Ontario Construction News staff writer
Brandi Ferenc, journeyperson and HVAC mechanic at Southlake Regional Health Centre in Newmarket, has been recognized as one of the 2022 Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 award winners in the Skilled Trades category.
Awards are presented by the Women’s Executive Network (WXN) at a gala at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto on Nov. 17.
“I am honoured to receive this award,” Ferenc said in a news release. “It’s been a long journey for me in the skilled trades with many obstacles. But I see change happening and I intend to continue to be a voice in this industry to overcome stigma and remove barriers for women and minorities.”
The Top 100 Awards span the private, public and not-for-profit sectors recognizing outstanding women from across Canada who advocate for workforce diversity and inspire leaders.
Ferenc is a Red Seal refrigeration mechanic/gas fitter 313a journeyperson by trade and is responsible for the heating, cooling and refrigeration systems in the hospital. She has been working in her trade for 17 years and says she has faced challenges as a woman in a male-dominated field.
The CP Skilled Trades category recognizing outstanding women who contribute immense value and demonstrate excellence in skilled trades, product or service innovation and community involvement.
Natasha Ferguson, principal at Ethelfox Construct Group, a full-service construction and development company located in Toronto that provides distinctive build and design services for residential homeowners. As one of the only female-owned and operated construction companies in Canada, Natasha’s company helps to break down barriers for women in construction. Natasha is also the co-founder of a non-profit organization called A Women’s Work, which supports the development of women in the trades.
Rokhaya Gueye, a carpenter, mentor/coach and community organizer, member of the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee at Carpenters Local 27, delegate at Toronto and York Regional Labour Council, ambassador and mentor at TCBN, mentor of international students, sponsorship lead at Manyatta Network, built playgrounds for children battling critical illnesses at Million Dollar Smiles, and crew lead at Habitat for Humanity. Rok is passionate about social change, women and youth empowerment.
- Stephanie Thompson is an engineering leader promoting science and technology innovation in the Niagara area. With an extensive 21-year career at General Motors, she leads engineering teams on capital investment projects and lean manufacturing. In 2018, she created a new social enterprise to break down all barriers for women in STEM..
“I’ve been in this field for many years and the number of women we see in skilled trades is low, especially those governed by the Red Seal Interprovincial Standards Program,” said John Marshman, vice-president, capital, facilities and business development. “It’s wonderful to see Brandi championing women and diversity in skilled trades. We are thrilled she is being recognized for her hard work.”