Learning from women in the forest sector

In 1993, less than 30 years ago, an OSB mill in Canada simply did not hire women. It was in that year an order came down for the 10-year-old mill to hire females. It just so happens that the first woman that mill was required to hire is now the production co-ordination manager for Interfor’s nine mills in the U.S. Southeast.

This woman, Marlene Hall, was set on a career path in the forest industry and is now contributing to the success of one of Canada’s largest lumber producers because of an employment equity policy in the 90s.

This story won’t surprise everyone, but for me – a millennial with access to supports for women entering trades and sciences – it was a reminder that the path was paved for us not all that long ago.

I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with Marlene last month while doing a project for CFI’s website on women in the workforce. I interviewed 10 women in various roles and seniorities from forest product companies across Canada with the goal of sharing their stories, career advice, and management tips.

While getting to know these 10 women, I found it striking the difference in experiences between the older and younger generation. Veterans like Marlene and lumber trader Judy Johnston spoke honestly about challenges they faced advancing in a male-dominated industry.

Read more…