Eyes on the Bigger Prize: Gender Parity

Awards are nice, but my eyes are on the bigger prize: gender parity.

When I was recognized as a WXN Most Powerful Women Top 100 Award Winner for 2018, I was truly happy. Not because I’d have a nice, shiny award for myself, but because I know that being recognized as a leader means people will listen to what I have to say. And I want to use my voice to achieve an even better prize: gender parity.

The simple fact is in Canada only 5.3% of CEOs are women. This is shocking given that a 2014 Statistics Canada report says women now make up almost half (47%) of the total number of workers in this country. Clearly, there’s a huge gap for women between labour force participation and labour force leadership, and I’m determined to be a force for change.

I want Canada to achieve gender parity and I’ve got some ideas on how to get there. Just as I’ve spent my career creating a pipeline of investor-ready companies, I’m now focused on building a pipeline of executive-ready female leaders. We can’t appoint women to leadership positions if they haven’t been groomed for the demands of the job, so here’s what I’m doing to help bridge the gap and what you can do, too.

Mentor Young Women

The way I see it, young women need mentorship and guidance on how to build a career to achieve their dreams. They need exposure from a young age to leadership development courses, peer support and access to executives who can provide advice and counsel along the way. If they’re not granted access to C-suite insights, it will be far more difficult for them to cut through the glass ceiling. I make a point of connecting with young women, as I have had the fortunate opportunity of working with various groups like the WXN that specifically mentor younger women earlier in their career who are keen to be our next generation leaders.  I try to remind them that when we take responsibility for our future, opportunities will emerge that weren’t otherwise possible. Being in health sciences, we need more senior level talent regardless of gender and so the opportunity to be a leader is wide open – we just have to work for it.  Through Accel-Rx, we have specifically hosted events to share learnings and inspire women to fuel their own personal and professional growth.  It’s been very rewarding to see the progress made.

Speak Out

Now more than ever before, women are demonstrating their leadership, exerting their influence and speaking out. Around the world, we are rallying together for change, and we need to continue to make our voices heard to change our lives – and those of others – for the better. For me, that means not remaining silent or complacent around a boardroom table. It means speaking my mind even if I think others might disagree with me. And it absolutely means bringing up gender issues when called for. I can’t be a silent witness to the gender gap. I believe I must call it out and work towards changing it so one day soon the talent pool will be gender-balanced. Speaking out also means me taking advantage of my many public speaking opportunities to advocate for gender parity to larger audiences. The next time you take the stage, think about how you can also lend your voice.

Be Flexible

As an employer, I lead by example and offer a flexible work environment. This is especially important for women who are often juggling kids and a career at the same time. We can’t achieve gender parity with the same rigid, antiquated workforce standards that were largely created by men, for men.  If someone needs to leave work early one day to deal with a family commitment, so be it. The time can be made up later.

If someone wants to work from home, why not? In this day and age, with technology connecting us, having to work in an office, 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, needs to be revisited. No matter where you are, it’s easy to work remotely. And if you have a job that can be done from home, why can’t you choose how and when you’d like to work?

In short, mentorship, speaking out and flexibility support gender parity, which leads to happy employees and better results for my company.

Did you know that advancing women’s equality could add $12 trillion to the global economy by 2025*? Talk about a compelling economic reason to close the gap! And, we should also remember the human reason as well: women and men are equals and deserve to be treated as such.

While I greatly appreciate my WXN Award, I’m looking ahead to the greater prize of gender parity – because that’s a victory we can all celebrate.

*https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/employment-and-growth/how-advancing-womens-equality-can-add-12-trillion-to-global-growth

Natalie Dakers, President & CEO of Accel-Rx Health Sciences Accelerator Society, is a Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Winner in the CIBC Trailblazers & Trendsetters category for 2018. She has been recognized as a woman who has made a major impact in her field in Canada. Natalie is a leading figure in the Canadian biopharmaceutical industry and one of B.C.’s most influential women.

Do you know a female trailblazer who deserves to be recognized for her contribution to Canadian society? Are you a trendsetter that’s made an impact on Canada? Click here to nominate today! It’s free! Deadline to nominate is July 1.

Looking for more information about Top 100? Visit our website to learn about all of the categories, including the CIBC Trailblazers & Trendsetters award category!


About Natalie:

Natalie Dakers is President & CEO of Accel-Rx Health Sciences Accelerator Society.

Dakers, Natalie portrait

2018 Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Winner
CIBC Trailblazers & Trendsetters

Natalie Dakers is a leading figure in the Canadian biopharmaceutical industry and one of B.C.’s most influential women. With four successful start-up companies to her credit, she’s regarded as a Life Science industry visionary with an ability to get things done.

Ms. Dakers is currently President and CEO of Accel-Rx Health Sciences Accelerator Society, an organization that identifies and supports promising early-stage companies by providing seed stage capital and expertise. Ms. Dakers was also founding President and CEO of the Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD), a national Centre of Excellence for Commercialization and Research of biopharmaceutical products. She subsequently went on to create and run CDRD Ventures Inc., the commercial arm that supported company creation at CDRD, before creating Accel-Rx. Prior to establishing CDRD, Ms. Dakers co-founded Neuromed Pharmaceuticals Inc., a private biopharmaceutical company developing drugs for chronic pain, anxiety, epilepsy, and cardiovascular diseases where she successfully raised $70 million in three rounds of venture financing.

Ms. Dakers has served on many local, national, and private company boards and advisory panels and has garnered numerous honours including Startup Canada’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award (2015), WXN Top 100 Most Powerful Women (2016) and Business in Vancouver’s Most Influential Woman Award (2017).

 

Women in STEM and Canadian Energy

I’ve always been a geek. Since childhood, I’ve been interested in how things work, and the parts that create systems. “Why?”, and more importantly, “why not?” both featured often in my speech. I became an engineer; it felt like the right fit for me, connecting science and the practical application of it in the everyday. I have never felt that I was limited due to my gender.

The ability to solve challenges in finding and producing oil and gas, and the phenomenal opportunities to do this in the province of Alberta were gifts I received. I progressed from the training of a larger Company, sitting rigs in Southern Alberta, to starting up and running small Companies with teams of other technical professionals and learning all the aspects of the business. Now in my late 40s, I remind myself of my “Why?” and I keep this spirit of discovery alive. This is especially important today working in the Canadian Energy Industry.

We are living in a polarized time in our country on issues of energy – related to the environment and to our economy. Our resources are our lifeblood, no more felt than in Alberta right now. We want to use them carefully and thoughtfully. For all the effort being spent on social media missives, we would do far better to get together and look for those “third ways” – how do we spend not only our money, but our time?

What appears to limit us is only the proving ground for the solutions to come.

We need the biggest networks of people possible, minds from all backgrounds, working on better technologies, new ways of thinking, and “third ways” of solving a problem. The data technologies emerging will generate new methods in managing our projects – this is already starting to happen. Canada is a leader in environmental technologies, and our home grown systems can be exported around the globe.

I will say to anyone, if this opportunity intrigues you, then STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) career fields need you. STEM fields have been known to be male-dominated, and I will also say that THE TIME IS NOW for more women to join these fields and contribute their gifts to society.

I have answered “Why?” on the question of the opportunity for women in STEM, and specifically in the Canadian Energy Industry.

If you know an inspiring woman that is making an impact in ANY STEM field please help recognize her contributions by nominating her for Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 in the new STEM category [Manulife Science and Technology category]. This category will help acknowledge and recognize women in STEM fields and create visibility for other women in STEM.

Because, as we continue to share our stories, the question should be “Why not?” All the best in your journey of inquiry.

Heather Christie-Burns, President and CEO of High Ground Energy Inc., is a Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Winner in the CIBC Trailblazers & Trendsetters category for 2018. She has been recognized as a woman who has made a major impact in her field, in turn making a significant contribution to Canadian society. Heather is also breaking traditional barriers as a leading female in STEM.

Do you know a female trailblazer who deserves to be recognized or a leading woman who has is breaking new ground in STEM, contributing to Canadian society? Are you a trendsetter or a woman in STEM that’s made an impact on Canada? Click here to nominate today! It’s free! Deadline to nominate is June 17.

Looking for more information about Top 100? Visit our website to learn all about the awards including the CIBC Trailblazers & Trendsetters and Manulife Science & Technology!


About Heather:

Heather Christie-Burns is President and CEO of High Ground Energy Inc.

2018 Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Winner
CIBC Trailblazers & Trendsetters

Ms. Christie-Burns is President and Chief Executive officer and a founder of High Ground Energy Inc., a private equity backed upstream E&P company with assets in eastern Alberta in the Viking light oil play. High Ground is one of a very few ‘blind pool’ (building from no assets) private company start-ups in Alberta in the last 4 years, with a $230 million equity backing in July 2014 from Pine Brook and Camcor Partners. The Company purchased assets from Penn West Petroleum in April 2016 and has since transformed the asset from a liability-weighted legacy gas base without cash flow into a healthy going-concern light oil project with 3,300 boe/d of production and approximately $33 million of cash flow from operations. High Ground has 15 employees in Calgary and 15 contractors managing its field operations in Consort, Alberta.

Prior to founding High Ground Energy in 2014, Heather co-founded and was President and Chief Operating Officer of Angle Energy Inc., an Alberta based, TSX- listed upstream E&P Company with an enterprise value upon sale in December 2013 of $576 million. Angle Energy was grown through the drill bit as a Canadian controlled private company, blind pool start up. The Company went public in June 2008 and was the last IPO that year on the TSX. Upon its sale, Angle Energy had 48 employees, 11,000 boe/d of production, and approximately $100 million of cash flow from operations.

Ms. Christie-Burns is a successful entrepreneur, building companies for the past fourteen years. Additionally, in Heather’s twenty-four year career as a professional engineer she has developed expertise in petroleum exploitation, M&A, corporate and property evaluations, joint venture negotiations, reservoir engineering and production operations. Previous to her executive roles at Angle, Ms. Christie-Burns was the Senior Reservoir Engineer at Bear Creek Energy Ltd. from January 2002 through March 2004. From February 1999 to January 2002, she was Senior Reservoir Engineer and later Senior Exploitation Engineer with Encal Energy Ltd. Prior roles include Fekete Associates Inc. and a field engineering role at Norcen Energy.

Ms. Christie-Burns earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Calgary. She is a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) and the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA). She was recognized in 2011 by Calgary’s Avenue Magazine as one of the top 40 under 40, and was also awarded recognition in Oilweek’s Class of Rising Stars of 2011. Heather has presented to a variety of audiences including the Oil and Gas Council, Women’s Executive Network (WXN), WinSETT, the SPE, the Calgary CFA Society and Calgary Women in Energy and participated as a mentor over the past four years in the Lilith Professional Organization.

Anything worth achieving takes a lot of hard work, energy and passion

Tina Jones imageI never saw myself as breaking new ground; I saw myself chasing ideas.

Success for me is a combination of ideas and vision, passion and plain old hard work, a continual reach for excellence and a constant openness to be challenged. I believe my award to the Top 100 list is a recognition of my work in building relationships and teams of great people.

One idea I chased early on was to build a great wine store. Banville & Jones Wine Company was new territory. I assembled a team of smart, energetic people and the ideas started to flow—ideas about great service to retail and restaurant customers, and ideas to nurture our city’s wine culture. Then came wine appreciation courses. From there, with team members willing to reach the highest international standards, came accredited wine and drinks programs. And because everyone loves wine, travel, and sharing stories, we developed our award-winning magazine, The Cellar Door.

Another idea I chased was a vision that Manitoba could be a centre of excellence for hockey education. Again it was new ground, but with Brad Rice we imagined a new concept and built a leadership team. From there came a hockey academy; new approaches in training and supporting athletes; collaboration with great schooling and focused programs. Now we have launched a $20 million construction project as the infrastructure for these great ideas.

And Winnipeg’s Green Carrot Juice Company was a vision built from a conversation with my friend Obby Khan. We chased the idea of a fresh juice concept by building another team. Today Green Carrot has several locations, including the Winnipeg International airport where we offer a fresh juice, whole food option to travelers.

My father, whose entrepreneurial spirit brought him tremendous success, taught me that anything worth achieving takes a lot of hard work, energy and passion. His inspiration has helped me launch these great ideas.

All this work is valuable only in a world where people matter. My two fabulous children have been central in my life, their education and activities very important. My Mom was such a support to me that I knew I needed to be a support to them. They are now adults, contributing and chasing their own ideas.

We also build a world that matters by contributing to our community and by touching lives through philanthropy work. In supporting community projects through my business and my own volunteer work I have imagined new approaches and new concepts and worked to make them happen. Serving as Chair of the Health Sciences Foundation Board of Directors has been especially rewarding. I was humbled to be named Volunteer Fundraiser of the Year in Manitoba, and to receive the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Manitoba for this work.

Being recognized as one of Canada’s Top 100 most powerful women is both humbling and hard to imagine. To be nominated, and then named, to this small list of amazing women is an honour. My colleagues in every facet of my life, and my family, have helped me achieve it: we all talk about “team work” but I know we simply cannot achieve great things alone. To carry this honour forward I will be even more driven to motivate and mentor other young women and men, to build great relationships, and to continue imagining a better world.

Tina Jones, CEO of Banville & Jones Group of Companies, is a Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Winner in the CIBC Trailblazers & Trendsetters Category for 2018. She has been recognized as a woman first in her field that has made a great contribution to Canadian society.

Do you know a female trailblazer who deserves to be recognized for her contribution to Canadian society? Are you a trendsetter that’s made an impact on Canada? Click here to nominate today! It’s free! Deadline to nominate is June 17.

Looking for more information about Top 100? Visit our website for all the ins and outs!

 


About Tina:

Tina Jones is CEO of Banville & Jones Group of Companies

Jones, Tina portrait

2018 Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Winner
CIBC Trailblazers and Trendsetters

Tina Jones is a highly successful Manitoba entrepreneur, community contributor and philanthropist. She is owner of Banville & Jones Wine Company and principal of Wine & Drinks College Manitoba (WDCM), which have grown into the largest private wine store and destination wine school in Manitoba. Tina has reached for the highest international standards, creating opportunities for her staff to pursue studies and accreditation at WDCM and through the Wine and Spirit Education Trust, the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers, and the Wine Scholar Guild. She has expanded the impact of wine education to develop the award-winning magazine, The Cellar Door.

Tina is also an active partner in The Rink Training Centre, providing innovative individual skill development to all levels of hockey players. Tina is also a pioneer in Winnipeg, with the first Canadian Sports School Hockey League teams, The RHA Nationals. These teams bring unparalleled hockey training along with fine schooling to elite players from across Canada and the USA. The Rink’s success is reflected in a major $20 million Center of Excellence construction project, with completion date scheduled for early 2019.

Tina’s work also extends to partnership in Winnipeg’s popular Green Carrot Juice Company, a concept for fresh, cold-pressed juices that has grown exponentially since its inception in 2014.

Tina’s energy and creativity have also made her a tireless community builder. Her fundraising work with dozens of charitable organizations have helped raise tens of millions of dollars on our community. She currently serves as Chair of the Board of the Health Sciences Centre Foundation Board of Directors. The Association of Fundraising Professionals Manitoba has recognized her contributions as Volunteer Fundraiser of the Year 2017, and the University of Manitoba has honoured her with the Distinguished Alumni Award 2018.

Ms Jones inheirited a strong entrepreneurial spirit from her father Pierluigi Tolaini, who immigrated from Italy and built (from one truck) the largest privately held transport company in Canada. Pierluigi fulfilled a lifelong dream to create great Italian wine, and Tina works with him to build the Tolaini wine brand. For Tina, success is built on vision, hard work, building great teams and continually reaching for excellence.