- Role Model -
What does your typical work day involve?
I do rotational shift work which is a little different. It starts with me packing up my work belongings and I fly across Canada to Fort St. John, British Colombia. Once there, my daily routine is to start getting ready at 5:30 am; I grab a shower, make some breakfast, pack my lunch and head into work. Our morning meeting starts at seven sharp. Then we go about our day, building forms (panels) out of metal and wood. As the panels are ready we rig them up, lift them with a crane and set them in place, do some fine tuning until the area is complete and ready for concrete.
What do you love most about your profession? Why did you choose this career?
I love to work with my hands, and I love proving that I can do what most people think I cannot. I choose heavy form work out of many different areas of carpentry work which is out in the elements, dirty rough work. However, it enables me to work on some of the mega projects in our country, some of which are historical (Hebron), and make fabulous money to support my family. And at the end of the day, I get to see something that I helped create.
When did you realize you wanted to work in STEM?
I was 21, by the time I came to realize that a skilled trade wasn't so out of the question for me. I had always been a girl who didn't mind getting dirty, and carpentry was something I grew up around my entire life. My grandfather was a bit of a finish carpenter and I was always his little shadow.
What were your favorite subjects in school?
School for me was different as this wasn't a career path I chose for myself back then. However, I did enjoy French which has come in handy, as a lot of our engineers are from overseas. I also enjoyed art and woodworking classes. Which should have given me the idea to pursue a trade from the start.
What advice would you give girls, who are still in school, who might be considering a career like yours?
I believe in being your own advocate. Being in the trades isn't always easy. In saying that I'm being 100% honest. I am not trying to discourage any female, but the industrial industry is not an easy one to deal with. Over the years I have learned the more I stand up for myself, the more respect I earn. The horror stories people tell you when you mention the idea of the trade are only that; Stories. They are not day to day situations you deal with. In my six years in the industry I have dealt with one bad situation, but there are so many organizations and groups out there to support you that you are never alone! So stand up, and use your voice. Don't be afraid to be different and be female.
Why do we need more women in skilled trades and STEM?
Why not? Instead of asking why we need women, ask why not? Women can do anything we set our minds to and more. Women have a different approaches to things such as problem solving and safety then men. Women make up 51% of the population and it is time that we make up 51% of the work force.
Who was your role model? What about this person inspires you?
If I had to pick a role model growing up, I would say my grandfather. He was many things, A husband, father, brother, friend, and my best friend. He was a man who never gave up no matter the task. He came from a little fishing town here in Newfoundland and made himself a pretty great life if you asked me. He met my grandmother in Montreal, where he had been working at the time to help support his mother back home. They got married and had three children. Then eventually moved back home to raise their family and work home again. He was a man who always looked after his family, and supported their decisions whether he agreed or not. He loved making sure I had every thing life had to offer and I got to experience so much. He always told me that I could achieve anything in life as long as I set my mind to it, and that anything in life worth doing was worth doing right. The man was always my biggest advocate and I would not be who I am today without him.
What do you do for fun? What are some of your hobbies/activities?
Over the years I have tried to become a strong advocate for young women in the trades and those coming into the trades. I've had the privilege on sitting on some provincial boards speaking for the women of our province, and that has taken me to many conference and gave me the opportunity to make some great friends all across North America. Although I don’t have a lot of free time these days with my work schedule, I do still try to volunteer with them as much as possible. I also try to stay as active and have a healthy lifestyle as it is important for my job. I enjoy hiking, fishing and spending time with my son, which includes a lot of Minecraft lately and Fortnite.
What superhero do you relate to most? Why?
Anything else you wish to share?
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