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If you missed our live session, you can watch the full two-day sessions posted below.
Encouraging and supporting women to pursue careers in manufacturing!
Attracting more women into manufacturing professions is critical to helping companies grow. Our Women in Manufacturing (WIM) Success Forum will focus on how we engage and inspire young women to consider careers in manufacturing, help manufacturers attract and retain women in their workplaces, empower, support, and accelerate women in the industry.
Help CME increase the number of women in manufacturing by 100,000 in 5 years. Together, We Can Do It!
Learn from manufacturing companies who have successfully attracted and retained women and increased diversity within their organization
Rhonda Barnet, President & COO, Avit Manufacturing
Rhonda Barnet has over three decades of experience as a female trailblazer, achieving great heights in male-dominated industries and institutions. A STEM graduate in mathematics, she is a successful executive, entrepreneur, and director, as well as a key voice in Canada, and around the world, on industrial policy, skills of the future, and diversity. Barnet has held various positions in her family manufacturing company, AVIT Manufacturing (formerly Steelworks Design Inc.), including VP Finance, President & COO, and Chair of the Advisory Board. She has grown this company into a global automation company offering custom solutions to the largest manufacturers in the world. Barnet was the first woman in history to chair the National Board of Canada’s oldest, largest trade association, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME). When Barnet started this journey with CME, it was an outdated patriarchal institution; as she leaves her post in 2021, CME is a modern, diverse, relevant, and sustainable organization poised to help the manufacturing sector grow and prosper in Canada. Barnet is the founder of Canada’s Women in Manufacturing Initiative, led by CME and funded, in part, by the federal government’s Ministry of Women and Gender Equality. Most notably, she led a campaign to add 100,000 new jobs for women in Canada to the manufacturing sector.
Fatima Sa, Director of Finance, Murray Latta Progressive Machine
Fatima Sa is the Director of Finance and part-owner of Murray Latta Progressive Machine Inc., a Surrey, BC, based custom machinery manufacturer as well as a field millwright equipment installation company. Murray Latta was founded in 1918, presently has approximately 150 employees and serves the resource and several other diversified industry sectors.
Fatima got her CGA designation in 2002 and has over 20 years accounting experience in the manufacturing sector. Fatima rejoined Murray Latta in 2012 and became part-owner in 2014. Prior to rejoining Murray Latta Progressive Machine, Fatima was a successful recruiter for 6 years.
As a supporter of local charities, Fatima has volunteered at Ronald McDonald House and St. Michael’s Centre Extended Care. Murray Latta also supports several community events and charities and is a strong benefactor to the Surrey Hospital Foundation.
Sarah Steinke, Human Resources Leader, Garibaldi Glass
After receiving a B.A. from Simon Fraser University, Post diploma in Human Resources Management from BCIT and my Certified Human Resources Professional designation, I discovered my passion for business. Upon graduation, I had 3 lucrative job offers and I started my career as a sole HR Generalist in a fast-paced High Technology company. I was quickly promoted to HR Manager and then HR Director and member on the Executive team. I spent a few more years in the technology industry before being introduced to the manufacturing industry. At first sight, it didn’t seem as shiny or sexy as the fast-paced, high-growth and high-profit margins seen in the high-tech industry but I gave it time and I’m glad I did. There is a sense of pride that I experience when I see the tangible products our company creates. We transform landscapes. I am now the Human Resources Leader to one of the West Coast’s largest leading glass fabricators and I love it! I love coaching team members to reach their fullest potential and implementing human resources strategies and programs that support the business and seeing those results realized.
Melanie Potyondi, Chief Financial Officer, Rimex
Melanie Potyondi is a Chartered Professional Accountant who has worked in manufacturing, distribution, and technology for over 30 years. Melanie worked her way up from an Accounting Clerk to the Chief Financial Officer of a global manufacturer of products and services for the mining industry. As CFO at RIMEX, Melanie leads the Information Technology, Purchasing, Accounting, Payroll, Human Resources and Treasury. Melanie’s passion is to promote continuous improvement by working with staff and technology. As part of the Global Leadership Group, we have built a company that continues to provide great product and service for our customers while providing a great place for our staff to work. Melanie lives in Langley with her family and in her spare time likes to golf, cook, and enjoy nature.
Bill Geofroy, Vice President and General Manager, Manufacturing & Direct Sales, Metrie
Bill Geofroy is the Vice President and General Manager, Manufacturing & Direct Sales at Metrie. Metrie was founded in Vancouver in 1926 and has grown into the largest supplier and manufacturer of solid wood and composite moulding in North America. Bill joined Metrie in 2000 as a Sales Manager and has held a number of positions including Business Development Manager, Director of Procurement, and Vice President Procurement and Integrated Business Planning. In his current role, Bill is a member of Metrie’s Operations Leadership Team and provides both strategic and operational leadership to Metrie’s manufacturing division, including six manufacturing facilities in the US and Canada. Bill grew up in the Fraser Valley, and although he had the chance to live and work in Alberta, he is happy to be back in BC. A current resident of Maple Ridge, Bill enjoys music and backcountry horseback riding with his wife.
Lynn Ferrari, GPHR Director, Advisory People and Change GVA Practice Leader, KPMG Management Consultant
Lynn’s corporate and management consulting expertise includes 30 years’ experience resolving complex business challenges by clearly understanding core issues and easily unpacking ways to approach them that are accessible to all levels of the organization through leading the HR delivery of: Talent Acquisition, Management, and Workforce Planning, Learning & Development, HR Operations/PMO, Organizational Development & Effectiveness, Behavioral Change Management, Employee Relations/Labor Relations, Total Rewards/Compensation, and Merger & Acquisition planning. She is a Trainer, Coach and Panelist focused on Diversity, Inclusion & Equity as a business differentiator and responsible corporate citizen, and achieves success advancing leaders in mastering business and emotional intelligence. Lynn is a globally certified HR professional (GPHR), earned an MIT Sloan Business School certification in Leading Organisations and Change, and possesses credentials in Executive Leadership, Facilitation, Flawless Consulting, and Operational Excellence.
We will showcase manufacturing companies in BC and job opportunities for young women and youth.
Nour Hachem-Fawaz, Founder & President, Build a Dream
Through Build A Dream – the non-profit she founded in 2014 – Nour utilizes her 13 years of experience as a workforce advisor, mentor and influencer to inspire youth to make informed career choices that challenge the status quo. Her experiences are not just limited to the workplace, as Nour watched her mother struggle and persevere as she started and grew a successful auto parts company in a male-dominated field. Nour has travelled across Canada speaking about workforce development and recruiting women for male-dominated industries. She also led a national research project with AIA Canada to develop a national strategy to help industry attract, retain and advance women in the automotive industry. Nour has worked on programs for youth, newcomers, women on social assistance, internationally trained doctors and has talked with hundreds of representatives from all levels of industry, education and government. From her role at the University of Windsor to motherhood to growing a foundation, Nour wants to tell real stories about workplaces and share what leaders are getting right.
Abigail Fulton, Executive-Director, Construction Foundation of BC
Abigail Fulton is the Executive Director of the Construction Foundation of BC, a charity focused on helping to build the next generation of skilled workers. In addition to providing apprenticeship grants to youth across BC, the Foundation supports research and runs workforce development programs aimed at bringing underutilized labour groups into the skilled trades. Ms. Fulton is a strong supporter of the value of applied learning and the pursuit of industry training and apprenticeship. A lawyer by profession, Ms Fulton previously served as vice-president of the BC Construction Association, working extensively with the many stakeholders involved in the construction industry, including employers, educators, unions and government. Ms. Fulton has served on numerous boards and committees relating to the industry including the Safety Standards Appeal Board of BC, the Common Ground Alliance, and the Professional Builders Institute. Currently she sits on the Board of Governors for St. Margaret’s School; the Association of BC Land Surveyors and; Skills Canada BC. Prior to moving to BC in 1998, Ms. Fulton practiced law in Manitoba specializing in corporate and commercial work.
Sim Nesbitt, HR and Special Projects Manager, VMAC
I am an HR Manager with over ten years of HR experience. I have a B.A. in Political Science and Public Administration, Human Resources Management diploma, and have CPHR designation. I have experience in full cycle recruitment, employee and labour relations, performance management, training & development, development and implementation of policies and procedures, compensation, benefits administration, occupational health and safety, union relations and payroll. I have a passion for integrating Human Resources into a key driver of company’s strategic plan. I am dedicated to maintaining our robust company culture that cultivates customer loyalty by motivating and empowering coworkers to bring their best to the job.
Beatriz Rodriguez, Director of Manufacturing ISO, Stemcell Technologies
I completed a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering in Cuba and then a Master of Applied Sciences degree in Chemical Engineering from UBC, specializing in Biotechnology.
I first joined STEMCELL Technologies in a Manufacturing Technologist role, in which I developed and improved on processes, including troubleshooting protocols and equipment. Over the years my responsibility moved to leading a team that produces high-quality reagents to support life science fields. Currently, as Director of Manufacturing ISO, on top of working across teams and departments to solve production challenges together, my main focus is to develop the leaders of tomorrow and to engage, inspire and encourage everyone to achieve their full potential.
Ainslie Cyopik, President and CEO, Ainsliewear
Ainslie Cyopik is an entrepreneur, philanthropist, and former professional ballet dancer. As founder of the dancewear apparel company, AinslieWear Design Ltd, Ainslie is recognized for her dedication to the arts and serves as an active board member for Kidd Pivot. Her love for classical ballet began at an early age and dancing with the National Ballet of Canada and Ballet British Columbia was a dream come true, the result of many years of commitment, perseverance and hard work. Upon retiring from performing, she combined her dance experience with a passion for creating beautiful designs to launch AinslieWear.
AinslieWear is now a global brand recognized for its elegant designs, high quality craftsmanship, and impeccable fit. The dancewear collection is proudly designed, cut, sewn, and finished in its privately-owned manufacturing facility in Vancouver, BC, Canada. AinslieWear is a brand favourite for students and professional dancers worldwide.
Stephanie Reinholt, Production Manager, Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics
After completing a degree in marine biology in Ontario, I decided to move out to BC to start a career. During a lull in full-time work opportunities in the biology field, I found myself looking online for a new career path. That’s where I began my journey with Lush as a seasonal production assistant in manufacturing for the busy Christmas production season. From there I was able to work with a diverse group of individuals that encouraged me to continue my career within Lush. While I did not have the manufacturing education or background previously, I was able to learn and grow into the role I currently have now as a Production Manager in manufacturing. I have had the opportunity to mentor many individuals in this role and am always encouraging others to strive for what seems out of reach for them. As I approach my 8th Christmas season at Lush, I have been able to grow and evolve so much with the ever changing dynamics of the handmade cosmetics industry. I have had the pleasure to brainstorm new and innovative ways to mass produce everything from a bubble fidget spinner to a slippery shower slime. The ever changing production of Lush products keeps me on my toes and challenges my creativity with every new product launch.
MARKET UPDATE SPEAKER
Alan Arcand, Chief Economist, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters
Alan is a member of the National Policy team where he is responsible for developing and executing CME’s major national research projects, conducting CME’s macroeconomic analysis to support the organization across the country, managing our tax policy efforts, and be a leading voice representing the interests of the association and members with government and with the public.
Before joining CME, Alan spent 19 years at The Conference Board of Canada where he held multiple roles, including the Associate Director of the Centre for Municipal Studies. Alan’s background includes expertise in municipal, regional, and national economic matters including economic forecasting and analysis. Alan has an M.A. in Economics from Queen’s University.