International Women’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, and in 2017 we are marking the day at Teck by profiling some of the many talented women at our operations and offices around the world.
Highland Valley Copper
Length of Service: 5 years
What would you say to the women of tomorrow on how to #BeBoldForChange?
Follow a path you are passionate about. Where there is change, there is likely resistance. This passion will offer you some comfort through the inevitable discomfort of the push for change and will serve as a reminder of what you offer and your value as an individual.
I first started at Highland Valley Copper (HVC) in 2010 as a co-op student in the Assay Lab. This was my first hands-on exposure to the mining industry; at the time, little did I know how much this would fundamentally influence my career trajectory.
As my student career came to a close, and my passion for sustainability had only just begun to grow, I joined HVC full-time in 2012. In 2015, while working as a Metallurgical Technician, I recognized my goal was still very much environmental work, so I began assessing how to shift my role in this direction. I approached my supervisor about pursuing a graduate degree in Environmental Science, and have not looked back since.
Starting the conversation about my aspirations has enabled me to shift my career in a direction that aligns with my passion. The guidance and support I have received within the respective departments has been invaluable—one of the best things about my experience with Teck has been working with diverse teams and individuals who are passionate about what they do.
My passion continues to fuel my pursuits at HVC, where the atmosphere inspires us to think outside of the box and to continually do better with how we interact with the environment. These pursuits enable me to build meaningful relationships with others across the mine site and with the surrounding communities, demonstrating how we are all interconnected, and the continual need to work together in a socially just and environmentally sound manner.
Fording River Operations
Length of Service: 5 years
What would you say to the future women of tomorrow on how to #BeBoldForChange?
I would say to never have any preconceived expectations of your career path. Me being an electrician and working in a coal mine is now not unusual because of the generations of women before me who paved the way. Hopefully, my having a successful career in mining will inspire the next generation of women.
I started my career at Teck as a third-year Electrical Apprentice. Growing up in Sparwood, B.C., being surrounded by coal mines and my mother working as a haul truck driver at Elkview paved the way for my career in the mining industry. Throughout my time at Teck I have become a Journeyperson Electrician, working on the running repair crew, and also have taken a position as the backup Electrical Supervisor.
The thing I like most about being an electrician at Fording River is that my day is always different and I am constantly faced with new challenges. The technology of mining, especially the machines dealing with electrical heavy equipment, is constantly changing. There is always new knowledge to gain, whether from a training course or from your co-workers.
The 4-by-4 schedule I work also suits my busy lifestyle. On days off, I am able to enjoy competing in show jumping equestrian sports around B.C. and Alberta, or I spend time at our lake spot with family and friends. And when I’m not doing these activities, I’m travelling with my husband, who also works at Teck as a heavy equipment operator.
Length of Service: 14 years
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
Being raised by a strong, single Indigenous woman, I was taught not to simply sit and wait for people to give you that “golden dream”—you have to get out there and make it happen for yourself. Help others, empower them. In doing so, you will also help and empower yourself.
In 2003 I was hired to work at Pend Oreille when the mine first opened and, in 2008, I was transferred to the Spokane office. During this time I have had the opportunity to meet and work with wonderful people who I look to as inspirational role models and as friends.
I enjoy being very involved and active with Teck, both inside and outside of work, because I see the value in working as a team player. Working as a team player even led to a great opportunity for me: I was able to travel to Teck’s office in Perth, Australia, where I assisted in setting up the J.D. Edwards system, for accounting and warehousing.
I take every opportunity I can to join the volunteer team at our office and I am involved with the Lilac Bloomsday Run, Meals on Wheels, the annual MS Walk (I am the team captain), and Spokane Hoopfest (also the team captain). I also encourage my family to get involved with volunteer work.
My biggest joys in life are my three beautiful daughters, whom I love very much. I do what I can to be a strong role model and leader for them. Recently— and very happily—I joined the “Grandma Club” and welcomed my first grandson, Gilbert Blythe. I adore the grandma life and I am going to attempt to be an outstanding role model and the #1 fan for this little boy.