Career Profile: Nathalie Beaudry, Director, Field Operations
To mark the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, we’re spotlighting Nathalie Beaudry, Director of Field Operations for Bell Technical Solutions, who has been growing her career at Bell for almost 30 years.
Concerned by the small number of women applying to engineering and technical roles, she started a conference in 1999 for young girls interested in sciences and technology called Les filles et les sciences: un duo électrisant!.
In November 2016, Nathalie received the Meritorious Service Decoration from the Governor General of Canada for her work.
1. What were your aspirations growing up?
NB: When I was growing up, I didn’t quite understand what engineers did. Like many other young people, I wanted to work with and help people in order to make the world a better place, but didn’t know a career in science or technology was a way to achieve that goal. I thought studying sciences would confine me in a lab, wearing a white coat, working on equations by myself all day.
Almost 20 years into my career at Bell, I’ve seen firsthand how fulfilling a career in science and technology can be. As Director of Field Services for Bell Technical Solutions, I support our technicians who install and repair Fibe TV and Internet services. This means I’m able to make life better for both my team members and Bell customers.
2. What is Les filles et les sciences: un duo électrisant!, and what inspired you to start it?
NB: “Girls and science, an electrifying duo!” is a free annual conference that highlights careers in science and technology through group activities, demonstrations and workshops for young women, teachers and parents. It also includes a “Career Shopping” session that offers participants the opportunity to learn about potential careers in science or technology, and meet with female role models in these professions.
Earlier in my career at Bell, I was in charge of the new graduate hiring program for Network Provisioning. Bell was committed to hiring women for at least 50% of our roles, but I quickly realized there was a lack of female candidates in the fields we were recruiting for, including electrical and computer engineering.
I was determined to change that. I reached out to colleagues from other communications and technology companies, and together we developed idea of a special conference on science and technology built especially for girls. The conference would allow participants to visualize what their lives could become if they decided to study STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). This in turn helps girls make informed choices about their educational path and career. When you show teenage girls all the possibilities, practical outlets and social impact of scientific careers, all of a sudden, their outlook changes.
3. What was the greatest piece of advice you’ve ever received?
NB: I believe it is important to learn to voice your opinion. Women who are passionate are unfortunately often perceived as lacking the ability to manage their emotions. When you want to make a point, it is important to have facts and data to substantiate your position to help maintain your credibility.
It’s also important not to diminish or discredit others’ opinions based on the presumption that you know more than they do. There will always be someone who knows something you don’t, and it’s important to surround yourself with people who can balance your own weaknesses.
4. Can you tell us about your life outside of work?
NB: I’m a board member for Technoscience, a non-profit organisation that organizes science fairs and activities in schools focused on promoting science and technology to over 160,000 students every year.
I also have 3 wonderful children: Alexis, Simon and Emma, and will soon celebrate my 21st wedding anniversary.
5. What message about careers in STEM do you want to convey to young girls?
NB: The most important thing we can do for girls is to show them a variety of career possibilities so that they can make an informed choice about their educational path. Studying sciences isn’t for everyone, but it is important that girls know it’s an obtainable and fulfilling option with a wide variety of exciting, impactful career options.
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