It often seems many organizations are missing something, and that something is the presence of forward thinking, qualified women to diversify their team and bring confidence, knowledge, and skill to the table. Thatâ€™s why a group of proactive female business leaders from an array of different energy professions came together in January 2003 to create Calgary Women in Energy (CWIE), which is a non-profit membership society dedicated to promoting, supporting, and empowering women in the energy sector of Calgary, Alberta.
The founders of CWIE were well aware of the substantial impact women have on the industry and realized they could provide a service to both businesses and the local community.
The benefits of becoming a member of CWIE go beyond positioning oneself in the oil and gas business community. There is a sisterhood of women who cultivate strong relationships and establish contacts in other communities outside of their own. â€œI became a member of CWIE to meet others like me and find a foundation where I could reach out and lean on peers for support to help me in my career. Not only have I found professional benefits, but I have made some great friendships through CWIE and friends that will carry on no matter what turn my career takes,â€ says Danit Larter, who is employed with OCTG & Line-Pipe Sales, Continental Alloys & Services, and a CWIE member for two years.
Although members come from all different facets of the energy community, they are united in the common goal of increasing the diversity of the energy industry one day at a time. CWIE offers the ideal venue for connecting with like-minded professional women with whom they can share their trials and tribulations while learning industry best practices. This is a key differentiator from other industry groups who often focus primarily on social networking, As a comprehensive group of professional women working in the energy sector, CWIE members reside inÂ numerous segments of the industry, some of which include but are not limited to: manufacturing, human resources, business development, communications, operations, marketing, IT, information systems, finance, legal, staffing, and administration. With membership, women working in the energy community are invited to the societyâ€™s numerous monthly activities. CWIE membership benefits include regular technical meetings and professional development resources to help hone skills and sharpen knowledge. These benefits are often combined with the opportunity to be inspired by guest speakers. One such notable guest wasÂ introduced to the group in November 2013. The Honorable Ken Hughes, the Alberta Minister of Energy, spoke exclusively to members on environmental sustainability, distribution channels, and foreign investment strategies.
CWIE offers the ideal venue for connecting with like-minded professional
women with whom they can share their trials and tribulations
while learning industryÂ best practices.
â€œMost certainly the technical sessions are of great value.,â€ says the president of Armco Industrial and CWIE member of 18 months, Tiffany Armitage. â€œAs managers and CEOâ€™s, we are often guilty of concentrating on the specific sectors of the oil and gas industry we serve. The technical sessions provide the group the opportunity of understanding how our individual businesses fit in the big picture from downstream to upstream oil and gas operations.â€
Networking events are also included in membership to encourage meeting with likeminded industry professionals of varying backgrounds. Just ask Lindsay Panchyshyn, the Marketing Manager at Tundra Process Solutions Ltd and a CWIE Member for one year.
â€œI was looking for a group that combined education with a social component. CWIE has a good mix of technical knowledge and networking that has helped benefit me in my professional career.â€
â€œThere is a lot of mentoring within the group,â€ says Lindsay. Calgary Women in Energy support their members with frequent announcements of workshops and conferences, career opportunities, and leadership experience via our expert volunteer program.
CWIE is an exclusive group devoted to providing value to its members. The focus is not on growing the societyâ€™s numbers but in providing substance. The membership requirements for CWIE are unique in that you must attend at least two meetings to see if the group would be a good fit prior to an application being approved. CWIE strives to bring new and interesting opportunities to the table every year based on feedback from the members.
One way to achieve this is leveraging from the experience of long-time members. Colleen McDonell is an Account Executive for NOV Wilson, and she has been a CWIE member for eight years. She previously served on the Board of Directors, acting as president from 2010-2012. Colleen continues to be involved with CWIE. â€œI think it is important for past presidents to still have a presence within the group for continuity. I strongly believe in continuing to mentor female newcomers to the oil and gas industry. Moreover, I believe the benefits of CWIE are education and the charitable component of the group, which are both easy ways to get involved with a modest time commitment.â€
Besides the networking, fellowship, and learning opportunities of the club, CWIE offers its members the opportunity to give back to the community by supporting local charities. As CWIE is a non-profit organization, membership dues go directly toward many local charities near and dear to our hearts. Connor McManus, who does the coating support for Materials Engineering at CNRL, was introduced to CWIE by the co-director of membership, Alana Turcotte. â€œI did not know many women in the oil and gas industry and thought it would be a good way to network with like-minded people (women). I haveÂ benefited from the community involvement and access to the technical sessions to further my career.â€
As a member of CWIE, you will join a community of diverse and dynamic women in Calgaryâ€™s energy industry. Their website, regular newsletters, and email correspondence will keep you informed of opportunities to volunteer, network, and engage in professional development. You will have opportunities to lead, learn, and grow.
The CWIE Board of Directors is comprised of accomplished women of varying professions and backgrounds. The Board is charged with maintaining CWIEâ€™s substance and vitality. Elected by the members, these dedicated professionals have backgrounds as varied as our industry. To ensure the organization meets all of the membership needs, the Board regularly meets to guarantee the society is aligned with the needs of the members, the current status of the industry, and the commitment to our community.
To learn more about their team or for membership inquiries, please visit www.cwie.org.
Kristy Hysert â€“ Director of Community Involvement for Calgary Women in Energy.