nov 24, 2022

Ingenious women – Mélanie Chouinard

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''I’m a very analytical person, but I also listen to my instincts a lot, and by trusting myself, I’ve been able to make the important decisions that have shaped my career. If I think something’s wrong, I stop, ask questions and sometimes, take a step back so I can start again... just like in innovation! If, on the other hand, I feel good about it, I go for it. So far, it’s served me well!

  1. As Director of Innovation, I encourage a culture of innovation within the firm by providing a framework where employees can express their creativity and bring ideas to life. Regardless of any limitations that need to be considered, I ask them first to think big and differently so we can dream up the ideal solution that will meet BBA and client needs.

    When the idea came up of creating a position at BBA that was dedicated to innovation, I had already been working on improving our engineering practices for several years and needed a change. I didn’t know this field very well, but the challenge inspired me. However, what I did know very well was the firm’s culture and all the teams in our offices across Canada. So, I let the right people know I was interested, and BBA focused on me.

    A tip I give most often is to be proactive. You need to keep an eye out for opportunities or even create them. When you come up with ideas to improve, it’s so rewarding, both for yourself and for the organization!

    I’ve had extraordinary bosses who have trusted me, listened to me and allowed me to develop. Despite all this, I still feel insecure about my input. To make sure I bring value to the organization, I take training, I keep myself informed, I consult my colleagues, and I seek external help when I need it. I know that this performance anxiety is common among women in our field. I can’t really say how much of this is linked to my personality, but I think that often being one of the only women in a group has made me set the bar very high for myself.

    Engineering is a paradise for those who are analytical and Cartesian, but it’s also a creative field where you have to propose and promote innovative concepts. The engineering world is constantly reinventing itself, and there’s still so much more research and development ahead. Innovation is an exciting path, but it’s far from being a straight line. Faced with humanity’s major challenges and a world that’s changing quickly, our successors will need to be very creative. ''

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