Catherine-Roome image

Catherine Roome

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

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

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.

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#CareerDiscovery #LetsTalkScience