Powering the Future

Laura Pysyk
Laura Pysyk

Powering the Future: Laura Pysyk

ATCO is at the forefront of the energy industry’s transition. The company is actively adapting their energy portfolio to meet the demands of a new and sustainable future while maintaining safety, reliability, and affordability for their customers. With a strong focus on cleaner fuels, renewable energy, energy infrastructure and storage, and energy efficiency, ATCO is paving the way for a greener tomorrow.

In line with their commitment to energy transition, we recently chatted with Laura Pysyk, Senior Engineer, Hydrogen Projects, ATCO Gas & Pipelines, about the work Laura and her team have been doing in the hydrogen space. Keep reading to see how their efforts are shaping the way for a sustainable future.

What are some of the most exciting projects or initiatives you’ve been involved in within the hydrogen space at ATCO?

My team is working to decarbonize the natural gas grid in Alberta to align with Canada’s net-zero by 2050 goals.  Making impactful changes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for our customers is something that excites me every day!  

Our team has successfully transitioned 2,100 customers in Fort Saskatchewan to a 5 per cent hydrogen blended natural gas that will soon be increased to a 20 per cent hydrogen blend.  –Prior to this project we commissioned my Director and Vice President’s houses to run off of a temporary supply of hydrogen blended natural gas – effectively making their homes the first to receive these blend rates in North America! This allowed us to demonstrate to the public how safe and reliable a hydrogen blended natural gas fuel source can be, by using it on our own homes first. My team also commissioned the Edmonton Convention Centre to run off a 20 per cent hydrogen blended natural gas for the Canadian Hydrogen Convention this past spring – the first time the building had ever used hydrogen and the first conference in North America to be fueled by hydrogen.

Currently, we are working on commissioning North America’s first 100 per cent hydrogen building later this year, and a 100 per cent hydrogen home in 2024, along with a front-end engineering design for a 100% hydrogen community, a project to bring hydrogen blending to Edmonton, and the conversion of one of ATCO’s transmission assets to pure hydrogen. Our team is hard at work!

Laura Pysyk

What is your vision for the future of hydrogen and its potential impact on the power industry?

Hydrogen is the future.  For Canada to meet its net zero goals, especially in Alberta’s harsh climate, all energy sectors need to work collaboratively.  Coordinated efforts of gas and electric utilities will be required to maintain energy system resiliency and reliability, to reduce negative customer impacts, and to accelerate emission reductions.   The path to reach our climate targets, while maintaining a reliable, safe, and cost-effective energy system will include utilizing hydrogen, renewable natural gas, and green electricity to meet the energy needs of consumers.

What key milestones or experiences have shaped your professional development and career progression at ATCO?

Early on in my career, my supervisor told me it’s important to branch out of your comfort zone and try new things within the organization – this is something that I took to heart.  Although I have an engineering background and currently work in an engineering role, I spent a few years in the operational side of the business supervising a team of field employees. This was one of the greatest experiences of my career to date.  Not only was this group a ton of fun, but they also taught me so many important skills such as de-escalating situations with customers, how to hold each other accountable and, perhaps most importantly, how to build successful teams. I strive to apply these learnings every day.

I am a creative thinker and am known to apply out of the box solutions to everyday problems.  I will never forget talking to my manager and proposing to make his home the first in North America to run off a 20 per cent hydrogen blended natural gas. Giving me the flexibility and freedom to express and execute my ideas is not only important and impactful to me, but it also helped put ATCO on the map as a hydrogen leader.  

What message would you like to share with other women considering a career in engineering or in the hydrogen industry?

Go for it!  I would never be where I am today without my parents and support system constantly cheering me on.  Growing up, my parents told me if I worked hard nothing could stop me and those are words I live by every day.  Without that mantra instilled in me, there may have been times I would have chosen a different route along the way, but I am so happy with where I have ended up. 

Although as women, our paths may be more challenging than our counterparts, it makes our successes even sweeter.  I work alongside a powerhouse group of women who work to encourage and empower one another each day and I believe the diverse perspective we give our groups is a benefit to the organization. 

Watch the Replay: Pathways in Power — Discover How This Female Executive Navigated Her Career Journey in Alberta’s Power Industry

June 21 2023 event

Thank you for those who joined us on June 21 for this fascinating and enlightening conversation. And for those who missed it, you can watch the replay here! 

What does it take to make it to the upper echelons of executive roles in Alberta’s power industry?

Hard work, mentorship, ingenuity, grit, courage, community…

No two career journeys are the same, and there is much we can learn from this female executive who has made it to the top in her field.

Don’t miss this fascinating conversation with Nicole LeBlanc, Vice President, Markets, at the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO)  where Nicole will share her experiences and challenges and offer advice on how to successfully navigate your career path in the power industry.

“There is nothing like a concrete life plan to weigh you down. Because if you always have one eye on some future goal, you stop paying attention to the job at hand, miss opportunities that might arise, and stay fixedly on one path, even when a better, newer course might have opened up.” – Indra K. Nooyi    

Thank you to our event partner, AESO and AMP It Up!

Guest Speaker:

Nicole LeBlanc, Vice President, Markets at AESO

Nicole LeBlanc is Vice President, Markets for the Alberta Electric System Operator. She is responsible for leadership of the AESO’s market design and implementation, forecasting, market analytics, commercial procurement and the ISO Tariff.

Ms. LeBlanc has nearly 20 years of experience in the energy and electricity sectors. Through her career with the AESO she has been involved in forecasting, transmission planning, electricity market analysis and design, policy development, tariff design, regulatory and strategic business planning.

Since joining the AESO in 2006 she has played leadership roles in the development of scenario planning processes and the modelling and analytics foundations used within the AESO. She has contributed to numerous government policies, spearheaded market and tariff design files, and represented the AESO at regulatory proceedings in a forecasting, markets, tariff and transmission planning capacity. Her service to Alberta’s electricity sector was recently recognized by the Alberta government with the Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee Medal.  Nicole is committed to making the AESO a great place to work – she’s fostered many new leaders on their development journeys and championed AESO’s first employee resource group whose vision is to amplify women’s career at the AESO through the power of connection.

Prior to joining the AESO, Ms. LeBlanc worked as an economist at the Canadian Energy Research Institute (CERI), where she focused on economic research and analysis of Alberta’s oilsands sector for client-funded projects.

Ms. LeBlanc holds a Masters of Arts in Economics and a Bachelor of Science in Applied Mathematics, both from the University of Calgary.

When taking a break from the interesting challenges of decarbonizing Alberta’s electricity system Nicole enjoys time outdoors with her husband biking, hiking and skiing and going to music concerts with friends.

Thank You for Joining Us for our 2nd Annual Member-Only Networking Event at the Rooftop YYC

News June 15
Event June 7

Thank you for joining us at our 2nd Annual Women+Power networking event on June 7, and, a very special thank you to this year’s event sponsor Enfinite!


What a turn out we had with close to 100 Women+Power members coming together in celebration. We hope you had an amazing time. You can check out photos from the event here. 

Send us your pictures from the event, or tag us on LinkedInInstagram or Twitter!

If you joined us, please take 2 minutes to fill out this survey. 

Pathways in Power — Discover How This Female Executive Navigated Her Career Journey in Alberta’s Power Industry

June 21 2023 event

June 21 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm MDT

June 21 2023 Event

What does it take to make it to the upper echelons of executive roles in Alberta’s power industry?

Hard work, mentorship, ingenuity, grit, courage, community…

No two career journeys are the same, and there is much we can learn from this female executive who has made it to the top in her field.

Don’t miss this fascinating conversation with Nicole LeBlanc, Vice President, Markets, at the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO)  where Nicole will share her experiences and challenges and offer advice on how to successfully navigate your career path in the power industry.

Do you have a question Nicole? Please email your questions to: events@womenpower.ca by Friday, June 16 and we’ll do our best to have your questions answered.

“There is nothing like a concrete life plan to weigh you down. Because if you always have one eye on some future goal, you stop paying attention to the job at hand, miss opportunities that might arise, and stay fixedly on one path, even when a better, newer course might have opened up.” – Indra K. Nooyi    

Thank you to our event partner, AESO and AMP It Up!

Guest Speaker:

Nicole LeBlanc, Vice President, Markets at AESO

Nicole LeBlanc is Vice President, Markets for the Alberta Electric System Operator. She is responsible for leadership of the AESO’s market design and implementation, forecasting, market analytics, commercial procurement and the ISO Tariff.

Ms. LeBlanc has nearly 20 years of experience in the energy and electricity sectors. Through her career with the AESO she has been involved in forecasting, transmission planning, electricity market analysis and design, policy development, tariff design, regulatory and strategic business planning.

Since joining the AESO in 2006 she has played leadership roles in the development of scenario planning processes and the modelling and analytics foundations used within the AESO. She has contributed to numerous government policies, spearheaded market and tariff design files, and represented the AESO at regulatory proceedings in a forecasting, markets, tariff and transmission planning capacity. Her service to Alberta’s electricity sector was recently recognized by the Alberta government with the Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee Medal.  Nicole is committed to making the AESO a great place to work – she’s fostered many new leaders on their development journeys and championed AESO’s first employee resource group whose vision is to amplify women’s career at the AESO through the power of connection.

Prior to joining the AESO, Ms. LeBlanc worked as an economist at the Canadian Energy Research Institute (CERI), where she focused on economic research and analysis of Alberta’s oilsands sector for client-funded projects.

Ms. LeBlanc holds a Masters of Arts in Economics and a Bachelor of Science in Applied Mathematics, both from the University of Calgary.

When taking a break from the interesting challenges of decarbonizing Alberta’s electricity system Nicole enjoys time outdoors with her husband biking, hiking and skiing and going to music concerts with friends.

Free

Online

Register here

Georgina Newell

Georgina Newell
Georgina Newell

CIP Senior Manager and Manager, Operations Compliance, Document Control and Asset Information
TransAlta

“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.”

Michael Jordan

Georgina manages a team of multi-disciplinary professionals who oversee compliance risk, regulatory policy, growth projects, engineering and asset information management across TransAlta’s North America portfolio. She has spent 20 years of her career working in power distribution, generation, transmission and regulatory compliance. Currently, she chairs an industry group for the implementation of reliability standards and the associated best practices. Also, she sits on a sub-committee run by the Idaho National lab for the advancement of careers in Operational Technology.  She loves the people and the challenges of working in power generation. Georgina is passionate about helping women in the industry and would like to give back by providing utility knowledge to young women just starting out in their careers. Now is her chance to make an impact!

Sponsor Spotlight Series + Networking Reception presented by Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP

Diversity Disclosure Practices – Diversity and Leadership at Canadian Public Companies

This is an in-person, member-only event. Not a member of Women+Power yet? Join us today!

Agenda:
Presentation/Q&A: 4 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.
Networking & Refreshments: 4:45 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Register Here

Osler’s Paula Olexiuk and John Valley will use Osler’s eighth annual diversity disclosure report as a springboard to discuss key data points and developments relating to the representation of women on boards and in senior management positions of Canadian companies.

“After eight years, the change to board composition in Canada is now obvious and widespread as Canadian boards have surpassed several important diversity milestones on their journey to include more diverse perspectives in decision-making at senior levels within the organization. There is still much work to be done to achieve board and executive leadership that reflects the mosaic of Canada.”

– 2022 Diversity Disclosure Practices report, Osler

Osler’s report provides detailed disclosure on the representation of women in senior leadership positions at TSX-listed companies as well as the representation of women, members of visible minorities, Indigenous peoples and persons with disabilities at publicly-traded corporations governed by the Canada Business Corporations Act (CBCA). They also highlight disclosed best practices to improve diversity and inclusion and samples of excellence in disclosure.

A Q&A will follow the presentation and you will have the opportunity to ask questions that are relevant to the report methodology and findings, your industry, and your career. You are invited as a guest of Osler to join 75 of your fellow Women+Power members for a casual networking reception with food and refreshments.

Thank you to our Kilowatt Sponsor, Osler, for hosting this event.

Guest Speakers:

Paula Olexiuk | Partner, Energy & Construction at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP

Paula is a Partner in Osler’s Commercial Department specializing in energy and construction law and is Co-Chair of the firm’s Construction and Infrastructure practice group.

Paula’s practice focuses on the construction, development, acquisition and divestiture of energy and infrastructure projects in Canada and abroad, with a particular focus on renewable energy and energy transition projects. She has experience in oil, gas, oilsands, LNG, power and renewable energy transactions and project development and engineering, procurement and construction matters.

John M. Valley | Partner, Corporate and Chair of the ESG Practice at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP | 2022 Diversity Disclosure Practices report co-author

John practices corporate and securities law, with a particular emphasis on corporate governance (including ESG-related matters) and mergers and acquisitions.

He is the Chair of Osler’s ESG Practice, and a member of Osler’s cross-disciplinary Risk Management and Crisis Response practice. He regularly advises companies and boards of directors on a range of corporate governance and ESG-related matters, including with respect to directors’ duties, D&O indemnification and insurance, stakeholder disputes, climate-related disclosure, crisis response strategies and other governance matters. John is also a co-author of Osler’s 2022 Diversity Disclosure Practices – Diversity and Leadership at Canadian public companies.

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
AltaLink

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

Counsel
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
Dentons

Dentons is designed to be different. As the world’s largest global law firm with over 160 locations in more than 80 countries, Dentons helps its clients grow, protect, operate and finance their businesses. Dentons has a purpose-driven approach, a strong commitment to inclusion, diversity, equity and ESG, and challenges the status quo to stay focused on what matters most to its clients and community.

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.