An international Woman's Day Q&A

Andrea McQuillinNicole CadekSharon Supriya BoscoKaren Hutt

Our workplaces are stronger when we have balanced teams. And in honour of this year’s International Women’s Day, we invited four women from across Nova Scotia Power to join us in a conversation about exactly that. From supporting inclusion and diversity, to the lessons they’ve learned throughout their careers, they shared their wisdom and perspectives.

Q: This year’s International Women’s Day theme is “balance for better”—what does that mean to you?

Karen Hutt, President and CEO: We’re in an exciting time of change where we’re advancing inclusion and diversity in our workforce not only because it’s the right thing to do, but because it makes good business sense. Greater gender balance and diversity mean more ideas and perspectives at the table. If organizations want to innovate and grow, diversity and inclusion are critical pieces.

Nicole Cadek, Manager, Customer Experience: International Women’s Day and “balance for better”, make me think about my mom. When she had me, she didn’t have the same opportunities that I’ve had—she couldn’t have imagined that these doors would be open. I’m grateful for her support and for how far we’ve come as a society. We’ve pushed the doors open. International Women’s Day is about celebrating our progress, but still recognizing that we have work to do.

Andrea McQuillin, Transmission & Distribution Supervisor: Women bring different ways of relating to people and that’s very valuable. As a woman in field operations, it hasn’t always been easy—especially in a role that’s traditionally been held by men. Women bring more possibilities, different ways of approaching work and new perspectives.

Q: What steps should organizations take to support gender balance and diversity in the workplace?

Karen Hutt: In order to be successful, organizations must be deliberate about their actions by setting plans in place that will create results and make a difference. And we need to be prepared to change course on how things may have operated in the past. We need to let our teams shape the diversity and inclusion conversation—our work will have a clearer purpose and a bigger impact.

Nicole Cadek: It’s not enough to hire diverse staff, you need to make sure that their experience and perspectives are being heard. At Nova Scotia Power, we serve a diverse customer base and it’s important that as a company we reflect and understand who we’re serving.

Sharon Supriya Bosco, Quality Assurance Analyst: You need to build in time to talk about inclusion. People don’t always realize when they’re impacted by biased thinking. By openly listening and discussing these issues we can become more aware and more respectful.

Q: What’s one piece of advice you’d share with women who are getting started in their career?

Nicole Cadek: If you want a raise, or you want to advance, don’t be afraid to ask. If the answer is no, find out what you need to work on in order to get there. Be true to yourself and confident in your abilities.

Andrea McQuillin: Respect the people you work with. I would not have gotten through my apprenticeship or have made it as an operations supervisor if I didn’t have the support of the people around me. Work on those relationships and be a part of building stronger teams.

Karen Hutt: Do good work, help those around you succeed, and use your voice—we need to hear it.

Q: How is Nova Scotia Power working to build more inclusive and balanced teams?

Karen Hutt: Last year as part of our Diversity and Inclusion strategy, we launched the D&I Network that is focused on tackling these issues, and on creating a safe space for people across Nova Scotia Power to ask questions and discuss the things that need to change. The network has grown to over 80 employee members and I’m committed to continuing this conversation to make sure it’s engrained in our culture.

Nicole Cadek: Hiring HR specialists that are the driving force behind the inclusion and diversity mandate demonstrates how important it is to the company. The Diversity and Inclusion Network are ambassadors for change. We still have work to do, but we need to be brave and bold and look at where we are now, and where we need to go.

Sharon Supriya Bosco: It’s so encouraging to see more women in leadership positions. It’s inspiring and it builds better teams. I’m proud to see us celebrating diversity and raising awareness of the challenges. All of this is bringing more positive energy to the company. We can join hands and create better workplaces—for now and for the next generation.

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