let’s Talk Science offers a comprehensive suite of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) based programs to support youth, educators, and volunteers across Canada. For more information about Let’s Talk Science, visit letstalkscience.ca.

Lets Talk Science logo


#CareerDiscovery #LetsTalkScience

Linda Duncan profile image

Linda Duncan

Position: Corporate Senior Metallurgist

Job title and employer:

Corporate Senior Metallurgist, Teck Resources Limited

 

What does your job title mean?

I work for a mining company at the head office in Vancouver, BC. My role is to design, optimize and otherwise add value to the chemical and physical processes that we can use to sustainably extract valuable minerals from ore on new mine projects, at mines that we already operate or potential mines that we may want to become involved in. I also get the opportunity to review new technologies that may be game changers in how we mine. Essentially I get to help design, build and operate mines.


Background information:

Where were you born? Where did you grow up?

I was born in Kitimat, BC and lived there until I finished high school.

Where do you live now?

I now live in Cloverdale, BC and work in the Vancouver Head Office of the company.

Where did you complete your training or education?

I completed my Chemical and Metallurgical, Extractive Metallurgy Technology Diploma at BCIT in Burnaby and completed my Masters in Mining Engineering with Camborne School of Mines at the University of Exeter in England. My masters degree was a distance education program with some on-campus and field work.


What you do at work?

At Teck Resources Limited, I am part of a project team working on the processing part of a mine. Other members of the team are geologists, mining engineers, project managers and financial analysts.

As a Senior Metallurgist my job involves both developing specific projects and supporting other people working on projects.  I spend a great deal of time creating laboratory-scale test programs. After we collect data from the test program, we analyze it and prepare a variety of documents including technical reports and PowerPoint presentations. Test programs require math, chemistry and time management skills.  Analyzing data involves using a lot of Excel (math), graphing and interpretation. This is problem solving on how the best way to design and build a mine.

As I am often working on multiple projects, I need to be able to categorize and prioritize my tasks and keep them separate.

In my position, I need strong communication skills. I have to be able to present technical information in an understandable way to diverse groups. The groups may include Vice Presidents of my company, engineering firms, laboratories, or elementary school children.

My company has operations in South America so I am now taking a Spanish course.  This is so that I have a basic understanding and will be able to work more effectively with the South American based operations.

Safety is a core value of our company. As a result, I spend a lot of time looking at how operations can be completed in a safe and environmentally aware manner.

I use a lot of math, chemistry, physics as well as technical writing to do my job.


How does what you do affect people’s lives?

The world needs metals to advance our technology. We use metals every day in our cell phones, computers and homes. We also need to be responsible in how we get that metal. I feel that how I accomplish my job is important in helping this happen in a safe, sustainable and environmentally aware manner. I am proud of the fact that what I do can make a difference to how this is accomplished.

 


What motivates you in your career?

I get excited at work when I can help solve a problem. I really like collaborating on ideas where we challenge technology to work in a different way. It’s the ‘What if’ game.  When you are in a group of people and bounce ideas off each other sometimes magic occurs.

My superpowers are my math skills and my ability to uncover mistakes in large spreadsheets. I call it a superpower, as I really do not know exactly how I do it. I guess it all boils down to my logical brain.

As a woman in a male dominated industry, I can bring a different perspective to how things are accomplished. My leadership style is to work alongside someone and lead by example rather than dictate how things should be done. I am proud of what I have achieved in my career and that I have become a leader in my field.


How did you get to where you are today?

In high school, I knew I wanted to do something in math or science. My father had always said I could be whatever I wanted and I knew I did not want to be a secretary.

When I was in Grade 12, I had an opportunity to work in an industrial laboratory. The senior chemist recommended a course at BCIT in Chemical and Metallurgical. For me it was a perfect opportunity, as I did not feel I could afford to go to university.  I loved that it was a practical education. After the first year, I focused on Extractive Metallurgy (mineral processing).

As I have always worked in the mining industry, my career has had many ups and downs. It has been challenging at times to be a female in a male dominated industry.  However, through each change and challenge I have enhanced and expanded my skillset to what it is today. My career has been unique and diverse. It has included site work as an employee and contractor, as well as technical resource work for an industry manufacturer. My career has also included mineral processing design work at an engineering house, consultant type work with a reagent distributor, and finally ending as a senior metallurgist.  I have travelled all over the world and visited mines and places that many people will never have an opportunity to visit. I have been accepted in cultures where it is very unusual for a woman to work in my position. I have found this to be very rewarding.

I returned to school and got my Masters in Mining Engineering. I am very proud of that accomplishment and it rounded out my skillset.  As well as Spanish, I am also working to improve my knowledge of mineralogy and geology. Geometallurgy and ore body knowledge are my technical specialty. Women in mining are very important to the future development of our resource sector. It is so important to never stop learning and to accept challenges.


What activities do you enjoy outside of work?

I enjoy hiking and weight training to stay active. I also incorporate travel into my hiking when I can. I am pretty introverted so I like to read and knit to relax, it helps my brain slow down.

I volunteer with MineralsEd. This is an educational organization in BC which supports Earth science, mineral resources and mining in schools. I am also involved with Mining for Miracles, a program that fundraises for BC Children’s Hospital as well as other mining organizing committees.

 


What advice would you give to a young person interested in a similar career?

Never stop learning! Take chances, do not say no, accept the challenge, then ask for help and guidance. Work to your strengths; you do not need to be pushy to get ahead.

 


As a female professional, how can you influence the advancement of women in engineering and technology?

By mentoring and promoting female colleagues and ensuring that their work is acknowledged is imperative. It is not always easy in a male dominated workplace to be recognized.  This is changing but there are still challenges. Be professional and true to yourself.


 

When I was in high school, I enjoyed…

Foreign languages

Geography

History

Literature and English language arts

Math

Science

 

When I was in high school, I was someone who…

Enjoyed doing things on my own

Liked helping people

Enjoyed working with my hands

Was motivated by success

Liked being given specific instructions

Engaged in volunteer activities

Liked reading

Felt at home in the outside, natural environment

Felt great satisfaction in getting good grades

Wasn’t sure what I wanted to do

Engaged in activities such as fishing, berry picking and hunting


 

ASTTBC thanks Let’s Talk Science for their partnership in developing this career profile.  Let’s Talk Science – a leading partner in Canadian education – is a national charitable organization committed to inspiring and empowering Canadian youth to develop the skills they need to participate and thrive in an ever-changing world. To accomplish this, Let’s Talk Science offers a comprehensive suite of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) based programs to support youth, educators, and volunteers across Canada. For more information about Let’s Talk Science, visit letstalkscience.ca.

Lets Talk Science logo


#CareerDiscovery #LetsTalkScience

Dali Mwandacha-Kianipour image profile image profile

Dali Mwandacha-Kianipour

Position: Project Manager

Job title and employer:

Project Manager, City of Port Coquitlam

 

What does your job title mean?

Manage the design and construction for capital infrastructure projects within the City of Port Coquitlam


Background information:

Where were you born? Where did you grow up?

Born in Burnaby, BC. Grew up in Kamloops and Langley, BC

Where do you live now?

New Westminster, BC

Where did you complete your training or education?

Okanagan College – Civil Engineering Technology


What you do at work?

In project management day to day operations change daily. A typical day could include visiting a job site, reviewing invoices, looking over old or new designs, analyzing budgets or managing resident inquiries. Different situations arise on the job site, with situations like design conflicts or changes in construction procedures, decisions can sometimes be thought our or decided on the spot. 
We’re always working as a team very closely with consultants and contractors in the industry to complete projects.


How does what you do affect people’s lives?

From newer water mains to better pedestrian access across different areas, design and construction effects the community significantly. I love brainstorming new innovations with others, better ways to promote accessibility by cycling, walking or transiting for everyone or by simply providing a new and better water systems.

 


What motivates you in your career?

I love the challenge. I love problem solving and researching. I love interacting with the public and external sources to come up with solutions in the design or construction process. It is personally rewarding for me to see a job that you’ve been a part of for at least a year or more be constructed and seeing the finished product.


How did you get to where you are today?

The career path I am in now is not exactly what I expected to be doing in highschool. My understanding of engineering was a bit different at the time, but I love what I’m doing currently and couldn’t see myself in a differently role, this is perfectly suited for me and my personality. I spent a little bit of time at BCIT and after a semester took a year break doing general studies at UFV. I went to back to the civil program in Okanagan College. I got a job within the public sector straight out of college. I worked in transportation and infrastructure planning for 3.5 years and in the design and construction industry for about a year. I’m encouraged and motivated to push for more diversity in this sector.


What activities do you enjoy outside of work?

I love trail running and working out. I am a huge book reader. I also enjoy gardening and hanging out with my husband and friends.

 


What advice would you give to a young person interested in a similar career?

Don’t be discouraged by the industry. Keep your head up, accept where your weaknesses and stand firm on the things you know.

 


As a female professional, how can you influence the advancement of women in engineering and technology?

I love supporting women. I love seeing women succeed in any industry they are in. I hope to support women by lending a listening ear and maintaining a respectful workplace and job site where their voices can be heard.


 

When I was in high school, I enjoyed…

Foods and Nutrition

Math

Music

Physical Education/Health

Science

Technology

 

When I was in high school, I was someone who…

Brought people together

Played on a sports team

Enjoyed working with my hands

Wanted to be in charge

Engaged in volunteer activities

Liked reading

Felt great satisfaction in getting good grades

Always knew exactly what I wanted to do

Liked to design or build things


 

ASTTBC thanks Let’s Talk Science for their partnership in developing this career profile.  Let’s Talk Science – a leading partner in Canadian education – is a national charitable organization committed to inspiring and empowering Canadian youth to develop the skills they need to participate and thrive in an ever-changing world. To accomplish this, Let’s Talk Science offers a comprehensive suite of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) based programs to support youth, educators, and volunteers across Canada. For more information about Let’s Talk Science, visit letstalkscience.ca.

Lets Talk Science logo


#CareerDiscovery #LetsTalkScience

Pam Chilton profile image

Pam Chilton

Position: Owner and Principal Designer

Job title and employer:

Owner and Principal Designer, Zimba Design

 

What does your job title mean?

I am the owner of my firm which means I started the company and built it out of nothing. I am educated as Building Technologist with and Architectural major and then went back to school to study interior design to augment what I already had. I worked for Municipal Government for many years, first as a Plan Checker and then as a Building Inspector. I left the public sector to form my design firm, Zimba Design. Now I work as a Building Designer which means I design houses, from the ground up and the outside in, as well as small commercial spaces.


Background information:

Where were you born? Where did you grow up?

Born in North Vancouver, BC. Grew up in Squamish, BC

Where do you live now?

North Vancouver, BC

Where did you complete your training or education?

I studied General Sciences at Capilano College and Simon Fraser University but did not complete a degree. I completed a Diploma of Building Technology with an Architectural major and then a Certificate in Interior Design, both at British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT).

 


What you do at work?

As the principal designer at Zimba Design, I design houses, from the ground up and the outside in. I also do design work for small commercial spaces. Since projects range in size and scope of work, my activities can vary from day to day.  A task can be as simple as writing a report (this uses English, Communications, Reasoning, Language Arts, and Typing skills). At other times, the task can be more complex such as designing an entire house (this uses Math, Problem Solving, Art, Drafting, Communications, Computer skills). I’ve never found a use for chemistry in my job (phew!) but physics comes up every once in a while.

I learned to manually draft and hand draw in school. Using computers to do this came later. Knowing these basics made everything else make sense. For designing, specialized equipment used to mean a drafting table with a T-square. Now a computer with my drafting program is all that I need. I still keep a drawing notebook handy for hand sketching ideas and taking notes on site.

As the owner of the company, I make all the decisions. Occasionally, I have opportunities to get together with peers and we can bounce ideas off one another. Having a sounding board can assist with making decisions.


How does what you do affect people’s lives?

My job is creativity coming to life. I like to think we make our clients’ lives easier. The goal of any of our projects is to make the client’s living spaces more functional for their everyday living and not stress them out in the process. We design and manage the project so the client can go about their everyday lives without being affected by the construction of their project.

 


What motivates you in your career?

I worked in Municipal Government as Building Inspector for 14 years before forming my design firm. Being a Building Inspector was a very technical job with no use for my creativity. I love being my own boss, having the freedom to create, and meeting so many great clients. I love the creative side of my job! There’s nothing more satisfying than thinking something up in your head, and then seeing it built in real life.

One of our projects, The Urban Longhouse, was awarded the BC Wood Design Award in the category of Western Red Cedar. It was a thrilling achievement. I was also awarded the ASTTBC Professional Leadership Award for Women in Technology.


How did you get to where you are today?

When I left high school, I really was not sure what I was going to do. I felt a pressure to go to post-secondary education, so I started a science degree. In hindsight, I think I should have taken a gap year to travel and mature. That is what I would recommend now. I thought I wanted to go to architecture school but first, I needed a “degree in something” so off I went to college and university.

During my first summer after college, I applied to several architecture firms to see if I could get my foot in the door and test if I actually liked that type of work. I landed a few interviews and finally a job as a “girl Friday” (basically, I was the errand girl). It was such a fun summer, and I never looked back!

Unfortunately, I was not really interested in the courses I was studying in order to get my “bachelor of something” degree. After a couple years of university, I found the BC Institute of Technology and the Building Technology program. It was totally up my alley in that the class sizes were small (not so overwhelming for a small-town girl!) and directed. You were given a list of classes to take and at the end, if you applied yourself, you earned a diploma and then sent forth into the world.

As the first female building inspector on the North Shore, I came across many men who did not feel I should be part of the building industry. It took time to prove myself. However, once they realized I knew what I was talking about, it was smooth sailing. I loved being out on site and interacting with the contractors.  Check out my LinkedIn profile for more information.

 


What activities do you enjoy outside of work?

When not working, I enjoy floating on my paddleboard, as well as putt putting around the province with my family in our 1981 VW van named Filmore. I am a Girl Guide leader and sit as the Vice Chair on the City of North Vancouver Board of Variance.

 


What advice would you give to a young person interested in a similar career?

Ask questions; be curious; be yourself!

 


As a female professional, how can you influence the advancement of women in engineering and technology?

As a Girl Guide leader, I find opportunities to bring STEM programs to the girls whenever possible and I have gone into Elementary school classes to speak to the children about architecture.


 

When I was in high school, I enjoyed…

Art

Foods and Nutrition

Georgraphy

Industrial Arts / Shop Programs

Literature and English language arts

Math

Drafting

 

When I was in high school, I was someone who…

Brought people together

Always wanted to be outside

Organized activities for my friends

Played on a sports team

Liked being given free range to explore my ideas

Liked reading

Felt at home in the outside, natural environment

Was really creative

Wasn’t sure what I wanted to do

Learned best “by doing”

Liked to design or build things

Engaged in activities such as fishing, berry picking and hunting


 

ASTTBC thanks Let’s Talk Science for their partnership in developing this career profile.  Let’s Talk Science – a leading partner in Canadian education – is a national charitable organization committed to inspiring and empowering Canadian youth to develop the skills they need to participate and thrive in an ever-changing world. To accomplish this, Let’s Talk Science offers a comprehensive suite of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) based programs to support youth, educators, and volunteers across Canada. For more information about Let’s Talk Science, visit letstalkscience.ca.

Lets Talk Science logo


#CareerDiscovery #LetsTalkScience

Karen Stewart image

Karen Stewart

Position: Chief Information Officer

Job title and employer:

CIO (Chief Information Officer) for the City of Maple Ridge

 

What does your job title mean?

A Chief Information Officer (CIO) is the company executive responsible for the management, implementation, and usability of information and computer technologies in support of the organization’s enterprise goals and mission. The CIO manages the information technology team and works with them to analyze how various technologies will benefit the organization or improve existing business processes. The CIO looks at the strategic direction of the organization and creates an Information Technology Strategic Plan to support the direction and create sustainability. The CIO will lead and mentor the team and other staff to implement a system(s) to realize the required benefits or improvements well into the future.

In the 1980s, the CIO position was more technical as companies maintained their internal computers, databases, and communications networks. The role has changed over the years because of the many advances in technology, such as cloud computing, wireless communications, big-data analytics, and mobile enablement. CIOs have become strategic advisors and thought leaders that strategically plan for the future, develop strategies and computer systems to keep their organization competitive and secure in a fast-changing global marketplace.


Background information:

Where were you born? Where did you grow up?

 Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada

Where do you live now?

 Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Where did you complete your training or education?

British Columbia Institute of Technology, Bachelor of Technology, Geomatics

 


What you do at work?

I manage the Information Technology (IT) team for the City of Maple Ridge. In this position, I am responsible for directing all Information Technology functions in the organization. I do this within the framework set by the corporate and Council strategic plans. I provide leadership, insight and strategic direction to the IT team. I support the City’s strategic direction and processes through technology.

I am a thought leader and innovator. This means that I bring in new ideas and ways of doing things. I use technology to improve communication, operations and decision-making. My goal is to improve the services provided by the City of Maple Ridge. This is done through the efficient use of information and geographic technologies, data and connected workflows. All this has to be carried out using the available budget. To do this I also provide advice and direction to staff throughout the city. I do this by making sure the Information Technology team and other business areas are in regular contact.

In my work, I use skills related to information technology and geographic information systems (GIS). I also use skills related to the management of people, resources and services. I use a variety of tools to review current processes and recommend technology upgrades. I also provide advice on planned initiatives to make sure the City gets the best from its technology assets.

I make decisions every day. My main tasks include recommending, developing and implementing approved information systems. I also lead the development of policies and strategies to support the City’s current and future business information and data needs. I am also responsible for directing the analysis and development of information systems requirements. To do this I have to keep up to date with technical innovations, and develop short, mid and long-term information services plans. When necessary, I also recommend hardware and software changes and upgrades. I work with the IT team and all of the City’s departments to review technology applications and business practices. The goal is to help city staff, the public and businesses improve what they do by making better use of the technology tools we have available.

A background in STEM helps me solve problems. These skills provide me with the knowledge, skills and ability to see the big picture. My STEM skills help me think logically about a problem and at the same time be creative in my solutions. I always start by asking “why”. I focus on the business process and required outcomes first. Then I investigate technology solutions that will provide the needed changes. Mostly, I have fun!


How does what you do affect people’s lives?

A career in Technology/GIS/Geomatics gives you the tools to help solve issues in your own community. These issues can relate to such things a health, zoning, services, greenways, crime, trash, traffic, and more. It allows you to bring data, technology, people and processes together to improve a community need. To be effective solving community needs there has to be collaboration across government agencies, citizen communities and businesses. GIS is a technology that improves this entire process. With the use of GIS, goals become actionable, real-world initiatives that create safe, well-run, livable, healthy, prosperous and sustainable communities. I believe there is nothing we can’t solve using technology as long as we can manage the people, data and processes required to implement the solution.

 


What motivates you in your career?

I love solving problems and innovating! I find it fascinating to look at the trends in Information Technology and how new innovations can be used to solve problems. I enjoy solving problems, creating efficiency using technology and helping people make data-driven decisions. This career is right for me because I am a creative thinker – a technical artist and problem solver. My career enables all of this. Technology can help us solve problems and create better ways of doing things. It can also help connect people and workflows. To do this, people, processes and business outcomes have to be considered holistically (i.e., as a group of interconnected parts).

Working in local government and making an impact in the community is personally rewarding to me. In 2019 I won the ASAP Award for Innovation at the City of Abbotsford. In 2012 I received a Service Award from URISA for my dedication and faithful service to URISA. In 2011 I received an award of appreciation for sitting on the board of directors for URISA. In 2005 our URISA BC Chapter won an outstanding chapter award. In 2004 I received an excellence in leadership award from URISA BC. I have also presented at various conferences, trade shows and meetings to advance the use of GIS and technology, including at Women in Public Works and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities events.

 


How did you get to where you are today?

I did not expect to get into this field when I was in high school. When I was in high school, I wanted to become a marine biologist. Instead, I started out in the Arts (Graphics and Communication) and then moved into Geomatics. I was fascinated by the analytical capabilities of the technology. I graduated from BCIT with a Bachelor of Technology Geomatics Degree.

Instead of an apprenticeship or internship I completed a practicum. My career started out in utilities with BC Gas. Then I moved into local government and then to the private sector. I came back to local government as the Senior Manager of Geomatics for the City of Abbotsford. Now, I am the CIO (Chief Information Officer) for the City of Maple Ridge, which I am absolutely thrilled about!

My career has had a few twists and turns. I did not think about the fact that the industry I chose was male dominated when I started out. It proved to have some challenges. However, I have always been determined to succeed. I did not let the fact that I was one of very few women in this industry hold me back. As CIO for the City of Maple Ridge, I hope to inspire many young people to thrive on innovation, solve issues using technology, while keeping people, processes, data and the big picture in mind. Keep it holistic!

 


What activities do you enjoy outside of work?

I love to travel and see how people work, live and play in other countries. It is great to meet and experience how the local people live. I like to take jewelry that I made (handmade in Canada) and give it to a local to say ‘thanks’ for the kindness they show. Over the course of my career, I have volunteered for numerous trade associations (e.g., URISA, URISA BC, MISA BC, GITA, PWABC) as well as Toastmasters. I also belonged to a semi-professional acting troupe that raised money for different charities. We raised over $200K during a span of 14 years of volunteering. I love hiking, walking, cycling and weather permitting – snorkeling. I have also been known to do some welding and silversmithing from time to time.

 


What advice would you give to a young person interested in a similar career?

I would say go for it! There is so much opportunity in this field. If you love problem-solving, technology, making the world a better place and creating sustainability then a career in Geomatics/GIS/Information Technology could be for you. To be successful you should make sure to get an advanced diploma or degree in Geomatics/GIS. Having your Applied Science Technologist (AScT) designation is helpful for career placement. I also have a Geographic Information Systems Professional (GISP) designation, which I believe is valuable to have in this field. Belonging to various trade associations and getting involved is helpful to grow your network. People love to help people and you never know when you may need a mentor. Always start with why? Do not take anything personal. Learn from your mistakes. Be compassionate. Have integrity. Be trustworthy and support your team. Always focus on continuous improvement.

 


As a female professional, how can you influence the advancement of women in engineering and technology?

As a female professional, you can influence the advancement of women in engineering and technology by being professional, supportive, staying on top of trends. By making sure you become a thought leader other people will trust your opinions and the solutions you provide, which will in turn help influence advancement of other women in engineering and technology. You can also become a mentor to other women and if you are in a position to do so work with Coop, Practicums, Interns and apprentices to ensure they have the best start they can to gain experience and advance their careers. I have never said no to speaking and presenting across the country. I have also written blogs and white papers to help spread my knowledge. I believe that the more women sharing knowledge the more will aspire to do the same.


 

When I was in high school, I enjoyed…

Art

Computer Science

Foods and Nutrition

Foreign languages

Geography

Math

Home Economics/Family Studies

Industrial Arts / Shop Programs

Literature and English language arts

Music

Physical Education/Health

Science

Technology

 

When I was in high school, I was someone who…

Brought people together

Liked helping people

Organized activities for my friends

Enjoyed working with my hands

Was motivated by success

Engaged in volunteer activities

Liked reading

Felt at home in the outside, natural environment

Was really creative

Felt great satisfaction in getting good grades

Wasn’t sure what I wanted to do

Liked to design or build things

Engaged in activities such as fishing, berry picking and hunting


 

ASTTBC thanks Let’s Talk Science for their partnership in developing this career profile. Let’s Talk Science – a leading partner in Canadian education – is a national charitable organization committed to inspiring and empowering Canadian youth to develop the skills they need to participate and thrive in an ever-changing world. To accomplish this, Let’s Talk Science offers a comprehensive suite of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) based programs to support youth, educators, and volunteers across Canada. For more information about Let’s Talk Science, visit letstalkscience.ca.

Lets Talk Science logo


#CareerDiscovery #LetsTalkScience

Nicole Brisson profile picture

Nicole Brisson

Position: Water and Tailings Engineer

 

Job title and employer:

Water and Tailings Engineer, Agnico Eagle Mines Limited

 

What does your job title mean?

I work at a gold mine in Nunavut on 2-week on 2-week off rotation. In the summer, my role is to manage the water flow around site and prevent the mine water (dirty water) from entering the freshwater lakes and streams. In the winter, I manage the movement and safe deposition of the tailings (mine waste).


Background information:

Where were you born? Where did you grow up?

I was born in Edmonton, AB and lived there until I finished high school.

Where do you live now?

I rotate between Vancouver, BC and Nunavut.

Where did you complete your training or education?

I have a Bachelors degree in Geological/Geophysical Engineering from Queen’s University, Kingston, ON

 


What you do at work?

I work at an active gold mine site in Nunavut. This means that for 2 weeks at a time, I live and work at the mine. I get to take the truck on site at least once a day (even in -60 degrees weather in the winter!) to complete inspections, check on progress and to take notes and pictures. In the summer, my role is to manage the water flow around site and prevent the mine water (dirty water) from entering the freshwater lakes and streams. In the winter, I manage the movement and safe deposition of the tailings (mine waste).

I work very closely with the geotechnical engineering team and the mine operations team. Communication is very important in my job. I always need to know what’s going on at the mine site in order to update designs and trouble-shoot problems. Since the mine is very remote and the winter is very cold, there are always new challenges that my team has to solve. There are also many environmental regulations that we need to follow. Agnico Eagle Mines is committed to being a good neighbor and employs many local Inuit people. As a result, we take environmental sustainability very seriously. During the caribou migration, which is about 1-2 months in the summer, all heavy equipment traffic stops on the road connecting the open pit (where the rock is mined) to the crusher (where the rock is crushed  and separated into gold and waste rock).

I use many different software modelling programs in my work. I use these programs to optimize my designs, make forecasts and verify if my designs will be safe to implement. These programs require me to have knowledge of geology, math, and rock mechanics. I also have to understand mine operations, construction schedules and how the different pieces of equipment function. An important part of my job is knowing how heavy equipment and tools work. There is no point designing something complex if you can’t build it!

I work in English, but many people at site speak French (Agnico Eagle hires a lot of people from Quebec) or Inuktitut. I have picked up a few phrases in Inuktitut but it is a complex language.


How does what you do affect people’s lives?

It is really rewarding and special to work and live with the local Inuit people! They always have many stories to tell and I learn new things about the area every day.

Gold mining companies are a major source of income and economic growth. They also have an important role in supporting sustainable socio-economic development. Agnico Eagle provides jobs and incomes for many local Inuit people, and directly invests money back into the communities. I am proud to be part of that process through the work I do.

 


What motivates you in your career?

I get excited when I can see the work that my team has done being put into action. Working at an active mine site gives me the opportunity to see this, every day. I’ve always enjoyed field work – it’s very important to have hands-on experience in order to understand what works and what doesn’t work. Also, you get to have fun with your coworkers outside of work time because you are often living with them as well! I really appreciate working with great coworkers who can make me laugh even when the work gets stressful.

I am also an introvert, so working with outgoing, enthusiastic and friendly people helps to get me ‘out of my bubble’ and connect with others. Fortunately, I have many chances at site to build these types of relationships with my coworkers. This helps make the 12-hour days go by fast!

 


How did you get to where you are today?

When I was in high school, I loved history, science and math. But I also loved getting outside and spent many summers hiking with my family in the Rockies. I didn’t want a typical engineering “office” job. I completed a degree in geological engineering.  This is a great fit for me because it combines both history and science, and often leads to careers that involve field work. I did a 16-month internship between 3rd and 4th year of university in oil and gas. While it was great experience, it wasn’t what I wanted for my career. In high school I had many great teachers who encouraged me to apply for engineering since I enjoy academic challenges and am very motivated to do my best. Throughout university and my early career, I have always sought out mentors who have encouraged me to be goal-oriented and exceed my expectations for myself. Even though there aren’t many women in the mining industry, I have been lucky to work with many great coworkers and have never felt like I was treated differently because I am female. Having a good attitude and being keen to learn are the most important qualities to have at work. This is true no matter your age, gender or cultural background.

 


What activities do you enjoy outside of work?

I enjoy doing sports outside: running, biking, hiking, camping, cross country skiing, kayaking, and more recently – climbing. To relax, I read books. I volunteer for Women in Engineering and Geoscience, which is a division of EGBC – the governing body for engineers and geoscientists in BC. I am also a youth mentor for UNYA – the urban native youth association. This is a fantastic program run out of East Vancouver that connects young native teenagers with mentors. I do really fun things with my youth, like go-karting, laser tag, movies and going for ice cream.

 


What advice would you give to a young person interested in a similar career?

Don’t close any doors – take on as many opportunities as you can and talk to others. You never know where you’ll end up and what you’ll end up enjoying. Find people who you admire and ask them about their jobs and lives! Don’t let others tell you what you can and can’t do. With hard work and focus, anyone can learn and excel at anything.

 


As a female professional, how can you influence the advancement of women in engineering and technology?

I volunteer for Women in Engineering and Geoscience – we advocate for women in engineering and geology, and plan events to connect and promote females in the industry. I often promote and recognize my female colleagues’ achievements. I can encourage girls to pursue a career in STEM by sharing my journey with them. I love mentoring and showing young people what they are capable of accomplishing.

 


 

When I was in high school, I enjoyed…

Geography

History

Literature and English language arts

Math

Music

Science

 

When I was in high school, I was someone who…

Enjoyed doing things on my own

Always wanted to be outside

Liked helping people

Was motivated by success

Engaged in volunteer activities

Liked reading

Felt at home in the outside, natural environment

Felt great satisfaction in getting good grades

Wasn’t sure what I wanted to do


 

ASTTBC thanks Let’s Talk Science for their partnership in developing this career profile.  Let’s Talk Science – a leading partner in Canadian education – is a national charitable organization committed to inspiring and empowering Canadian youth to develop the skills they need to participate and thrive in an ever-changing world. To accomplish this, Let’s Talk Science offers a comprehensive suite of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) based programs to support youth, educators, and volunteers across Canada. For more information about Let’s Talk Science, visit letstalkscience.ca.

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#CareerDiscovery #LetsTalkScience

Megan Chambers

Position: Structural Design Technologist

Job title and employer:

Structural Design Technologist, ISL Engineering

 

What does your job title mean?

A Technologist that works on structures like walls, bridges and buildings.


Background information:

Where were you born? Where did you grow up?

Kamloops, BC Canada

Where do you live now?

Burnaby, BC Canada

Where did you complete your training or education?

BSc in Physics with a Minor in Math from UCC (now TRU) and a Diploma of Civil Engineering Technology from BCIT.

 


What you do at work?

I work as part of a team consisting of Structural Engineers and Engineering Technologists. All projects have at least two sets of eyes to do and review the work. Computers/tablets are the most common technologies we use – computers in the office and tablets in the field. The senior Engineer delegates the work to the team. Most major design decisions are from the senior members of the team; however, all members are included as part of the discussions. The work normally consists of designing and drawing structures in the office and inspecting those structures in the field.


How does what you do affect people’s lives?

Most of the work we do is for cities or municipalities, and is used by the public. For example, if we are given a job to design a bridge, we are involved in the design and building phase. Once complete, the public is able to use the structure safely.

 


What motivates you in your career?

I love working with others and doing work that helps others. The people and company that I work with make a huge difference to my personal job satisfaction.

 


How did you get to where you are today?

In high school I knew I loved science, but I did not have a career in mind. When I graduated high school, I got a scholarship to the local university college. There I took general science and was inspired by the physics department to complete my BSc in Physics. The summer before my final year I realized I still did not a career in mind. I took a career aptitude test through my school and one of the top items was Civil Engineering Technology. It sounded interesting so I did some research. I liked what I saw so once I completed my BSc I signed up the Civil Engineering program at BCIT. I actually worked at BCIT as an instructional assistant for two years following graduation. From there I went to work at ISL Engineering, where I have been ever since!

 


What activities do you enjoy outside of work?

I love board games – I have several book shelves full. I enjoy being outside – walking or running. I volunteer with several group that share my love of STEAM such as ASTTBC and Girl Guides of Canada.

 


What advice would you give to a young person interested in a similar career?

Find someone in the career you are interested in and ask questions.

 


As a female professional, how can you influence the advancement of women in engineering and technology?

I am so proud to be a woman in Technology so I do what I can to help educate others what it means to be a Technologist – mostly through volunteer work. Groups like ASTTBC, Girl Guides of Canada, SkillsBC, and Science World provide lovely opportunities to share the love of STEAM.

 


 

When I was in high school, I enjoyed…

Art

History

Literature and Language Arts

Math

Home Economics

Science

Technology

Music

 

 

 

When I was in high school, I was someone who…

Brought People Together

Enjoyed doing things on my own

Liked helping people

Organized activities for my friends

Played on a sports team

Enjoyed working with my hands

Liked being given specific instructions

Liked being given free range to explore my ideas

Engaged in volunteer activities

Liked reading

Played video games

Was really creative

Felt great satisfaction in getting good grades

Wasn’t sure what I wanted to do

Liked to take things apart to see how they worked

Liked to design or build things

Engaged in activities such as fishing

Learned Best by Doing


 

ASTTBC thanks Let’s Talk Science for their partnership in developing this career profile.  Let’s Talk Science – a leading partner in Canadian education – is a national charitable organization committed to inspiring and empowering Canadian youth to develop the skills they need to participate and thrive in an ever-changing world. To accomplish this, Let’s Talk Science offers a comprehensive suite of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) based programs to support youth, educators, and volunteers across Canada. For more information about Let’s Talk Science, visit letstalkscience.ca.

Lets Talk Science logo


#CareerDiscovery #LetsTalkScience

Katie Au

Katie Au

Position: Project Manager and Partner

Job title and employer:

Project Manager and Partner, BBA Inc.

 

What does your job title mean?

I’m an electrical engineer specialized in protection, control and automation. I work in the electrical department of a consulting firm where we work on various types of projects for different clients. For example, projects I’ve been involved in include:

  • Protection and control equipment upgrades at generating facilities and substations
  • Control system design for mineral processing applications
  • Design and commissioning for an industrial carbon capture application
  • Cybersecurity compliance for utilities
  • Equipment condition assessments

Background information:

Where were you born? Where did you grow up?

Hong Kong

Where do you live now?

New Westminster, BC

Where did you complete your training or education?

I completed a degree in Applied Science – Electrical Engineering at the University of British Columbia

 


What you do at work?

I work in the electrical department of a consulting firm where we work on various types of projects for different clients. Here I wear multiple hats and have several roles:

  • Project engineer: I coordinate, review and mentor other engineers/designers. This includes drawings, lists, specifications, reports, programming, etc.
  • Project manager: I make sure projects meet client expectations and are delivered on time and on budget.
  • Proposal lead: I work with others to make sure the proposals we make for future projects meet client needs.

Most of my day is spent in meetings coordinating, leading discussions and collaborating with others. I work with engineers in offices across the country! The rest of my day is then spent head-down at a desk, working on engineering deliverables and answering emails.

Fieldwork is also part of my job, although I don’t do as much of it anymore in my current roles. Fieldwork can range in the amount of time required. For example, it could be a daytime trip a local panel shop to perform equipment factory acceptance testing. Or it might be a short site trip for information gathering as part of design work. Sometimes it is a much longer (weeks or months!) site trip for commissioning work. This takes place when we oversee the installation of systems, plant and/or equipment at a client’s site.

Sometimes I work on only one large or complex project. At other times I juggle my time between several smaller projects. No two days are alike; every day brings a new challenge and learning opportunity!


How does what you do affect people’s lives?

I’ve worked on projects in different industries: utility, mining and industrial. Although the people that are affected by the projects may vary widely from one project to another, they all have one thing in common. This is the concern for safety and environmental impact. In my work I help address both these concerns. Potential safety hazards are assessed to ensure that the design can be constructed, operated and maintained safely by the crews. Potential safety hazards to the public are also assessed. Environmental impact is assessed to minimize or avoid negative environmental effects.

 


What motivates you in your career?

I enjoy the variety in my duties. I like having different problems to solve and to learn from everyday. I especially enjoy bringing together a team of individuals, with different strengths, to work on projects. A diverse team can bring new perspectives and fresh ideas in order to find the best solution for the client based on the technical, schedule and budgetary constraints.

 


How did you get to where you are today?

In high school, I had planned on going into nursing. But I was inspired to learn about electricity because that was my worst subject. I had difficulty understanding something that I couldn’t visualize. This led to me studying electrical engineering in university. I did not realize that engineering was still such a male dominated sector until I entered university. However, the gender gap didn’t affect me. I was treated as an equal to male students.

While in university, I enrolled in the co-op program. This gave me on-the-job experiences both locally and internationally. Through my co-op work terms, I tried out various career options such as laser welding research and biomedical product development. After completing my degree, I worked at various companies including small, medium and large firms in both private and public sectors. Eventually I ended up at a company with a culture that shares my values and vision. I would have been happy sitting behind a desk designing and programming everyday. However, I was fortunate to have managers that recognize potential in me. Along the way, I got some technical and soft skill professional development training. This eventually led to the people management, project management and business development responsibilities in my current role.  For more details, see my LinkedIn profile.

 


What activities do you enjoy outside of work?

I enjoy spending time with family and friends. I like baking with my kids, walking my dog, and jogging.

 


What advice would you give to a young person interested in a similar career?

Engineering is a challenging, yet rewarding career. There are many opportunities to explore within engineering. Find a field and industry that best suits your personality and interests.

 


As a female professional, how can you influence the advancement of women in engineering and technology?

Lead by example:

  • Build a network with other women in engineering to support each other by sharing experiences is important.
  • Mentor and encourage younger women entering in the profession.
  • Bring awareness to the industry

I do so by volunteering for EGBC WIEG, and am also a mentor for EGBC, SCWIST and IECBC.

 


 

When I was in high school, I enjoyed…

Art

Computer Science

Foreign languages

Geography

Home Economics / Family Studies

Literature and English language arts

Math

Music

Science

Technology

 

 

When I was in high school, I was someone who…

Enjoyed doing things on my own

Liked helping people

Enjoyed working with my hands

Was motivated by success

Liked being given free range to explore my ideas

Engaged in volunteer activities

Liked reading

Never wanted to be in the classroom

Felt great satisfaction in getting good grades

Liked to take things apart to see how they worked

Liked to design or build things


 

ASTTBC thanks Let’s Talk Science for their partnership in developing this career profile.  Let’s Talk Science – a leading partner in Canadian education – is a national charitable organization committed to inspiring and empowering Canadian youth to develop the skills they need to participate and thrive in an ever-changing world. To accomplish this, Let’s Talk Science offers a comprehensive suite of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) based programs to support youth, educators, and volunteers across Canada. For more information about Let’s Talk Science, visit letstalkscience.ca.

Lets Talk Science logo


#CareerDiscovery #LetsTalkScience

Nichole Rama

Position: Civil Inspector

Job title and employer:

Civil Inspector, BC Hydro

 

What does your job title mean?

Responsible for ensuring underground distribution system is built to applicable standards


Background information:

Where were you born? Where did you grow up?

Oakbank, Manitoba, Canada

Where do you live now?

Squamish, BC, Canada

Where did you complete your training or education?

I completed Civil Engineering Technology Diploma and Project Management Certificate from Red River College, Winnipeg MB. Currently enrolled in Technology Management Bachelor’s Degree program at BCIT and Commercial and Contract Management Program through IACCM. Without the fundamental training as a technologist I wouldn’t have the solid technical foundation to understand building practices, identification procedures and a foundation in geotechnical and concrete materials

 


What you do at work?

I work independently and plan my own day based on the technical, archeological or heritage aspects of each project I have. I can have anywhere between 5 and 20 projects happening at the same time. Some inspections can be done using photos, so a site visit is not always required. Builders do not always follow plans as they should. We review their work to make sure that what has been installed will still meet the building codes. If not, they are required to take it apart and do it again. Safety and reliability are always first and foremost. Sometimes a conversation with Engineering personnel is required. Interaction with colleagues, is by phone, email, or text. If I didn’t have a strong foundation in my field, I wouldn’t be able to apply the appropriate reasoning, risk analysis, and day to day troubleshooting.   I also fill out daily reports. I log any deficient items that may need to be addressed.


How does what you do affect people’s lives?

I help to ensure the safety and reliability of underground electrical infrastructure. My job is to make sure that all underground electrical parts of a project are safe for those who work on it and members of the public who will unknowingly walk, drive or ride their bikes on or past it everyday.  I do this by ensuring it is built to meet or exceed the standards that have been set. For example, if a transformer isn’t grounded properly, there is a higher risk of electrocution. If the ducts aren’t smooth, they could damage the cable as its pulled through and cause a fault, which causes the power to go out. If its not buried deep enough, and someone digs into it, they could get an electric shock or worse.  I am a representative of the Owner’s Engineer; I help make sure we are in compliance wit the rules of BC Hydro and EGBC.

 


What motivates you in your career?

I get excited when the excavator bucket is in the ground for the first time on a big project and seeing the progress daily. I really enjoy being on site and interacting with different people from across Canada. I get more excited when I come up against an unknown and need to figure out a way to get through it.  I enjoy lasting and making my own way in a traditionally male dominated industry. I think the best compliment I have gotten is from a crew member telling me that I have helped make their boss better by slowing them down and asking the right questions to make them think about how they are setting up their worksite, equipment, and how they are planning for the next day to be more efficient and organized.

 


How did you get to where you are today?

I really didn’t have the confidence in high school that I do now. I didn’t get great grades, so I didn’t really think I would get very far at the time. I didn’t take school seriously. After high school, I started working as a flagger for a concrete crew on a 26km highway improvement project. Halfway through the summer, I convinced the Foreman to put me on a crew. I was given the crap jobs none of the guys wanted to do. I guess they thought it would eventually force me to quit. So I was determined to do it faster and better than they did.  I stuck around for a couple years and loved it. I am still in contact with that foreman. I try to model myself after him because, even when things were going poorly, he was always calm, collected, and respectful towards everyone. His nickname for me is “Smiley”.

Eventually, I decided that I was smart enough to get the education I needed to work in this industry. So when I was 25 when I went back to school. I am terrible at math; it was/ is hard for me. I failed courses in college, but this is what I wanted so I worked for it; quitting was not an option.

My uncle was an engineer. I had a conversation with him about the challenges women face working in the industry, (I was already aware of that having worked on concrete crews) and going back to school. I know he had his doubts since he knew my struggle with math. He also knew my determination and drive to succeed was far greater. The industry has changed a great deal in the last 12 years since I started. It is a lot more inclusive and inviting place for women to work and be respected for the knowledge and perspective we bring to the table.

Growing up in Winnipeg, Manitoba, I never expected for this job to take me to Squamish BC. Best decision I have made yet!

 


What activities do you enjoy outside of work?

I enjoy walking the river trails with my Rhodesian Ridgeback, Henry, reading, cooking, building little tables from wood and epoxy, lounging on the deck with my boyfriend and a cold drink on a hot day. We are fitness focused as well, and having a home gym, we don’t have any excuses.

 


What advice would you give to a young person interested in a similar career?

If you want something bad enough, you will not stop until you achieve it.

 


As a female professional, how can you influence the advancement of women in engineering and technology?

Continue to act as a professional, and treat others as professionals. We all got to this point through hard work and determination.

 


 

When I was in high school, I enjoyed…

Art

Business & Economics

Foods and Nutrition

Industrial Arts / Shop Programs

Literature and English language arts

Music

Physical Education / Health

Science

 

 

When I was in high school, I was someone who…

Brought people together

Enjoyed doing things on my own

Always wanted to be outside

Liked helping people

Enjoyed working with my hands

Wanted to be in charge

Liked being given free range to explore my ideas

Liked reading

Felt at home in the outside, natural environment

Never wanted to be in the classroom

Didn’t really care about grades

Wasn’t sure what I wanted to do

Learned best “by doing”

Liked to design or build things

Grew up with horses (that was a big focus of my youth)


 

ASTTBC thanks Let’s Talk Science for their partnership in developing this career profile.  Let’s Talk Science – a leading partner in Canadian education – is a national charitable organization committed to inspiring and empowering Canadian youth to develop the skills they need to participate and thrive in an ever-changing world. To accomplish this, Let’s Talk Science offers a comprehensive suite of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) based programs to support youth, educators, and volunteers across Canada. For more information about Let’s Talk Science, visit letstalkscience.ca.

Lets Talk Science logo


#CareerDiscovery #LetsTalkScience

Hallie Dau image

Hallie Dau

Position: Research Coordinator

Job title and employer:

Research Coordinator, University of British Columbia

 

What does your job title mean?

I help coordinate the day to day requirements of research studies


Background information:

Where were you born? Where did you grow up?

San Diego, California, USA

Where do you live now?

Vancouver, BC, Canada

Where did you complete your training or education?

I completed both my Masters and B.A. at The George Washington University

 


What you do at work?

I currently work at the University of British Columbia as a research coordinator on a team that does behavior research in public health. My position consists of managing research studies from start to finish. This includes the proposal, study design, recruitment, data analysis & interpretation, and publication. I love my job because I am always working on several studies. This means that every day is different and exciting! My job also requires a lot of outside collaboration with patients and partners outside of my day to day team. To be successful in this position you will need organizational & writing skills, some knowledge of statistics, and a lot of creativity.

I was always afraid of math and science in high school. Working in public health has shown me that there are ways to develop and apply these skills in ways that interest me beyond the basic courses taught.


How does what you do affect people’s lives?

I work in public health, so my goal is to improve the healthcare of everyone around me. The results of my research have the ability to create policy change. On my team we are often wondering how we can make people’s lives better through our research and actions. It is also very exciting to see other researchers cite your work in their own studies.

 


What motivates you in your career?

My work is very rewarding because the research that I do has the ability to influence health policy and the way healthcare is conducted. I love analyzing the data from our study and finding a way to create the most impact with the data collected. I also work with a lot of students and I love seeing them become interested in research. There is a lot of creativity and problem solving in my job and I really enjoy working through problems with them.

 


How did you get to where you are today?

I knew going into college that I wanted to complete a Masters degree in Public Health (MPH). I completed my BA in international affairs with a focus on global health and sub-Saharan Africa. This gave me a good foundation for my MPH. Interning was very common where I went to college and I interned at different women’s and global health organizations. This gave me a lot of experience and insight into what I liked and did not like. I did take a year off between college and grads school to do some traveling, which I would recommend to anyone.  Check my LinkedIn profile for more information.

 


What activities do you enjoy outside of work?

I like to be outside a lot. In the summers you can usually find me hiking, backpacking, and riding my bike. I also enjoy cooking and knitting as well to help me relax.

 


What advice would you give to a young person interested in a similar career?

Take some courses that you normally would not be interested in. I always thought that I hated statistics, but once I applied to healthcare I just realized that it was not being used in a manner that interested me.

 


As a female professional, how can you influence the advancement of women in engineering and technology?

Talk about it. No one is going to know about opportunities and positions unless they are shared and discussed. It is important to be open about what you do and what career pathways are available.

 


 

When I was in high school, I enjoyed…

Geography

History

Physical Education / Health

Technology

 

 

When I was in high school, I was someone who…

Always wanted to be outside

Liked helping people

Played on a sports team

Liked being given specific instructions

Engaged in volunteer activities

Liked reading

Learned best “by doing”


 

ASTTBC thanks Let’s Talk Science for their partnership in developing this career profile.  Let’s Talk Science – a leading partner in Canadian education – is a national charitable organization committed to inspiring and empowering Canadian youth to develop the skills they need to participate and thrive in an ever-changing world. To accomplish this, Let’s Talk Science offers a comprehensive suite of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) based programs to support youth, educators, and volunteers across Canada. For more information about Let’s Talk Science, visit letstalkscience.ca.

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#CareerDiscovery #LetsTalkScience

Catherine-Roome image

Catherine Roome

Position: President & CEO

Job title and employer:

President & CEO, Technical Safety BC

 

What does your job title mean?

I lead the organization. So that means every day I have to do two things: have the courage to make decisions, and also be very open. People want to work with leaders who very clearly show who they are and are open with their thoughts and feelings, as well as being interested in ideas and input from all around them.  I develop strategies to inspire employees to innovate and be creative. I also work hard to help the teams around me be stronger individuals and continue to grow their confidence and skill. And I communicate a lot – listening to what clients and the public needs to do safe work and feel safe, and providing technical explanations in plain language so that people have the information they need.


Background information:

Where were you born? Where did you grow up?

Cowichan Valley, BC  Canada

Where do you live now?

North Vancouver, BC Canada

Where did you complete your training or education?

I went to the University of Victoria and received an electrical engineering degree.

 


What you do at work?

I lead the organization. That means every day I have to do two things: have the courage to make decisions, and also be very open.  I develop strategies to inspire employees to innovate and be creative. I also work hard to help the teams around me be stronger individuals and continue to grow their confidence and skills.

As an engineer, my career has changed from ‘managing myself’, to ‘managing others’, and now to ‘managing an enterprise”. When I was a junior engineer, I used my technical knowledge to deliver projects. For example, working in northern Pakistan, I had a key role in connecting climate instruments in the field to a communications network. These instruments were used for predicting water inflow into hydroelectric dams.

Early on in my career I was just beginning to use people skills, as every project means you work with others to understand how to solve a problem. As I began working as a project engineer, my people skills became even more important. As a project engineer, I became a “manager of others”. This meant I was responsible for a larger portfolio of technical projects. It also mean that now I had to figure out who on my team would work on them. It also mean having to decide how to best support team members with the encouragement, resources and planning that would make everyone successful.

As a project engineer, I also had to learn how to look farther out in terms of timeline, and to consider how my whole team’s actions impacted others. Eventually I became a leader of an enterprise. This meant I was responsible for multiple teams, some of whom were technical, but also finance teams, communications teams, and planning teams. I also had many different, sometimes competing areas of accountability – including operating different energy generating stations, and being responsible for hundreds of people. That meant I still had to understand the technical issues, but now almost all my skills were focused on developing amazing, talented people and giving them the support and space they needed to be successful.

With a wider influence though, what I had to do was become an even better communicator. I learned how important it was that I show others what was important, not just say it. In other words, my decisions needed to signal the values that were important, as I could no longer see every individual’s work. The farther away a leader is from the work, the more open and transparent they must be – to show their humanity and listen even more intently to what is required.

I feel lucky to have a STEM degree. It has taught me how to solve a problem, how to break it down into its parts, and to focus on what is most important. I have also learned that everything is a system – a project is part of a technical system in order for the whole thing to work. A team in an organization is part of a system of organizing work. Now I use my engineering creativity to design new ways of inspiring people.

 


How does what you do affect people’s lives?

Technical Safety BC has a mandate to ensure public safety. We focus on the point where a person encounters a piece of technology. This could be you on a ski lift, or you pushing the button in the elevator, or you turning on a light switch in your home. A chain of events has to happen to make sure technology is safe to use. We help set the equipment standards and establish the training requirements of people who design, build or operate that equipment. We also investigate if something goes wrong and conduct research on improvements to safe design.

We build in human factors so that we think about the behaviours of people around equipment and technology. We provide ongoing information and formal education on risk so that expectations of society can be met. We live in an amazing country with lots of opportunity. Part of that is the backbone of technology that enables us to live, play and work safely, and to get the benefit of new and innovative technologies to build our future.

 


What motivates you in your career?

I find incredible joy in encouraging the unique brilliance that exists in every person I work with or meet.

I continue to learn new things! I find that the wider I look at different, diverse subject areas, the more I bring back a fresh, new perspective to my work and challenge to my thinking. Lately some of those choices to learn and get out of my comfort zone have included a variety of activities. For example, from how to renovate my old airstream trailer, to watching the Royal Ballet’s virtual production of The Cellist, to following webinars on social justice issues of inequality in healthcare and the economy.

What made my career right for me was I figured out my personal values, and then tested big, career changing decisions against them. If I honoured my values, I knew I was on the right track.

 


How did you get to where you are today?

I played many sports in high school – track, basketball, field hockey, softball, and racquetball. There is something about learning about defeat, and still getting up the next day and carrying on, that showed me what resilience looked like. I was 5’3.5” (1.6 m) and captain of the basketball team so I got pushed around under the boards a lot. Eventually you figure out how to use your size to your advantage instead of always wishing to be taller. That ended up being a lesson that I applied later in life – to figure out your particular advantage and go all in!

Going to university after high school was a goal, but I didn’t know what sort of degree I was interested in, so I tried to keep my options open. I took courses in lots of different areas, from math & physics, to shop, to French, to law. This was useful to me because sometimes it’s easier to determine what you don’t want to focus on, rather than what you do. There is value in gaining experience in an area and then going “nope”. Learn more about my career path by reading my LinkedIn profile.

 


What activities do you enjoy outside of work?

I enjoy being with my family, doing beach vacations, reading, and working in my garden. I also enjoy watching movies – particularly sci-fi and indie films, and eating great meals.

 


What advice would you give to a young person interested in a similar career?

The world needs your talent.

 


As a female professional, how can you influence the advancement of women in engineering and technology?

We all have networks, and can help make connections for younger women coming up in the profession. This is something that was done for us and we can and should pay it forward.

 


 

When I was in high school, I enjoyed…

Literature and English language arts

Math

Physical Education/Health

Science

 

 

When I was in high school, I was someone who…

Brought people together

Liked helping people

Organized activities for my friends

Played on a sports team

Was motivated by success

Wanted to be in charge

Liked reading

Wasn’t sure what I wanted to do


 

ASTTBC thanks Let’s Talk Science for their partnership in developing this career profile.  Let’s Talk Science – a leading partner in Canadian education – is a national charitable organization committed to inspiring and empowering Canadian youth to develop the skills they need to participate and thrive in an ever-changing world. To accomplish this, Let’s Talk Science offers a comprehensive suite of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) based programs to support youth, educators, and volunteers across Canada. For more information about Let’s Talk Science, visit letstalkscience.ca.

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#CareerDiscovery #LetsTalkScience

Theresa-McCurry image

Theresa McCurry

Position: Chief Executive Officer

Job title and employer:

Chief Executive Officer, Applied Science Technologists and Technicians BC

 

What does your job title mean?

I provide leadership by working closely with the Board of Directors and the organizational team to achieve the goals, priorities and strategic vision of ASTTBC as the sole regulator of engineering technology professionals in BC and the Yukon. At the end of the day it means meeting the needs of a number of groups including employees, registrants, government, communities and the law.

 


Background information:

Where were you born?

My parents immigrated and landed in Edmonton and we then moved to Penticton where I grew up.

Where do you live now?

South Surrey, BC where I have lived for the past 19 years. Previously lived in Vancouver & Calgary.

Where did you complete your training or education?

I attended the University of Calgary and completed a BSc in Psychology with a minor in Communication.  I have taken courses at Duke University and completed various online courses.

 


What you do at work?

ASTTBC is the sole regulator of engineering technology professionals in BC and the Yukon. I provide leadership and work closely with the Board of Directors as well as the organizational team, to achieve our goals, priorities and strategic vision. At the end of the day, it means meeting the needs of a number of groups including employees, registrants, government, communities and the law.

To do my job, I need to see where trends and issues are heading while actively planning the impact.  I make human resource decisions and work to create a better workplace, including how people work. Sometimes I need to challenge peoples’ assumptions and perform what I call ‘myth busting’.  My science background allows me to read technical questions and understand the ideas presented. My background also helps me ask the right type of questions.  Daily I make use of my critical thinking skills. I also use my emotional intelligence to help form alliances and partnerships for the organization and my own network.

 


How does what you do affect people’s lives?

Over my career, I have helped change peoples’ beliefs about themselves and helped them go beyond what they saw as limitations. I have had positive experiences with families, mentees and whole communities.  It is my belief that putting capable people together, with the right resources, builds networks and communities that are highly talented. These networks and communities have a common connection which goes beyond a building a tribe.

 


What motivates you in your career?

Working with people can be invigorating!  Being able to have the freedom to be curious is important to me. I love change. I enjoy looking at a problem and finding a better solution.  I have been fortunate to be a leader early in my career. This has allowed me to have some very satisfying experiences. I am the first woman in Canada to lead a biotechnology association. I received an award from BIOTECanada for creating Biotech Week in Canada, which now runs globally. I have been a guest lecturer in many countries, including a course offered at Oxford University, in England.  Overall, it always comes down to meeting and working with highly talented people on important topics.

 


How did you get to where you are today?

If I listened to my career counsellor in high school, I would be delivering mail today.  I was given one test and because I love being outdoors, it ignored my love of science and gave me one suggestion.  The best lesson I learned was ignore what people say if it doesn’t feel right. This is especially so if they are not invested in you.  Truly find out what interests you and then that passion will help you develop a career. Be tenacious, not overbearing, about what you need. If you don’t know what you want to do for a career, take the time and keep learning (formal or informal) as a priority. Growing up as a competitive swimmer, I often trained with the men on the team. They helped me push myself to better performances.  Going into a male dominated field (e.g., petroleum, biotech and engineering technology) seemed to be no different. Learn more about my career path at my LinkedIn profile.

 


What activities do you enjoy outside of work?

I volunteered a lot before I had my own kids.  Now between aging parents and my kids I spend as much time with family doing sports, gardening or having fun outside as much as possible. When I can find the time, I do some volunteer work for projects.

 


What advice would you give to a young person interested in a similar career?

Develop a number of skill sets.  If you have focused on science then make sure you take business courses.  Learn to become a good communicator – many assume they are but often are not unless they are good listeners.  A lateral career move can be more strategic than just climbing the ladder upwards.

 


As a female professional, how can you influence the advancement of women in engineering and technology?

Being inclusive, not exclusive. Ensuring what we learn about the needs of the sector are shared. Finding those people who want to make change occur for the betterment of the profession.

 


 

When I was in high school, I enjoyed…

Physical Education

Science

Leadership class in grade 12

 

When I was in high school, I was someone who…

Brought people together

Enjoyed doing things on my own

Always wanted to be outside

Liked helping people

Played on a sports team

Was motivated by success

Liked being given free range to explore my ideas

Engaged in volunteer activities

Wasn’t sure what I wanted to do

Liked change and challenging myself even if I wasn’t great


 

ASTTBC thanks Let’s Talk Science for their partnership in developing this career profile.  Let’s Talk Science – a leading partner in Canadian education – is a national charitable organization committed to inspiring and empowering Canadian youth to develop the skills they need to participate and thrive in an ever-changing world. To accomplish this, Let’s Talk Science offers a comprehensive suite of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) based programs to support youth, educators, and volunteers across Canada. For more information about Let’s Talk Science, visit letstalkscience.ca.

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#CareerDiscovery #LetsTalkScience

Edith Tobe profile image

Edith Tobe

Position: Executive Director

Job title and employer:

Executive Director, Squamish River Watershed Society

 

What does your job title mean?

Opportunity to restore habitat in marine and freshwater systems by taking a holistic approach towards watershed management and human engagement

 


Background information:

Where were you born?

Toronto, Ontario

Where do you live now?

Squamish, British Columbia

Where did you complete your training or education?

University of Waterloo (BSc in biology); Seneca College (Resource Engineering Technologist) University of British Columbia (Certificate in Watershed Management).

 


What you do at work?

I develop, manage, and implement watershed based restoration activities for the Squamish River Watershed Society. This includes project development as well as networking with scientists and decision makers. I also work with all levels of government and First Nations. I design engineering restoration works such as culverts, streams, wetlands and intakes. I also spend time supervising construction and overseeing all levels of budgets. This include seeking funding sources, purchasing materials, and reporting our results. Finally, I am involved in long-term monitoring and maintenance to make sure the projects are working as intended.

 


How does what you do affect people’s lives?

We work closely with youth and students to engage in experiential hands-on learning on all our project. We also work closely within the community and with First Nations to make changes to improve habitat for fish, wildlife, water quality, and human health. We also organize events and celebrations to engage with people.

 


What motivates you in your career?

From an early age, I was fascinated with biology. I was especially interested in wetlands, amphibians and constructing new habitat. I get excited about being able to bring people together to develop new projects. It is great to implement these projects in a way that is both natural and long lasting. Every project I work on includes scientific knowledge, technology technological advancements such as GIS. I use my engineering knowledge such as design processes. I also use statistics and calculus.

 


How did you get to where you are today?

In school, I never had a specific goal or objective in mind. I did have a general sense I would be working in the non-profit sector to improve the planet and/or wildlife. Getting a university degree was only a start to my career. My career only took off after I enrolled in Seneca College and studied Resource Engineering. I love working out of doors and restoring habitats. Construction gets me very excited and motivated to keep looking to the next project that can be achieved! I love learning and sharing my knowledge through networking. My biggest strength is collaborating with others. View my LinkedIn profile to learn more about my career experiences.

 


What activities do you enjoy outside of work?

I have two dogs and enjoy walking and hiking. I volunteer within my community by helping out with program development. I also like yoga and staying physically fit. My work really motivates me and is part of how I relax and feel centred.

 


What advice would you give to a young person interested in a similar career?

Volunteer your time and work in the area that you find of interest. This will serve you really well later on when you are looking for employment. You should try different fields or experiences to learn where you want to spend your future. Don’t shy away from new experiences, even if they aren’t very enjoyable at the time. Always keep learning something new.

 


As a female professional, how can you influence the advancement of women in engineering and technology?

I feel we are still a long way away from being in a balanced field. I regularly am the only woman at meetings or on a team. Feel confident in your accomplishments and stand up for yourself. It is important to mentor younger women entering into the field and set a positive example!

 


 

When I was in high school, I enjoyed…

Art

Geography

Industrial Arts/Shop Programs

Literature and English Language Arts

Math

Physical Education/Health

Science

Technology

Outdoor education=

 

 

When I was in high school, I was someone who…

Brought people together

Enjoyed doing things on my own

Always wanted to be outside

Liked helping people

Organized activities for my friends

Played on a sports team

Enjoyed working with my hands

Wanted to be in charge

Liked being given free range to explore my ideas

Engaged in volunteer activities

Liked reading

Felt at home in the outside, natural environment

Was really creative

Didn’t really care about grades

Wasn’t sure what I wanted to do

Learned best by doing

Liked to take things apart to see how they worked

Liked to design or build things

Engaged in activities such as fishing and camping


 

ASTTBC thanks Let’s Talk Science for their partnership in developing this career profile.  Let’s Talk Science – a leading partner in Canadian education – is a national charitable organization committed to inspiring and empowering Canadian youth to develop the skills they need to participate and thrive in an ever-changing world. To accomplish this, Let’s Talk Science offers a comprehensive suite of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) based programs to support youth, educators, and volunteers across Canada. For more information about Let’s Talk Science, visit letstalkscience.ca.

Lets Talk Science logo


#CareerDiscovery #LetsTalkScience

 

 

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