I was born/grew up in: Born: Red Deer, Alberta, Grew up in Alberta, Egypt and France
I now live in: Toronto, Ontario
I completed my training/education at: Bachelors in Civil Engineering (Co-op) at the University of Alberta
What I do at work
I manage a team of people who make sure our construction projects are completed on time and on budget. My team works with the Project Managers and Project Engineers. With so many people and groups involved, good communication skills are needed. It is also beneficial to have an understanding of the technical as well as the business sides of completing a building, road, pipeline, train station, etc.
To be successful, I have to make sure that we are following the proper practices and procedures with all the projects within the program. With my STEM background, it is easier for me to discuss issues/areas of concern with the Project Managers, Engineers and Architects. I am also able to identify the best path forward.
My career path is
I originally thought about getting an arts degree because I am very creative and artistic. But, I'm way too practical! I was also good at math and science so I decided to do an Engineering degree. This was what the boys with similar aptitudes were told to do (including my father and brother) so I decided to do it too.
After working as an engineer for a few years, I found I was more interested in the process of delivering the projects rather than the actual engineering. This process includes such things as scheduling, procurement, construction, etc. This led me to Project Controls where I have worked on schedules, cost reporting, change management, forecasting, estimating, and risk analysis.
I am motivated by
I really enjoy solving problems, defining and refining processes to get to a more efficient state. I also love sharing my knowledge and experiences.
How I affect people’s lives
As part of the project team, I'm there to provide my expertise and guidance to make sure the project is on time and on budget. In the public sector, this translates into value for the tax dollars spent. It is also important that a project is completed on time so people can start using it when promised. In the private sector, this means having a satisfied client who will be able and willing to spend more on capital projects in the future. It also means they will likely engage our services again.
Outside of work I
My main hobby is re-enactment of early medieval Europe. I make historically accurate Viking, Saxon and Norman clothing and accessories. My kids, husband and I wear these while we display daily life of the time at festivals, museums, etc. I enjoy staying active as well. I do Yoga, weight-lifting, skiing, hiking and biking.
My advice to others
Having a STEM degree was hard work and challenging as a woman. At the same time, it has opened so many doors for me to give me the flexibility in my career that I enjoy.