Women+Power Networking Reception at IPPSA 2023

Women+Power is pleased to announce that we are hosting a Networking Reception on Day 1 of the IPPSA Conference at the Fairmont Banff Springs from March 12 – 14, 2023. Our reception will occur on Monday, March 13, 2023, from 5 to 6:30 pm in Mt. Stephen Hall.

This year, we proudly welcome Macquarie Group as the event sponsor.

Macquarie is a global financial services group with over 19,000 employees, operating in 34 markets. Macquarie’s purpose statement is to empower people to innovate and invest for a better future. “That’s why we ensure that our work has positive outcomes for our clients, teams, investors and the communities in which we live and work.”

Within Canada, Macquarie has completed over $33 billion of financing and M&A transactions since 2017, across power, resources and infrastructure. Macquarie supports 200+ natural gas clients, moving ~2.5bcf/d. Each year, Macquarie is consistently ranked among the top power and renewables advisors globally.

In no small part, this is a result of the value Macquarie places on developing and #empowering female talent within and outside of its organization. Macquarie shares the same vision as Women+Power and is proud to be part of a professional community in building a more diverse and inclusive future.

Women+Power looks forward to welcoming you to this event and we thank IPPSA for their support.

“It is a privilege to share company with the accomplished leaders and members of Women + Power. The success and influence of Women+Power within Canada is a reason to get excited for the future of power and energy markets. “

Matt Jenkins, CEO of Macquarie Capital Markets Canada Ltd.

To learn more about Macquarie, click here.

Johanne Picard-Thompson

Johanne Picard-Thompson
Johanne Picard-Thompson

Executive Vice President, Customer and Corporate Services

Board Chair

Johanne is a graduate from the University of Toronto’s Engineering Science Program and Queen’s University Master of Business Administration program. Prior to joining AltaLink, Johanne held senior executive roles in the oil and gas and manufacturing sectors. At Shell Canada she was the General Manager, Oil Sands Growth Operations, and oversaw operations, commissioning, and startup planning for expansion projects. At Celestica she was the Senior Vice President of Canadian Operations, responsible for multiple production facilities and more than 40 production lines.

Other notable career highlights include serving on the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology’s (NAIT) Advisory Board for the Shell Manufacturing Centre and receiving the Globe and Mail’s recognition as one of Canada’s Top 40 under 40 for her leadership in growing Celestica’s Canadian Operations. Johanne also received the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Engineering 2T5 Mid-Career Achievement Award recognizing alumni who have earned respect within the profession and within the broader Canadian community.

Katrina Edgerton-McGhan

Katrina Edgerton-McGhan
Katrina Edgerton-McGhan

DLA Piper (Canada) LLP

“Please do more to hire, support, and encourage talented women who want to work. Women don’t look or talk like Perry Mason, and you don’t want us to. We often are more creative, smarter, more persistent, and harder-working than men, and we actually win cases. So call me a Lady Lawyer. Just don’t underestimate me in Court.”

Lisa Blatt

Katrina is a litigation lawyer who supports clients in the power industry. As part of her role, she learns in an in-depth way about her clients’ business and goals to help them through challenging times and achieve their desired outcomes. Katrina is an extremely committed pro bono diversity advocate, particularly in the areas of equity and diversity in traditionally male-dominated industries. She feels privileged to be involved in such an important initiative in the power industry.

Dentons Canada LLP

Dentons Canada LLP
Dentons Canada LLP

Dentons is designed to be different. As the world’s largest law firm with 20,000 professionals in over 200 locations in more than 80 countries, we can help you grow, protect, operate and finance your business. Our polycentric and purpose-driven approach, together with our commitment to inclusion, diversity, equity and ESG, ensures we challenge the status quo to stay focused on what matters most to you.

To learn more about Dentons Canada LLP, click here.

Kristjana Kellgren

Kristjana Kellgren
Kristjana Kellgren

Executive director, Rates
Alberta Utilities Commission

The most effective way to do it, is to do it.

Amelia Earhart

Kristjana is an active member of the AUC’s executive team, and leads a division of multi-disciplinary professionals who support the Commission’s determination of rate and tariff-related matters. Before her current role, Kristjana held a variety of roles at the AUC including director of the electric and gas distribution team and as in-house counsel. Prior to joining the AUC, Kristjana worked as a lawyer in private practice with a particular focus on municipal, regulatory and administrative law matters.

Kristjana is passionate about the empowerment of women, and promoting diversity, equity and inclusion more broadly. She hopes to contribute to Women + Power’s continued momentum and success!  

Shanelle Sinclair

Shanelle Sinclair
Shanelle Sinclair

Manager, Regulatory
Heartland Generation Ltd.

“Define success on your own terms, achieve it by your own rules, and build a life you’re proud to live.”

Anne Sweeney

Shanelle is responsible for implementing Heartland’s strategic vision for the Alberta wholesale electricity market and managing the company’s portfolio of regulatory applications. She has considerable experience in competition law relating to electricity markets, compliance, and the regulatory aspects of project development. Shanelle finds it energizing to collaborate with likeminded women through Women+Power.

Capital Power

Capital Power
Capital Power

Capital Power creates responsible electricity solutions to power communities, businesses and critical services across Canada and the United States. The company is focused on innovation to reduce emissions and increase efficiency at its thermal facilities today and decarbonize tomorrow by advancing carbon capture, utilization and sequestration (CCUS) solutions. Capital Power is also developing and operating a renewable portfolio of wind and solar assets to expand the capacity of clean energy available for our grids. Together, its thermal and renewable assets are well-positioned to support the carbon-neutral energy system required for our longevity as a global community. Essential today, essential for our future – Capital Power is laying the groundwork to be net carbon neutral by 2050.

Women+Power Networking Reception at IPPSA 2022

Women+Power is pleased to announce that we are hosting a Networking Reception on Day 1 of the IPPSA Conference at the Fairmont Banff Springs from November 13-15. Our reception will occur on November 14 from 4:45 – 6:15 pm in Mt. Stephen Hall. Appetizers and drinks will be provided. Please note that a conference pass is required to attend.

We thank IPPSA and Evan Bahry for their support of this event. This year, we proudly welcome Maskwa Environmental Consulting Ltd. and Maskwa High Voltage Ltd. as event sponsors. Maskwa became a Kilowatt sponsor of Women+Power in March 2022.

Based in Calgary, Alberta, Maskwa provides 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 focused 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, its leadership team is committed to ongoing improvement and exploring ways to create a corporate culture that fosters continued profitable growth. They acknowledge that this requires multiple initiatives versus any single initiative alone. However, one of the more salient, recent actions they have undertaken is to encourage diversity and inclusion in their workplace. One of the ways this is being done is by supporting Women+Power and our goal to empower 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 of driving transformational change to create a more diverse and inclusive power industry in Alberta. Success here will result in positive outcomes for our staff, overall company performance, and our industry.

Vice President, Maskwa

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

Post-Event Summary: Behind the Doors of the AUC

Featuring Carolyn Dahl Rees, Chair of the AUC, and AUC Commissioners and staff

Thank you to everyone who attended our Educational Networking Event + Wine & Cheese, Behind the Doors of the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) Hearing Room, on September 28. The event provided a ’sneak peek’ into the hearing process and featured Carolyn Dahl Rees, Chair of the AUC, and AUC Commissioners and staff. The event was open to members only and sold out quickly. Participants enjoyed a networking session with presenters following the formal presentation.

W+P would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to Commission Chair Carolyn Dahl Rees for making this event a reality, Laura-Marie Berg for moderating the discussion, and Commissioners Vera Slawinski, Renee Marx, Laura Fukuda, Salma Karim, and Kristi Sebalj for sharing about their experiences as Commissioners.

Here are some of the comments we received following the event:

It was interesting to see the different aspects of the hearing process. I particularly liked how the commissioners talked about authenticity in the hearings.

Great tips and tricks from the Commissioners about participating in a proceeding. I think my team members gained some comfort with the AUC process and space.

As a regulatory professional, it was very helpful to hear exactly what the Commissioners are looking for from applicants/interveners.

This event was fantastic! It was great to hear about some of the changes the AUC implemented to improve efficiency and some of the dos and donts during a hearing. Great insights on what makes for a more efficient and compelling case.

It was great to hear AUC Commissioners and staff speak candidly about the application and hearing process.

If you missed this Women+Power event, please consider becoming a member to receive invitations to our exclusive offerings (membership is free!).

Post-Event Summary: Women+Power Minister Luncheon

Featuring the Honourable Sonya Savage & the Honourable Whitney Issik

Thank you to everyone who joined us on October 4 at The Hudson for an exclusive luncheon with The Hon. Sonya Savage, Minister of Energy and The Hon. Whitney Issik, Minister of Environment and Parks.

We hosted approximately 300 attendees who listened intently to a discussion about the energy industry’s transition to net zero, and the valuable contribution women can make toward this goal and in the post-pandemic economic recovery. The event was emceed by Elaina Eifler, Chair of the Women+Power Events & Programs Committee and moderated by Sharleen Gatcha, Founder & CEO of Women+Power.

W+P would like to extend heartfelt thanks to both ministers for generously donating their time and sharing about the work of each ministry as it relates to the energy transition. Both of these women have moved into new roles following the recent appointment of Danielle Smith as Premier, and we wish them both tremendous success!

Here are some of the comments we received following the event:

There is a lot going on currently within the energy industry, and it’s good to see that impactful discussions are being had at all levels and not just on issues related to the environment.

The room was full of an incredible network of highly intelligent and successful women, which was amazing to see. That is a testament to Women+Power and the team running it.

The luncheon was a well-executed event at a fantastic venue. Both speakers were terrific, informative and highly engaging. I appreciated the comment about equity targets and the caution around setting targets without a strong plan to get there. Also tremendously informative to hear about the industry and the importance of energy security. Well done.

We need more of these types of events in the industry!

If you missed this Women+Power event, please consider becoming a member to receive invitations to our exclusive offerings (membership is free!).

A big thank you to The Hudson and Encore (AV team) for their work to ensure the event was a success and to our photographer, Fern & Pine Studios, for the outstanding photography! Finally, we thank our sponsors, partners and members for their continued support. We have more exciting things in the works for 2023. Stay tuned!

Suha Shehadeh

Suha Shehadeh
Suha Shehadeh

Director, Strategy and Corporate Services

“It’s not about being perfect. It’s not about where you get yourself in the end. There’s power in allowing yourself to be known and heard, in owning your unique story, in using your authentic voice.”

Michelle Obama, “Becoming”

Suha is an experienced technology strategist who has led and delivered multimillion-dollar digital transformation programs that required significant change management and collaboration. She continues to play a key role in enabling digital transformation that advances the AESO’s strategic goals and offers an engaging IT experience for the AESO and its stakeholders.

Suha has extensive experience in the energy utilities and transportation industries and is passionate about shaping a culture of belonging and diversity for women within the utilities sector. By actively sharing her experiences with other women, Suha is contributing to a future of inclusivity, where individuals from all walks of life can thrive together and leaders of all genders can one day be seamlessly woven into the fabric of an organization without experiencing any unnecessary hurdles.

Osler Report: Diversity Among Directors & Executives in Canada’s Utilities & Pipelines industry


Executive search consultants say the No. 1 ask from boards recruiting new directors is CEO or CFO experience. In many sectors, where relatively few women attain CFO and, especially, CEO positions, this can hamper companies seeking to cultivate a diverse roster of directors.

But then there is St. John’s-based Fortis Inc. — a utility with $8.9 billion in revenue, $56 billion in assets and operations in five Canadian provinces, nine U.S. states and three countries in the Caribbean. Fortis has six women on its 12-member board. In addition to their diverse range of director experience, one is a former CEO, two are former CFOs, one is a former president, one is a former COO and the other is a former Chief Digital Officer. 

How did they get there? The short answer is that Fortis didn’t restrict its search to women from its own sector. It’s a practice that many diverse boards have applied — yet, at first glance, one that seems more widely embraced in utilities and pipelines, which leads all sectors both in terms of the percentage representation of women directors on boards and in executive officer positions in the C-suite.

Along with Fortis, for example, boards at companies like Enbridge, Emera, TransAlta, Hydro One and Capital Power all count four or five women directors — former CEOs, presidents, CFOs, managing directors, group heads and the like.

However, even in this sector, there are examples of boards with only one woman director or none. The results achieved by other companies in this sector suggests those boards either just aren’t trying hard enough or aren’t making diversity a priority.

Latest diversity data

As noted, overall sector data compiled for Osler’s 2021 Diversity Disclosure Practices report establishes utilities and pipelines as the industry to emulate. In terms of the percentage of women directors, it leads with a mid-year 2021 mark of 35%, compared to 22.1% for the entire group of 614 TSX-listed companies that disclosed. The average of 3.71 women directors per utilities and pipelines board is more than double the TSX-listed average of 1.83 (629 companies disclosed).

Breakdown of number and percentages of women directors in 2021

Breakdown of number and percentages of women directors in 2021

In terms of women executive officers at mid-year 2021, utilities and pipelines ranked first overall in the average number of female executive officers per company at 5.08, compared to 1.69 for all the TSX-listed firms in Osler’s report (575 companies disclosed). On a percentage basis, women made up 30% of executive officers in the sector as of mid-year 2021, leading the pack in first place. The average for all the TSX-listed companies reporting in this category (565 companies) was 18.2%.

Breakdown of number and percentages of women executive officers in 2021

Breakdown of number and percentages of women executive officers in 2021

Trends since 2015

This sector’s positive story is also reflected in gains for women since 2015, both on boards and in the C-suite. The percentage of women directors at mid-year 2021 was up by 75% (35% versus 20% in 2015). The average number of women directors per board increased at roughly the same rate (3.71 at mid-year 2021 versus 2.06 per board in 2015). The percentage of women executives in the utilities and pipelines sector also doubled, according to Osler’s data (30% as of mid-year 2021 versus 15% in 2015) while the number of women executive officers per company increased at a more modest but still significant rate (5.08 versus 3.0).

Women executive officers in the utilities and pipelines sector

Women executive officers in the utilities and pipelines sector

Similar data compiled by the Canadian Board Diversity Council (CBDC) [PDF], focusing exclusively on FP500 companies, shows a slower rate of change — at least among large utilities, which the CBDC measures separately rather than combined with pipelines. In that group, the percentage of women on boards grew from 27.1% in 2015 to 30.1% in 2018. The change was even more gradual for female executive officers (which the CBDC only started tabulating in 2016), going from 23.2% to 24.3% in 2018.

Best practices and sector leaders

The CBDC’s annual report card points to a couple of sector-wide trends that might help explain the relatively high rates of diversity in utilities and pipelines. According to that report, the utilities sector ranks first in the percentage of boards (55.6%) that have diversity targets for the number of women directors and second for boards that have a written diversity policy (66.7%).

Osler’s research has highlighted a pair of individual companies that have shown leadership in these specific areas.

Inter Pipeline Ltd.

In 2019, the corporation developed a diversity strategy with respect to the construction and operation of its Heartland Petrochemical Complex and also partnered with Women Building Futures. In 2019, Inter Pipeline invested $580,000 to support Women Building Futures in raising awareness and providing pre-apprenticeship training to women in Alberta’s Heartland area.

Inter Pipeline describes various initiatives intended to support its diversity strategy and commitment to advancing women and other individuals of different backgrounds at all levels of the organization. These include a formal internal networking group, formal leadership programs and its support of and partnership with Women Building Futures, an organization offering training for women looking to enter the construction, maintenance, transportation and home building industries. In 2020, the company established a Council for Diversity & Inclusion and introduced a mandatory unconscious bias training program for all employees.

Emera Incorporated

To foster a more equal, diverse and inclusive environment, Emera annually analyzes pay equity, including (a) a wage gap analysis to track progress and identify challenges by affiliate, (b) the exercise of selective pay increases if wage disparity exists and (c) annual monitoring of the rates of women in leadership and senior leadership roles. As part of the company’s governance practices, a minimum of 30% of the board must be comprised of women — a target the organization has surpassed for many years. Currently, four of the directors on the 12-member board are women, including the chair.

Global comparison

Periodically, international consulting firm EY publishes a Women in Power and Utilities index that tracks diversity at the top 200 global utilities by revenue. Based on that data, women are under-represented in this sector in all regions around the world. But there are some significant differences.

The percentage of non-executive women directors on power and utility boards in North America (25%) and Europe (26%) is high, but those figures dwarf percentages in Latin America and the Caribbean (7%); Africa and the Middle East (11%) and Asia-Pacific (13%).

North American utilities have the highest percentage of women in senior management (22%) according to EY, followed by those in Europe (15%), Latin America and the Caribbean (13%), Africa (9%) and Asia-Pacific (9%).

The uneven progress between regions, and at a remaining handful of companies in Canada, is a target for further improvement. But in this sector, unlike some others, leaders and role models are close at hand.

Click here to read the original report on Osler’s website.