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March 8, 2019

Editorial: Learning from women in the forest sector

In celebration of International Women’s Day today, we interviewed 10 women from forest product companies across Canada with the goal of sharing their stories, career advice, and management tips. Editor Maria Church shares her takeaways from the project.

Breaking the glass: Q&A with Tolko trader Judy Johnston

Judy Johnston is a plywood sales representative for Tolko Marketing and Sales in Vernon, B.C. She has been in the forest industry 43 years. Her resolve to advance in the industry in spite of traditional gender roles helped pave the path for future women in forestry.

Career change: Q&A with Conifex electrician Jillian Pritchard

Jillian Pritchard is a newly ticketed electrician with Conifex Timber in Mackenzie, B.C. At 29 years old, Jillian decided it was time for a 180-degree career change from liberal arts to the trades. Nearly three years into her job with Conifex, Jillian says she is both lucky and grateful to have taken that leap of faith.

Road to management: Q&A with Interfor’s Marlene Hall

Marlene Hall is the U.S. Southeast production co-ordination manager for Interfor in Peachtree City, Ga. Her 25-year career began in production at an Alberta OSB plant where she was the first woman ever hired. Now she oversees a team of production co-ordinators from nine mills in the U.S. southeast.

Bush life: Q&A with silviculture supervisor Rashelle Lala

Rashelle Lala is a silviculture supervisor for Blue Ridge Lumber, a subsidiary of West Fraser in Whitecourt, Alta. New to the industry in 2015, Rashelle says it was encouragement from family and a draw to the outdoors that led her from her city roots to a career in the bush. And she hasn’t looked back.
Featured News 
Estelle Setterland

At home in the mill: Q&A with sawmill supervisor Estelle Setterland

Estelle Setterland is the sawmill supervisor at EACOM’s Ear Falls mill in northwestern Ontario. Starting out as a manual grader in the planer mill, Estelle says she learned to work smarter, not harder, to earn an excellent reputation in traditionally male production roles. » Read more...
Michelle Mercer

Diversity wins: Q&A with Tolko’s Michelle Mercer

Michelle Mercer is Tolko’s new HR advisor of diversity and inclusion in Vernon, B.C. After 21 years with Tolko – first as a temp, then 15 years in the woodlands department and seven as an executive assistant – Michelle recently took on a brand-new position that aims to increase diversity and inclusion at Tolko. She hopes to eventually eliminate the need for her job. » Read more...

Embracing the job: Q&A with Canfor senior forester Judy Vasily

Judy Vasily, a registered professional forester, is the senior manager of strategic planning and business development in the Residual Fibre Group at Canfor Pulp in Prince George, B.C. As she advanced in her career, Judy was often the only woman in the room. She is now happy to be inspiring a growing number of women joining the industry. » Read more...

In her blood: Q&A with West Fraser shift co-ordinator Jessica Williams

Jessica Williams is a shift co-ordinator at West Fraser’s Williams Lake Plywood in Williams Lake, B.C. With encouragement from family in the forest industry, the 28-year-old is embracing a career path in safety. » Read more...

Making connections: Q&A with senior forester Cheryl Hodder

Cheryl Hodder is a planning and silviculture manager with Conifex Timber for the company’s Mackenzie and Fort St. James sawmills in northern B.C. Reflecting on her 21-year career, the registered professional forester says personal connections and mentorship are essential to seeing more women enter and stay in the forestry workforce. » Read more...

Getting outdoors: Q&A with EACOM chief forester Jennifer Tallman

Jennifer Tallman is the chief forester for EACOM in Ontario. The 27-year veteran registered professional forester says it’s encouraging to see a growing number of women in the field who can offer a unique approach to management. » Read more...

Advocating for change: Q&A with FPAC’s Kate Lindsay

Kate Lindsay is the vice-president, sustainability and environmental partnerships at the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC). Kate says an early interest in the forest led to her career as a biologist-turned-forestry executive. She believes organizational champions or mentors are an important part of helping young people, especially women, succeed. » Read more...

Montreal Wood Convention

March 19-22, 2019
Location: Montreal
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International Mass Timber Conference

March 19-22, 2019
Location: Portland, Ore.
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National Heavy Equipment Show

March 28-30, 2019
Location: Toronto
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Carrefour Forêts

April 2-5, 2019
Location: Quebec City
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