Leadership Connection: DPG contributes to evolving the future of Stantec

January 17, 2019

The members of our Developing Professionals Group are interfacing and collaborating with leadership

 

“Being asked to participate in this event showed me that Stantec leadership was interested in hearing what we had to say; what I didn’t anticipate was just how eager they were to listen,” said Tyson Martin an HR business partner and Developing Professionals Group (DPG) chapter lead based in Toronto, Ontario. The event? The Greater Toronto Area (GTA) regional leadership team meeting. 

The meeting typically happens twice a year and is an opportunity for leaders across the GTA region to come together and collaborate on business plans, current projects, operational issues, upcoming initiatives, and more. The meeting includes both business center leadership and functional support team leaders. 

 

CEO Gord Johnston and DPG Global Network Lead Sade Akindele at the biennial leadership summit.

 

The DPG was invited by the GTA regional leader, David Sauvé, to host a 30-minute panel where leaders could engage with current issues and solicit the perspectives and opinions of their region’s developing professionals. The conversation ranged across topics, both those that the DPG provided ahead of the meeting and those that were raised on the spot to elicit very candid responses. The discussion included items like diversity, inclusivity, innovation, work/life balance, inclusion in business development and proposal preparation relating to project delivery, communication styles, training opportunities, and varying viewpoints on the challenge level of junior work.  

“It’s empowering to be a part of an organization that is interested in understanding young and developing professionals,” said Brandon Orr, a transportation planner in Toronto and DPG member. “Having an opportunity to speak with leadership allowed me to have certain discussions, particularly around engaging developing professionals, that I believe helped frame some of the challenges I expressed. These conversations are often very difficult to have over an email and I appreciate the opportunity to speak directly with them, and I look forward to continuing this in the future.” 

Additionally, Emily Clark, who rounded out the DPG trio at the GTA meeting said, “It was an honor to meet with leadership on behalf of our developing professional peers. Stantec is a large community, and it can be difficult at times to feel genuinely connected. Being asked to participate in this panel was a valuable opportunity to connect, but it was also more than that—I felt engaged and motivated knowing that our perspectives were wanted and welcomed.” Emily is an urban designer based in Toronto.

Across the globe, in the region of Australia and New Zealand (ANZ), leaders and the DPG were having a similar dialogue. The meeting held in Australia was the roll out of the 2020–2025 ANZ strategy to the wider regional leadership team. Although the DPG were not involved in the formulation of the strategy, the leadership team felt that the DPG will play an integral role in actioning it and asked DPG to present.

“It was really humbling being one of a handful of presenters at the 2020–2025 strategy session. It was a testament to the positive influence the DPG has on the Australian business and the fact that leadership valued our contribution,” said Kanishka Perera who was one of two DPG members in attendance. Kanishka shared the Australian DPG perspective and Abby Burdis provided the New Zealand voice. 
 
ANZ leadership were reminded of the DPG's 4 pillars—connecting DPs with peers, development opportunities, leadership, and communities. Parallels were drawn between the DPG and the ANZ strategy and how they already operated “as one” without the traditional silos. The presentation given by the DPG was well received and conversations that followed reiterated that the DPG was an important part of Stantec culture. Since the strategy meeting both Abby and Kani have attended regional leadership meetings to be the voice of the DPG.

Finally, even the executive leadership of Stantec are including the DPG perspective. The leadership summit, where direction for the 2020 strategic plan was set, included DPG representative Sade Akindele, who leads the DPG globally from Delft, the Netherlands. The summit included a review of the current state of the Company and began mapping out the direction the Company wants to move. 

“This was a great move to solicit input from diverse perspectives into the Stantec strategic plan. I was able to engage with and give input to all the discussion sessions, and while there, I also presented on what “Stantec of the Future” could look like—a futuristic state of the business that I arrived at based on inputs I got from DPG chapters around the world. The leadership team was very enthusiastic about this, and I have continued working with them to bring some of the ideas to life,” said Sade. 

Learn more about our Developing Professionals Group (DPG) at Stantec.

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