SAIT honours tech and trades trailblazers on International Women’s Day

Four women were recognized as part of the 2021 conference and celebration
Four women were recognized as part of the 2021 conference and celebration

On Monday, March 8, SAIT and Women in Trades and Technology welcomed nearly 450 attendees to its third annual — and first online — International Women’s Day Conference. The conference created space for thoughtful dialogue, offered lessons in building equity and provided tools to become better allies.

During the conference, SAIT recognized four trailblazing women who exemplify equality for women in non-traditional roles. Meet SAIT’s 2021 International Women’s Day award winners.

Achievement Award winners — Melanie Ross and Tracey Chala

The Achievement Award recognizes someone who has made significant achievements in their field. This year, SAIT recognized a duo from the institution Green Building Technologies (GBT) team Melanie Ross and Tracey Chala.

Amongst their many achievements, Melanie and Tracey spearheaded SAIT's participation in the Living Building Challenge project — a home constructed outside of Cochrane in accordance with the world’s most rigorous green building rating program and sustainable design framework.

Learn more about this one-of-a-kind initiative by registering for Building what’s next: The technology behind one of the greenest homes in the world, the latest in SAIT’s digiTALKS series.

About Melanie

  • Melanie is a research manager with GBT. She brings her education, wealth of experience and passion for sustainability and innovation in the cutting-edge world of green building technologies to SAIT.
  • Her projects have focused on Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), WELL and other certifications, along with energy management, sustainability planning and policy development.
  • Through her work at SAIT and ongoing participation as a board member for both the Smart, Sustainable, Resilient Infrastructure Association and Canada Green Building Council's Alberta chapter, Melanie advocates for a green future one building at a time.

About Tracey

  • Tracey is a SAIT graduate (Architectural Technologies ’01) and currently works with Melanie as a principal investigator with GBT. Her role combines her passions for architecture, the environment and helping partners meet green building goals.
  • Tracey is developing a sustainability course for the real estate industry, is a trainer through Eco Canada's Building Environmental Aboriginal Human Resources and is licensed to instruct hands-on courses for local Indigenous communities that connect traditional ecological wisdom with western science.

Catalyst Award winner — Jill Timushka

Jill Timushka is this year’s recipient of the Catalyst Award, which recognizes someone who is driving change in their field.

  • As a welder in Alberta for more than 25 years, Jill recently started Trailblazers Inc. to recruit, support, assist and mentor women who are interested in joining the trades or are already in the industry. Her podcast features inspiring discussions with trailblazing tradeswomen.
  • Jill has been invited to speak to students attending trade programs like emPOWER and CWB Welding Foundation Women of Steel, and was featured in CWB WELD magazine as an inspiring woman in welding.
  • She also worked as Interim National Manager of Youth, Diversity, and Indigenous Relations with United Association Canada.

Futures Award winner — Emily Pyke

The Futures Award was presented to Emily Pyke for building inclusivity and equity in her field.

  • Emily, who has worked in the trades as a mechanic since she was 17, runs and operates Featuring Inspiring Women and community social media pages to promote women in the trades.
  • Mother to two daughters, Emily is a mentor with Skills Ontario, sharing her personal experiences, training and knowledge to teach young students about the beneficial aspects of entering the automotive trade.
  • She has been featured in the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce's magazine, Spectrum, has spoken on Skill Stadium and ShopTalk podcasts, and created a “day in the life” video to help elementary schools promote the trades to students.

We're on a mission to ensure everyone at SAIT feels welcomed, valued and empowered to succeed. Learn more about our Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Strategy a five-year roadmap to a more inclusive campus.

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