WinSETT: MAKING WAVES

A swell of change comes from the tiniest event. A single drop of water can break open ancient stones or create a ripple for miles. Together, enough droplets of water form a wave, which can impact the landscape and alter the view. WinSETT is the wave of change – towards inclusivity – in the male-dominated world of science, engineering, trades, and technology.

TURNING THE TIDE

WinSETT is a progressive, action-oriented, non-profit organization, aspiring to recruit, retain, and advance the careers of under-represented people in the SETT world. Since 2009, we have worked to make a dramatic impact on industry; starting with our flagship Leadership Program – guiding awareness and change through facilitated learning to leaders across Canada.

We amplify voices and celebrate the leadership and achievements in our industries. Through partnerships with government, business, and industry, WinSETT fosters opportunities to develop and implement inclusive policies, improved working experiences, and increased innovation throughout the country.

WAVE OF THE FUTURE

WinSETT envisions a world where everyone – including under-represented groups like women and gender non-conforming people – can participate fully in the fields of science, engineering, trades, and technology. Join us and become part of the surge toward equity, gender diversity, and inclusion in SETT.

Pictured right WinSETT’s Founder:

Margaret-Ann Armour (6 September 1939 – 25 May 2019).

MEET OUR TEAM

The WinSETT team works daily to progress the careers of under-represented groups in the male-dominated world of science, engineering, trades, and technology. Meet our team and get in touch to discover the work we’re doing.

Edna Dach, M.Ed., PMP, Project Consultant

Edna Dach is a retired educator and Director, Technology Services for Elk Island Public Schools and as Education Manager for Alberta Education. A strong supporter of STEM, she’s an avid volunteer with WISEST and WinSETT, and is currently project manager for the latest WinSETT WAGE project. Dach is a recognized presenter/facilitator and has shared her experiences with audiences internationally. A Project Management Professional, she has an M.Ed. and is the namesake of the Education Technology Council, Alberta Teachers Association’s Edna Dach Educator of the Year Award, given annually to a classroom teacher and/or technology leader who promotes technology in education. She’s the recipient of the 2018 NSERC Award for Science Promotion, the Alberta Centennial Medal, and the Queen’s Platinum Medal for her community and volunteer work.

Katherine Sinex,P.Eng., M.Sc., (Psychology)

Katherine Sinex has worked in the petroleum industry in technical, planning, change management, and leadership roles for more than 20 years. She’s worked with large, global teams to steward major capital funding requests for more than two dozen projects in just one year and later designed and developed a cultural change program known as Leading Performance and as a result was honoured with a Young Women in Energy Award in 2016.

Sinex is currently National Leadership Program Director for WinSETT.

Renée Kirby, Administrator

Renée Kirby holds a B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering with experience in oil and gas and municipal land development. She was born and raised on Treaty 6 territory and currently resides on Treaty 7 land. Renée has more than 20 years of experience in non-profits, working collaboratively to reach organizational goals through direct action and clear implementation of strategy.

MEET OUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS

WinSETT is governed by a board of directors consisting of accomplished women leaders in SETT fields. Meet the board.

Ana Carolina Lima, Director

Ana Carolina Lima is a scientist and an advocate for diversity and inclusion in her work and life. She studied biology and conservation and has a Ph.D. in Biology and Ecology of Global Change. Born in Brazil and raised in Portugal, Lima came to Canada in 2017 to work at the University of Calgary. During her journey as an immigrant woman in science, Lima has met many like-minded women and worked to develop a collaborative and supportive environment for other immigrant women in Canada. Lima says this experience led her to join the WinSETT board, which she says has broadened her view on issues related to women’s experiences in male-dominated fields and how to overcome these challenges. In her spare time, Lima loves photography, art, scuba diving, hiking in nature with her family, and traveling.

Seema Makwana, Director

Seema Makwana is a professional engineer with more than 20 years experience in engineering, project management, and leadership. A lover of math and sciences, Makwana discovered engineering when encouraged to look into the industry by an uncle who was also an engineer. She studied biochemistry and chemical engineering and in Calgary found success in her engineering career. Makwana discovered WinSETT through its Leadership Program, where she says she learned how to navigate the workplace and was equipped with ideas and tools. Through the professional development training, she says she discovered an organization aligned with her own values and goals and so joined the board to give back.

When she’s not at work, Makwana says she spends her time with her kids, friends, and family, specifically trying and cooking new foods together.

Jayrin Yue, Director

Jayrin Yue is an environmental and sustainability professional and has worked in a wide variety of environmental roles including environmental management, air emissions management, and asset retirement. She currently works in sustainability for PETRONAS Canada, helping to develop and execute the sustainability strategy for the company. Yue is passionate about giving back to her community, especially supporting women in industry. Yue was particularly interested in joining the board at WinSETT as women have unique career challenges and barriers in the workplace and WinSETT’s dedicated training can help women overcome these challenges – training she personally says she has benefited from. In her spare time, she enjoys outdoor activities including hiking, skiing, and camping.

Kelsie Priest, Director

Kelsie Priest is a civil engineer with more than 10 years experience. Since starting her career she’s been a passionate advocate for the recruitment and retention of women in engineering, speaking and mentoring university- and high school-aged women. Priest is one of the founding directors of Women in Consulting Engineering Vancouver, an organization supporting and empowering women in engineering and aiming to increase gender diversity and inclusion in the industry.

Deborah Harrop, Director

Deborah Harrop has more than 30 years experience in computing technologies with a background in IT security and disaster recovery. She was always disappointed with the 25-30% participation rate of women in the IT workforce and as a result got involved with a number of initiatives to introduce and retain women in the field. Joining the WinSETT board was a natural progression as she continues to support women in the technology fields. Harrop says WinSETT is just one tool to help her achieve her goal of increasing gender diversity in her division at WCB, but also in the field generally. When she’s not at work or volunteering, Harrop is often found behind her easel painting in oils, acrylics, and watercolours, or out pulling weeds in her garden.

Laleh Behjat, Director

Laleh Behjat received a PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Waterloo in 2002 and has since been a professor in Electrical and Software Engineering at the University of Calgary. An Iranian woman, Behjat says she had two options to ensure her independence: either become a doctor or engineer and she chose engineering. Several years into her career, she says she’s sure engineering was the right choice because she loves creating new things and making change in people’s lives. Behjat found WinSETT through its Leadership Development professional development programs, which she says gave her the opportunity to grow in her own career. Joining the board and encouraging others in SETT was the next logical step. She says WinSETT helped grow her confidence, to learn how to use her voice, and take chances in her career.

When she’s not at work, Behjat can usually be found reading or having exciting conversations with her friends and colleagues about big ideas.

Christina Gale, Treasurer, Executive Committee Member

Christina Gale is a professional engineer with more than 10 years working in the oil and gas industry in a variety of engineering roles including operations, construction, unconventional gas development, and offshore exploration. Gale has always had an interest in the applied sciences, and found working as an engineer was a great way to make sense of how things work. Gale has a passion for advocating for inclusion, equity and accessibility and in 2020, joined the WinSETT board to further that passion. She says WinSETT has surrounded her with like-minded women who are building a more equitable future for women in SETT. Gale spends the majority of her free time planning her next travel adventures, and has already visited more than 25 countries.

Carrie Vos, Secretary

Carrie Vos is a certified engineering technologist who has worked in post-secondary education for more than 15 years and before that as a piping and structural designer of large oil and gas facilities.
Vos says she was always interested in technical work, which led her to engineering design and drafting. Working with engineering firms, she says she was initially surprised how few women were in her workplace and she wanted to do work to encourage women into the SETT fields. She had heard of WinSETT and admired the work, so when she saw a call for board members, she knew she could contribute. Since becoming a volunteer, she’s been able to directly contribute to the success of women in SETT, specifically growing into leadership roles.

When Vos isn’t working or volunteering at WinSETT, she’s volunteering with one of several organizations she’s involved with or spending time with her family.

Sarah Watts-Rynard, Vice Chair

Sarah Watts-Rynard has a passion for not-for-profit work, especially in the area of skills development in technical occupations and the skilled trades. As a result, she’s built strong relationships with government and a knowledge base related to skills gaps in Canada’s high-demand occupations.

With a background in communications, journalism and government relations, she’s applied her expertise to the WinSETT board specifically in the areas of advancing womens’ careers in hands-on occupations.
A mother to two daughters, Watts-Rynard is proud to volunteer with WinSETT, citing it as a deeply rewarding experience that gives her an appreciation for how dedicated women, working together, can make an impact for future generations of women in male-dominated occupations.

When she’s not at work, you can probably find Watts-Rynard travelling to far-off places, hitting a few balls on the links, or indulging in a good book.

Marg Latham, Chair

In 1974, Marg Latham was the only woman to graduate in civil engineering from Queen’s University. Since then, she has continued to be a pioneer and trailblazer. To this day, she is one of few women in Canada to have been a construction superintendent.

Over the first 20 years of her career, Latham managed major construction projects in Toronto, Winnipeg and Vancouver and later became the first female vice president in UMA Group, a national consulting engineering firm. Today, in her own business she is assisting major public and private sector engineering and geoscience organizations and regulators in improving professional practice. 

Latham has been a champion for women in SETT since the 1970s, has been on the WinSETT Board since 2012 and has led the board after both the death of founding chair Margaret-Ann Armour and through the pandemic.

Outside of work, Latham spends her summers sailing and being on the water with her spouse of 34 years. She is also an avid walker and enjoys downhill skiing in the winter.

A TRIBUTE TO MARGARET-ANN ARMOUR

Dr. Margaret-Ann Armour was WinSETT’s founding Chair and an inspiring example for girls and women aspiring to be scientists, engineers, tradeswomen and technologists.

For almost 40 years, she was Canada’s premier ambassador of women in science, volunteering tirelessly to raise national awareness among school-age girls, students, educators, parents and employers of the importance of encouraging women to enter male-dominated fields.

As one of the few women in chemistry, she was struck by the need to encourage more women to become involved. In 1981, she founded Women in Scholarship, Engineering, Science and Technology (WISEST) at the University of Alberta and, in 2009, led a group of women to found the Canadian Centre for Women in Science, Engineering, Trades and Technology (WinSETT).

WinSETT lives on as she imagined, inspiring women to enter, stay and grow their careers as scientists, engineers, tradeswomen and technologists. Dr. Margaret-Ann Armour, the woman who started the wave.