Pamela Power (she/her)
I was born/grew up in: Edmonton, Alberta
I now live in: Churchill Falls, Newfoundland and Labrador
What I do at work
My position has been remote for much of my career. I started out working in a remote satellite office. Now with a global shift toward remote work, I’ve been able to use this experience to my advantage. Today, I work and manage projects from a remote office at home.
A STEM skillset and technical background is important in my work. It gives me the ability to organize large amounts of data. This helps me manage projects. It also helps when communicating ideas to others. STEM skills are required as a water specialist at any level. Water quality sampling and analysis takes place in a systematic manner. Water sampling projects require a technological skillset in order to carry out accurate data collection. You also have to be able to calculate water elevation and flow rates.
As a project manager, it is important for me to have excellent communication skills. Communicating with project team members about how to best support your client is an excellent way to be an innovative decision-maker. Communicating and working across teams helps to prevent discipline silos. It also brings your skills and knowledge forward to help solve collective and multidisciplinary problems. Most projects are very complex and require a variety of expertise. As a result, it is rare that you will work alone on a project. Therefore, it is essential to give timely and useful feedback to all team members on a regular basis.
I use my problem-solving skills for time management and shifting project priorities. I also use these skills to plan how to include Indigenous Knowledge with western science during project technical reviews. To do this, I place our clients’ interests and objectives at the forefront. My comments on technical issues are tied to our client’s rights and interests and made in plain language.
Language revitalization is a key concern for our clients. We support our Indigenous clients as they strive for national reconciliation by using traditional language. This requires continuous improvement of our understanding and use of Indigenous languages. We do this by attending Indigenous language workshops and bringing in Indigenous language teachers to assist in our growth. We also catalogue preferred words and phrases to use in reports and when corresponding with clients.
My career path is
Injustice is something that I feel quite passionate about. I had intended to go into Law back in high school. What I am doing now is not too far off as I get to add a voice to those who aren’t heard or can’t speak. I chose to study water because water is life. I grew up on the land east of Edmonton. I watched lakes and other water bodies dry up. I saw large stands of birch and aspen disappear. I also saw neighbouring farms change from food production to industrial landfill sites. Many remaining shallow water bodies have increased in temperature and changed their chemical makeup. This resulted in algae blooms that make the water unfit for swimming or aquatic life.
In my first stint at post-secondary, I completed a diploma in fine and performing arts from Mount Royal University. Then I completed a journeyman apprenticeship/red seal license in hairstyling. This allowed me to work and travel Canada in my 20s to see more of the country.
My move back to Jasper, Alberta after travelling, was a pivotal point in my life. I attended a public consultation for a pipeline development through Jasper National Park. I knew immediately this was a more complex issue than was being presented. I realized it was something that I needed to pursue further. The employment centre in Jasper helped me secure funding and narrow down school choices. I decided to specialize in hydrogeology at NAIT.
I worked as a Certified/Professional Engineering Technologist in Alberta throughout my 30s. Now in my mid-40s, I’m pursuing a graduate degree with a focus on environmental practice at Royal Roads University. I have met long-time mentors along the way. I have also met others through networking on industry sites like LinkedIn. These people have helped me in choosing the right career path. Some helped in the the decision to follow through with the Master of Science degree as a mature student. Professionally, going back to school to study science was a big challenge. It took 4 years to get the diploma. But I felt it was important to get some formal education to fully understand what was happening in the resource development sector in Western Canada.
In this second phase of my career, I had two children, got married at 40 and moved across the country to Atlantic Canada. This forced me to slow down, help my family transition, and refocus on where I was going myself. Living in Newfoundland and Labrador allowed me to leverage my remote work experience. I consulted on my own for 4 years before accepting a remote position with my current employer.
I am motivated by
My chosen career is not focused on a single social or environmental issue. Rather, my work is to help change corporate governance structure to be accountable to all. I strive to contribute to the movement for economic systems change.
How I affect peoples’ lives
I work for a Certified B Corporation (B Corp). B Corps are holistic and focused on continuous corporate improvement which builds trust and draws in mission-aligned stakeholders. This leads to their long-term resiliency and sustainability. We value common ground, constructive dialogue and understanding. We look for ways to help people build trusting alliances. In short, we are honest brokers of relationships. We strive to extend the reach of their shared value to create benefits that matter and make sense for all.
Outside of work I
My work in sustainable development has also provided the opportunity to sit on several advisory boards. These include the Exploits Valley Community Coalition (EVCC), Exploits Aboriginal Community Group (EACG), and currently the Women's Resource Development Corporation (WRDC). I remain a member in good standing with the Association of Engineering Technicians and Technologists of Newfoundland and Labrador (AETTNL). I am the community coordinator for the Snowbirds Satellite Gymnastics Club. I love camping in the summer and cross-country skiing in the winter. I enjoy painting, reading, and gardening. We take lots of nature walks as a family to connect, reset and decompress.
My advice to others
“Showing up” (being present) and participating actively are important. When you get stuck, discuss it with your mentor, Team Lead, Senior Advisors or project team. Remember that communicating and working across teams helps bring your skills and knowledge. This helps you solve collective and multidisciplinary problems. Any opportunity to learn or engage with different types of equipment and software early on is a valuable one.