March 8, 2021
While the majority of the corporate world is still dominated by male leaders, especially in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) sectors, some women have found representation at the highest executive level and are a force for positive change.
In fact, according to the Global Gender Gap Report 2020, part of the answer to accelerating gender parity, which would drastically impact social progress and national growth rates, can be found in more women achieving leadership roles.
The reasoning is simple. Women who ascend to leadership positions become role models and mentors to girls and to other women. With their successes inspiring and motivating other women to succeed, they demonstrate to younger women in an organization how they, too, can chart a career to the top.
More than just critical role models, these women are also in a favourable position to influence the high-level decision-making that ultimately paves the way toward gender equality. From the C-Suite, we are seeing support for inclusion and diversity programs that offer practical strategies for overcoming discouragement, avoiding burnout, nurturing allies, and fostering networks, helping to bring leadership positions within reach for more women.
So, if the solution to closing the gender gap, or at least one part of it, is more women in senior leadership positions, where are they? Who are they?
At Englobe, 31% of our total workforce and 19% of our senior management, director level and up, are women. We are very proud of the daily contributions made by the women on our team and realize the value of a diverse and inclusive workplace.
But we know more can be done to elevate the numbers further, especially to advance more women with diverse ethnic backgrounds into leadership roles. This is a challenge we choose to accept.
Of the 19% that are senior female leaders, we would like to introduce Marie-France, Karine, Caroline and Julia, the inspiring women who are making a difference at the C-Suite level at Englobe.
For International Women’s Day, we wanted to know how they are championing inclusivity and diversity at our organization.
Marie-France is a strategic manager with 15+ years of executive-level experience and a proven track record of overcoming complex challenges. She is highly regarded for her change management capabilities, commitment to delivering operational effectiveness that meets organizational objectives, and aligning stakeholders to the same values and purpose.
Q: What is your vision of diversity in an engineering consulting firm like Englobe?
A: Our goal is to have a diverse workforce in terms of both attracting new talent, but also in how we make up teams internally. By fostering diversity at all levels, we can facilitate the exchange of ideas and culture allowing us to innovate daily and take our business, clients, and employees further.
As we know, engineering remains a male environment and my vision for diversity at Englobe is to help change this reality by promoting gender equality in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professions. It starts with helping more women, including women of different ethnic backgrounds, to move into operational management positions. We need to work on this and establish career plans to help women in our organization move forward and into leadership roles.
I believe that as an organization we can play an important advocacy role in promoting STEM in secondary schools to inspire more young girls to choose this as a viable career path.
Karine leads a team which oversees legal matters in Canada and provides high-quality compliance and excellence in legal affairs within every project at Englobe. Working closely with operations across every division, Karine and her team provide legal oversight on contracts, proposals, litigation and mergers and acquisitions, in addition to advising on compliance and risk management regarding the company’s business activities. She also provides support to Englobe’s European divisions in the United Kingdom and France.
Q: How would you handle a situation where a colleague is culturally insensitive, sexist, racist or homophobic?
A: As a senior leader and colleague, I make it my duty to ensure that everyone feels psychologically safe at work and to intervene in difficult situations of any nature – zero exceptions. When in a leadership position, you have an obligation to make sure that the team understands that discrimination of any kind does not belong in the workplace, it does not belong at Englobe. For me, this message must be crystal clear: we do not tolerate this type of behaviour and we will not accept a repeat of this type of situation.
People do not always understand the impact of their behaviour or think their words through in advance. As leaders we need to take the time to encourage an open and honest dialogue to avoid repeating the same mistakes. This also means creating the opportunity to learn from mistakes, set clear expectations, and make positive changes.
Caroline is responsible for managing communications and brand strategies, plans and initiatives for all Englobe activities. She collaborates closely with operational teams to develop and deploy timely marketing and communications strategies for all Canadian and European businesses. She has an unparalleled track record of leading mission-critical communication efforts including change and brand management, mergers and acquisitions, and strategic organizational announcements.
Q: Describe the climate of diversity in your current position. What impact have you had on this climate?
A: At Englobe, we are privileged to work in an open environment that welcomes diversity and inclusion. We have the confidence and, most importantly, the opportunity to talk about and participate in creating our vision for the future.
In my opinion, diversity and inclusion is not simply a matter of statistics. It’s about the future of the organization. It is about having the courage to allow ourselves to innovate, to see things differently, and to champion those ideas.
The engineering community is decidedly masculine, but every day we have the opportunity to influence and change things through our actions and decisions. Building an inclusive culture means building tomorrow’s society.
Julia has led Englobe’s U.K. division, Celtic Technologies and Biogénie, since 2016. Under her stewardship, the company has grown to become one of the leading remediation and brownfield enabling works contractors in the U.K. as well as the largest operator of soil treatment facilities in the country.
Q: What does it mean for you to have a commitment to diversity? How have you demonstrated that commitment?
A: Just 15% of the workforce in the construction industry in the UK are women, and this is despite there being a widely reported skills shortage in the industry. There is much to be done to change those statistics and encourage more women into the industry. The industry will be richer (and not only financially) for having that diversity. Too many times I sit in business meetings as the only woman.
I hope I serve as role model to other women to demonstrate that you can have a successful senior career in the industry and have a family. I support and mentor women in the business and champion their careers. I actively make sure that women can return to workplace after having babies, so we do not lose their valuable skills.
I am fortunate to work in a business where I don’t feel that I am treated differently based on gender, and as we change the stereotypes, I am sure that when my daughter is old enough to have a career the industry will be more evenly balanced.
Choose to challenge, lead, and mentor. Sound a lot like you?
We’ve got the perfect job for you. If you are interested in learning more about what a career with the Englobe team might look like for you visit our Careers section online at www.englobecorp.com/careers.