GEOTECHNICAL ENGINEER BLAZING A TRAIL F OR WOMEN
In her illustrious technical career, Dr. Gillian Gregory has served as a role model and a mentor to many engineers, including women who have entered and flourished within a male-dominated profession.
As a geotechnical engineering leader with GEI Consultants Inc., Gregory is a trailblazer with the company. She was named its first woman Chairman of the Board in 2015, and her core objectives included succession planning, workforce diversity, and increasing opportunities for staff and future leaders. Under her tenure, the board formed a Diversity and Inclusion Committee that includes staff from a variety of backgrounds, technical disciplines, and experience levels within the firm and includes men and women.
Gregory has built a solid reputation as a strong leader committed to excellence in engineering, corporate governance, and diversity. In her work, she has completed regulatory engineering safety inspections and performance monitoring studies at over 100 dams throughout North America.
She is revered at GEI for her technical and leadership accomplishments as well as her ability to balance her career and family. After working full-time for GEI for years, Gregory had reduced her hours to focus on raising her family, all the while still maintaining a focus on her professional work and achieving several professional accomplishments. After her children were grown, she returned to GEI full-time and without missing a beat, she continued to climb through the leadership ranks.
In the words of Dr. Gillian Gregory:
How can the world increase diversity in STEM fields?
“There are several ways improvements in diversity could be achieved world-wide:
• If governments value economic progress they should provide better educational opportunities for all their citizens, regardless of gender, religion, disability, etc.
• Corporations can take the lead in promoting equality in the workplace, providing flexible work schedules and a supportive work environment, and actively campaigning against discrimination.
• Cultural shifts will be needed so that families value education, particularly for girls in developing nations, and minorities are not discriminated against for jobs.
• Women can support one another by mentoring others, standing up for one another and promoting leadership opportunities.”
Where do you see women in STEM in five years?
“I think there will a big increase in the number of senior women leaders in STEM fields in a few years. Although there are still barriers to raising a family and progressing up the ladder in the workplace, I see many more women in mid-career making it work and more spouses helping to make that happen by sharing in family responsibilities. In five to 10 years these women will be in a position to run their companies and be mentors and role models to those young women coming up behind them. Companies are also realizing that diversity in the workplace leads to better business outcomes. This will mean more opportunities for women to advance to positions of leadership.”