Canadian Consulting Engineer

VIDEO: Hundreds tune in for inaugural Advance Women in Engineering event

June 29, 2023
By Peter Saunders

Nearly all survey respondents said they would like to see it become an annual event.

Advance Women in Engineering 2023

Last week, more than 200 people viewed Canadian Consulting Engineer’s inaugural, live Advance Women In Engineering virtual summit, which shared professional advice and experience in an effort to encourage girls to study engineering and join the industry.

The summit opened on June 21, 2023, with a keynote address by Morrison Hershfield (MH) chief operating officer (COO) Catherine Karakatsanis, who shared her own history in consulting engineering, what she has done to help advance women and her thoughts on becoming the first woman president of the International Federation of Consulting Engineers (FIDIC) later this year.


The keynote was followed by a panel on Welcoming Women to the Profession, moderated by Jeanette Southwood of Engineers Canada and featuring Jenny Lines of McElhanney, Lisa Miller-Way of LRI Engineering and Emily Secnik of Dillon Consulting. Their discussion addressed the need for confidence early in one’s career, the benefits of mentors and sponsors and what it’s like to join the engineering industry today.

Next, a panel on Different Paths to Career Satisfaction was moderated by Joanna Kervin of Crosslinx Transit Solutions, whose own career spans a unique series of moves from consulting to municipal planning to development and construction. She was joined by entrepreneurs Stacia Van Zetten of Exact Technology and Montana Wilson of Grit Engineering and municipal engineering leader Judy Tse of the City of Toronto. They discussed key decision points, outside influences and obstacles along their career paths.

The event drew 217 unique views during its live broadcast. In a post-summit survey, nearly all respondents said they found it informative and would like to see it become an annual event. Suggestions of future topics included hiring advice, gender diversity, eliminating harassment, small business management and how women engineers can better support each other.

The summit was sponsored by McElhanney, Fast + Epp, the Canadian Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (CPCI), LRI Engineering, Morrison Hershfield and Thurber Engineering.


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