TORONTO — In November, the 2021 Virtual AD Supplier Summit Industrial & Safety–Canada Division event saw the formal launch of an important new initiative, the Women in Industry Network, aimed at fostering the empowerment and development of women in underrepresented industries within AD Canada’s divisions.
The event featured two panel discussions highlighting accomplished women from a variety of backgrounds within AD’s member and supplier ranks —including Marie-Claude Desrochers, president, Equipements Industriels Joliette; Cara Backman, marketing manager, Franklin Empire; Shelley Vallee-Ewing, district sales manager, Vista; Carol McGlogan, president & CEO, Electro-Federation Canada; Suzanne Jackson, key account manager, 3M; Kelly Robertson, president, Safety Express; Mary-Anne Damerchie, mortgage agent, Synergy Mortgage Group; Zoey Taylor, marketing manager, Riverside Millwork Group; Caitlin Cocchi, human resources manager, AD; and Haly Baran, marketing coordinator, AD Canada.
Topics ranged from the importance of mentorship and the secret to attaining work-life balance, to how partner organizations are incorporating diversity and inclusion in their corporate strategies.
The initiative is open to everyone from AD’s member and supplier community looking to make an impact in the area of supporting the success and development of women in fields regarded as traditionally male-dominated.
The virtual kickoff session hosted dozens of men and women from AD member and supplier organizations as part of the summit. Rob Dewar, president of AD Canada, said this initiative impacts him on a personal level.
“This network is significant for a number of reasons, but it is especially groundbreaking because it marks the first undertaking to span all three of our Canadian AD divisions—welcoming members, suppliers, staff, and board members from all backgrounds to unite to instigate meaningful change in an area that directly impacts each one of us,” says Dewar. “For me personally, I am blessed to have two sons and a daughter. My goal is to make sure that no door is ever closed on my daughter due to the mere fact that she is female. I am confident that with the help of this group, we will see a day where that is our reality.”
Driving change in the AD community
AD Canada’s Marketing Program Specialist Caroline Ebeid is spearheading the initiative and spoke on the strong impact the initial session had and what is in store for the network ahead.
“We are ecstatic that the kickoff was such a great success,” says Ebeid. “With the support of both women and men across AD Canada, we keenly anticipate the ability to prompt meaningful change in our community. We look forward to bringing our network members additional events, workshops, resources, and experiences, all with the dedicated goal of contributing positively to equaling the playing field.”
Panelist Suzanne Jackson of 3M Canada reflected on the strong impact the initial session had on attendees and panelists.
“The inaugural Women in Industry Network session was nothing short of motivating and inspiring,” said Jackson. “It was a privilege to be part of this talented group and a pleasure to listen to each of the other great women recount their moving stories. I think it is safe to say that we all gained something powerful from this session, and I cannot wait to see and hear about the significant strides this group will make toward its goal in the future.”
Additional launches coming soon
Next up on the network’s docket is the formal launch of the program to AD’s Plumbing & Heating–Canada and Electrical–Canada divisions, which is slated to take place this month. In 2022, the network looks forward to bringing the community a number of additional panel discussions, themed workshops, and guest speakers.
Reach out to Caroline Ebeid at [email protected] for further information on the initiative.