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.

March EmPOWERment Hub: International Women’s Day 2022 – Break the Bias

March EmPOWERment Hub: International Women's Day 2022 - Break the Bias

March 1, 2022

Post Author: Carissa Browning, Board Member, Women+Power

The campaign theme for International Women’s Day 2022 is #BreakTheBias. As noted in the materials available here, whether deliberate or unconscious, bias makes it difficult for women to move ahead. Knowing that bias exists isn’t enough. Action is needed.

Alex Borstein’s Emmy acceptance speech for her role as the feisty Susie Myers in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is a wonderful call to action:

I want to dedicate this to the strength of women. To my mother. To my grandmother. They are immigrants. They are Holocaust survivors. My grandmother turned to a guard – she was in line to be shot into a pit – and she said, “What happens if I step out of line?” And he said, “I don’t have the heart to shoot you but somebody will.” And she stepped out of line, and for that I am here, and for that my children are here. So step out of line, ladies. Step out of line!

Groupthink doesn’t just harm those marginalized by race, gender, sexual orientation, religion and disability. It harms all of us. If you are a working mother finding it difficult to connect with your team by 7:00 a.m. while also getting your kids off to school in time, chances are the working father struggles as well. Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s systematic take down on laws that discriminated on the basis of gender began with the United States tax code which denied Charles Mortiz, a never married man, the right to deduct expenses for the care of his ailing mother. In Weinberger v. Wiesenfeld she argued the Social Security Act unfairly discriminated on the basis of gender since benefits based on the earnings of a deceased wife were not available to a widowed husband. When we step out of line, break the bias, flip the script and demand better for ourselves, we also do so for others. Bias harms all of us. So don’t be afraid to have that difficult conversation or to have a different perspective. Empower yourself and those around you by stepping outside of groupthink. It’s time to speak up.

#breakingthebias #stepoutoflineladies #flipthescript

Sponsor Spotlight Series presented by TransAlta

Virtual Event: The Future of Work
March 31, 2022
Time: 12:00 – 1:00pm MST

TransAlta is actively building a company culture that fosters equality, diversity and inclusion (ED&I). As part of this commitment to ED&I, TransAlta has pledged to achieve at least 50% women on the Board of Directors and 40% women in the workforce by 2030.

TransAlta recognizes that diversity and inclusion are multifaceted issues and that they must increase awareness and tackle these subjects holistically to better engage and support all groups, including under-represented groups within the business. To do this, TransAlta commits to directly addressing the concerns and needs of the Company’s diverse employees to increase equity and belonging for all employees.

Please join us for the TransAlta Sponsor Spotlight featuring Jane Fedoretz, EVP, People, Talent and Transformation in an informative interview-style presentation. Jane will walk us through how to think about the future of work and provide practical steps to take your leadership and career to the next level by sharing personal stories and career advice.

Speaker Biography:

Jane is responsible for oversight and governance of all strategic Human Resource matters including, people, talent, executive compensation, as well as disability, benefits, pensions and recruitment. She is also responsible for the company’s organizational cultural plan, organizational health, TransAlta’s Transformation Office and Corporate Communications. Jane is the Chair of TransAlta’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Council and strategy and is also the Chair of the Culture Leadership Team at the company. She is passionate about creating leaders and developing high-performing teams. Jane has over 21 years of legal experience in the energy industry and as a private practitioner.

Prior to joining TransAlta, Jane held the role of Counsel, in the Energy Group at Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP (Blakes), a Canadian corporate law firm. While at Blakes, Jane was part of the Oil and Gas practice group, where she acted for Canadian start-up companies, and for major and super major energy and mining companies providing legal support for the exploration, development and construction of energy projects.

Previously, she held the role of Vice President, General Counsel, Chief Compliance Officer and Privacy Officer at CEDA International Corporation (CEDA), a privately-held oil field and maintenance services company. Previous to her tenure at CEDA, Jane practiced as a Construction Lawyer at Petro Canada and was Corporate Counsel, Canadian Operations at Jacobs Canada Ltd., a subsidiary of Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc.

Jane holds a Bachelor of Social Work degree from the University of Calgary and a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Alberta.

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.)

Women+Power International Women’s Day Contest

Women+Power International Women’s Day Contest

International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated globally on March 8 to honour the cultural, political, and socio-economic achievements of women. This year’s theme, #BreakTheBias, reminds us that conscious and unconscious bias serves as a significant barrier in limiting women, both personally and professionally. Your commitment to action is necessary to change this narrative.

To mark IWD, Women+Power is inviting members to submit an inspiring story about a time they acted or witnessed action that directly called out gender bias, discrimination, or stereotyping. Everyone that submits a story will be entered in a draw for a chance to win a $100 CAD Cadillac Fairview gift card. Women+Power will share some of the most powerful submissions in the days leading up to IWD 2022. The contest winner’s name and story will be published by Women+Power on March 8, 2022.

Click this link to submit your entry!
*A Google account is required for submission. Click here to create your account. 

Technical Speaker Series #4: The Evolution of Technology in Power Generation – Emerging Tech

Technical Speaker Series #4

Presented by CEATI

Date: March 2, 2022
Time: 12:00pm – 1:00pm MST
Register Now!

Join us for an insightful presentation hosted by CEATI (The Centre for Energy Advancement through Technological Innovation)! This virtual event will cover some of the new technologies under development within the utility industry that will assist in the move towards decarbonization. In this session, the speakers will provide a broad look at what a low-carbon economy entails and how this will affect the utility sector. A few solutions will be explored, including hydrogen as an alternative fuel, carbon capture on thermal plants, and helping remote communities move away from diesel fuels.

Guest Speakers:

Main Presenter: Alexandra Sammons is part of the Membership Programming team at CEATI, an organization that provides electric utilities with the knowledge and tools to help solve their most challenging needs. Alexandra’s portfolio includes Energy & Integration Strategy, Asset Management, and Hydropower. Before CEATI, Alexandra studied Neuroscience at Concordia University in Montreal. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science, Alexandra’s interest in renewable energies and the environment led her to work for CEATI. In her free time, you can find Alexandra enjoying the outdoors with friends and family, or hanging out at home with her hedgehog.

Co-presenter: Lizzie Smith is currently the Head of Marketing at CEATI International. She joined CEATI in 2010 as a program coordinator on 3 of CEATI’s technical interest groups focused on thermal generation, energy and integration strategy, and demand side management. In 2012, she began working on CEATI’s hydro-focused technical interest groups, and from 2018 to July 2021, she was the Program Manager for CEATI’s groups focused on dam safety, hydropower plant equipment, and hydropower operations and planning. Lizzie was one of the co-founders of the CEATI Women in Power program back in 2017 and co-founded CEATI’s Young Professionals Group in 2019. She still works on both programs and is passionate about advocacy and progression within the electric industry.

January EmPOWERment Hub Entry: Unleashed – The Unapologetic Leader’s Guide to Empowering Everyone Around You

January EmPOWERment Hub Entry

January 22, 2022

Author: Jana Mosley, Board Vice-Chair and Sponsorship Committee Chair, Women+Power

I’ve had the privilege of formally leading people for the last 15 years, and I have to say they have been the most rewarding years of my career. Leadership is a journey, and I must admit I’ve hit some bumps in the road, maybe even a few potholes. (I just went back and forth on whether not to use the word “few” or “a couple”, not wanting to be too imperfect – such a female thing to think!)

I’m grateful to the people along my path who have been patient with me when I’ve started a new role, to those who cut me some slack when I didn’t take the time to understand their perspective, and to the many who have been kind enough to give me feedback so I could improve. You know who you are – keep it comin’!

As I’ve progressed in my career, it became clear that the strengths that got me the latest promotion were not necessarily the same strengths I needed to leverage to be successful leading at the next level, or at least how those strengths needed to change in order to bring out the best in those around me. It was less about what I had accomplished and more about what the team had accomplished.

I recently read a book called “Unleashed: The Unapologetic Leader’s Guide to Empowering Everyone Around You” by Frances Frei & Anne Morris. I was intrigued, as we often talk as leaders about empowering others, but find we get stuck in our comfort zones and hierarchical society. The book starts by stating clearly “It’s not about you”. Leadership is about empowering other people as a result of your presence and making sure that impact continues in your absence. If you are all about unleashing the potential in others, check out this book!

Here are the main principles the authors cover, taken from the contents summary:

  1. Trust – Trust is the foundation for empowering leadership. You build trust when you reveal empathy, logic, and authenticity
  2. Love – You empower other people when you simultaneously set high standards and reveal deep devotion to them
  3. Belonging – You empower teams when you champion difference and ensure that everyone can contribute their unique capacities and perspectives
  4. Strategy – You empower organizations when you show people how to create and capture value on their own
  5. Culture – You empower communities – organizations and beyond – when you change the way people think and act

They say there is no “I” in TEAM, and throughout my leadership journey, I can tell you the times when I’ve felt the most fulfilled and proud have been when I have seen those around me in my team nail a presentation they were nervous about, have a difficult conversation they thoughtfully prepared for, rally others to achieve great results, or create a solution to a problem without being told what to do. When, through coaching, mentoring, learning, and trying, people in my organization move the needle on their path to reach their full potential, I get to sit back and smile knowing that in some small way, I made a difference. And that’s what it’s all about.

Sponsor Spotlight Series presented by ATCO

Sponsor Spotlight Series

Join us for “Women in Leadership in the Power & Energy Sector” presented by ATCO!

Date: February 24, 2022
Time: 12:00pm – 1:00pm MST
Register Now!

Reports show the importance of women in leadership roles in various industries. Women in power are necessary to achieve an inclusive workplace, a more enjoyable work environment, and a higher return on equity. In fact, a recent study shows companies whose leadership teams have above average diversity saw an almost 10 percent improvement in earnings. Although considerable progress has been made towards advancing gender equality, there is still more to be done.

ATCO is proud to be an equitable employer that is committed to promoting and maintaining a workplace culture of inclusion and respect. Aligning with its’ core values of caring, collaboration, and integrity, ATCO values the unique perspectives of each member of the ATCO team and believes in a positive and professional work environment that provides equal opportunities for everyone.

Join us for this exciting virtual event where we will hear from some of ATCO’s female leaders as they share insight into their work supporting the power and energy sector, their own experiences with diversity in the workplace, and some tips on how to create change in the future for female leaders.

Guest Speakers:

Since 2013, Amanda Mattern has held various leadership roles in the Customer Service and Operations departments at ATCO. Throughout her time with the company, Amanda has been involved in projects that have shaped ATCO’s customer service delivery model and project execution processes. In 2019, Amanda became the Regional Manager for ATCO Electric. In this position, Amanda is accountable for the management of operations, maintenance, construction, and customer service for nine service points within west-central Alberta. She oversees a team of more than sixty employees ranging from Powerline Technicians to Accounting and Administrative Support roles. Amanda has earned the respect of her peers for her leadership style, her strong commitment to improving the customer experience, her support for innovative ideas, and her sense of humour.

Jocelyn Venechuk is a Proposal Specialist with ATCO Frontec Ltd. Through the competitive bid process, Jocelyn challenges Frontec to build business proposals that fit the unique complexities of their client’s requirements. As part of her role, Jocelyn is a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) specialist working closely with ATCO leaders and industry experts to improve their operations with respect to DEI. Jocelyn is a technical writer with extensive experience in project management for multiple industries. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Operations from DeVry University. Jocelyn brings her human experience as a second-generation Filipino-Canadian woman, wife, and mother of three children to her volunteer role with ATCO’s Employment Equity Advisory Committee (EEAC). The EEAC is one of ATCO’s grassroots committees that is committed to growing the culture of belonging at ATCO by bringing awareness to DEI, training, and the power and importance of open dialogue.

Sarah Shortreed is the Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of ATCO. Reporting to the Chief Financial Officer, she is responsible for the overall leadership of Information Technology. Her mandate is to expand and enhance ATCO’s forward-looking, enterprise-wide IT strategy and technology roadmap, and deliver innovative strategies. Sarah is focused on delivering solutions and exceptional customer service to ATCO’s global businesses. Sarah brings more than 30 years of global experience in many industries and executive roles spanning business consulting, complex multi-stakeholder program management, operations, P&L, sales, customer relationship management, and product management. Sarah was recently the Chief Information Officer at Bruce Power and previously worked at BlackBerry, IBM, and Union Gas. She holds a Bachelor of Engineering Science degree, Mechanical, from the University of Western Ontario. Sarah sits on the Board of Governors for the University of Western Ontario and is the current Chair of the CIO Committee at the Conference Board of Canada. She recently completed a term on the Board of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) as well as the Digital Advisory Board to the CIO Branch of the Treasury Board of Canada.

Technical Speaker Series #3: The Evolution of Technology in Power Generation – Renewables

Technical Speaker Series #3

Presented by Burns & McDonnell

Date: February 1, 2022
Time: 12:00pm – 1:00pm MST

Watch the event recording here:

Renewable power such as wind, solar farms and battery storage are becoming an increasing part of our electric grid and a common site across the country. How does this technology work and what are the key components that come together to produce clean electricity? Join Burns & McDonnell, an engineering + construction firm, for an insightful presentation about how these systems work, the latest developments, and what we should expect to see in the next generation of renewable energy projects that promise to get us to a NetZero grid.

Guest Speakers:

Katlyn Meggers is an Energy Storage Applications Specialist at Burns & McDonnell with a focus on exploring emerging technologies. Her responsibilities include technology evaluations, feasibility studies, equipment procurement and contract management, economic analysis, cost estimates, project management, and strategic planning related to the development of energy storage projects. She also has experience in performing a wide range of business case evaluations to help utility clients justify and defend investment decisions for asset upgrades and resiliency initiatives.

Cayley Gunn is a Project Manager at Burns & McDonnell responsible for integrating and leading Engineer-Procure-Construct teams for the successful delivery of energy projects. Her diverse background has seen her manage electrical transmission and distribution substation and line projects, electric vehicle charging infrastructure, hydrogen fueling stations, and solar farms. She has managed projects, proposals, studies and estimates for various clients across Canada and supports Canadian clients achieve their decarbonization goals.

Megan Reusser is a Senior Development Engineer at Burns & McDonnell with over a decade of industry experience. She has a diverse background in front-end project development including process engineering, proposal management, and cost estimation. These skills create a unique blend of both technical and commercial expertise that she uses to support EPC projects and proposals to provide clients with technical solutions that optimize process design, reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions, and decrease overall costs. She specializes in technologies supporting decarbonization projects such as liquefied natural gas (LNG), green hydrogen production, carbon capture, and liquefied air energy storage. Megan earned her B.S. in Chemical Engineering and Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Kansas.

December EmPOWERment Hub Entry: The Power of Language

December EmPOWERment Hub Entry

Post Author: Stefania Cerisano, Board Member – Events & Programs Committee, Women+Power

The words we choose in both casual and formal communications can have a significant impact on the perpetuation of gender stereotypes and inequality. Impacts are not just reserved for blatantly derogatory phrasing, but also extend to more subtle language choices and pairings.

Imagine receiving a group email from a male co-worker which begins, “Good morning, Kevin, David, Larry and ladies”. Even if you are not bothered by the term “ladies”, seeing this term used in a greeting that acknowledges male peers by name and female peers only generally can leave a bad taste and negatively impact a culture of inclusiveness far more than you may think. While some may choose to downplay wording implications as an over-reaction or unintentional ‘slip’, according to recent studies conducted by Stanford University, these kinds of ‘slips’ are often highly correlated to views held by the writer or speaker and if left unaddressed, bias wording will continue to encourage a culture ripe with obstacles for inclusion. According to leading research and advisory company, Gartner, “Any behaviour, habit or routine, will continue to persist as long as there is something in the environment that rewards and reinforces that continued action”. Reinforcement can take the form of inaction and result in missed opportunities to evolve mindsets.

This is not to suggest that every person who makes a statement with a bias undertone should be explicitly called out, but rather that there is a range of reactions that could serve to change the narrative, including leading by example. A reply such as, “Good morning, Team” or “Good morning, Lisa, Karen, Kevin, David and Larry” may just be enough. Regardless of how one chooses to reply, the point is simply that by ignoring less than ideal wording, we forgo an opportunity to reduce counterproductive behaviour.

It is interesting to note that some wording biases may be inherently linked to the specific language spoken. A study by Carnegie Mellon, which investigated the male-career bias in 25 languages, found that “languages that heavily associate men with careers and women with family also have speakers who live out those biases”. English was found to be the 6th most biased language of the 25 reviewed in the study. The research results showed a positive correlation between biased language and high male-career gender bias and further demonstrated that the more biased the language, the lower the percentages of women in STEM fields and STEM higher education. According to the study’s lead author, Molly Lewis, those who speak a language filled with bias are more likely to hold gender stereotypes.

This is certainly something to consider the next time you find yourself wondering if it’s worth the effort to promote more inclusive language in the workplace. Collectively, we have the potential to shift mindsets towards a more inclusive environment by simply choosing our words more carefully and calling on others in our workplace to do the same.