We all know that gender diversity in the workplace is a hot topic. In a primarily male-dominated profession, and to align with International Women’s Day (IWD) 2018 celebrations, we wanted to highlight another one of our fabulous female technicians who is based in Kelowna, BC.
Having always preferred work that was very tactical, Jami started out her career as a lamp operator in the film industry in Vancouver. She thoroughly enjoyed ‘seeing the fruits of my labour’ everyday (or most days, anyway). When contemplating a career in trades, and with a father and brother who weren’t so keen on Jami pursuing a career in welding, Jami decided to continue on the electrical path that she had begun on.
“In 2004, I moved back to Kelowna and started with a large local electrical contractor. Over the past 14 years, I have gained experience in residential, commercial, industrial, and specialized in HVAC control systems. That experience opened the door for me to become a tech for BGIS on one of their key government contracts.”
The Importance of Mentorship
When asked what kind of role mentorship has played in the development of her career, Jami says: “I can honestly say my current Facility Manager Janice Ralph, Property Manager, has been my best mentor ever. She has taught me an immense amount about the property management business, a lot of which I might never have learnt if it weren’t for her. She has brought out the business woman in me.” When asked what kind of advice she would give to other women hoping to pursue a career in trades, she answered: “Buy good composite steel toed shoes – much lighter. In all seriousness though, I would say just DO IT. Women in trades brings a whole new sense of detail orientation and team work, which is essential for a team to be successful.”
Her advice for her younger self? Start working in a trade sooner. Jami didn’t go to school until she was 23, and wishes that trades had been a more inclusive career option for women when she was younger.
Working in a male-dominated profession seems to be a breeze for Jami: “Truthfully I prefer it. I grew up in a family of mainly boys and had more guy friends than girls, so I am comfortable around male company.” We followed up by asking Jami what her most rewarding work-related experience to date would be, to which she replied:
“Anything related to troubleshooting and repairing building automation systems. And due to my building tech position, with my Maintenance Team Lead’s (MTL) supervision, I now do various tasks like replacing auto flush valves and pump replacements. It’s challenging and rewarding to do something new and make a repair.”
Next we asked Jami two very important questions: What has been your greatest accomplishment, and the greatest challenge you have faced in your career so far?
“I think the greatest accomplishment has been my diversity of experience. I knew when I started in the trade I didn’t want to be 40 years old with a tool belt around my waist. I do spend time with my tools now but I also enjoy the diversity of desk work to mix up my days. I knew from the beginning that I had supervisory goals in mind. I have held Lead hand and supervisory positions multiple times, and hope to progress my career here at BGIS to MTL when the opportunity presents itself. The greatest challenge… Honestly? Working in Canadian winters. I’m a cream puff.”
Thank you Jami, for all of your hard work and for being the ideal demonstration of how BGIS’s trades women are so awesome at what they do! Thank you for bringing such tremendous value to our clients and our business!
Be sure to check out our hashtag and social media pages as we #PressforProgress and celebrate International Women’s Day all month long!
#IWD #MentorforProgress #PressforProgress