January 28th, 2020. 5pm-9pm. Park Theatre, Winnipeg.
When I was asked by the Manitoba Women in Construction if I would be interested in being part of their annual Building Her Story panel event, I leapt at the chance. My mind flashed back 3 years…
In September 2016, my partner Caleb and I bought MG Electrical/Mechanical Services. I was still working at Westburne at the time as the Midwest Marketing Coordinator and National Champion for their website, but in 2017, I made the full transition to owner/operator, a new role for me.
To say it was a difficult transition was an understatement. Caleb had worked at the company for the past 6 years but I had not. I didn’t yet know all of our staff, what the internal processes were (if they existed) or even where files were stored. There was no mentoring from the previous owners and the process of buying the company had been challenging and stressful. My role and title felt meaningless as I felt overwhelmed and lost in a new world.
I decided the best way to overcome these feelings and better position myself in the unknown would be to network and talk to other women who were doing it. Our account manager at the time invited me to SHEday, an event I had never attended before, and there, she introduced me to 3 women in the industry. Her passion for bringing other women together and confidence helped me to build my own. Through these women, I met more women in the construction industry and began to join groups and attend networking events.
One of my first events was Building Her Story, in 2017. I listened to Jodi Moskal and Nicole Chabot describe how they climbed the ladder in a male dominated industry and the barriers they faced and overcame. They were leaders. They were respected. They knew their stuff. They weren’t afraid to demand the respect they deserved. Their stories spoke to me and it’s amazing what representation can do. Seeing those women on stage made me look inward. I decided that I could do this. I also silently vowed that one day, I would be on that panel, sharing my story…
I encourage women in the industry to attend this event, and to bring other women with them. It’s a great event for networking, and I will be around after the event to chat to anyone that wants to. You can buy tickets here.
Post written by Muriel Torchia Shyjak, Owner and Director of Operations of MG Electrical/Mechanical Services Ltd.