Superintendent, PCL Construction
Sector: Private Sector
Magic Moment: My magic moment occurred when I was 19. I had graduated from high school and was working full-time for a year to save money for hairdressing school and to pay off my new car. In November of 1987, my dad came to me and said ‘I’m taking your brother to the Labourer’s Union…are you coming?’ I decided yes and off we went. He had been encouraging me for a couple of years to get into construction. That began the journey for me. A few months later, I decided that I loved construction so much that I would take a carpentry apprenticeship instead of hairdressing. I was young and ambitious. There was no stopping me. Ten years later I was given the opportunity to become a Superintendent. The day I joined the construction industry changed my life. I have never looked back!
Key Influence: Lisa Kurina. Lisa and I worked on a project together 18 years ago. She became a role model to me and a friend. We became mothers during the same project. I ran into her a couple years later and we talked about how we manage and jugle all the demands of our careers and families. She taught me to set boundaries and not feel guilty about it. It still took a very long time for me to learn to practice that fully but eventually I did and it really made the difference in feeling successful in both aspects of my life.
Dean Xuereb. Dean was the lead Project Superintendent that I worked with and was mentored by, during 12 of my 22 years as a Superintendent. He is very demanding but also very driven by his passion. He taught me so much over those years and became one of my biggest fans. I too am very driven by my passion for this industry.
Next Big Challenge As An Industry: We need to encourage youth and especially women to explore construction careers. We are losing many talented people to retirement and there are so many shoes to fill. The opportunities are endless and most of our youth don’t even know what is available to them or they and their parents have misconceptions about our industry that we need to change.
Secret Talent: I was a competitive dancer when I was young and I figure skated. I like to cook and bake, and I can sew. I made my prom dress and my ‘Maid of Honour’ dress for my brother’s wedding many years ago. I’ve made a few Halloween costumes for my kids too!
On Championing Others… I have often spoken to students in schools from JK to grade 12 about careers in construction. I participated as a mentor many times in the Skills Ontario events for girls in grades 7-10. More recently, I have spoken as a mentor for the Girls Can Too summer camp program, and for the Girl Guides. I was a keynote speaker at the Carpenter’s Union Graduation Ceremony in 2019. During the 2018/19 school year I encouraged my daughter to do a project about Skilled Trades geared toward encouraging youth to consider the various career options available in the construction industry. We visited the Carpenter’s Union training Hall and met nine female apprentices in training courses that day. I invited her shop teacher and the grade 12 class enrolled in the Specialist High Skills Major program for Construction to tour a major project I was working on in 2019. I shared my story with them, and after the tour we went to visit the Carpenter’s Training Centre. I want to continue to influence these young people to enter the construction industry. I have been a mentor to many students and peers in our company.
One word that captures you: Passionate!