- Role Model -

Vanessa Ballard


Name: Vanessa Ballard

Occupation: Heavy Equipment Operator


Education: Operating Engineers local 904 Diploma – Heavy Equipment Operator Program


Current community of residency: 

Vanessa Ballard

What does your typical work day involve?

Being in a cab with no flies (very important) using a piece of heavy equipment to move or dig objects in order to assist others and myself to make the job easier in the construction industry.

What do you love most about your profession? Why did you choose this career?

To be honest, when I stumbled upon this profession I had no clue in life what I was going to do but now am forever grateful to get the chance to be who I want to be without pretending or putting up a fake front. I enjoy the independence and being able to provide for my family.

When did you realize you wanted to work in STEM?

I wanted to be stable in life because I knew one day I would have a family, so I needed the training and experience to take with me wherever I went in order to achieve that goal. So I chose a skilled trade which led me to a local union.

What were your favorite subjects in school?

Biology, Gym (I didn’t like being still for too long) & French Immersion

What advice would you give girls, who are still in school, who might be considering a career like yours?

Best advice, speak with other people already in the trade and see what it entails. Do not pick a career just because. If you’re not interested in it or get peer pressured into it like “my mom or dad are like that so I should be too” – it means more than likely you won’t succeed.

Why do we need more women in skilled trades and STEM?

(1) Improves productivity / economic growth (2) Diversity brings different energies and ideas (3) Balanced workplace / equality

Who was your role model? What about this person inspires you?

My mom always has been and always will be my everything. Her independence and self confidence are what I love the most.

What do you do for fun? What are some of your hobbies/activities?

I absolutely love: photography, quadding & anything to do with the outdoors

What superhero do you relate to most? Why?

Marvel’s Jessica Jones. She is a no-nonsense person with super strength who helps who she wants, when she wants. Almost like creating the world that she sees fit. Without evil, and strong enough to fight and make a change.

Anything else you wish to share?


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