Make your move to Mainroad — Hiring Now!

Hiring Now!

Mainroad Group

Women Paving the Way at Mainroad

“It took a while for me to secure an apprenticeship after completing my first-year foundations,” says Lauren H.S. (Electrician, Cobra Electric Services). “I applied to many electrical companies, but no one wanted to hire a female who was ‘green.’ […] I felt like I had to prove myself in this industry because I was a woman.”

Women can be found in all corners of Mainroad.

From accounting to road crews, women are slowly becoming more prominent in this industry, and it’s thanks to the guidance of the women who came before us.

When speaking with Teagan B. (General Manager, Mainroad East Kootenay Contracting), she notes that it wasn’t so much outside opinions that hindered her, but her own internal voice. The culture is so much more than just one company, and it’s sometimes hard to block out the things we learned growing up.

“My biggest challenge has always been my own confidence in my abilities. Always questioning my decisions and needing validation because I was a young woman in a management position.” — Teagan B.

As young girls come up into this field, it can be intimidating. Being the only woman around can make you feel isolated, but more and more girls are choosing to enter into these spaces every year.

For Tessa W. (Equipment Operator, Mainroad Chinook Contracting), she says that she had to overcome not being taken seriously or being ignored.

“I’ve struggled with some people not taking what I say seriously or saying I have an ‘attitude’ just to brush off what I say.” — Tessa W.

Women are left in a sort of limbo between needing to be seen as likable and bubbly, while not coming across as ditzy. There’s a fine line between knowing that you’re right about something, but you also know you can’t seem overbearing or risk being labeled as “bossy.” That’s just what the current culture is, unfortunately.

But when talking to the different women here at Mainroad, I found that all of them noted the same thing: when they were struggling to make a name for themselves in this male-dominated industry, it was their coworkers at Mainroad who gave them a chance.

For some of them, Mainroad was the first company they were hired by, and they’re still here now.

Lauren credits her coworkers who gave her the chance to show what she could do, thanking the team at Cobra Electric for believing in her.

In the same vein, Teagan says that she has “been very fortunate to have had amazing leaders that have always treated [her] just like everyone else.”

We still have a long way to go. There are lots of things the industry can do to make women feel more welcome.

Stacey P. (Road Manager, Mainroad East Kootenay Contracting) mentions the importance of having Personal Protection Equipment in women’s sizes. “It may seem like a small thing, but walking into a company that will offer items that actually fit properly is not only safer, but offers a feeling of inclusion and understanding.”

Teagan says “being more accepting to both men and woman who are single parents and may have to be absent for sick kids, school interruptions, etc.” is crucial.

At Mainroad, if anyone ever feels unsafe in their PPE, their concerns are brought forward to their local Safety Advisor.

“In Health & Safety, we are typically female oriented— but the challenges behind that are immense. Subtle hints, sneering, cat calls, labeling are throughout all industries. But I would not be in this position without my peers. I am always proud to see confidence in knowledge trumping ignorance, and all of the ladies on my team are the most confident in their scopes. I am proud of Mainroad and our collective approach to Diversity Equity and Inclusion. It’s not a program, it’s ingrained in our culture.” — Bob L., Corporate Compliance Manager

So what can we do to encourage more girls and women to enter into this job field?

“Don’t be afraid to try something new— change up your hiring policies to be more enticing to women. Showcase the real women who do work in the industry because you never know who will identify with that person and strive to be like them.” — Teagan B.

It can be nerve-wracking entering into a space where you know there are some people who are going to doubt you, just based off your gender.

Luckily, those girls coming up will be standing on the shoulders of giants.

“They can do anything […] Just be you and work hard. Think of what the next steps are for the job. That will make you a great apprentice and helper […] It is so nice seeing more and more women in the industry and knowing that I am not alone. We can support each other and be proud of what we do every day!” — Lauren H.S.

“Be confident but sincere in how you interact with everyone you work with. Take advantage of every opportunity and training that is offered. It makes you very versatile and opens more doors. Ask questions and spend as much time as you can with people that have years of experience. Work hard and embrace the less desirable jobs; take out the garbage, pick up the dead deer, patch a pothole.” — Teagan B.

“Have an open mind. Always be willing to learn and ask questions. Set personal goals.” — Brittany R.

“Stay curious, be confident, embrace the challenges. You are capable of more than you think!” (Paveet B., Electrical Apprentice, Cobra Electric Services)

“I’d tell them to stand their ground. Just doing this job makes you tough— so you have nothing to prove! […] I have worked in male-dominated industries my whole life, and it’s great in the way that I prove to myself that I can do the tough things! I was plowing at 8.5 months pregnant and felt so strong! I love the guys I work with and have made some great friends. It’s 100% worth it, even if you have to show up the very few that don’t think you can do it.” — Tessa W.

Here’s to the women in our lives! May we support them, may we encourage them, and may we see progress beyond our imagination.