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.



Headquartered in Calgary, with offices in Edmonton, Red Deer and Lethbridge, AltaLink is Alberta’s largest electricity transmission provider. AltaLink is partnering with its customers to provide innovative solutions to meet the province’s demand for reliable and affordable energy. A wholly-owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy, AltaLink is part of a global group of companies delivering energy services to customers worldwide.

AltaLink supports a diverse and inclusive work environment that celebrates the differences of our employees, ensures everyone feels valued, respected and empowered, and enhances the connections we have to the communities in which we live and work. We’re proud to support Women+Power in connecting and empowering women in Alberta’s power industry, while working to promote increased diversity and inclusion within the sector.

To learn more about AltaLink, click here.

Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP

Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP
Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP

Osler is a leading law firm with a singular focus – your business. From Toronto, Montréal, Calgary, Ottawa, Vancouver and New York, we advise our Canadian, U.S. and international clients on an array of domestic and cross-border legal issues. Our collaborative “one firm” approach draws on the expertise of over 450 lawyers to provide responsive, proactive and practical legal solutions driven by your business needs. For over 150 years, we’ve built a reputation for solving problems, removing obstacles, and providing the answers you need, when you need them.

To learn more about Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP, click here.

Maskwa Environmental Consulting Ltd.

Maskwa Environmental Consulting Ltd.
Maskwa Environmental Consulting Ltd.

Maskwa Environmental Consulting Ltd. and Maskwa High Voltage Ltd. (Maskwa) are based in Calgary, Alberta and provide professional consulting services to power-sector clients in western Canada. The combined solutions offered by these organizations include regulatory strategy development and implementation, planning and permitting, environmental, and GIS services, and comprehensive engineering services focussed on the design and execution of high voltage power and transmission projects.

While Maskwa has seen significant success and growth over the past few years, their leadership team is committed to ongoing improvement and exploring ways to create a corporate culture that fosters continued, profitable growth. They acknowledge that this is likely to require multiple initiatives working in concert versus any single initiative alone. However, one of the more salient, recent actions they have undertaken has been to encourage diversity and inclusion in their workplace. One of the ways this is being done is by supporting Women+Power and their aim of empowering women in the power industry to achieve their full professional and personal potential.

We recognize that the desire to have increased inclusivity and diversity in the workplace is not unique to Maskwa. We also believe that our commitment to this overall initiative, and the support of Women+Power, will at least contribute to the larger movement driving for transformational change to create a more diverse and inclusive power industry in Alberta. Success here will have positive outcomes for our staff, for our overall company performance, and for our industry

Vice President, Maskwa

To learn more about Maskwa Environmental Consulting Ltd., click here.

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

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.
*A Google account is required for submission. Click here to create your account. 

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

We’re a team of 7,000+ energy problem solvers working to move, generate and store the energy North America relies on. Today, we’re taking action to make that energy more sustainable and more secure. We’re innovating and modernizing to reduce emissions from our business. And, we’re delivering new energy solutions – from natural gas and renewables to carbon capture and hydrogen – to help other businesses and industries decarbonize too. Along the way, we invest in communities and partner with our neighbours, customers and governments to build the energy system of the future.

To learn more about TC Energy, click here.



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