Finding a Passion for Communications Technology
I have always known that I wanted to work in technology because I like figuring out how things work, but I didn’t become hooked on communications technology until I participated in an internship in university. I remember that I was working on a seemingly dull project where I was shown 400 identical orange boxes and told to “take the lid off all those, take this little circuit out and replace it with this little circuit.” The engineer in charge took pity on me as a co-op student working at the very bottom of the ladder, and told me something I’ll never forget.
He said that the product I was working on was a rescue beacon used on ships. He told me a story of a family who was fishing off the Alaskan coast that got into trouble. There was a large storm and the boat sank. Because they had this product, the search and rescue team was able to locate them within hours and the whole family was saved. This cemented in my mind how important communication technology is, and I think that was the “light bulb” moment when I decided that this was the right path for me. The moment I made the link between remote communications technology and the good we could do in the world, I knew that I wanted to continue a career in this field.
I’m still just as passionate about developing communications technology as I was back then, so I know I’ve made the right choice. The knowledge that we play an key role in global communications activities such as disaster relief, remote locations connectivity and important military operations certainly makes me feel like what I do every day is worthwhile.
Advice for Young Women
Don’t be afraid to follow your passion, even if it means taking the road less travelled. Career paths for women have changed so much over time, and young women have so much more opportunities now. If you have something you love to do, go for it and don’t be scared off just because you might be one of a small handful of females in the classroom or boardroom. You will feel an incredible sense of self-worth by following your heart and success will follow.
I am committed to using my experience as a female leader working in a male-dominated industry to benefit women who are developing their careers. I volunteer as a role model and mentor for the Ms. Infinity Program with Women in Science and Technology, an organization devoted to encouraging women to develop careers in the traditionally male-dominated industries of science and technology. I also serve on the National Advisory Committee on Girls and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), which introduces girls of all ages these subjects and provides them with experiences relevant to everyday life.
I believe my experience sitting on various boards has also been instrumental in helping me provide guidance to these young women. Using the knowledge I have obtained by taking on these roles, I am able to provide them with valuable insight.
Additionally, I participate in speaking engagements, interviews and other events. In the past year, I spoke at local elementary schools York House and Crofton House, providing career and educational advice to young women, as well as contributing career advice to the online career portal, TalentEgg.com. I also try to get involved with different conferences, for example I was a presenter at the University of British Columbia’s Creating Connections conference, which aims to support and enable meaningful dialogue about the participation of women in science, engineering and technology.