Manager, Trees and Landscape, Planning and Development Department, City of Surrey
Pacific Representative, Canadian Urban Forest Network (CUFN)
1. What are your proudest accomplishments?
I am proud of my time spent volunteering as a Director with the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture and the Invasive Species Council of B.C. I am also incredibly proud of the team of arborists that I currently work with. We have been through a lot of changes in the past four years, some of which have made things easier and some that have made things more difficult. No matter what, the team keeps going and pulls together. Change management can be difficult but acknowledging that change is needed has brought forward some really exciting opportunities for the team, myself included.
2. How has the urban forestry field changed since you first entered the profession and what are the biggest opportunities ahead for women in your field?
I started working in urban forestry 20 years ago. I was one of the few female arborists working for the City of Surrey. I would attend conferences and training sessions and be one of the only women in the room. It’s exciting to see how representation in the industry has changed. It’s not just seeing more women in the workplace, it is seeing women at all levels in the workplace. There are more female tree care professionals, consulting arborists, climbers, supervisors, and managers than I could have imagined when I started in this field. We’ve come a long way, but there is always room for improvement so it’s important to continue striving for representation in the industry. And to women entering the profession, there are so many opportunities out there for you – you just need to seek them out! Don’t be afraid to try something new as it could lead to something great.
3. What is one piece of advice you have for young girls and women that want to get into the urban forestry field?
I wish that someone had helped me to understand the importance of creating a support network when I was starting out in urban forestry. It took me a long time to become comfortable enough to seek out and create meaningful relationships with people. But when I did, I found people that I could talk to about the industry, people I could laugh and cry with, bounce ideas off of, or just be there to support each other. I gained confidence in myself once I had a support network. This confidence helped push me outside my comfort zone to try new things, which really opened the world of urban forestry to me. I was able to create new opportunities for myself and for other people. Those new opportunities have led to some really interesting experiences, jobs and volunteer roles. If I didn’t have the support of colleagues, mentors and mentees, people who I now call friends, I don’t think I would be where I am today.