We can all relate to the feeling of gravitating towards a friendly face at a work event. Someone who stands out, like you. United by never having to wait in line for a bathroom at a function or meeting. This is how I met Jess, crossing paths at forestry events, always excited to see her, even more excited for a chance to work with her on forestry outreach and education projects.
On one such occasion, while brainstorming ways to take over the world, we decided to make it official. Let’s start a networking group, as a means to seek out more women like us, and help each other out however we can.
Depending on where you work, or in what part of the forest sector, you might be surrounded by like-minded females, or you might be the only one. I have spent my career in rural environments, and am typically one of the only women in the room, and sometimes the only person under 50 years old. I am certainly not complaining about this – I have had many excellent male mentors and colleagues, and have learned so much from them. Maybe I’m biased, but I think forestry attracts some pretty amazing people! But, there is no reason for forestry to be a male-dominated field, and it surprises me sometimes that it still is. Less than 20% of Registered Professional Foresters in Ontario are female.
I cannot describe how much I value the opportunity to meet up with Jess, and other Women in Wood, to share ideas and experiences. It seems like our social and professional gatherings always result in a long list of ideas. I am very happy to report that my encounters and connections with females in the field are on the upswing. We have to lift each other up, help each other out and invite others to join us.
We’re excited about the potential for relationships to be built, mentorships to be initiated, and experiences to be shared.