Réjeanne Aimey, BESc., MBA
Réjeanne Aimey is a mechanical engineer by training and in 2020, she became founding Director of Black Engineers Canada. When she was young, her family moved from Winnipeg to Trinidad and Tobago, where she found herself in an environment that guided her towards engineering. After high school, she returned to Canada and attended the University of Western Ontario, where she completed a BESc in mechanical engineering in 2003. In 2007, she went on to earn an MBA from the University of Phoenix—a degree she completed part-time, while working in her first professional job. Currently she works in Ontario’s manufacturing industry on Special Projects, and is past President & Chair of OSPE – Ontario Society of Professional Engineers.
Diana Smith, P.Eng.
Session Title: Maximizing the Network of Women Supporting Women for 30 by 30
Abstract: Whether you are an individual with a passion for gender equality or if you are tasked with responsibility for equality, diversity and inclusion, this session will explore how a systems thinking approach can help bring us together to explore issues relating to gender inequality and develop effective action by looking at connected wholes rather than separate parts.
Our Learning Objectives:
Using a systems thinking approach to understanding gender equality issues.
Choosing the appropriate tools to implement change.
Case study 1: undoing cultural expectations and barriers relating to menopause.
Case study 2: undoing cultural expectations and barriers relating to Domestic Violence and Abuse.
Kirsten Hogan, P.Eng.
Kirsten Hogan is an Environmental Engineer and the founding partner of Aperture Consulting Inc., an environmental consulting firm providing environmental liability management and regulatory compliance services for government and industry clients. Ms. Hogan is a professional engineer registered in the Yukon and Alberta , the Vice President of Engineers Yukon, and a member of the Engineers Yukon 30 by 30 Committee. This committee was formed as the local component of Engineers Canada 30 by 30, a group working to raise the national percentage of newly licensed engineers who are women to 30 per cent by the year 2030. Ms. Hogan enjoys an active life in Whitehorse with her husband and three children.
Session Title: How the Canada Employment Equity Act Enhances the 30 by 30 Initiative
Abstract: This session will give attendees a fresh perspective on the potential impact of the 30 by 30 Initiative by Engineers Canada, by comparing it with Canada’s Employment Equity Act and with other targets or quota initiatives that have improved the world for minorities. The biggest advantage of the 30 by 30 Initiative, which seeks to achieve by the year 2030 that 30% of newly-licensed engineers and geoscientist will identify as female, is the fact that it is being measured as a number, as a target, as a quota. Project Managers and Business Owners the world over know that having a clear target to reach for, either in a project or in a business, will increase its chances of success. The number becomes the goal that focuses human efforts towards success. It has been over 30 years since Canada decided to increase the number of women in Engineering, but the progress has been slow. It is time to treat diversity in engineering and geoscience the way we treat businesses and projects, by giving it a clear goal and clear progress milestones. We have only 8 years before the 30 by 30 Initiative reaches its natural end, so let’s make sure we exceed the goal of 30% which is scientifically considered the tipping point of permanent change.
Session Title: Transforming Toxic Workplaces using Mental Fitness
Abstract: The workforce has changed, and our workplaces aren’t keeping pace. Teams are faced with more challenges than ever before — hybrid work conditions, complex technology demands, doing more with less — and require a different approach when it comes to leadership support. Creating supportive, engaging workplaces is a key strategy to achieving the 30 by 30 Initiative by Engineers Canada. We need leaders who are mentally fit. What does this mean? Leaders who can demonstrate empathy, innovate solutions, and engage team members to increase problem solving capacity. By focusing on building mental fitness, leaders can transform workplace cultures enabling teams to deliver results while building meaningful relationships.
Session Title: Coordinating Dual Engineering Careers Toward Family Management
Abstract: Over two-thirds of couples in Canada are dual-income. This not only comes with challenges, especially when kids come along but with a number of benefits, such as flexibility, security, and options. Couples can co-design a long-term vision for their careers by looking at each partner’s strengths and dreams, identifying potential risks, and looking at success factors. Instead of competing for short-term trade-offs, cooperating for the longer term can be mutually beneficial and help offset the career consequences of having children, which affect women’s outcomes differently than men’s. For example, when a woman takes longer career breaks, she may experience a stalling in progress and experience maternal wall bias. Planning with your partner can mitigate this risk.
Session Title: Growing a Male Allyship Program in Your Engineering Workplace
Abstract: This presentation will discuss how allyship in order to be successful needs to be multi-layered, multi-faceted. Also, I will showcase allyship in Associated Engineering, including some of the data collected and initiatives undertaken at the corporate level to support the female staff. This example will discuss this specific office situation, and the things that are within the control as office manager, to support career development and the micro-environment at the office.
I will also discuss allyship from my individual perspective, and how men taking parental leave normalizes the behavior, and levels the field for the benefit of women.
Session Title: Applying for a P. Eng. as an ITP (Internationally-Trained Professional)
Abstract: Before an internationally trained applicant—someone who gained the relevant education and experience outside Canada—can gain a professional engineer (P. Eng.) or professional geoscientist (P. Geo.) designation in any province in Canada, they must understand the licensure requirements as outlined in the laws having jurisdiction over engineering and geoscience professions. The laws set the minimum qualifications needed to become a professional engineer or geoscientist in any province, which are not part of this presentation. In this session instead, the presenters will share their many personal lessons learned from applying for a P. Eng. In Alberta. These lessons have nothing to do with the existing laws, they are tried-and-true methods to avoid common pitfalls and mistakes in the application.
Session Title: Reversing the Bias Blocking Women from Technical and Leadership Roles
Abstract: Companies across industries are looking to increase the representation of women who work in technical roles—including in engineering, product management, and other fast-growing fields. There has been an increased focus on gender parity in new hires and on greater equality in executive roles. But companies may be missing another critical moment: equitable advancement in early promotion. This session will cover the speaker’s experiences of being chosen for administrative roles rather than technical roles. Examples of statements she will address include 1) I am not seen as management material, I have to lean in to be even considered; 2) I am given administrative tasks instead of technical, this will not help my P.Eng. application; and 3) The bias is rampant, we are seen as the social glue of teams but I cannot build my career portfolio with that. Finally, the session will present some tools available to help remove bias against women taking management or technical leadership positions.
Session Title: Impact of Male Champions and Sponsors on Advancing Women’s Careers
Abstract: This session will explain some of the underlying issues that have led to unwelcoming and unfair treatment of women in the workplace and will outline what male allies can do to help create a welcoming, high-performance environment, for women engineers and geoscientists. Topics covered will include compelling reasons, as well as clear and actionable things that men can do as allies, to remove the unfair dynamics and give women a chance to reach the potential that they aspire for themselves. Finally, a plan will be presented to help organizations grow their own ‘male allyship’ programs within the engineering workplace to support the 30 by 30 Initiative by Engineers Canada.
Erin is an author, keynote speaker, facilitator and coach for leaders who struggle with conflict, communication, and performance during high-stress times. Erin supports them in navigating difficult conversations, building powerful teams, and communicating with empathy so that they can lead confidently.
Erin has a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Calgary and is an Associate Certified Coach through Integral Coaching Canada. She has over 20 years of experience leading construction projects and teams.
In 2017, Erin authored Inside Out Empathy and began speaking and coaching about using the superpower of empathy to build effective teams. She shares her own stories of leadership and what she learned along the way. It’s the book she wished she had when she was just starting out.
Erin is committed to discovering your leader within and supporting you to lead with impact — from the inside out.
Claudia Gomez-Villeneuve, M.Eng., P.Eng., PMP, DTM, FEC
Claudia Gomez-Villeneuve is a professional engineer, university instructor, and EDI champion. Before switching to academia, she worked at Enbridge managing petroleum pipeline projects for over 15 years. Today, Claudia works in different universities teaching courses in pipeline construction and project management. In April 2019 she shared the APEGA Summit Award, as a Champion for Women in Engineering and Geoscience, with the CCWESTT 2018 Conference Steering Committee. Claudia is also the founder and two-time Chair of WES, Women in Engineering Summit, a non-profit organization, which debuted with WES 2018 after learning how many women leave their engineering careers – after many years of education and work experience – when there are many workplaces solutions available to retain them. She was granted a FEC, Fellowship with Engineers Canada, in 2021 for her over 15 years volunteering for APEGA in many roles including elected Councillor.
Alvin Pilobello is a Professional Leadership Development Coach in Toronto, Ontario. In the past he held roles in strategy as an infrastructure engineering professional. He delivers experiential workshops to entrepreneurs, creatives, and engineers and designers in the STEM field, and support their personalized development through 1:1 coaching. He believes strongly in evolving self- and social-awareness as it informs our ability to communicate with the people that we work closely with. He helps them tap into the diversity within themselves, and others, for innovative approaches to problems, instead of fostering division and staying stagnant. Male allyship is definitely an innovative approach that leaders an all organizations can use to increase diversity in the workplace.
Callie Lissinna, B.Sc, EIT
Callie Lissinna is the COO and Co-Founder at Wyvern which develops high-resolution hyperspectral imaging telescopes from space and makes it commercially accessible. This information-rich imagery is changing the game in agriculture, forestry, environmental and emissions monitoring, energy, and defence. She has nearly 6 years of experience working on 4 different satellites at the University of Alberta and has a bachelor degree in Mechanical Engineering. In the evenings she teaches jazz and ballet classes for competitive dancers. While at University of Alberta’s AlbertaSat team, she wrote the academic paper Human Resources Procedures for the Advancement of Gender Parity in Student Space Mission Projects, addressing how to overcome leaders’ biases which prevents more women from being promoted to technical positions.
Martha Vega-Smith, P.Eng.
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 now 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-trained professionals, from her own experience and from the experience of her colleagues and mentees.
Andrea Marciales, M.Sc, EIT (P.Eng. in Progress)
Andrea Marciales is a Corrosion Engineer-in-Training (E.I.T.) with Innotech Alberta. She holds a Master degree in Petroleum Engineering from the University of Alberta, and a Bachelor degree in Chemical Engineering from Universidad Industrial de Santander in Colombia, South America. Andrea is skilled in applied research for internal corrosion in pipelines, heavy crude oil, petroleum/reservoir engineering and solvent injection. She is an E.I.T. registered with APEGA since August 2015 and is currently in the process of applying for her P.Eng. following the new procedure of 22 competencies. She is a mentor for many colleagues who are also applying for their P.Eng. and has collected many lessons learned.
Jason Vanderzwaag, MASc, P.Eng, LEED AP, PMP
Jason Vanderzwaag is a civil engineer with 20 years of experience, focused on community infrastructure and development, project management, technical leadership and mentorship. He has been an APEGA councillor since 2017. Jason was team leader for disaster response and recovery following the 2016 wildfire and 2020 flood in Fort McMurray. Afterward the project was the recipient of CEA and ACEC awards for recovery works. He is currently a Manager at Associated Engineering’s office in Fort MacMurray, Alberta, and he is glad to report that the majority of the engineers and technologists in the office identify as female.
Kinia Romanowska, BA, MA
Kinia (Adamczyk) Romanowska is a career strategist for working parents, founder and CEO of Pros&Babes, creator of the MoMBA program, and champion of engineers balancing motherhood. She transforms successful, leadership-minded women who are temporarily overwhelmed by new motherhood into confident parents, skilled leaders, and thriving moms, without them having to compromise family happiness or health. As a business owner, wife, and mother of two, Kinia has helped hundreds of women pursue leadership, develop stronger, more intimate relationships with their partners, bond more closely with their children, and take the right actions to consistently achieve their career goals.
Samantha Daly, BSc Geography
Sam Daly is an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) professional in London, UK working for Jacobs. She began her career in Document Control before progressing via a leadership shadowing programme and has now been working in this field for the past six years. Her experience includes delivering EDI within major Government departments and on projects in the UK such as the Environment Agency, Network Rail, Transport for London, HS2 and is now the client’s Head of EDI on the Houses of Parliament Restoration and Renewal. Her work has been recognised by winning the Senior Diversity Champion Award at the Employer’s Network for Equality and Inclusion. Sam is hugely passionate about all areas of inclusion but is particularly committed to delivering systemic changes to create sustainable long-term solutions in EDI.
Erin Austen. M.ASc (Aerospace), EIT
Erin Austen is our Chair for WES 2022. She has had a great experience volunteering at WISEST and AlbertaSat at the University of Alberta. Erin holds a Bachelor degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Alberta, and just finished her Master of Science degree in Aerospace, Aeronautical and Astronautical/Space Engineering from Carleton University in Ottawa. She currently works as a mechanical engineering designer at Medical Makers since 2018 and is now looking to grow her career as an Aerospace Engineer anywhere in Canada, the United Kingdom or the European Union. Of all the coolest courses or jobs she has ever had, one in 2012 was as CaNoRock V Payload Manager, at the Andøya Space Center in Andøy, Nordland, Norway. If anyone can say “this is not rocket science” is most definitely Erin Austen.
Svetlana Yanushkevich, PhD (Engineering)
Dr. Svetlana Yanushkevich is the new Associate Dean of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion & Research at Schulich School of Engineering. She is a Professor in the Department of Electrical and Software Engineering, and her research focuses on biometric technologies, data analytics, pattern recognition, machine reasoning, probabilistic decision-making, wearables, and digital design. Dr. Yanushkevich directs the Biometric Technologies Laboratory, the only research facility dedicated to biometric system design in Canada. She is a Chair of the Biometric Taskforce in the IEEE Computational Intelligence Society. With her team, she is developing novel decision support and risk assessment strategies based on machine reasoning, with applications to biometric-enabled access control (risk assessment of misidentification) and healthcare monitoring systems (gait abnormalities detection, action/activity recognition, face attribute analysis).
Steve McMahon, B.Sc (Civil)
Steve McMahon is the COO, Chief Operating Officer, for InnoTech Alberta, a wholly owned research and technology subsidiary of Alberta Innovates. InnoTech was set-up by the Government of Alberta to provide the venue, expertise, and equipment for Alberta’s core and emerging industries and public sector to conduct scaled applied research and accelerated technology development. Their services offering portfolio includes the energy, environment and bio-industrial sectors, along with cross-sectoral monitoring, testing, and applied data science. He is proud to lead a team of highly skilled researchers and technical experts who are making an impact in Alberta and the world; and also of the continued success of their gender equality initiatives at work.
Ingrid Pederson. P.Eng. (Civil)
Ingrid Pederson is our past Chair for WES 2021. She won the 2020 AWSN Athena Outstanding Volunteer Award for her long-standing service to an organization whose primary focus is to connect, unite, support and promote STEM programs. She also won the APEGA Summit 2019 Award as Champion for Women in Engineering and Geoscience, which she shared with the CCWESTT 2018 Conference committee. Ingrid started her engineering career working on offshore oil rigs and this experience motivated her to actively encourage young women to pursue STEM careers since 2008. She works as an engineering specialist focusing on external corrosion prevention to help maintain the integrity of Enbridge’s crude oil pipelines. Ingrid holds a Bachelor of Engineering (BEng) in Chemical Engineering from Dalhousie University.
Deanna Burgart, P.Eng.
Deanna Burgart is both an engineer and technologist who began her career in 1998 as a technician analyzing oil sands in a Calgary laboratory. She is a Senior Instructor at the University of Calgary’s Schulich School of Engineering in Chemical and Petroleum engineering; and is the first Teaching Chair focused on integrating Indigenous Knowledge into Engineering. Deanna is co-founder and president of IndigeSTEAM, an Alberta based non-profit focused on creating ethical space for Indigenous youth and professionals in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math). She serves on the Board of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) where she co-leads the Education committee.
Ari Copeland, BS/MS (Civil and Environmental)
Ari Copeland is an Operations Specialist with Black & Veatch Corporation and has 16 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.
Mairim Neves, P.Eng(Civil and Environmental)
In 2020, Mairim Neves launched a not-for-profit organization, Mujeres Omega Inc., which profiles a role model for Latina women and focuses on providing opportunities for women to experience personal growth, networking, and thoughtful conversations. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering obtained in Venezuela, her country of origin and has more than 20 years of engineering experience in the design and execution of complex projects. She specializes in the field of hydrometallurgy in her current role as Senior Mechanical Engineer at Sherritt International. In addition to the above, Mairim gives to the community in multiple ways, including chairing the 2021 United Way Campaign at Sherritt International, continuous participation in APEGA’s Mentorship program, as well as participation in a work lead Employee Resource Group (LeadHERS) focused on Diversity and Inclusion aspects.