Oct 14, 2022

Ingenious women – Isabelle Leblanc

  • Article

In engineering, you have every right to be a girl and to be feminine. In fact, you can be exactly who you are, and it won’t change a single thing about your relevance and place in this profession… but it can take time and confidence to take that all in.

  1. Despite progress in the right direction, unconscious or societal biases toward women remain... Even we women have them! For example, for far too long, women who wanted to succeed forced themselves to be one of the boys and, consciously or unconsciously, adopted codes, methods and behaviours that have been typically thought of as being masculine. As an industry, we must change our perceptions and challenge our mindsets to achieve our goals of inclusion and diversity.

    With experience, I’ve learned to speak confidently and to respectfully raise awareness with my peers about the role women play. It’s important for me to do something about this because there are still too many comments that, even when meant well, can negatively affect self-confidence.

    At BBA, I’m firmly convinced that everything is in place for women to progress without fear of barriers. The proof is that, in mining engineering, we now outnumber men in management positions. I see this as our best calling card to attract more women to our firm and to develop tomorrow’s leaders who will, in turn, influence young girls to choose a career in engineering.

    I’m now Vice-President, Mining and Metals Market. My role is to develop strategies that will drive our growth in this industry. I was chosen because I like to get our firm’s various disciplines to work together, and I’m good at bringing people on board and developing a common vision. I see success as something collaborative. When everyone is in the right role and has the right tools to perform, we have the means to create something remarkable.

    I’m in the right place professionally, but I’ve come a long way to feeling comfortable with that. I’ve always had imposter syndrome, which is something I share with a lot of women. With time, I’ve realized that it would never go away and that I needed to learn to live with it. Throughout my career, I’ve forced myself not to back down from challenging situations. Now, I know that the adrenaline I get from succeeding is much stronger and more satisfying than the stress it causes. So, when I start having doubts, I prepare the best I can and just go for it!

    I’m really proud to be joining the executive team, and I intend to demonstrate that, by looking for diversified profiles, we can do just as well, if not better!

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