​​​​Laurissa Wilkieson Estimator

Susan Dorey | Office Manager/Bookkeeper/ACSO

Brenda Neilson Project Co-ordinator

GEN-PRO

Started working with GEN-PRO in 2016.

Victoria has worked her way up from general labourer to Site Supervisor over the past four years.

Victoria oversees and co-ordinates sub-trades to ensure a safe completion on each of her job sites.

"Any woman considering pursuing a career in construction should do so with confidence in her ability to learn and adapt.  Ask the right questions, defend your position when challenged.  Be confident in yourself and accept support from those around you."


Martha George
Grand Valley Construction Association 

President


Erin Yvonne Oliver
Modern Niagara Group Inc.
VP of Employee Health, Safety and Sustainability


Fast forward to now, I am once again part of a larger team. Only this time, I am surrounded by several smart, driven and well-positioned women, both in the office and in the field. I am still supported, challenged and encouraged to participate and speak up. I know my current project is still a bit of an anomaly, but I am so pleased to see that women are entering the workforce in all roles on a construction site – from equipment and crane operators, M&E apprentices, form workers, painters, inspection & testing, engineers, safety officers, project managers. I feel as long as you are knowledgeable, hard-working and work well with others, there are a lot of opportunities within the industry for women to be involved.   

What helps you succeed?

I think personally, being curious, organized and a people person helps me succeed. I like to question how things work; wanting to know the details of each component of what we do. I like to understand the what, why’s and how’s so I can better prepare myself for the next time. Being organized allows me to respond quickly to issues or questions. Knowing where things are, being able to track and export information quickly allows me to be more flexible with my time, and put in more attention where I’m needed, instead of backtracking to figure out what has already taken place. I love working with people who like to collaborate, share ideas and have a positive approach to problem-solving. I pride myself with being able to listen to others, understand their needs and find solutions together. I think having the support, encouragement and mentorship from my colleagues and others, both in and outside of the industry, has helped me navigate through my career and sharpen my tools and skills.   
 
What can we do to get more women in the industry?

Having more education and awareness about what opportunities are available is needed. Having women in various positions talk about their roles and experiences in the industry with the up and coming generation of workers, is a great way to encourage them to get involved. Being able to talk about our challenges and successes makes people more comfortable knowing they can do this too and they aren’t alone.  

Employers need to provide employees with equal opportunities to showcase their capabilities and skillset, to develop their careers, and allow them to participate when they show interest. People perform better when they feel appreciated, acknowledge and respected when they are provided the same opportunities to be challenged and succeed.  

My experience as a Woman in Construction

Being in the project management world of construction, my job entails working and collaborating with Owners, Designers, Consultants and Sub-trades. From procurement to close out, we complete the paperwork, oversee and manage the schedule and budget, problem solve and support those working in the field. It’s demanding and rewarding all at the same time. I love what I do and I think it suits my personality and skillset well.

When I started my career 11 years ago, I was working as part of a large male-dominated team. Out of a team of 28, there were 4 women between the GC and the Consultants; there were very few, if any, women working in the field. Even though the men outweighed the women, I was always encouraged to speak up, ask questions, and get my hands dirty. I worked hard and was respected and recognized for the impacts I had made. I never felt like there wasn’t an opportunity I couldn’t be a part of.

What are the keys to your success at work?


Collaboration, Team Work and Creative Problem Solving. Ultimately I’m only as good as my Team… so you really need to “share that up”.


How do you support gender equality at work?


Ironically, this is usually a key question of almost EVERYONE when asked what I do for a living. When they find out that I’ve developed a career in construction, in-part from coming from hands-on in the field and that I still am highly active boots on the ground on sites in my Corporate Management role at this time.

I can honestly say, that I have had very limited exposure to any type of gender bias, sexual harassment or work inequality, comparative to other career streams, strangely enough. I found this industry to be phenomenally supportive of me as a female. Construction may still predominately hold positions and roles that more males fulfil, but I personally have never felt stifled by gender inequality. I feel I’ve had a very positive experience, very fair, welcoming, respectful and supportive engagement from the males in this industry, for the many roles and positions I’ve gone after and held. In all honesty, and sadly enough, the few notable negative experiences I had with others in attempts to stifle my career growth or job achievements which may have a tone of silent gender bias have come from females. I can only surmise that those experiences came from a sense of competition to reach management or supervisory positions in this industry and perhaps this is a silent type of gender bias that we as an industry need to explore.

What advice do you have for women considering to work in construction or as a safety professional in construction? 


Go for it! Whether it’s safety or any other role in Construction, this industry bar none. It affords very competitive wages, growth opportunities, lifetime learning, personal and professional achievement opportunities. Prepare to work hard and you can achieve high levels of success in this industry. This industry has incredibly talented people and comradery. Last words of advice and the most important, in this high hazard, tight deadline, fast-paced industry, choose your Employer carefully. You want one that places a focus on Safe & Healthy employees and Safe Workplaces.

How do you support gender equality at work?


Women should have the same opportunities to learn and perform their jobs.  We bring to the table different perspectives and insights. The numerous roles available in the industry need to be high lighted in our education systems.   Set an example & promote yourself to be the best you can be.


What advice do you have for women considering to work in construction or as a safety professional in construction? 


Take advantage of the volunteer opportunities in your community e.g. Habitat for Humanity. Get involved & see if this is a career you’d like to pursue. Attend networking sessions/career days & speak with the professionals in attendance; their passion will come thru and you might connect with a potential mentor. The world is your oyster; be respectful of others but allow no disrespect of oneself.

International Women's Day 2020 - "Women of the League of Champions"

March 8, 2020, ON, Canada


In celebration of the International Women's Day 2020, the LOC would like to feature and recognize the beautiful and amazing "Women of the League of Champions".


We requested the LOC members to submit a photo or video of their Women Champions, as well as answering questions like what are the keys to their success at work, their role in the company, how they support gender equality at work, and what advice they can give to women considering to work in construction or as a safety professional. Please read below the submissions from our members.

Jennifer Garner
Newton Group Ltd.

Health & Safety Supervisor

My role as Health & Safety Advisor entails ensuring our trades work safely and productively and they get to take home that success each and every day

What are the keys to your success at work?

Strong interpersonal communication skills with management and trades help me to achieve my goals. Fostering a partnership or team mentality goes along way.​

How do you support gender equality at work?


I believe anyone is capable of pretty much anything if they set their mind to it. This has nothing to do with gender but more if an individual can work hard and keep focused on their goal, they will get there!


What advice do you have for women considering to work in construction or as a safety professional in construction? 


I’d say Best Job Ever…..what are you waiting for! It is such a dynamic and stimulating environment. We need more women in the trades.


Denise Angelakos
Matheson Constructors

Construction Manager

Kate O'Hearn

​​GEN-PRO

Junior Site Supervisor




What advice do you have for women considering to work in construction or as a safety professional in construction? 


Passion – Passion drives a successful career. It reflects in what you do every day.
Do not give up- No matter the complications that may come your way, keep doing what you love. Learn from your mistakes and build a career from lessons learned.
Team player – Be a team player.  Know your team dynamics. Understand the need, find strategic ways to stimulate/implement safety solutions, using existing business operations rather than disrupting operations.  
Lead by example. 

​​​​Victoria Julien

GEN-PRO

Site Supervisor

Sobi Ragunathan
4S Consulting Services Inc.

Health & Safety Senior Consultant / IHSA External COR Auditor

​​Tracey Mooradian

Eastern Construction Ltd.

​Corporate Health & Safety Manager 

I support Newton Group Ltd. & Kiwi Constructors Ltd. employees and management by ensuring compliance with regulatory Health and Safety laws and regulations.


With the assistance of the JHSC and the team, I plan, organize and implement programs and procedures designed to encourage employee involvement in and with health and safety.  I participate in site audits and evaluate performance against company targets.


What are the keys to your success at work?


Abide by the “Golden Rule” – Treat others as you want to be treated. Open door policy. Timely response to questions, request for information, and follow-ups. Listen to others’ as there’s more than one solution to a problem. The only stupid question is the one not asked!

My goal is to position the association as the one source for construction information and construction resources. To enhance the image of the construction industry. To celebrate and recognize the expertise, and excellence in the construction industry.

My strength is in motivating, inspiring, and educating members to help them become successful.
Actively involved in lobbying municipal governments on issues that impact the ICI sector of construction. Partner with stakeholders and associations that lobby the Provincial and Federal Governments to lobby on behalf of the construction industry.

What are the keys to your success at work? 

I care about my members and love the construction industry.i am a champion for safety.  We all have a responsibility for it. 


How do you support gender equality at work?  

I believe that gender shouldn’t even be a question. I work in a male-dominated industry and I am on with that. Comfortable and confident because I am a constant learner and admit when I don’t know the answer. 


What advice do you have for women considering to work in construction or as a safety professional in construction? ​


Great career. Creative, innovative, rewarding and challenging. 

Cambria Design Build Ltd. has adapted a charter “Our Way” that highlights 6 key guiding principles to being successful in the workplace no matter the gender. Applying these principles allows our work to be completed successfully with our clients, sub-trades and fellow employee’s.


Laurissa Wilkieson (Left)

Started with GEN-PRO in 2012 and has tendered projects up to $6,000,000.00 and has recently achieved her Gold Seal in Estimating. Laurissa also is very successful in Pre-Qualifications for various clients. "Keys to success is to have confidence in yourself but never be afraid to ask questions.  GEN-PRO's success comes not only from leadership but from teamwork."


Susan Dorey (Centre)


Has been employed with GEN-PRO for 20 years. Day to day management of Accounts Receivable/Payable, Payroll, Benefits, RRSP any many other areas of office administration. "No work should really be considered gender-specific, in my opinion.  If any person has the capability, qualities, knowledge, skills & determination, any job can be yours."


Brenda Neilson (Right)


Joined GEN-PRO in April of 2019. Brenda's position with the company is to assist all Project Managers with the full administration on all projects. "In order to be successful in this role, there are key skills and attributes needed. A high level of organization is extremely important. There are often multiple projects and tasks ongoing at the same time. The ability to work well with others and communicate effectively is also a must. There are a number of people contributing to the success of the project and you must be able to develop and maintain good working relationships with all of them. Computer literacy is a technical skill needed as industry processes evolve with new technologies."

Women Champions of Cambria Design Build (from left to right)


Minli Zhang - Accounts Payable Administrator 

Julie Bowes - Site Supervisor

Laura Wasielewitsch - Accounts Payable Administrator 

Rose Caprarella - Accounts Payable Administrator

Jacqueline Templeton - Accounting Manager

Kerry Ann Weller - Office Administrator

Helen Brunott - Project Coordinator

Erica White - Project Coordinator

Yasaman Hojati - Project Coordinator

Not Pictured: Taylor Avison - Project Manager

​​​​Linda Okunzuwa
Pomerleau Inc.
Health and Safety Advisor

Erin's role is to ensure every worker gets home as safe or safer than they arrived each day.  Included in this vision is the value of improved wellbeing and mental health of all workers.  Erin has developed, overseen and participated in many programs designed to improve good quality opportunities for women, new Canadians and young people.  The newest role of sustainability is defining Modern Niagara's role in developing environmental programs and programs designed to enhance living and working conditions for our communities and improving our planet.

What are the keys to your success at work? 

 Erin's ability to effectively communicate between all levels of our organization puts her in a position where she is often the most sought out for advice and guidance in regards to business processes. She is highly regarded in our organization for her knowledge, skills and abilities in multiple business streams. Because of her extended work and research with partner organizations and accrediting institutions, she is often regarded as one of Modern Niagara's visionaries and she continues to break barriers and evolve our industry practices.  Erin is the chair of Prevention Council of Ontario and works to influence issues that are critical for the diversified Ontario population - especially women.

How do you support gender equality at work?  

Sustainability at Modern Niagara is about our people and our planet which is aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Under her guidance and support Modern Niagara is now Living Wage accredited by the Province of Ontario (wages are aligned with the calculated and published living wages). Erin routinely runs mentoring, leadership integration of women in gender resistant career development programs for the women in our organization and contributes greatly to the conversation and integration of women in gender resistant careers.

How do you support gender equality at work?


“I try to treat everyone as equal and respectfully. Don’t draw boundaries due to gender, I’m given the same opportunities as everyone else that makes me feel the same respect”.
“Listen, support, and encourage fellow female colleagues to show initiative and voice their opinions and ideas, and have the confidence that their contributions matter. Choose inclusivity in all aspects of business”.
“Support one another, respecting everyone as equals not based on gender” ​

What advice do you have for women considering to work in construction or as a safety professional in construction? 


“Believe and be confident in your knowledge and contributions. If you love what you do, don’t be afraid of stereotypes and gender roles, when you succeed everyone succeeds”.
“Construction is no longer a ‘man’s’ world, be yourself and let people know your ideas. Never be afraid to ask questions and stand up for yourself”.
“Have passion and enthusiasm for what you do. Learning is ongoing, don’t be afraid to try new things and ask for help when needed!”.

My role is to facilitate health and safety culture through safety orientation, site observation, and follow up on substandard acts/situations so everyone can go home safe to their families at the end of each workday.

What are the keys to your success at work?

Integrity/Honesty
Clear communication
Taking initiative and following up
KISS- keep it super simple

How do you support gender equality at work?


Promoting a harassment-free environment. Promoting an open mind atmosphere where everyone feels comfortable to share safety/work-related experience and lessons learned


Advice given by Erin when asked

​Have a career plan for which you have great passion is very important. More importantly, don't follow your plan!  What I mean by that is when you consider a career plan don't map out the entire journey and start to march toward the end state with your head down and blinders on.  Keep your head up and your eyes open for great opportunities, even if they may not appear to align with your grand career vision. If these opportunities align with your ethics, your passion and your network - why not give it a try. You may discover a greater course for yourself.

Treat your network like a garden.  Reap and sow in equal measure.  Plant seed of support and grow your network and when the time comes that you need to support from your network it will be there to provide you what you might need. 

​​​​Cambria Design Build

​​​​Jessa Henderson
Pomerleau Inc.
Health and Safety Advisor - Civil West Construction Department

What are the keys to your success at work?

Melissa Ruck

​​Gillam Group Inc.

Assistant Project Manager


Kate commenced employment with GEN-PRO in April 2019.

Kate's role is to ensure all work is being completed on time and that the quality of work meets our clients needs and wants while maintaining a safe work environment.

"The key to success in my workplace is communication between the site crew and office staff. Without communicating and understanding one another everyone's job becomes much harder.

Also,  I have found that staying positive especially when things are not going as planned, is essential to the successful completion of the job."

Tracey champions the Eastern Construction Company Ltd.'s Corporate Health & Safety Program with an end goal to ensure that all Eastern workplaces are safe places to work for every worker, every day.


She provides constant guidance and support to Project Teams to ensure industry regulations are complied with and that risk is being managed and regularly assessed for all Eastern Projects. Directly involved in all aspects of safety planning and monitoring requirements for Projects; from bid & procurement, pre-construction, mobilization of Projects through Project duration to Substantial.


Tracey working closely with Stakeholders, Owners, Eastern Corporate Senior Management & Project Management, Supervisors, Subtrades and Trade workers to achieve and maintain safe and efficient job sites. She also monitors and maintains Eastern’s COR.