Q & A: Jennifer Green presented with Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award
Jennifer Green sits down for a virtual Q&A to talk about the skilled trades and advanced manufacturing in Ontario.
Jennifer Green, Director of Competitions and Young Women’s Initiatives at Skills Ontario, and an Apprenticeship Youth Advisor for the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development, has recently been named to Canada’s Most Powerful Women Top 100 in the CP Skilled Trades category, presented by Women’s Executive Network (WXN). We sat down for a brief virtual Q&A to highlight this achievement.
Responses have been edited for length and clarity.
Canadian Manufacturing: How did you start getting involved in Skills Ontario?
I love my trade, and I also love to organize and manage. Volunteering and advocating in this space for skilled trades and technologies for so long, including Skills Ontario, was a perfect fit for me. I have seen what the programs in this organization can do for a student, and competing in the Skills Ontario Competition myself in the Industrial Mechanic Millwright category, it changed my life. Working here, I can help to create and promote programming for students that will enhance the opportunities for them to explore the skilled trades and technologies, creating pathways, programming and opportunities for students to learn, grow and succeed!
Canadian Manufacturing: Can you name any important mentors for you in this accomplishment?
Absolutely. I’ve been lucky enough to have multiple mentors across broad disciplines and careers, but I have to highlight my lead hand in the 2nd year of my apprenticeship. He noticed how much I was struggling, took me under his wing and really lifted me up. He got me to a place where I needed to be for success and was extremely helpful. To date, I’ve had several mentors to guide me in Leadership, some of their advice, has helped to shape me into the leader I am today, and to continue to grow and be a mentor to others.
Canadian Manufacturing: What do you think are some common barriers preventing women from entering the skilled trades?
There’s a couple of stigmas. There’s the strength stigma, that we don’t have as much strength, or more importantly, people forget it’s critical that people work smarter, not harder. There’s also a stigma from employers still who are hesitant for one reason or another to hire women. Diversity programs certainly help in this aspect, allowing women to feel more comfortable knowing that there are programs that have their back.
Canadian Manufacturing: What are you currently working on at Skills Ontario?
We’re in the midst of creating virtual career exploration events and conferences for women in trades. We are also in the process of moving our annual provincial competition to a virtual environment. The Skills Ontario Competition that we host every year as the largest in Canada, will be called the Virtual Skills Ontario Competition in 2021. We also just finished a 3 part online series around the International Day of the Girl for girls aged 5-11 to inspire their interest in skilled trades and technologies.
Canadian Manufacturing: What’s a piece of advice you’ve gotten that’s really rung true for you and you’ve used in your professional career?
Making a mistake doesn’t define who you are as a person, it’s how we recover is what comes to define us. Mistakes are how we learn, improve and evolve to be the best we can be, and to teach others.
Canadian Manufacturing: What’s a piece of advice you’d give to someone else considering a career in the skilled trades?
The more knowledge you have, the more opportunities you understand to make the best decisions for yourself, for your career choice. You cannot be, what you cannot see. Learn about as many different careers as possible, ask questions, and network. Make sure to ask questions surrounding not only the every day activities, but the atmosphere, and the various skill sets and future possibilities in where that skilled trade can take you.