Empowering Women and Gender-Diverse individuals  through Mid-Career Transitions

June 07, 2024

30 by 30Women in EngineeringDiversity Equity InclusionMental HealthNetworkingEngineers CanadaKeynoteAllyshipCareer Advancement

WES 2024 Attendees, help us improve our Annual Women in Engineering Summit!

WES 2024 - Checked!

Three successful summits took place on June 7, 2024 at 3 different locations:

    • Toronto: PEO Building
    • Edmonton: NAIT PIC
    • Online: Via Zoom
TICKET SALES ARE NOW CLOSED, BUT WE ARE STILL ACCEPTING DONATIONS AND SPONSORSHIPS

Our Sponsors in 2024

The WES Organization wishes to reiterate our heartfelt Thank You to those companies and individuals who are making WES 2024 possible, and who are supporting our scholarship program.

Message from our chairs

Why attend?

Are you struggling with:

  • Finding a job
  • Coping with change
  • Fighting bias and harassment
  • Being acknowledged and promoted
  • Motivating your team
  • Balancing work and personal life
  • Connecting with like-minded individuals


If you answered Yes, WES 2024  is for you!

  • Sell yourself confidently and effectively
  • Showcase both your technical prowess and people skills to stand out from the crowd
  • Cultivate the strength and empathy needed to lead successful, happy teams
  • Make informed decisions to propel your career forward
  • Network with like-minded individuals

Why Sponsor and Attend?

Are you struggling with:

  • Employees’ venting / chronic complaining?
  • The working parent problem?
  • Finding, hiring and retaining women?
  • Managing a diverse workforce?

If you answered Yes, WES 2024  is for you!

  • Meet 150+ leading women in engineering for a transformative event
  • Learn from expert speakers providing actionable solutions to industry challenges
  • Access to up-to-date research on successful inclusion initiatives
  • Gain insights from women proactively engaging with companies for mutual success
  • Elevate your organization’s impact and reputation as a promoter of EDI  in the engineering industry
Ammu Naduvath, , Co-Chair WES 2024

Ammu Naduvath, EIT

Chair WES 2024
See Bio

Anam Kazim, Co-Chair WES 2024

Anam Kazim, EIT

Co-Chair WES 2024
See Bio

Agenda WES 2024

Our agenda is different per location! download full agendas  here

Online program (MT)
07:45 am – 08:15 am: Registration & Networking
08:15 am – 08:30 am: Opening Remarks
08:30 am – 09:30 am: Keynote Presentation – Ari Copeland
09:30 am – 10:15 am: What are they saying behind your back? Take command of your personal brand as a caregiver – Kinia Romanowska
10:15 am – 10:45 am: Networking break | Stretching by Pride In Engineering (PIE)
10:45 am – 11:30 am: Rethinking your Thoughts – CMHA
11:30 am – 12:30 pm: Lunch break | Mental Wellbeing Activity by Tap It Better | Networking
12:30 pm – 01:45 pm: Panel Discussion 30 by 30 and Impact on EDI | Status and Actions
01:45 pm – 02:30 pm: Sponsors Virtual Lounge | Break
02:30 pm – 03:15 pm: Empathy in Action: Navigating Resilience and Diversity in Engineering – Sherry Lachine
03:15 pm – 04:00 pm: Career Sustainment, Develop SOAR stories to take control of your career – Clementine Crooks

 

Edmonton, in-person program (MT)
07:45 am – 08:15 am: Registration | Networking | Breakfast
08:15 am – 08:30 am: Opening Remarks
08:30 am – 09:30 am: Keynote Presentation – Ari Copeland
09:30 am – 10:15 am: Why being Smart Isn’t Enough? – Melanie Richmond
10:15 am – 10:45 am: Networking break
10:45 am – 11:30 am: Inclusive Workplaces: Revolutionizing Work-Life Effectiveness – Erin Davis
11:30 am – 12:30 pm: Lunch break | Stretching by Pride In Engineering (PIE)
12:30 pm – 01:45 pm: Panel Discussion 30 by 30 and Impact on EDI | Status and Actions
01:45 pm – 02:30 pm: Sponsors Lounge with snacks
02:30 pm – 03:15 pm: Engineering Career Transitions: Real Stories, Real Advice – Melanie Richmond
03:15 pm – 04:00 pm: How to Say NO to Advance in Your Career – Claudia Gomez-Villeneuve

04:00 pm – 04:30 pm: Farewell | Closing Remarks

Toronto, in-person program (ET)
08:30 am – 9:00 am: Registration | Networking | Breakfast
9:00 am – 9:15 am: Opening Remarks by MC and Welcome by Jennifer Quaglietta (CEO/Registrar PEO)
9:15 am – 10:15 am: Keynote Presentation – Stephanie Thompson
10:15 am – 11:00 am: Enhancing Career Satisfaction and Productivity Through Safer Workplaces – Heather Turnbull
11:00 am – 11:30 am: Sponsors Lounge
11:30 am – 12:30 pm: Lunch Break | Mental Wellbeing Activity by Tap It Better | Networking
12:30 pm – 01:45 pm: Panel Discussion 30 by 30 and Impact on EDI | Status and Actions
01:45 pm – 02:30 pm: Allyship: Maximizing your Leadership Capacity – Alvin Pilobello
02:30 pm – 03:15 pm: Trans and Non-Binary perspectives on the gender narrative in engineering – Michelle Liu and Allie Kennington
03:15 pm – 04:00 pm: Closing Remarks and Guided Networking – MC and Heather Turnbull

Are you passionate about driving change in the engineering landscape?

Calling Volunteers!

Why Volunteer with WES?

Shape the Future: Contribute to shaping an inclusive future for women and underrepresented groups in engineering.

Networking Opportunities: Connect with industry leaders, experts, and like-minded individuals.

Professional Growth: Gain hands-on experience, enhance your skills, and add a valuable achievement to your portfolio.

Exclusive Access: Enjoy behind-the-scenes access to summit events, workshops, and networking sessions.

Don’t Miss Your Chance:
Be at the heart of change and make this summit an unforgettable experience for all. We can’t wait to welcome you to our vibrant team!

8:30 am
9:30 am
MT
Edmonton

Ari Copeland

Ari Copeland, BS/MS (Civil and Environmental)

Ari Copeland is an Operations Specialist with Black & Veatch Corporation and has 18 years of experience in the Water and Wastewater Industry. He has a BS/MS in Civil/Environmental Engineering. Ari is a man of transgender and queer experience (transgender queer man) and was perceived as female for approximately a quarter of his career. Ari came out as trans to the world in 2011 and has spent the last 12 years or so years becoming the person he is today. Ari co created and founded Black & Veatch’s Pride Employee Resource Group and has done presentations to various engineering firms, large companies such as Veritas and Beiersdorf, about his experiences as a transperson in the workplace. Ari runs the wandering water bear website – www.thewanderingwaterbear.com that provides resources to assist anyone to be more inclusive.
Embracing Change and Identity: One Journey of Career and Personal Transition

This keynote delves into the personal journey of Ari Copeland, a transgender individual, as they navigate the complex terrain of gender identity and career transitions. Ari is a transman and started working in the engineering field being perceived as a woman. Ari transitioned at work as well as made a career transition from a traditional engineering role to an operations-focused role. Copeland’s experience offers insights into the challenges, triumphs, and transformations encountered along the path to self-discovery and authenticity. Through introspection and societal interactions, Copeland grapples with societal norms, familial acceptance, and personal growth. Their narrative highlights the importance of self-acceptance, resilience, and community support in the process of embracing one’s true identity. Copeland’s story serves as a testament to the diversity and richness of transgender experiences, offering hope and inspiration to others embarking on similar journeys of self-realization or making a career transition.
9:15 am
10:15 am
ET
Toronto

Stephanie Thompson, Founder STEM by Steph

Stephanie Thompson is a passionate engineer and community leader who actively pursues new and innovative ways of promoting science, technology and learning in the Niagara area.
With an extensive 22-year professional career at General Motors of Canada, Stephanie leads diverse manufacturing engineering teams to launch world class production lines for engine and transmissions, while managing capital investment projects for future programs. With more than 15 years invested in volunteering for FIRST Robotics, as well as participating for GM’s STEM funding team, she draws energy from supporting grassroots programs in STEM, particularly for women in her community.
In 2018, Stephanie launched her social enterprise, STEM by Steph.  These innovative projects break down barriers by making STEM subjects accessible to all women. Since its inception, Stephanie has run 15 STEM workshops for hundreds of women both virtually and in-person.
In 2023 as a 4-time Award winner, Stephanie was inaugurated into the Women’s Executive Network’s Hall of Fame as one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women.  She was the winner of the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce Business Award for Science and Technology, and received from her alma matter, University of Waterloo, the Alumni Achievement Medal for Community Service. In 2024, Stephanie was the recipient of the Women Make Leadership Award for her role in manufacturing at GM and was honoured in Washington, D.C. Stephanie holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Chemical Engineering, a Certificate of Professional Management from Brock University, and is a Professional Engineer in Ontario.  In 2021, Stephanie joined Brock University’s Board of Trustees and is a board member for Innovate Niagara.
She and her husband are raising their daughter to love STEM by exploring the unique eco-systems of Niagara.
Breaking Barriers: Navigating Success in Male-Dominated Industries

This 60-minute keynote is focused on supporting women engineers, addressing challenges in male-dominated fields, and providing insights into leadership, mentorship, career development, and technical skills.
Key Takeaways: Participants will recognize their power to thrive and lead in traditionally male-dominated fields. Participants gain insights into effective leadership strategies, the importance of mentorship, practical career development advice, and the enhancement of technical skills. The keynote encourages women to foster a sense of empowerment and confidence in their professional journey.
9:30 am
10:15 am
MT
Online

Kinia Romanowska (Moderator)

Kinia Romanowska, BA, MA, is a well-traveled award-winning journalist turned entrepreneur, maternity leave strategist, and working parent whisperer. A wife and mom of three passionate about making sure the next generation doesn’t experience the “Motherhood Penalty,” she is the founder and CEO of Pros&Babes and creator of the MoMBA (Mom MBA), the pioneering 360-leadership and personal development program for the busy, ambitious mom in Canada. She is the host of the “Engineer Your Success, Leadership, and Life Harmony #likeamother” podcast.”
When founding Pros&Babes in 2017, she was one of the first thought leaders in Canada to bring national awareness to the gap in resources for managing maternity leave transitions, and leveraging this period of life for career growth. Individuals can now access corporate and grant funding for their MoMBA tuition.
Kinia helps highly educated moms who have careers in male-dominated, demanding, STEM, or competitive fields redefine their career-minded mom identity, design a strategic personal brand and back-to-work/career plan after kids, create work-life balance, and up level their working mom mindset so that they have more time for themselves and their family – all while getting that next promotion. Kinia and her team also support participants’ employers.
Knowing and Demonstrating your VALUE in the Demanding Corporate World, While Being a Caregiver for a Relative | Panel Discussion
9:30 am
10:15 am
MT
Edmonton

Melanie Richmond, P.Eng.

Meet Melanie Richmond, P.Eng, Senior Consultant at Einblau & Associates, living by the mantra, “You don’t live once, you live every day.” With over a decade of diverse experience in water engineering, team lead and project management, Melanie has navigated the challenges of working with high profile projects and high performing teams.
Melanie’s contribution stronghold lies in getting clients “unstuck.” Inspired, creative, and solutions-focused, she connects meaningfully with leaders, creating “go for it” confidence within their teams. Her dedication to transforming professional visions into reality is at the core of the passion she brings to Einblau. With a BASc in Civil-Environmental Engineering, Melanie bridges the gap between corporate levels with over 10 years in construction, consulting, and entrepreneurship. She is a results-driven strategic business guide, navigating the path for clients to reach new heights in their career journey.
In her role, Melanie brings a unique perspective to leadership development consulting, rooted in her success as a water engineer and team leader. Committed to empowering technical professionals, she guides individuals within the technical landscape to develop the acumen needed for inspiring and fostering successful teams. Join Melanie on a transformative journey where her engineering background and holistic approach converge, creating a powerful force for success in leadership development within today’s dynamic workforce landscape. Beyond her professional background, Melanie is a restaurant-lover, outdoor adventurer, mom, wife, and a mindfulness certified yoga instructor—collaborating with her elevates overall well-being.
Melanie’s motivational style revolves around performance—setting and taking action to reach goals. Progressive and innovative, she is always alert to opportunities, striving for the best experiences, and fearlessly embracing challenges. Join Melanie on this journey, where technical expertise meets leadership excellence, and each day is an opportunity to make an impact.
Why being smart isn’t enough?

While intelligence secured your engineering marks and degree, the same smarts may not suffice for leadership success in your leadership journey. Technical skills, once the ladder to success, don’t inherently equip you for inspiring, guiding, and motivating teams. Enter Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and Relationship Intelligence (RQ) — crucial for effective leadership. This presentation addresses the pivotal shift from technical roles to leadership responsibilities. It emphasizes managing emotions, understanding motivational styles, influencing others, and fostering positive work environments. Discover the distinction between “Rising Stars” and “Falling Stars,” the value of “Street Smarts” versus “School Smarts,” and key traits of highly successful leaders. We’ll explore the essential role of EQ and RQ in effective leadership, providing practical guidance on developing these important “interpersonal” intelligence competencies. If you aspire to evolve from a technical role to a manager and leader, join us for insights into the nuances of career success in engineering. It’s time to deepen your understanding beyond technical expertise and embark on a rewarding leadership journey.
10:15 am
11:00 am
ET
Toronto

Heather Turnbull

Heather Turnbull is an award-winning learning and development professional with 20+ years’ experience in designing and delivering real world curriculum that optimizes individual, team and organizational growth. Her work facilitating career and membership engagement programming for professional bodies includes engineering, especially assisting Internationally Educated Professionals (IEPs) overcome barriers in accessing the Canadian labour market. Heather’s approach and philosophy draw upon the discipline of the martial arts: she is a world champion gold medalist and 6th degree Black Belt Martial Artist (Renshi). In addition to designing and facilitating personal safety and Empowerment Self-Defense (ESD) programs for community organizations, Heather advocates on behalf of marginalized and at-risk persons, especially women and girls, impacted by violence and trauma.
Enhancing Career Satisfaction and Productivity Through Safer Workplaces

As more and more women pursue educational and career opportunities within engineering and bioscience, coincidentally many report experiencing workplace harassment ranging from psychological bullying to outright physical assault and gender discrimination (APEGA White Paper, 2021, and others). Increasingly, Canadian employers are competing for talent, and a key differentiator for job seekers is the assurance of a healthy work environment. Moreover, how do organizations effectively retain female engineers when they struggle to offer cultures that are consistently welcoming, inclusive, and safe? Join Heather Turnbull, Country Manager for PAVE Prevention, an emerging international provider of human safety skills, for an interactive session designed to help participants:
• Gain insights into healthy workplace culture
• Set boundaries and manage responses to conflict
• Build ‘on the job’ personal resilience skills
Conference attendees will have opportunity to participate in PAVE’s proprietary Employee Experience Survey (“EES”), offering a comprehensive approach to measuring workplace aggression, risk factors, and preventative measures.
10:45 am
11:30 am
MT
Online

Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA)

CANADIAN MENTAL HEALTH ASSOCIATION, Advocate WES 2025
With 330 community locations, CMHA is a nationwide organization that promotes mental health and supports people recovering from mental illness.
What’s more important, thinking or feeling? Both! Audience will learn to: 1) develop an understanding of the mutual and reciprocal relationship between thoughts, emotions, physical responses, and behaviours; 2) learn skills to identify, track, and challenge unhelpful thoughts; 3) gain knowledge on how to create individual routines that facilitate positive behavioural activation, wellness, and personal recovery; 4) work to deal with our thoughts and emotions in a healthier, more balanced way.
10:45 am
11:30 am
MT
Edmonton

Erin Davis

Erin Davis is an award-winning expert dedicated to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the workplace. With a passion for fostering inclusive cultures, she has played a pivotal role in driving impactful change across organizations. Erin’s expertise lies in designing and implementing tailored diversity and inclusion strategies. As the founder of Erin Davis Co., she helps leaders create inclusive workplaces that unlock creativity and enhance innovation. Erin’s ability to inspire, educate, and advocate for inclusive practices has made her a respected thought leader. She actively contributes to the diversity and inclusion community through speaking engagements and involvement in committees like the 1,000 Women Advisory Committee, Pride at Work Canada Thought Leadership Committee, and Women in APEGA Advisory Group. Based in Edmonton, she resides in Treaty 6 Territory, Region 4 of the Metis Nation of Alberta, teaching her children about the importance of inclusion in the world.
Inclusive Workplaces: Revolutionizing Work-Life Effectiveness

Explore the future of workplace dynamics in this session as we dive into the topic of work-life effectiveness. Discover how organizations are reshaping traditional boundaries by redefining how, where, and when work is accomplished. Learn about the strategies employed by forward-thinking organizations as they transcend the view of flexibility as a mere accommodation, embracing it as a cultural cornerstone. In addition, we will go beyond policies, providing valuable insights and actionable steps for organizations at any stage of considering or implementing these transformative changes.
1:45 pm
2:30 pm
ET
Toronto

Alvin Pilobello

Alvin Pilobello is a former water engineer turned Leadership Development Facilitator & Coach with projects across Canada and the US. Alvin believes in the power of developing crucial conversation skills to help people thrive in cross-functional, collaborative teams, so that they unlock the innovative capacity of their teams, and nurture the person behind each professional.
Alvin has worked closely with Manulife Financial’s DE&I ERGs in Canada (John Hancock in the USA), facilitating a workshop series on using crucial conversations for collaborative allyship. Similarly, Alvin has worked with the Executive team of Microsoft Canada’s Global Partner Solutions, in order to integrate allyship communication skills into their business operations.
Most recently, Alvin leads the design and delivery of a 6-month executive education program at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment, called the Water Innovation & Leadership Development (WILD) Program.
Allyship: Maximizing Your Leadership Capacity

Allyship requires an active, responsive stance, when doing our best to support those who are traditionally marginalized and experience harm, or receive limited opportunities in the workplace, due to their social identities.
This workshop aims to strengthen and expand our leadership capacity. As allies, our leadership capacity, i.e. our ability to be responsive and effective in an allyship moment, is dependent on our ability to prioritize consistent and effective allyship behaviours over our own discomfort.
Understanding what makes us stop listening, shut down and freeze in the moment, or be defensive is the first step to integrating better habits that help us be more effective allies, than cause more harm. Through practical self-management tools and coaching skills, participants will learn how to regulate their own discomfort in creative ways, and develop higher emotional resiliency to be a responsive ally in the moment.
While this workshop speaks from the viewpoint of an ally, this session will be relevant to anyone who has any interest in leading, guiding and growing others.
2:30 pm
3:15 pm
MT
Online

Sherry Lachine, B.Eng

Sherry started Broadmind Inc because she wanted to bring the tools to improve mental wellbeing to others in an engaging way. She has over 25 years of experience working in Mental Health, engineering and business. She has educated over 3000 people Canada-wide on mental health topics, stress, anxiety, depression, suicide intervention, trauma and workplace psychological safety. Sherry is passionate about connecting people with the material and each other, and donates her time to the Kingston Community Health Centre as a volunteer. Sherry also has an MSc in Applied Psychology, lives in Kingston, Ontario has 2 adult children, one adult husband and a small dog with a huge personality.
Empathy in Action: Navigating Resilience and Diversity in Engineering

In the dynamic landscape of engineering, fostering resilience and empathy becomes paramount, especially for women hailing from diverse backgrounds. This presentation delves into the intersection of resilience, empathy, and the experiences of women in engineering, highlighting the indispensable role of compassion and a feelings perspective shift in building a robust, inclusive community.
The session aims to explore the challenges faced by women in engineering and how resilience serves as a powerful tool for overcoming these obstacles. Furthermore, the presentation will navigate the transformative power of compassion and the shift in perspective that it brings. It will underline the significance of recognizing and embracing emotions in the engineering workplace, fostering a supportive environment that values the individual and collective well-being of its members.
The audience will be guided through practical strategies and tools to cultivate resilience, not only for personal growth but also to extend a helping hand to others. We will explore how empathy and compassion can be integrated into professional settings to create a more inclusive and supportive atmosphere. The session will equip attendees with actionable insights on how to navigate challenges, build resilience, and contribute to the success and well-being of themselves and their colleagues.
Join us in this insightful presentation, as we embark on a journey of understanding, empowerment, and collaboration, aiming to shape a more resilient and empathetic future for women in engineering, irrespective of their diverse backgrounds.
2:30 pm
3:15 pm
MT
Edmonton

Melanie Richmond (Moderator)

Engineering Career Transitions: Real Stories, Real Advice | Panel Discussion

Embark on an exploration of career transitions in engineering, going beyond the ordinary narratives. This isn’t just about returning to engineering or returning from parental leave; we’re diving into transitions within the field itself—switching roles, exploring new fields, and climbing the professional ladder.
Join our panelists & facilitator, Melanie Richmond, as we share personal experiences, uncovering successful strategies that eased transitions and candidly discussing mistakes made along the way. This storytelling session is a must-attend for engineers navigating shifts, currently in transition, or contemplating change.
Expect practical insights and advice from those who have overcome challenges. It’s more than a discussion; it’s a chance for us to connect, share, and learn together. Join us for an engaging session that cuts through traditional career narratives, offering valuable lessons for engineers at every stage of their unique professional journeys.
2:30 pm
3:15 pm
ET
Toronto

Michelle Liu, P.Eng, with Allie Kennington, EIT

Allie Kennington (they/them) is an environmental engineer-in-training at AtkinsRéalis (formerly SNC-Lavalin) in Ottawa. They specialize in hydrogeology, site assessment and remediation, and environmental regulation and compliance. Allie earned their BASc in Geological Engineering from the University of Waterloo and is currently pursuing a Master of Applied Science in Civil Engineering at the same institution. Their research focuses on enhancing the inclussion of diverse and marginalized users through the empathetic engineering design process.

Michelle Liu (they/them) is an Ottawa-based, Queer, racialized, neurodivergent, and non-binary engineer (P.Eng), soon-to-be lawyer, speaker, consultant, and researcher. Michelle earned their Honours BASc and MASc in civil engineering from the University of Waterloo and worked in design and construction management for various consulting engineering firms. Michelle’s encounters with racist, homophobic, ableist, and gender-based violence in engineering empowered them to pursue their law degree (JD ’23) and engineering PhD simultaneously at the University of Ottawa. The objectives of Michelle’s award-winning (Vanier & Trudeau) PhD project include to position engineering as a discipline capable of contributing to social justice. Michelle’s short-term goal is to become a professor of both law and engineering and to run a law practice advocating for equity-seeking people who experience discrimination in STEM workplaces. Across their research, leadership, and community service, Michelle’s focus is on using their lived experiences and subject matter expertise to contribute to social justice. Michelle has delivered over 160 keynotes, talks, workshops, and panel discussions at the intersection of EDI and STEM in the last decade. Michelle’s service work in both the engineering and legal communities includes serving as a Councillor (board member) of Professional Engineers Ontario, Co-Chair of the EDIA Task Force of the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers, and member of the Equity Advisory Group of the Law Society of Ontario. Michelle also co-created and co-funds the Liu-Kennington Award for the 2SLGBTQ+ Engineering Community, the first university-level scholarship for 2SLGBTQ+ engineering students in Canada. In 2022, Michelle became the first openly Queer and non-binary person to be elected to the board of the Ontario regulator of engineers in the organization’s 101-year history. Michelle is the recipient of over 20 awards from various institutions for their leadership, advocacy, and community service.
Trans and Non-Binary Perspectives on the Gender Narrative in Engineering

Join Michelle Liu, P.Eng, JD, MASc (they/them) and Allie Kennington, BASc (they/them) as they leverage Trans and Non-Binary perspectives to critically examine normative concepts of gender, sexuality, and overlapping systems of oppression, such as race, class, and ability in engineering. This approach will draw attention to the frequent exclusion of Transgender and Gender Nonconforming (TGNC) identities in conversations on gender in engineering. The rise in anti-2SLGBTQ+ hate in Canada, including in professional education and practice, underscores the urgent relevance of this discussion.
3:15 pm
4:00 pm
MT
Online

Clementine Crooks, CPHR

Clementine Crooks has her master’s degree in leadership and is CPHR certified. For almost 20 years, Clementine has worked with hundreds of organizations across Canada to improve efficiencies and maximize profitability by developing their people processes. With a specialized expertise in providing career transition support, Clementine and the highly qualified team at Resume Restoration have supported over 2000 professionals enhance their chances of getting hired.
Career Sustainment: Developing SOAR stories to take control of your career

Join Clementine Crooks, MA, BA, CPHR as we explore the essentials of career sustainment and the crucial role of self-promotion in today’s competitive job market. This presentation will uncover key opportunities to infuse your professional journey with an accomplishments-based narrative, from refining your resume to excelling in interviews and performance evaluations. Discover how to implement a structured SOAR approach to effectively showcase your achievements and skills, and ultimately utilize this strategy to advance your career. Don’t miss this opportunity to take control of your career trajectory and position yourself for lasting success.
Objectives:
– Explore the evolving professional landscape and the increasing importance of self-promotion and differentiation in today’s competitive job market
– Identify key opportunities to integrate an accomplishments-based narrative into various aspects of professional advancement, including resume crafting, interview preparation, and performance evaluations
– Implement a structured SOAR approach to effectively incorporate these narratives, leveraging specific experiences and accomplishments to articulate your value proposition
– Provide additional strategies and actionable insights for career sustainment
3:15 pm
4:00 pm
MT
Edmonton

Claudia Gomez-Villeneuve, P.Eng

Claudia Gomez-Villeneuve is a professional engineer, university professor, diversity champion, and new fellow of Engineers Canada. Before switching to academia, she managed petroleum pipeline projects for over 15 years eventually becoming supervisor. Today, Claudia works in various universities teaching engineering, leadership, and project management in both English and Spanish.
In 2019 she shared the APEGA Summit Award, as a Champion for Women in Engineering and Geoscience, with the CCWESTT 2018 Steering Committee. And in 2022 Claudia was named “Individual Leader of the 30 by 30 Initiative” by Engineers Canada which was announced at their annual 30 by 30 Conference.
She is also the Founder, Principal, and two-time Chair of WES, Women in Engineering Summit Ltd, a non-profit organization whose mission is to support the 30 by 30 Initiative by Engineers Canada by sharing practical solutions to keeping women happy in engineering and geoscience jobs for life. Claudia lives in Edmonton, AB, with her husband and their three children.
How to say NO to Advance in your Career

While attending SWE 2023, the Society of Women in Engineering 2023 conference in Los Angeles last October, the world’s largest gathering of women in engineering and technology, a topic surfaced as a common theme in at least three (3) of the sessions I attended:
“How to say NO to Advance in your Career”
It makes sense. Women typically say “yes” to a lot of things, even if it keeps them in non-technical jobs, over-worked, and under-paid. Since the 30-by-30 initiative by Engineers Canada is tracking that at least 30% of women earn their P.Eng. or P.Geo. designation by 2030, it is important to learn how to say “no” to non-technical jobs and/or to under-appreciated EDI – equity, diversity and inclusion – roles without P.Eng/P.Geo protection. In other words, learn to say “yes” to a P.Eng.
In this informative session, you will learn that: (1) the word “NO” is a phrase that is grammatically correct, (2) there are many traps to avoid when earning your P.Eng/P.Geo designation, and (3) saying “YES” is a valuable tool that must be carefully managed in your career.
3:15 pm
4:00 pm
ET
Toronto

Heather Turnbull (Moderator)

Guided Networking
All Day
Online, Edmonton

Pride in Engineering (PIE)

Pride in Engineering, partner WES 2024
Our mission is to inspire, support, and connect 2SLGBTQIA+ professionals in engineering. We are hosting our inaugural PIE Conference in Fall 2024. At this conference, we seek to foster empowerment within the 2SLGBTQIA+ community while concurrently providing valuable insights for industry allies.
Our objective is to have a Wellness Centre for attendees that combines easy-on-the-tummy snacks, safety and privacy, health and wellness, soft music, comfortable seating and printed material about PIE and its offerings.
11:30 am
12:30 pm
Local time
Toronto, Online

Yolanda Saez-Castello MSc

Yolanda Saez-Castello MSc
• Yolanda is renowned for helping women smash through their limitations to achieve what they have set their heart on and live the life they deserve. • She is an ex-Fortune 500 banker and London Business School Masters of Science who pivoted into looking after professional women’s mental wellbeing in 2014. • Yolanda has pioneered a unique combination of Mindset Coaching and Advanced Tapping techniques, which she has introduced successfully in schools and corporate boardrooms alike, while helping thousands of private clients as well. • Her referral partners include the foremost psychiatric clinics in Europe. • Yolanda is committed to women empowerment; she has worked for years with Women in Finance and Women in STEM and is a board director and treasurer of Board Apprentice.
A chance to experience a proven approach to relieve stress, anxiety, self-doubt, overwhelm and much more. Learn the tapping tool in this brief session and it will be yours forever.

Don’t miss out our events in preparation to The Women in Engineering Summit 2024 below:

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WES 2024 Line of Speakers coming soon!

WES 2024 Program

See our amazing line of Speakers!

30 by 30 and Impact on EDIB Expert Panel Discussion

Equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging (EDIB) experiences vary by individuals, groups, and companies, and are often influenced by culture, personal experiences, and collective efforts to listen, understand, and create safe spaces.

To help break barriers to equity and inclusion, Engineers Canada adopted the 30 by 30 initiative to raise the percentage of newly licensed engineers who identify as women to 30 per cent by the year 2030.

Achieving 30% is seen as a tipping point for sustainable change, making the engineering profession more inclusive and welcoming.

We have different panelists for Toronto and Edmonton & Online sessions!

Click on the names of each of our panelist to take a look at their bios.

Our Panelists in Toronto

Kim Jones, panelist WES 2024 - Toronto

Kim Jones

ACADEMIA

Michelle Liu, panelist WES 2024 - Toronto

Michelle Liu

NON-PROFIT / ADVOCACY

Anam Kazim, co-chair WES 2024, Toronto

Anam Kazim

MODERATOR

Our Panelists in Edmonton & Online

Sheliza Kassam, panelist WES 2024 - Edmonton

Sheliza Kassam

YOUNG PROFESSIONAL

Adam Pecush, panelist WES 2024 - Edmonton

Adam Pecush

MALE ALLY

Estefania Gonzalez, panelist WES 2024 - Edmonton

Estefania Gonzalez

INDUSTRY & WOMEN IN ENGINEERING ADVOCACY

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Ammu Naduvath, EIT

Ammu Naduvath, , Co-Chair WES 2024
Ammu Naduvath is a dynamic professional making significant strides in the field of engineering. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Petroleum Engineering from the University of Alberta in May 2023, demonstrating her commitment to excellence and dedication to her field from the outset.
 
Currently, Ammu is leveraging her academic prowess and practical skills as a Production Engineer Trainee with Schlumberger (SLB), a global leader in  the energy industry. 
 
Ammu’s passion for engineering extends beyond her professional endeavors. She has actively engaged with the Women in Engineering Summit (WES), demonstrating her commitment to empowering women in STEM fields. Through her volunteer work with WES, she has played a pivotal role in sponsorship and administration, embodying the values of leadership, mentorship, and advocacy for gender equality in engineering.
 
Ammu journey exemplifies resilience, determination, and a relentless pursuit of excellence in the engineering domain. Her dedication to driving positive change and breaking barriers for women in STEM serves as an inspiration to aspiring engineers everywhere.

Anam Kazim, EIT

Anam Kazim, Co-Chair WES 2024

Anam Kazim is a former Alberta legislator and current board member of the Alberta Association of Former Members of the Legislative Assembly. She chairs the Standing Committee on Member Contributions and Benefits and is a Facilitator and Coach at the Institute for Change Leaders, empowering individuals for systemic change. Anam holds degrees in Chemical and Biochemical/Environmental Engineering and is an Engineer-In-Training with APEGA, showcasing her technical expertise and commitment to professional development. Recognized with the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal, she exemplifies dedication to public service and leadership.

Anam shares her journey as an immigrant woman in the bestselling anthology “Landed: Transformative Stories of Canadian Immigrant Women,” where she highlights her experiences, challenges, and achievements in Canada. Her advocacy for inclusivity, diversity, and intercultural understanding is evident through her work and storytelling, aiming to inspire and empower immigrant women to overcome obstacles and achieve their goals. With extensive experience in diplomacy, business development, Six Sigma, Lean Management, and Conflict Resolution, Anam brings a wealth of knowledge and skills to any organization. Her multifaceted background and passion for making a difference make her an invaluable asset in promoting positive change and fostering a more inclusive society.

Representing Academia

Kim Jones, panelist WES 2024 - Toronto

Kim Jones

Dr. Kim Jones is the Chair of the Ontario Network of Women in Engineering (ONWiE), which drives and coordinates province-wide efforts to recruit a diverse population into the study of engineering.

She is an associate professor of Chemical Engineering at McMaster University, where she has done research into the body’s response to  implanted biomaterials and now investigates issues of inclusion in engineering.

She has served as the Engineering Leadership Fellow (focusing on inclusion), the Chair of the Women in Engineering Committe, Associate Chair (Undergraduate) of Chemical Engineering, the Hamilton-Halton Engineer of the Year, a YWCA Woman of Distinction and is an Engineers Canada 30×30 Champion.

She has been a feminist since birth and enthusiastically drives outreach, equity and inclusion efforts.


Kim Jones
Chair of the Ontario Network of Women in Engineering (ONWiE)
Associate Professor Chem. Eng. at McMaster University

Representing Federal Regulator - Engineers Canada & Provincial Regulator - Professional Engineers Ontario

Jeanette Southwood, panelist WES 2024 - Toronto

Jeanette M. Southwood

Jeanette is the VP of Corporate Affaris and Strategic Partnerships at Engineers Canada, overseeing the licensure of over 300,000 engineers. Previously, she led the Canadian Urban Development & Infrastructure Sector and Global Sustainable Cities teams at an international consulting firm, becoming the first Black woman globally appointed as Principal. She is a fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering, recognized for exemplary contributions.

Her accolateds include Honorary Doctorate, Ontario Professional Engineers Awards’ Enginering Excellence and Citizenship Medals, and as the Governor General’s Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers. She has been inducted into Professional Engineers Ontario’s Order of Honour and the University of Toronto Engineering Hall of Distinction and named twice to WXN Canada’s Top 100.

Appointed Honorary Captain of the Royal Canadian Navy, Jeanette was featured in the Royal Canadian Mint’s campaign for the coin honoring Canada’s first practicing woman engineer. She serves on the Electrical Safety Authority Board and TD Insurance’s Climate Change Advisory Board. Jeanette co-authored works on infrastructury vulnerability to climate change and was named one of Canada’s Clean50 for sustainable development.


Jeanette M. Southwood, FCAE, FEC, LL.D. (Honoris Causa), P.Eng, intPE (she/her/elle)

Vice President, Corporate Affairs and Strategic Partnerships Engineers Canada

Representing Industry & Women Engineers Advocacy

Janelle Somerville, panelist WES 2024 - Toronto

Janelle Somerville

Jane is a Program Manager with a control system and software engineering background. She has worked on improving automation for a variety of manufacturaing operations from automotive production to airport improvement. In her role she combines her interests in problem solving and connecting people.

She is passionate about women succeding in engineering, science, and leadership roles, wich motivates her to try and reshape the field through work with a variety of age groups. As a student, she never felt there was a space for her within engineering, driving her to try and show what the title of engineer can be held by a variety of people.

She is the President of the Society of Women Engineers Toronto, the Co-Lead of Alliances at NextUp Toronto, and volunteers as a mentor for university students at multiple institutions in Canada. Through her work she aims to support women in her field and thelp them to feel succesful in their careers.


Janelle Somerville, P.Eng.
Project Manager at Brock Solutions
President of Society of Women Engineers (SWE) Toronto

Representing Non-profit / Advocacy

Michelle Liu, panelist WES 2024 - Toronto

Michelle Liu

Michelle Liu (they/them) is an Ottawa-based, Queer, reacialized, neurodivergent, and non-binary engineer (P.Eng) and soon-to-be lawyer. They hold Honours BASc and MASc degrees in civil engineering from the University of Waterloo. Discrimination in engineering inspired Michelle to pursue a JD and PhD at the University of Ottawa, focusing on the intersection of technology and engineering nomrs like masculinity and meritocracy. Their research is supported by prestigious scholarships and aims to position enginering as a social justice discipline.

Michelle aspires to become a professor of law and engineering and run a law practice advocating for equity in STEM. Their service include roles with Professional  Engineers Ontario, the Ontario Network for Women in Engineering and the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers. They co-created and fund the Liu-Kennington Award, the first Canadian university-level scholarship for 2SLGBTQ+ engineering students.

Michelle has received over 20 awards for leadership and community service and delivered more than 160 presentations on EDI and STEM. Their work spans from theoretical frameworks to practical policy solutions, leveraging their lived experiences to advance social justice.


Michelle Liu, P.Eng., JD, MASc, LEED-GA (they/them)
Building Engineering | Graphic Design | IT Support | Speaking | Equiality & Human Rigths Advocacy

Representing Male Ally

Alvin Piobello, panelist WES 2024 - Toronto

Alvin Pilobello

Alvin Pilobello is a former water engineer turned Leadership Development Facilitator & Coach with projects across Canada and the U.S. Alvin believes in the power of developing crucial conversations skills to help people thrive in cross-functional, collaborative teams, so that they unlock the innovative capacity of their teams, and nurture the preson behind each professional.

Alvin has worked closely with Manulife Financial’s DEI & ERGs in Canada (John Hancock in the USA), facilitating a workshop series on using crucial conversations for colaborative allyship. Similarly, Alvin has worked with the Executive team of Microsoft Canada’s Global Partner Solutions, in order to integrate allyship communication skills into their business operations.

Most recently, Alvin leads the design and delivery of a 6-month executive education program at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment, called the Water Innovation & Leadership Development (WILD) Program.


Alvin Pilobello
Founder, Leadership Development Facilitator & Coach, mindspaceIMPACT
B.Chem. Eng. 2009, McMaster University

Representing Academia

Alexandra Trovato, panelist WES 2024 - Edmonton

Alexandra Trovato

Alexandra (Alex) Trovato is a dedicated structural engineer with over 15 years of experience. Currently, she serves as the Associate Dean (Interim) of the School of Skilled Trades at NAIT.

Alex brings a wealth of knowledge in structural engineering, construction, and biomechanics, and she is passionate about mentoring others. Known for her hands-on approach and strong industry connections, Alex focuses on practical strategies that benefit both students and academic programs.

She’s a lifelong learner who enjoys contributing to the field through innovation and collaboration. Alex holds a Ph.D. and M.Eng. in Structural Engineering from the University of Alberta and is a registered professional engineer with APEGA.

Alexandra Trovato, P.Eng.

Structural Engineering Instructor with NAIT

Representing Young Engineer & Social Change Advocate

Sheliza Kassam, panelist WES 2024 - Edmonton

Sheliza Kassam

Sheliza Kassam is an Operations Engineer at Pembina’s Oil Sands Business Unit. She is passionate about the Oil & Gas value chain, and has extensive experience in downstream, upstream and midstream sectors.

As an engineer, Sheliza is dedicated to driving innovation and positive change within the energy industry and the community.

At age 15, she founded the charitable organization Children’s Birthday Miracles (CBM), which supports children diagnozed with cancer and less fortunate families in Canada and abroad. With generous support from companies like Coca-Cola, McDonald’s Canada, and Google, CBM has raised over $350,000.

Sheliza also committed to the 30 by 30 target set by Engineers Canada, actively serving on the boards of Calgary Women in Energy and the University of Calgary’s Engineering Endowment Fund.

Her achievement have earned her recognition as one of Canada’s top 20 Under 20, a L’Óreal Paris Women of Worth National Honoree, and most recently, a recipient of the Young Women in Energy Award.


Sheliza Kassam
Oil Sands Operations Engineer at Pembina

Representing Industry

Roxanne Richardson, panelist WES 2024 - Edmonton

Roxanne Richardson

Roxanne Richardson, a Senior Principal at Stantec Consulting Ltd., serves as the Management and Technology Services Lead for the Water Group in Western Canada, based in Edmonton, AB.

With 22 years of dedicated service in the water industry, Roxanne’s journey spans from her beginnings as an electrical engineer to her current roles as a Project Manager, Account Manager, and Technology Leader. Her expertise encompasses a spectrum of disciplines, from control system integration to electrical, control systems, and instrumentation design.

Harnessing her extensive corporate, project, and engineering background, Roxanne adeptly guides multidisciplinary teams through the entire project lifecycle, from inception to completion. She leverages her profound understanding of the water sector to collaborate with stakeholders effectively, ensuring the successful delivery of projects.

Roxanne’s unique blend of construction and consulting experience empowers her to approach projects holistically, uniting teams, resources, and innovative solutions. Beyond her professional endeavors, Roxanne finds joy in supporting her son’s hockey and golf pursuits, cherishing moments with loved ones, and passionately cheering for the Edmonton Oilers.

Roxanne Richardson, P.Eng.

Management and Technology Lead

Water, Western Canada at Stantec

Representing Male Ally

Adam Pecush, panelist WES 2024 - Edmonton

Adam Pecush

Adam Pecush leads a team of eleven engineers, ensuring effective Pipeline Integrity Management and efficient resource development. Adam is dedicated to team development, emphazising motivation and job fulfillment for career sucess in engineering.

At Enbridge, Adam participates particpates in various career development, engagement, and mentorship groups. He led the Integrity People Pan team’s creation of an intratent page to support Integrity team members in volunteering at events encouraging school-age girls to pursue STEM careers.

Born and raised in Edmonton, Adam graduated with a B.Sc. in Materials Engineering from the University of Alberta in 2006. His diverse technical roles have included working on a steam locomotive and teaching a robot to weld. As a leader, he has managed teams in both field and corporate settings.

Outside work, Adam volunteers as an experience examiner with APEGA and coaches sports, including ice hockey and baseball. He and his partner, an active local law enforcement member, have two children involved in various activities like diving, horseback riding, hockey, and baseball. Adam enjoys playing hockey, racing mountain bikes, and downhill skiing in his spare time.


Adam Pecush, P.Eng.
Engineering Manager at Enbridge Pipelines

Representing Inudstry & Women Engineers Advocacy

Estefania Gonzalez, panelist WES 2024 - Edmonton

Estefania Gonzalez

As a Telecomunications Engineer specialized in Automation and Robotics, Estefania Gonzalez understands the importance of Engineering roles in our industry, and the vital role that women play in the market and the new landscape of technologies.

With over 15years of experience in the Energy Management and Automation Industry, Estefania’s mission is to support her team of Engineers to provide the most suitable solutions to their customers throughout Canada, optimizing their energy consumption, reducing their carbon footprint, and improving their operational performance.

Her true passions are coaching people, change management, and strategic business transformations, skills that have been instrumental in her professional growth. On top of this, Estefania is also a member of the WiSE board of directors (Wome In Schneider Electric), a seasoned mentor, and a leader in Diverstiy & Inclusion, sponsoring several “Women in Energy” panels and networking sessions across Canada.

In her personal life, she has two kids that provide her with the motivation to continue advocating for more diversity, inclusion, and postive role models for future generations. Estefania is passionate about encouraging and supporting women in Engineering positions, and having a 5 year-old daughter only highlights the importance of women supporting women.


Estefania Gonzales
End User Director for Proximity Accounts at Schneider Electric

Panel Moderator

Martha-Vega-Smith, WES Founder Director

Martha Vega-Smith

Martha Vega-Smith holds a B.Sc. degree in Civil Engineering from Venezuela where she started her professional career before moving to Canada in 2001. She successfully transitioned into senior technical and leadership roles in Pipeline Integrity, Management Systems and Enterprise Risk, for two leading energy companies in North America, Enbridge first, and then Suncor.

Since arriving to Canada she has reviewed hundreds of resumes as a recruiting manager and has helped as many individuals customize and optimize their resumes and prepare for interviews as they navigate their own career path. She earned her P.Eng. with APEGA a few years after arriving in Canada and has many lessons learned about the process for internationally-educated professionals, from her own experience and from the experience of her colleagues and mentees.

She is currently pursuing a Diploma in Business and Digital Marketing Management in her 4th career path, where she hopes to use her leadership experience in a new field.

Martha Vega-Smith, P.Eng.

WES Founder – Director

Representing Academia

Kim Jones, panelist WES 2024 - Toronto

Kim Jones

Dr. Kim Jones is the Chair of the Ontario Network of Women in Engineering (ONWiE), which drives and coordinates province-wide efforts to recruit a diverse population into the study of engineering.

She is an associate professor of Chemical Engineering at McMaster University, where she has done research into the body’s response to  implanted biomaterials and now investigates issues of inclusion in engineering.

She has served as the Engineering Leadership Fellow (focusing on inclusion), the Chair of the Women in Engineering Committe, Associate Chair (Undergraduate) of Chemical Engineering, the Hamilton-Halton Engineer of the Year, a YWCA Woman of Distinction and is an Engineers Canada 30×30 Champion.

She has been a feminist since birth and enthusiastically drives outreach, equity and inclusion efforts.


Kim Jones
Chair of the Ontario Network of Women in Engineering (ONWiE)
Associate Professor Chem. Eng. at McMaster University

We Need Your Help Urgently!

Can we count on you?

Dear WES Community:

 

We need your help now more than ever!

Over the years, our annual Women in Engineering Summit has flourished thanks to the incredible support from sponsor companies and individuals like you. Your generosity has enabled us to cover essential costs, including speakers’ stipends, food, venues, technology, and providing free tickets for students and unemployed professionals.

This year, we ambitiously expanded our reach by delivering three simultaneous events: in Edmonton, virtually, and for the very first time in Toronto. 40 of our 190 attendees were students, who got free admission to these events.

However, this ambitious agenda has significantly increased our costs, depleting our funds. We are now facing a critical shortfall and are unable to cover all the expenses incurred.

We urgently need your help to sponsor the 40 student tickets and ensure we can continue moving forward. Your support is crucial to maintaining the momentum of our mission to empower women in engineering.

Could we count on your help today?

Thank you for your continued support and dedication.