I was born/grew up in: Chetwynd, B.C.
I now live in: Calgary, Alberta
I completed my training/education at: University of Northern British Columbia (diploma), University of Calgary (diploma), Royal Roads University (Masters of Arts)
Describe what you do at work.
I work with a lot of different teams at Chevron. My job is to make sure what we are doing minimizes or eliminates our impacts on the environment. In most cases, there are environmental regulations or best practices that tell us what to do. I make sure we comply with the regulations and practices. In other cases we work to continuously improve because it's the right thing to do. I sometimes look at things on a very site specific basis (for example, a drilling pad). Sometimes it is more important to look at it from a regional or cumulative perspective (total water withdrawals within a watershed and potential impacts of water bodies).
I spend a lot of time talking to people inside the company, or people outside the company like regulators, other companies, or people that live in the communities where we work. I do make decisions, and often have to make quick decisions. This means I have to be able to think on my feet (which means I have to know enough all the time to make - hopefully - the right decision).
When I was a student I enjoyed:
How does your job affect people’s lives?
My career is important because I am an advocate for the environment, but work within an oil and gas company. Sometimes working from the inside means you can make change happen faster. It's a tough balance sometimes, because I do have to switch out my 'environment hat' for my 'oil and gas hat' once in a while, and need to maintain my personal morals and integrity.
What motivates you in your career?
I like being able to make decisions, and I enjoy being respected by others. I really enjoy talking to the public, especially members of the communities we operate in, and providing them with information on how Chevron does things. I think there is a lot of misinformation out there about oil and gas companies. So I like to spend time showing them how we actually do things. It's also a bit nerdy, but I do like reading through legal stuff, like acts and regulations. I think if I wasn't in my current career, I'd be a lawyer.
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
Describe your career path to this career.
I was one of those people that left high school with no idea what I wanted to do as a career. I pretty much fell in to what I do. I started working for a pipeline company as an office manager when they had a big pipeline spill near the town I grew up in. That led me down the path of working in the environmental realm. I went to school to get an Environmental Management diploma after I moved in to the Health, Environment and Safety department. After a while, I saw that I really enjoyed working in environment, and transitioned in to a pure environmental role when I started working for Chevron. I went to Royal Roads in Victoria, B.C. as a working student (I worked full time while I went to school - that was hard work!).
I graduated with a Masters of Arts in Environment and Management. Even though I don't have a pure STEM degree, I work on STEM related topics, like hydrology, climate change, and geology, and often take short courses in STEM topics so I can understand what I'm working on.
What activities do you like to do outside of work?
I love to travel and have been to many countries over the years. It's nice to be in a career where I have enough time off and the available money to travel as much as I do! At home, I ride my bikes a lot - I am on a local road racing team, but am also getting in to mountain biking. I even bought a fat bike this past winter. My husband and I are also a foster home for rescue dogs with AARCS, so sometimes have a dog or two in addition to our dog that we get to play with.
What advice or encouragement would you give others seeking a similar career?
It's OK to not know what you want to do for a career when you leave high school. What's important is that you experience enough things (through post-secondary, work or volunteer work) that you can make that decision as you get older.