Supporting women at all levels of their careers to help with environmental sustainability
Ten years ago, the Women in Environment (WIE) organization was founded in Portland, Oregon. It began with an assortment of female professionals in the incredibly broad environmental field—attorneys, consultants, government regulatory roles—who got together to support each other in their careers. As a volunteer led organization, with all events free to attendees, WIE relies on sponsorship to put on events and pay for core services. Since 2009, the organization has become a lot more formalized. There are outposts in Seattle and the San Francisco Bay Area, and they are expanding into Tacoma and the Puget Sound Area.
WIE fosters relationships, mutual respect, and diversity through mentorship, educational events, and networking. The mentoring program recruits mentors and mentees from among over 1,500 WIE members and offers mentee sessions four to six times a year, in each regional location. The educational events are put on quarterly in each location and include either a speaker panel or individuals speaking on specific topics that aim to enhance career, communication, and leadership skills for women at all levels of their careers.
Networking events in each area are put on three times a year. These events are big. “It’s amazing how well attended and popular these networking events are,” said Carrie Rackey, Senior Associate Project Manager in Environmental Services in the Portland, Oregon office who is currently serving on the WIE Board and as the chair of the Communications Committee for WIE. “They’re put on for everyone—people who are well into their careers or have just graduated and looking for jobs. People are engaged in this organization; there are hundreds of people who come out.”
Carrie became involved in WIE when she noticed there weren’t a lot of women in this industry. “Science and engineering are still male dominated,” Carrie said. “I’ve been working for a little over 20 years, and I’m starting to see the change where more women are coming into this industry, but I can still see there’s a need to be supportive of each other, be aware of creating opportunities, help people take advantage of such opportunities, and understand how to be in this industry as a woman.”
This is why Stantec has become a sponsor of WIE. As a platinum sponsor, our logo is part of important communications and invitations to events. Not only is it important to support organizations that are inclusive and diverse, it’s a bonus to get our name out there. “It’s great publicity for us to not only let people know what we do, but to invite people who may be looking for a career opportunity to come chat with us,” Carrie said. “We have our core principals—we’re better together, and I think that feeds right into supporting women in the industry and women in our local community—it’s just good corporate citizenship.”
There was recent hiring at the Stantec Portland office in the environmental field, but there were hardly any resumes submitted by females. “The more young women we help to feel comfortable, empowered, and like this is a place where they belong, the more women there are to help the next generation,” Carrie said. “It’s really important to support women who are already finding their way into the industry, and the women coming up behind them.”