May EmPOWERment Hub Entry: The End of Bias – A Beginning

May 16, 2022

Post Author: Sharleen Gatcha, CEO & Founder, Women+Power

I can’t say enough about this book or the author, Jessica Nordell (aka “JD”)! Goodreads describes The End of Bias: A Beginning as “a transformative, groundbreaking exploration into how we can eradicate unintentional bias and discrimination, the great challenge of our age”.

I had the opportunity to hear Nouman Ashraf (He/Him/His) interview Jessica about her book and it highlighted her findings which are nothing short of monumental! Anyone who wants to understand how unintentional/implicit /unaddressed bias impacts the workplace, everyone in it, the work we do, and the world in general (Hint: That’s ALL OF US!) needs to read this book. Some spoilers:

Implicit bias: persistent, unintentional prejudiced behaviour that clashes with our consciously held beliefs. We know that it exists with a corrosive and even lethal effect. We see it in so many places but are we able to step beyond recognition of our prejudice to actually change it?

With fifteen years’ immersion in the topic, Jessica Nordell digs deep into the cognitive science, social psychology, and developmental research that underpin current efforts to eradicate unintentional bias and discrimination. She examines diversity training, deployed as corrective but with inconsistent results. She explores what works and why: the diagnostic checklist used by doctors at Johns Hopkins Hospital that eliminated disparate treatment of men and women in disease prevention; the preschool in Sweden where teachers found ingenious ways to uproot gender stereotyping: the police unit in Oregon where the practice of mindfulness and specialized training has coincided with a startling drop in the use of force.

Thankfully, the book does bring good news. Biased behaviour can change; the approaches outlined in the pages can transform ourselves and our world.  

TWO Electricity Industry Women Recognized at 2022 CIWB Awards

This May be a First at the Axis Connects Calgary Influential Women in Business Awards!

May 14, 2022

Author: Evan Bhary, Women+Power Board Member

Out of six winners, two of the 2022 Calgary Influential Women in Business Award (CIWB) winners came from the electricity industry, one of which is on the Women+Power Board.

We’re thrilled that Jana Mosley, President of ENMAX Power & Women+Power Board member, was honoured as the winner of the Influential Women award for Large Enterprises. Jana is a passionate leader and an incredible role model. She is currently completing her Executive MBA at Harvard while also being the President of ENMAX Power and a full-time mom to her three daughters.

To get a sense of Jana’s character and impact, the following comes from a congratulatory post that appeared on LinkedIn from one of her ENMAX colleagues, Terri-Lynn Duque:

“We need leaders who walk the talk. Who stand up for equality, no matter the personal discomfort. As someone who’s career has been enhanced by this woman’s mentorship and sponsorship, I can attest to the power that comes from the actions by this amazing leader, not just the words. (Although the words on Wednesday night were pretty amazing!) The biggest re-congratulations to Jana Mosley on this major recognition at the CIWB Awards!”

Terri-Lynn Duque, Director Strategic Innovation, ENMAX Power

In addition to Jana’s award, the CIWB’s Lifetime Achievement Award was bestowed upon Dawn Farrell, former President & CEO of TransAlta and current Chancellor of Mount Royal University.

Dawn retired as CEO & President of TransAlta Corp. in March 2021 after serving in the role for over 9 years. She helmed one of Canada’s largest independent power producers. Dawn led the transformation of the company to competitive power focused on low cost, low-emission and reliable solutions for large commercial and industrial customers.

As a large company CEO with a decade of experience, Dawn has led multiple complex mergers and acquisitions transactions, including floating TransAlta Renewables, completing a company-wide complex cultural transformation, critically evaluating and negotiating a complex off-coal transaction with the government, building a significant business presence in Australia, and executing private and public financial transactions to advance TransAlta’s strategic shift away from coal-fired generation.

As a community leader, Dawn is known for her deep policy work in electricity, the environment and ESG. She is a co-founder of the Alberta Business Council, has worked with the Canadian government on a roadmap for advancing renewable wind technology, and was a member of the Canada-U.S. Council for the Advancement of Women Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders. She also has extensive experience in negotiating agreements with First Nations in British Columbia.

Women+Power offers its profound congratulations to both of these remarkable women!

Watch the highlight video here:

Equal Pay Day in Canada

April 12, 2022, marked Equal Pay Day in Canada. The day symbolizes how far into the calendar year the average woman needs to work to earn what men, on average, earned in the previous calendar year. In other words, women, on average, need to work almost 15.5 months to earn what men, on average, make in just 12 months. Equal Pay Day represents pay inequity in Canada, also known as the gender pay gap, and is a day to bring attention to this persistent issue.

It is important to note that there isn’t just one pay gap — pay inequity is worse for women who are Indigenous, racialized, living with disabilities, immigrants or migrants, LGBTQI2S+, or elderly. Multiple forms of discrimination, in addition to gender, shape pay inequity. Pay inequity not only represents discrimination but is also a key contributor to economic insecurity.

Women+Power is committed to tackling pay inequity through the power of community and mentorship. We believe we can work together to address the challenges that result in and from the under-representation of women so that we can begin to develop opportunities to promote increased diversity and inclusion.

Learn more about Equal Pay Day here.

April EmPOWERment Hub Entry: The First 90 Days

April 7, 2022

Post Author: Cherise Nielsen, Women+Power Board Member
Book Author: Michael D. Watkins

Starting a new job is an exciting experience, but the transition to a new role can also be a very challenging time in a leader’s professional career. The First 90 Days by Michael D. Watkins provides “proven strategies for getting up to speed faster and smarter” for new leaders embarking on what Watkins describes as a “leadership transition”.

The two most common leadership transitions are (1) getting promoted within your current organization and (2) onboarding with a new organization.

Watkins provides essential tasks that will help you accelerate your transition and create momentum for greater success. These include:

  1. Prepare yourself. Make a mental break from your old position and prepare for the new role.
  2. Accelerate your learning. Climb the learning curve as fast as you can – be systematic and focused on how you learn most efficiently.
  3. Match your strategy to the situation. Different situations present different challenges – is it a start-up or a turnaround?
  4. Secure early wins. Early wins build credibility – identity ways to create value and improve business results.
  5. Negotiate Success. Have critical conversations with your boss about the situation, expectations, resources, working styles, and resources.
  6. Achieve alignment. Ensure the organization’s strategic direction is in line with the strategy.
  7. Build your team. Be both systematic and strategic in your approach to team building.
  8. Create coalitions. Supportive alliances are critical to achieving your goals.
  9. Keep your balance. Maintain your equilibrium and perspective.
  10. Accelerate everyone. Help everyone around you – direct reports, bosses, and peers accelerate their own transitions.

Watkins also provides helpful exercises and questions to help you set yourself up for success. One of these is a Transitional Risk Assessment. As you prepare for this transition, take note of the challenges and complexities that could pose risks to your success. These might include moving to a new industry, joining a new company, leading former peers, moving geographically, or entering a new organization where major change is already ongoing. Detailing and ranking these sorts of transitions will help you get a sense of the overall magnitude of the challenges you may face and the areas you should focus on.

Another exercise Watkins suggests is mapping out your first 90 days as a planning horizon. Begin by thinking about what you would like to accomplish on your first day, your first week, then the end of the first month, the second month, and finally the end of the third month. These plans can and will change, but the act of simply writing them down will help you focus on your goals and clear your mind.

The Economist has called The First 90 Days an “onboarding bible”, and I hope it helps you navigate transitions and growth opportunities throughout your career.

February EmPOWERment Hub Entry: Why Women Struggle With Self-Promotion

February EmPOWERment Hub Entry

February 17, 2022

Post Author: Sharleen Gatcha, CEO & Founder, Women+Power

Tara Mohr, a career coach and author of Playing Big: Practical Wisdom for Women Who Want to Speak Up, Create, and Lead, has noticed something in her years of coaching women to reach their potential: we’re often not good at owning our accomplishments. As Mohr explains in her book, this is often why women excel as students: it’s quiet, heads-down work that’s then graded independently—it’s good work that’s then recognized as good work, without the need to draw any extra attention. This “good girl” modelling doesn’t serve us very well in the real world, though, where it’s easy to get overlooked if you’re not inclined to point out all of your accomplishments. Mohr explains her answers to some of the most important questions on the topic of women and self-promotion below.

Why is self-promotion so tricky for women?

It’s tricky for women to talk about their accomplishments and their abilities for a few different reasons. In the workplace, we tend to be judged more harshly than men for self-promoting, particularly when it’s other women who are doing the judging. (Yes, sadly, the research suggests that women are more likely than men to deem other women who advocate for themselves strongly as “unlikable.”) Combine that with good girl conditioning that tells us to never do anything that could come across as “full of ourselves,” and many women end up uncomfortable talking about their accomplishments, quite worried about coming across as “bragging” or “arrogant.” Then, in our discomfort, it’s easy to assume that putting a key accomplishment on a resumé is enough for it to be noticed in a job interview process, so we never bring it up in the interview. Or we assume, for years, that working hard and getting great results in our job is enough—but we don’t realize that the leaders around us are too busy to notice what we’ve done! What I’ve found working with women, is that at some point in their careers, many realize that to be put in the roles they want, to get the projects, the clients, the opportunities they desire, they have to figure out how to make people aware of their great performance. This is a realization many women are late to come by, especially if they were good student types in school because self-advocacy isn’t needed much to excel in the classroom. In school, we get used to doing heads-down, quiet, quality work without ever having to talk it up. In the workplace, the rules change. And yet, even as women realize they need to make their good work more visible to others, they also sense that they will probably need to do that in a little bit of a different way than their male counterparts do if they don’t want to be seen as arrogant, or not team-oriented. And that’s where many women feel stuck.

Are there ways to make the whole concept of self-promotion for women more comfortable (or is that uneasiness in and of itself, the real problem)?

What’s been helpful for me, and for so many women I work with, is to not think of self-promotion as pumping yourself up, faking, or striving to prove anything. Instead, it can be more of a centered, honest sharing, and highlighting of what you’ve truly accomplished. It’s really just what you’d say if we were able to take your inner critic and your fear of being seen as arrogant out of the conversation.
If the idea of self-promotion makes you cringe and want to run the other direction, here are a few tips for reframing the concept:

  1. Don’t use the term “self-promotion”—even in your own head! That may sound too pushy, ego-centric, or just annoying to you. Think about “making your work visible” instead. That’s a much more comfortable framing for many women.
  2. Focus on being of greater service. Instead of thinking about promoting yourself, call to mind the ways your talents and your work are of service to others. Get excited about the idea of having an impact – and expanding that to any positive impact on others.

How can women make their work visible? How does that manifest?

This first thing to do is to simply start living with this idea—that your works’ visibility is important and something to be mindful of. In my courses for women, I find that when women begin looking at their careers through that new lens, it often sparks a lot of insight for them, as well as ideas about how they can make their work more visible. Ask yourself, “Are my accomplishments visible within my organization?” Or, if you are an entrepreneur, you might ask, are my important accomplishments and best work visible in some way to current and potential clients, desired partners, or even my industry more broadly? It’s also helpful to think about the “who.” Who do you want to be aware of your good work? Who are the decision-makers impacting your career? Who are the leaders you’d like to work with more or be “tapped” by for future roles or special projects? Is anything currently in place that would make them aware of your good work? If not, what might help them become aware? You can brainstorm from there about ideas. For example, posting an updated portfolio of your great work on your website and sending out an announcement about it to past clients might move the needle. Or, if you work inside a large organization, you might send out an email commending the recent great work of your team, knowing that their work reflects well on you, as their manager. Or, you could set up a brown bag lunch for other departments in your organization to learn about the cool project your team has been working on, and to share best practices that you know would benefit the rest of the organization. The specifics will look different depending on your goals and organizational culture, but there are lots of ways to gracefully make you and your work more visible.

If a woman feels like they’re being overlooked in the workplace, how should they address this?

Sometimes the issue is that you’re doing great work but it’s not visible. If that’s the case, you need to brainstorm ideas for more visibility, like the ones above. Sometimes the issue is that you aren’t yet delivering the standout work that’s enough to get noticed. A lot of us are still waiting in some way for permission to play big, to share our voices. We’re waiting to be noticed by someone important—as if after that we’ll really start shining. But it works the other way around! If this is your situation, ask yourself, “What are my greatest strengths and are they coming forth here?” Think back on what abilities you’ve often been recognized for, or what talents propelled your biggest accomplishments. Are you using those strengths much in your current job? If not, brainstorm how you could use them more in your work. For example, if you realize you’ve been praised a lot for your abilities with numbers, maybe you want to take a bigger role in the quantitative planning your team does.

A second great question to ask is, “How can I add more value?” How can I contribute more of what will really move the dial for what matters to my company or team? Start doing those things! Or, if needed, talk with the appropriate person in your organization about your ideas for how you could add more value, and with them, decide on one or more to get started on.

And last but not least, ask some curious questions. Approach the people that you feel overlooked by and ask them: “Am I contributing what you’d like me to contribute? What would you like to see more of from me?” Aim to be surprised at least once by what you learn in this conversation. (If you are truly asking curious questions and listening carefully to the answers, you’ll be surprised by something you learn from them.)

Oil City Press

Oil City Press
Oil City Press

OCP Custom Graphics super-sizes marketing with a wide range of commercial printing and large format signage and display solutions. From vehicle wraps to window displays, banner stands to floor decals, business cards to brochures, their talented creative team and skilled manufacturing department have the resources to deliver your custom promotional elements – all under one roof!

To learn more about Oil City Press, click here.

Heartland Generation

Heartland Generation
Heartland Generation

Heartland Generation Ltd. is a privately-owned power generation company with 10 generation facilities in Alberta and British Columbia. Heartland Generation provides more than 2,660 MW (gross) of safe and reliable electricity to industrial, commercial and residential customers and is the second largest merchant generator in Alberta. Heartland Generation is actively advancing its clean energy transition with a focus on exploring alternative, carbon neutral fuel sources to power future generations sustainably.

To learn more, visit the Heartland website.

Canadian Renewable Energy Association

Canadian Renewable Energy Association
Canadian Renewable Energy Association

The Canadian Renewable Energy Association (CanREA) is the voice for wind energy, solar energy and energy storage solutions that will power Canada’s energy future. CanREA’s vision is to ensure wind energy, solar energy and energy storage play a central role in transforming Canada’s energy mix. CanREA works to create the conditions for a modern energy system through stakeholder advocacy and public engagement. Their diverse members are uniquely positioned to deliver clean, low-cost, reliable, flexible and scalable solutions for Canada’s energy needs. CanREA’s mission is to advocate on behalf of the wind energy, solar energy and energy storage industries to benefit Canada’s economy and energy future; to increase stakeholder understanding that renewable electricity and energy storage are clean, low-cost, reliable, flexible and scalable solutions for Canada’s energy needs, and to provide a forum devoted to dialogue, collaboration, stewardship and growth of the industry.

To learn more, visit the CanREA website.

Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC)

Alberta Utilities Commission
Alberta Utilities Commission

The Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) is an independent, quasi-judicial agency of the province of Alberta. The AUC is responsible to ensure that the delivery of Alberta’s utility service takes place in a manner that is fair, responsible and in the public interest. They regulate investor-owned natural gas, electric and water utilities and certain municipally owned electric utilities to ensure that customers receive safe and reliable service at just and reasonable rates. Staff also respond to customer inquiries and complaints respecting utility matters. In addition, the AUC ensures that electric facilities are built, operated and decommissioned in an efficient and environmentally responsible way. The AUC also provides regulatory oversight of issues related to the development and operation of the wholesale electricity market in Alberta as well as the retail gas and electricity markets in the province. The AUC’s regulatory functions are carried out through both written and oral proceedings and representative groups are encouraged to participate in the process. Participation helps to ensure that the AUC is informed of the issues and that decisions are made in the public interest.

To learn more, visit the AUC website

TC Energy

TC Energy
TC Energy

Delivering the energy people need, every day. TC Energy is more than a pipeline company. With approximately 7,500 people strong, TC Energy is a vital part of modern life. Thanks to a safe, stable network of natural gas and crude oil pipelines, along with nuclear power facilities, wherever life happens – they’re there.

With one of North America’s largest energy infrastructure portfolios, no one powers day-to-day life like TC Energy. They share technical, stakeholder and operating expertise across all of their operations. Their Energy Solutions aim to leverage the size and scale of their energy network and trading platform to be the most trusted and reliable source of carbon-free energy for the North American industrial, oil and natural gas sectors.

To learn more about TC Energy, click here.

CEATI

CEATI
CEATI

The Women In Power collaborative venture is a networking, mentorship, and peer-to-peer support group that spans across the entirety of the CEATI organization. It aims to promote engineering and other technical careers to women in the field, and to share common challenges and strategies for overcoming obstacles as women in a field populated predominantly by men. In order to achieve these goals, the CEATI Women in Power Group offers the following three initiatives: Face-to-face networking at industry-open CEATI events, Women in Power Webinar Series, and a Mentorship Triad Program that connects women at different points in their career. Please visit us at: CEATI – Women in Power Group

WiRE

WiRE
WiRE

Launched in 2013, WiRE forges partnerships with government agencies and a spectrum of renewable energy industry associations, other related networking groups for professional women from across the energy sector, and academic providers. WiRE’s mission is to advance the role and recognition of women working in the energy sector. Inclusive of all renewable energy and clean technologies, WiRE’s programming includes capacity-building field trips, networking meet-ups, an awards recognition program, student bursaries, speed mentoring and more.

To learn more about WiRE, click here.