I love puzzles, even as a really little kid. Not the jigsaw kind, rather the kind that were brain twisters where you have to fit a dozen plastic pieces of different shapes and sizes into a nice, neat rectangle. In grade 8, I decided I wanted to be forensic scientist (this was long before CSI became a thing!), because it was detective work, pulling together incomplete clues to create a picture of what had happened.
As it turns out, I enjoyed an exciting, multi-decade career as a Geophysicist starting in the mining industry working at a base metal mine with the notable point of being the mine closest to the centre of the earth, and then moving "out west" where I spent over 3 decades in the oil and gas industry. Through this career, I found a way to fulfill my love of solving puzzles (problems) and piecing together the geologic history (rather than crime) of what happened by visualizing the earth's subsurface to locate oil and gas accumulations. I worked with very small entrepreneurial companies to very large organizations including Davidson Tisdale Mines, Kidd Creek Mines, Geo-X Seismic Processing, Shell, Alberta Energy Company (AEC), EnCana, Enerplus and Husky Energy.
As I experienced this life journey, I was often the only woman or certainly one of very few working in a male-dominated profession. This taught me valuable lessons on how to communicate regardless of gender, position, or power. It taught me to have confidence in my ideas, to speak up sooner, to lead when I might rather take the easier route of following.
My earliest role involved geophysical data acquisition which, in other words meant heavy lifting , slogging through thick brush, having near-death experiences in cedar swamps and learning to manage a small team of men who knew the terrain a lot better than I did. I also found myself to be the only woman working underground, testing technology limits to determine if we could map out ore bodies from inside the mine. From my earliest days as a geophysicist, I was interested in testing and applying the science to answer questions focused on business objectives.
The move to oil and gas industry exposed me to a range of roles including data processor (signal processing), seismic interpreter (predicting oil and gas accumulations using a range of imaging techniques), mentor, sponsor, advisor, coach, leader. My years spent at Shell, AEC and EnCana were vital in allowing me to learn my technical trade, and grow my skills such that I could pivot from being technical do-er to Chief Geophysicist at Enerplus and later at Husky Energy. My greatest accomplishments could be that I reference the hundreds of millions of dollars that I helped companies make during my tenure, or advising on multi-billion dollar projects, but that's not how I see it. My greatest accomplishment has been how I have helped people throughout my career to find their path, find their confidence, their voice, do their job extremely well and get recognition for it. To change the world for better by providing energy for people.