Women in Consulting Committee

The Women in Consulting committee within ACEC Saskatchewan has been an entity for the past 8+ years and is an active group supporting women in the industry.    They have been responsible for planning conferences in the past which support women and diversity in the STEM and consulting field.  Our goal for this committee is to represent and provide support for women in the consulting engineering companies of Saskatchewan.

The committee has been busy planning and focusing on initiative goals for 2022.  Some of the initiatives the group has been planning include:

Parental Leave Luncheon: For industry personnel who are on and/or about to be on parental, maternity or paternity leave, a monthly luncheon, virtual for now, will be held for those who would be interested in meeting and talking with other parents in the industry going through a similar time.  Topics of discussion will include but are definitely not limited to what does a leave entail, how does it feel to leave your career, how does it feel to come back, how long do you take off, what programs have been positive that your company has for people on parental leave, help my baby doesn’t sleep and I need some adult communication, how long can I stall my accreditation prior to it affecting my re-entry into the industry, mental health during leave, etc.   The committees hope is to have this luncheon occurring early in 2022 and hopes that Companies will support this important initiative.

Survey to watch for- Maternity/Paternity/Parental Leave Policy and Top-up:  Each company has different policies when it comes to maternity, paternity and parental leaves.  Some companies don’t have polices at all.  Some companies in the Saskatchewan consulting industry have Top-up policies (when the company pays or ‘tops up’ the employees wage from what the government provides while on leave) and some companies do not.  The Committee would like to hear from you.  Please be aware that if you are an ACEC Saskatchewan company, a member of the women in consulting committee will be calling your company contact to see if you are willing to answer a very short survey on the subject.  The anonymous results of the survey will be shared by ACEC to all companies for comparison purposes.

Onsite Discrimination: The committee recognizes that even in 2022 there are still inappropriate comments which are said to women onsite and the group is looking at coming up with some solutions to stop this.  This important action item will join forces with the Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Committee as whole to combat this issue and assist people throughout the industry to provide support and resources.  The plan is to contact the Saskatchewan Construction Association, Saskatchewan Workers Compensation Board and other onsite groups in the industry to combine efforts with these groups to provide resources too shine a light on this issue and provide resources to people dealing with it.  Watch your inbox for future training and conference topics featuring ideas on how you can be an Ally to stop discrimination and derogatory comments from occurring on our sites and in the workplace.

Community and School Outreach: Committee members have reached out to schools in their regions to discuss the possibility of presenting to students on STEM, consulting and women in the industry. The goal of this initiative is to reach kids at a young age and at ages where they are looking at next steps for their lives to show representation of women in the industry and to market what we do for the communities they also live in.  All members have made an effort to set up these presentations and if you would like to set one up at a school you know about, please reach out to the contacts mentioned below for some ideas and support.

Women and the Pandemic: Have you noticed a switch in your day-to-day not only due to the pandemic but also due to your gender?  The media and even some Companies have recognized that the pandemic has been difficult for all but even more so for women.  Have you noticed this for yourself?  Do you feel this has affected your career development with some people in offices and some not?  Are Leaders in your company more accessible, or less? We would like to hear from you.  The committee feels this is an important topic and would like to hear about your experience.  Please reach out to the Contacts mentioned below.

Company suggestion for networking during the pandemic:

One of our member firms, Engcomp, was kind enough to share a fantastic pandemic networking idea that they are implementing in their company called ‘chat roulette’.  During a team meeting or for a breakout session during a virtual call, set randomized breakout sessions from the call for 5 or 10 minutes to talk randomly one-on-one with a colleague.  Provide a short list of icebreaker type questions to fall back on if necessary.  This a great way to build relationships within companies and keep the corporate culture alive with internal networking.  Thanks for sharing Engcomp!

The Women in Consulting Committee is a sub-committee of the Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Committee within ACEC Saskatchewan.  The other subcommittees include New Canadians, Indigenous and LGBTQ2S+ committees.  Leon Botham MSCE, P.E., P.Eng. (NewFields) is the newly appointed chair of the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee and is always looking for volunteers to join the committees.  If you are interested in becoming a member of any of the sub-committees please reach out to Leon at lbotham@newfields.com or Darlene at the below contact information.

Do you have questions or would like to reach out to the women in consulting committee?  Please feel free to contact Kerri Walker P.Biol EP (Associated Environmental), Chair of the Committee at 1-306-527-0970 or walkerk@ae.ca or Darlene Leamon, Operations Manager with ACEC Saskatchewan at 1-306-550-2345 or dleamon@acec-sk.ca.


Member of: