Who are we?

In January 2021, these like-minded individuals connected through the Alberta Women in Trades Facebook group with the goal of supporting women in trades.

There is a gap in the industry for supporting women in the trades, but they also realized it wasn’t just women in need of some extra support. Everyone including underrepresented groups such as visible minorities, indigenous, and members of the 2SLGBQTI+ communities would benefit.

FOUNDER

MIRIAM JORDI

Miriam is a Red Seal Journeyperson Sheet Metal Worker currently based in Red Deer, AB. A graduate of the former Vermillion Skills Energy Program in 2012, she became passionate about supporting women and minorities in the trades as she worked through her career. Miriam has led several initiatives through the Alberta Women in Trades Facebook group. She founded the group in 2019 after sensing the need for a community and connection for women working in the skilled trades. Fueled by being the only woman on numerous job sites during her 10+ years in the industry, Miriam wanted to ensure other women weren’t truly alone and always had someone to connect with and get the support they needed. She has established a dedicated team of administrators to help manage the Facebook group and has connected over 2,000 women across Alberta.

Miriam is also the recipient of the WXN Top 100 Women of 2021 award under the CP Skilled Trades category which recognizes outstanding women who have contributed immense value and demonstrate excellence in skilled trades, product or service innovation and community involvement.

Most recently, Miriam was a former member of the Government of Alberta on the Alberta Board of Skilled Trades to help advise the Minister on the direction of Alberta’s designated trades certification system.

Talk to me about new connections and what you would like to see changed or improved within the industry.

DIRECTOR

FIETJE VAN DER LEE

Fietje is a Red Seal journeyperson Electrician who is currently working as an electrical instructor at SAIT. She began teaching in 2017 after working in the field as a commercial electrician. Fietje has a background in education, her strong interest in the sciences led her to complete a Bachelor of Science at the University of Calgary in 2006. Through her volunteer experience as a swimming instructor and at the Calgary Zoo, it peaked her interest in becoming a teacher. She continued with her post-secondary education and graduated with a Bachelors of Education in 2008, following her passion as a life- long learner. Life leads us down many different paths, after some personal family struggles, she decided to make a career change later in life to become an Electrician. Fietje also attended and was a graduate of the former Vermillion Skills Energy Program, where she met Miriam. After some great experiences in the field, she finds she has come back full circle as an educator, she enjoys the opportunity to train and support many future electrical apprentices to help them reach their goals.  

It is never too late to follow your dreams and explore different career paths, Fietje would hope to help people and society recognize that the trades is a legitimate career path and it should be promoted to students at a younger age. 

Talk to me about educational planning and opportunities. 

DIRECTOR

CARMEN THIRSK

Carmen is a project manager with EllisDon in Calgary, AB. She has been part of the Alberta construction industry since graduating from SAIT with a diploma in Architectural Technologies, majoring in Building Development in 2009. Her love for carpentry throughout junior and senior high introduced her to construction but her desire to ensure the “building was built correctly” inspired her passion for construction project management. 

Carmen advocates for women entering the skilled trades and construction industry and has held various volunteer positions with SAIT’s Women in Trades and Technology (WITT) and participated in several mentorship programs to support women striving to work in construction. Through her friendship with Miriam Jordi, Carmen has joined the team to help build DiversiTrade Resource & Connection Centre. She is keen to see the construction industry in Alberta and Canada become more inclusive and diverse because after all #constructionisforeveryone.

Talk to me about a career in project management and transitioning your skills.

DIRECTOR - Pride in Construction

JESSICA LONEY

Jessica is a Master Electrician, Safety Codes Officer, and Gold Seal Construction Safety Coordinator / National Construction Safety Officer with Grand West Electric Ltd. in Calgary, AB. Jessica is also a woman with Transgender experiences and lives her life as an out and proud Trans Woman. After ‘coming out’ to her entire social circle, life was made a bit difficult by those she worked with by various forms of harassment and bullying. Tired of looking over her shoulder on the jobsite, Jessica decided to flip the narrative and throw her predisposition back at those who would cast judgment on her with co-founding the “Pride In Construction ” initiative. She has spent the last 17 years in the industry working as an Electrician by trade, but has a passion for advocating, for the 2SLGBTQI+ community and other underrepresented communities in the trades. She spearheaded “Pride in Construction 2021” and participated in the “Build a Dream – Day of the Dreamer conference 2021”, along with other panels that include the Airdrie Pride Society, to help promote diversity in the trades. 

“Just like those before me, they made a narrow path for me to follow and guide me in the right direction with my transition and daily life. If I am able to make that path a bit wider for those who follow behind me and make space for those who can’t make space for themselves, to me that makes everything worth it to me!”

Talk to me about 2SLGBTQI+ support and initiatives.