Muriel Torchia Shyjak, co-owner of MG Services, was invited to speak on the 4th annual MWC Building Her Story Panel at the Park Theatre in Winnipeg. The main topic of discussion was “Mentorship”. Muriel has had previous co-workers and managers she considered mentors but none for when her and Caleb purchased the company in 2016.
“Business ownership was something I jumped into. While I wasn’t new to the electrical or construction industry, I had never been in a position where I had to make all of the decisions. It was very daunting,” she admitted.
Trying to find a mentor for this new role was something she had been looking for but wasn’t able to find. “I was first introduced by our bank manager to someone from a trade school and project manager in the industry at SHEday. I spent my first year and a half networking and attending as many events as I could where I would introduce myself and our company to other women.”
Over time, and saying “yes” to many volunteer opportunities, Muriel had built herself a network of people should began to call on when she needed help or advice. Having friends and peers from other industries also gave her a broader view of solutions and innovations that could help her own business.
One of the first events Muriel attending was the Building Her Story panel, at the time, presented in the Winnipeg Construction Association training room. Watching the other women on stage, she wanted to one day be sitting where they were. Three years later and she was invited to take part in the event she had set her sights on.
The Park Theatre filled up and Muriel, along with the other panelists, began to speak about their experiences with mentorship and mentoring. Using Slido, and with a large screen behind the panelists on stage, the audience was able to use the app to ask the panelists questions of their own, which led to a very interactive event. People wanted to know how the industry was changing and how room could be made for more women to enter and feel welcomed into the construction industry. Heads nodded as the audience listened to the stories and advice from the group on stage.
The event was a huge success and many people from the audience stayed after the event to introduce themselves and to speak to the panelists in person.
If you are new to the industry, these are great events to attend and to reach out and say hello to someone new. Those risks are what bring us the greatest rewards.