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Count Me Too
25 minutes | Apr 15, 2022
S2:E1 - Shawna Pandya | How To Make Space Accessible and Inclusive
In this blockbuster first episode of season 2, I interview Dr. Shawna Pandya, a physician, scientist-astronaut candidate, researcher, aquanaut, speaker, martial artist, skydiver, pilot-in-training and currently the VP of Immersive Medicine with Luxsonic Technologies. She was named one of the Women’s Executive Network’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada in 2020. Dr. Pandya is a passionate STEM advocate, and a frequent speaker at schools, universities, scientific conferences and science centers. We discuss how she navigated through different roles in her professional life, and also get some deep insight into how she built upon her personal resilience to accomplish her many successes as a South Asian woman in STEM. We are also introduced to the field of Space Medicine, and how it's making space exploration more accessible and inclusive for all.
27 minutes | Nov 13, 2021
E11 - Nkechi Nwafor-Robinson | Transforming Adversity into Love and Leadership
When we experience adversity or pain, we can either let it destroy us or use to heal and empower others on their journey. Nkechi Nwafor-Robinson has harnessed her life experiences to be a force for good. She is a change influencer, dedicated to uplifting people and helping them live more fulfilling and purpose-driven lives. A truly accomplished woman, she is the AVP Technology at TD Bank, 2020 WXN Canada's Most Powerful Women - Top 100 Award Winner, inspirational speaker and founder of Empowered in my Skin Inc, a grassroots organization that focuses on personal leadership development to help people maximize their true potential. I invited Nkechi to share her story of how she got her start in technology, and how she has overcome some of the obstacles life has thrown her way to lead with love. Her authenticity and courage truly shines. This is one episode you should not miss. An experienced Information Technology professional with more than 20 years in the I.T. space, Nkechi has held a variety of progressively senior roles within various organizations including Director, Data Center Operations at Rogers Communications and Delivery Project Executive at IBM.
21 minutes | Sep 30, 2021
E10 - Jessica Vandenberghe | Journey Towards Truth and Reconciliation
On September 30 2021, Canada will observe it's very first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. A year marked by the tragic discovery of over a thousand unmarked graves of indigenous children across the country, we were forced to come to terms with the painful history and ongoing impacts of residential schools. It is a day for national reflection on the historic legacy and owning the truth, which is critical to reconciliation. I had the privilege of interviewing Jessica Vandenberghe, an Indigenous Professional Engineer, Industrial Professor and Assistant Dean of Engineering at University of Alberta. We discussed how Canadians can collectively move the needle towards a united Canada through allyship and activism, the lasting impacts of intergenerational trauma and how the STEM community can come together to support the untapped potential of Indigenous youth. Jessica candidly shares her own challenges and experiences of growing up as a 60s scoop kid (The “Sixties Scoop” refers to the large-scale removal or “scooping” of Indigenous children from their homes, communities and families of birth through the 1960s, and their subsequent adoption into predominantly non-Indigenous, middle-class families across the United States and Canada). I have personally learned a lot from Jessica through our discussion, and I hope you will too. Jessica has worked in the oilsands, mining, regulatory, infrastructure, and consulting industries. She holds a B.Sc. in Chemical Engineering and a M.Sc. in Chemical and Mining Engineering, both from the University of Alberta. She also has her own consulting firm, Guiding Star Consulting where she acts as a bridge to Indigenous communities, works on Calls to Action implementation and TRC awareness.
29 minutes | Aug 23, 2021
E9 - Tiana Conley | Intersectionality as a Competitive Advantage
As a woman of color with immigrant roots, how do you leverage your identity to your advantage? How can women be their own best advocate and make their way forward? Is it even possible to 'have it all'? All this and more at my latest episode of 'Count Me Too' with Tiana Conley. Tiana serves as the Vice President of Global Cereal for the Kellogg Company, where she is responsible for the $6 billion flagship portfolio with treasured brands such as Special K, Frosted Flakes, Froot Loops and Corn Flakes. Prior to joining Kellogg, she was Marketing Director of global tequila at Beam Suntory, and has held a variety of marketing roles at Kimberly-Clark and Procter & Gamble, including leading the $4 billion Global Bath Tissue Portfolio as well as leading the P&L for the North American Olay brand. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Master of Business Administration degree from Xavier University Williams College of Business in Cincinnati, Ohio. Tiana is based in Chicago and is mother of two children, Griffin and Ava.
24 minutes | May 22, 2021
E8 - Sushma Narisetty | Powering Toronto and Empowering Women
Sushma Narisetty is the Director of Engineering Services at Toronto Hydro, providing oversight to supply chain, enterprise asset management technology strategy and stakeholder management. A professional engineer, she is a veteran in the energy industry having worked in hydro as well as nuclear operations and engineering design. She has a passion for volunteering and giving back to her community, mentoring newcomers and female professionals to help advance their careers in STEM. In this episode we discuss Sushma's career trajectory, her contributions towards modernization of the Toronto Hydro electric distribution grid, as well as valuable insight on how to progress as the next generation of female leaders in the energy industry. Sushma has a Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering, a Master's degree in Electric Power Engineering and currently pursuing her MBA at Rotman School of Management. Despite her busy schedule, she still finds time to give back to her community, having joined Volunteer Toronto as a Board member last year.
27 minutes | Feb 26, 2021
E7 - Cynthia Hansen | Allyship - The Key to Fostering a Culture of Inclusion
Allies are an essential part of the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) process, bringing attention to the experiences of marginalized, often underrepresented groups when their voices are not being heard. I had the privilege of speaking to one such ally, who has been advocating for positive social change and creating spaces to hold authentic and courageous conversations. Cynthia Hansen is the EVP and President of Gas Distribution and Storage (GDS) at Enbridge Gas. In addition to being responsible for the overall leadership and operations of GDS, she is a passionate advocate and ally for EDI. Cynthia’s leadership has had a ripple effect on the entire organization, and has helped embed EDI in Enbridge’s DNA. The impact of her work truly shows, in fact, Enbridge has been recognized as one of Canada's best diversity employers in 2020. Cynthia goes above and beyond to mentor and sponsor talented individuals, including those from underrepresented groups. She has shown herself to be an inclusive leader in every sense of the word, and has been named as one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 by the Women’s Executive Network, and was recognized as a Canadian Business Leader by Catalyst Canada.
23 minutes | Feb 16, 2021
E6 - Prerna Gandhi | From Survivor to Fighter
Prerna Gandhi is a recent graduate of University of Cincinnati in Bachelor of Science, Business Analytics and Information Systems. She is also a TedX speaker, having presented at TedX Cincinnati, sharing her journey of being an acid attack victim to acid attack fighter. Eight years ago, Prerna survived a vicious attack where acid was thrown at her face. At just 13 years old, she thought her life had ended, along with all the dreams and ambitions of a young teenager. She thought: "I would never be able to go to high school again. I would never leave the house as I might scare people, especially kids. People would pity me and would be ashamed to call me a friend". Fast forward to 2021, Prerna is an example of what sheer determination and resilience can accomplish, becoming an icon of strength to everyone around her. Having walked this path with remarkable grace and courage, she tells herself, “Try Me” instead of asking “Why Me”. Link to Prerna's TedX talk: https://youtu.be/ktr1rmwLl0M
32 minutes | Dec 23, 2020
E5 - Réjeanne Aimey | #EngineeringForChange: Uprooting Systemic Bias
Réjeanne Aimey is the current President and Chair of the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE), with experience in the automotive, nuclear, and tax consulting industries in Ontario. In this episode, we explore Réjeanne's engineering journey, and the many lessons she learned from her early career experiences. We also discuss OSPE's new campaign focusing on advancing diversity and inclusion in the profession, called #EngineeringForChange. While many regulated professions and organizations have begun the hard work of uprooting systemic bias in their culture, training and licensure, too many of Canada’s leaders are still debating whether or not issues of equity, diversity and inclusion are just trends that will blow over. This is a united call to action to bring real change. The episode also highlights challenges experienced by women from equity seeking groups, especially in obtaining effective mentorship and sponsorship opportunities that foster career advancement. What can organizations do better to improve employee experience and talent retention? Keep listening as we discuss these topics in this action packed episode. To see how you can support OSPE's campaign, visit https://engineeringforchange.ca/.
42 minutes | Dec 13, 2020
E4 - Sweta Rajan | Taking Your Power Back: Workplace Bullying
Sweta Rajan is a Biotechnologist turned Diversity and Inclusion advocate, and a co-founder of Immigrant and International Women in Science, a pan-Canadian grassroots social impact organization which supports women from diverse cultural backgrounds to gain equitable access to STEM. Early in her career, she faced bullying and workplace discrimination, experiences that would forever change the course of her life. She asked - 'Why had no one stepped in to offer me support or guidance'? She now coaches hundreds of women to take their power back in such circumstances and works with organizations to create more equitable and inclusive spaces. This is her story.
30 minutes | Oct 12, 2020
E3 - Sulaf Alkarawi | Surviving War And Rebuilding a Successful Life
Sulaf Alkarawi is a true Canadian success story. She is the Associate Director of Transportation Planning at the Regional Municipality of Niagara with a unique journey. From leaving Iraq at the height of war, building her engineering career in the Middle East to coming to Canada in search of a better life, Sulaf shares the many trials and tribulations she faced to ultimately find success through her hard work and determination. Any newcomer to Canada who is looking to re-start their career in STEM will find lots of valuable information and inspiration in this episode.
38 minutes | Oct 4, 2020
E2 - Noemie Duvivier | Demystifying Nuclear Energy
Noemie Duvivier is a Senior Technical Engineer working on nuclear safety at the Ontario Power Generation. In this episode, she discusses the role of nuclear power in Canada's energy landscape, how engineers like her make it safe, and also shares deeply personal accounts on what it means to be a Black female engineer in this industry.
46 minutes | Sep 21, 2020
E1 - Shelley Nicolls | Transitioning from Engineering to Non-Profits
Shelley Nicholls is an engineer turned non-profit director. In this interview, she shares her STEM journey, working as an engineer in the automotive industry to turning into an advocate for BIPOC leadership development. She candidly talks about the many challenges in transitioning from private to non-profits, with insight on how engineers can leverage their skills to explore unexpected career paths.
1 minutes | Sep 21, 2020
Hello everyone, welcome to my podcast ‘Count Me Too’, a platform dedicated to empowering women of color in their passion for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. In this podcast, I will be interviewing some truly remarkable women with extraordinary stories about their STEM journey. We will get to know about their careers, gain inspiration from their unique stories and advice on how to overcome barriers that exist in these fields. Representation matters. We need to see it to be it.
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