150 Days of Canadian Women in STEM: Week 18 Wrap Up

By Jennifer Smith Gray on June 18, 2017 under CanWomenSTEM150

Science, Technology, Engineering, Math — we have all of the STEM disciplines covered this week in the 150 Days of Canadian Women in STEM social media campaign. We showcased a leading researcher and physician, an engineer and senior telecommunications executive, a math educator, an environmental scientist, and two technology leaders. Once again, we are proud to bring attention to inspiring Canadian women in a wide variety of STEM fields. If you missed any of their profiles, you can catch up here:

  • Dr. Gabrielle Horne, Clinical scholar award winning cardiology researcher

  • Opal Kelly, Senior IT Auditor at TD Bank

  • Cheryl Chan, restoration ecology specialist and Master of Environmental Studies student at the University of Waterloo

  • Natalija Pavic, enterprise technology sales professional

  • Vanessa Vakharia, math educator dedicated to breaking down gendered stereotypes in STEM education

  • Borika Vucinic, Vice-President at Bell Network, overseeing engineering support and operations and project engineering and network support teams


Get your tickets today for the Canadian Women in STEM Conference
on 
October 14th!

Between now and July 15, follow hEr VOLUTION’s 150 Days of Canadian Women in STEM on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter
 to read unique and inspiring stories of Canada’s females who are having an impact in STEM.

Re-post and share and forward!

 Learn more about 150 Days of  Canadian Women in Stem.

Visit the blog for a wrap up of the featured stories each week. 

Use hashtag #CanWomenSTEM150 to help us spread the share these women’s stories.

150 Days of Canadian Women in STEM: Week 17 Wrap Up

By Jennifer Smith Gray on June 11, 2017 under CanWomenSTEM150

For the past 17 weeks, we have been learning a lot about women in STEM. The 150 Days of Canadian Women in STEM social media campaign has introduced us to wide variety of women from all over Canada. We have learned about these women’s career paths, and how important the idea of gender equality in science, technology, math, and engineering fields is to them. We have learned about the diverse paths that each one has taken to get where they are now, and what they do to help inspire other women and girls. It has been fascinating to see the profiles and watch the database of female role models grow each week.

One other thing that we have learned is that these women are generous with their time, but they are also very busy. As a result, we have moved the date of the wrap-up event, the Canadian Women in STEM Conference. The original date of July 15th, set to coincide with when the social media campaign wraps up, is in the heart of our all-too-short summer and not ideal for many attendees. The new fall date, should enable more professionals and students to attend and we are excited about how plans are continuing to take shape.

In the meantime, you can read some more profiles of inspiring Canadian women in STEM fields. Here are the six that were featured this week:


Get your tickets today for the Canadian Women in STEM Conference
on 
July 15th October 14th!

Between now and July 15, follow hEr VOLUTION’s 150 Days of Canadian Women in STEM on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter
 to read unique and inspiring stories of Canada’s females who are having an impact in STEM.

Re-post and share and forward!

 Learn more about 150 Days of  Canadian Women in Stem.

Visit the blog for a wrap up of the featured stories each week. 

Use hashtag #CanWomenSTEM150 to help us spread the share these women’s stories.



Making Healthcare More Affordable: Q&A With Saeideh Mohajer and Dilesha Stelmach

By Catherine Chea on June 6, 2017 under #STEM4Every1

One of the big challenges that many Canadians face is having affordable healthcare. In fact, Canada’s health care system is the developed world’s most expensive universal access health care program after adjusting for the age of the population. In 2014, 52,513 Canadians travelled beyond our borders to seek medical treatment, as the health care system could not comply with the needs and demands of a substantial number of Canadian patients.

Fortunately, our healthcare problem can be alleviated with adequate benefit plans. Recently, I interviewed Saeideh Mohajer and Dilesha Stelmach. These two women are pushing forward more affordable healthcare plans for companies and organizations to adopt. Not only that, they are also inspiring others to overcome challenges and to make positive differences in their careers. Below is a transcript of our discussion.

 

Who: Saeideh Mohajer, Assistant Vice President & Commercial Leader at Aon Hewit

Q1: Can you tell me a little about yourself and what inspired your chosen career path?

I currently work at Aon Hewit, a professional services firm providing a broad range of risk, retirement and health solutions. What inspired me to get into this industry is the realization of our flawed healthcare system after having gotten very sick and not having coverage for my treatment. I want to help others have access to resources when needed by designing health and benefits program, as well as retirement programs, for multi-national organizations.

Q2: What makes your work significant and how does it affect our society?

The Canadian health landscape is very dynamic and is changing every day. People are living much longer, we have thousands of baby boomers retiring every year, and new drugs are coming to the market. These types of drugs can treat illnesses as opposed to treating merely symptoms. More people need access to these drugs, which aren’t covered by provincial healthcare systems. My company provides avenues and resources to people, so they can have access to more treatments and live a longer and healthier life.

Q3: What do you think was your biggest career challenge?

The life that I’m living now is a miracle. I’d have never thought I’d be here, despite my humble beginning. When I immigrated to Canada, I didn’t speak the language, I was a minority, my parents didn’t have a lot of money. It was difficult to have access to the knowledge, resources, and role models that I needed to help me become successful.

Q4: What would you recommend for other people to make a difference?

It doesn’t really matter whether you get involved in this particular cause as it relates to healthcare, or benefits or rtirement. In general, a role model can help lead you down the right path. Whether it’s through finding a mentor, reading biographies, following influential people on social media, a role model would inspire you and encourage you to do better. Taking little steps along the way and educating yourself are also important ingredients for success.

 

Who: Dilesha Stelmach, ‎Group Underwriter at Green Shield Canada

Q1: Can you tell me a little about yourself and what do you love about your career?

I’m a group underwriter at Green Shield Canada, a Canadian not-for-profit benefits specialist. As an underwriter, I analyse risk in insurance proposals, determine policy terms, and calculate premiums on the basis of actuarial, statistical and background information. I love that my job challenges me and requires me to think logically. It’s also great that I’m leaving a positive impact by making health and dental coverage more accessible.

Q2: What makes your work significant and why should more people be aware of it?

It’s important because it’s not very well known, yet there is a growing demand in this field. Being an underwriter is not something many people would consider in a career class. Many students go into mathematics thinking they will become accountants or engineers, or some other profession. However, as our population grows and ages, there’s a greater need for healthcare coverage. We need underwriters who can help price health benefits in a way that’s attractive to employers, so they can adopt the plan, and provide a safety net for their employees.

 Q3: What do you think is your biggest career challenge?

There isn’t a lot of young people and women in underwriting, so it can be intimidating. One of my biggest challenges is getting a head start and earning respect in the workplace. Luckily, I found a great mentor in actuarial sciences.

Q4: What advice would you give to others when it comes to getting into STEM?

hEr vOLUTION’s website is a great place for starters. I also recommend networking and reaching out to counsellors, mentors—ask about your options. It’s important to have faith in yourself. Give things a try and don’t think that failure is the end of the road. If your math skills aren’t that strong, work at it and don’t give up. As well, regardless of your field or industry, it’s very important to have a mentor to help guide you to success.

 

Hear Saeideh and Dilesha speak at the Canadian Women in STEM Conference

Saeideh and Dilesha will be speaking at the Canadian Women in STEM Conference on October 14, 2017, in Toronto. They will be joining other speakers as well to share their stories and recommendations on how to close the gender gap in STEM. To learn more about this conference, visit the hEr VOLUTION event page here http://bit.ly/StemmingUp.