Young Women Exploring Careers

Last week I had the opportunity to attend the Young Women Exploring Careers event hosted by the Saskatoon Industry Education Council for the second time.  When I received the invitation to attend this career mentorship event I jumped at the chance to attend as a mentor again!

This event is unlike any other event I have been to, and brings together young female students from grades 10-12 and links them with female mentors from a vast spectrum of career backgrounds. While I was there to represent the agriculture industry, myself and most of the other mentors focused on how our experiences (both bad and good) got us to where we are today.  In addition to the speed mentoring sessions, there were also three incredible spotlight speakers at the event.  Each speaker talked about her career path and some lessons learned along the way.

The first speaker, Shakiba Jalal, Operations Manager with the Department of Computer Science at the University of Saskatchewan shared her story about growing up in Afghanistan, while her widowed mother raised six children on her own. Even though she had challenges most of us could not dream of, she traveled to Saskatchewan to attend university by herself and managed to find her dream career. The second speaker, Brittany Grimsdale, Journeyperson Plumber & Women in Trades and Technology Coordinator at Sask Polytechnic spoke about the discrimination she faced within her industry because of her gender,  how some of the men in her workplace stood up for her and how her attitude toward the situation helped her grow. The third speaker, Rochelle Laflemme, co-owner of Epic Alliance Inc., talked about her many different career paths and how it is just as important to figure out what you DON’T want to do as it is to figure out what your passion is.

I left this event feeling inspired by both the students at my table and the speakers. Even though some of these young women weren’t necessarily interested in a career in agriculture, they were excited about where their future would take them. I love the industry that I work in, and after events like this I find a renewed love for what I do just by sharing my own story with young people. 

If you ever have the opportunity to attend a career mentorship event, I highly recommend making the time to share your story with all youth!