Celebrating women in conservation

Catherine Grenier, president and CEO of NCC (Photo by Geneviève Lesieur)

Catherine Grenier, president and CEO of NCC (Photo by Geneviève Lesieur)

March 8, 2022 | by Catherine Grenier

As I reflect on what International Women’s Day (March 8) means to me this year, I think about my own daily interactions and where my influence can make a positive impact in accelerating equality for all.

I’ve been fortunate to have always been surrounded with woman leaders and grew up in an environment where it felt natural to be me. These leaders gave me the confidence to act as an equal to all colleagues.

Since I joined the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) in 2020 as president and CEO, I continue to be inspired and humbled to see passionate and capable colleagues, many of whom are women, leading conservation and living our mission in many ways, delivering on-the-ground results. My hope is that we’ll continue to attract talent and be a workplace that supports women who will be role models for the next generation. Just take a look at this short clip of some of our staff sharing the work that they do:

Inspiring and committing to an equitable workplace requires organizational commitment from the top. Actively listening to our colleagues without judgement, understanding different perspectives and encouraging open feedback is critical. But listening without genuine action is not enough. That is why NCC’s leaders are committed to taking steps to create an equitable, diverse and inclusive work environment where all team members can feel heard, seen and understood.

These days, there are increasing opportunities for youth to learn and participate in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) activities, paving the way for related careers. I can see the opportunities that my kids have compared to previous generations, with more doors opened to STEM education and job opportunities. But we can still do better in inspiring a variety of voices — including women’s voices — within STEM fields.

We must also adjust how we work to provide an environment that is conducive for all to thrive. In the past two years, we have all embraced a flexible work environment, giving space to our staff for caregiving responsibilities. This greater flexibility will continue in the coming years. Done well, it presents an opportunity to help better balance our personal and professional life. At NCC, we are deploying efforts to make everybody feel part of the team whether working fully remotely, hybrid or in the office. We’re giving staff the tools to succeed no matter where they work. As a result, NCC was recognized by Great Place to Work® as one of Canada’s Best Workplaces for Hybrid Work. NCC is also proud to be included on the 2021 list of the Best Workplaces Managed by Women, for the second year running.

When I think of my own daughter, I am reminded that, sometimes, we need to be courageous and committed in order to encourage women to thrive and grow. The women who I am pleased to work with at NCC are among some of the best role models I know to help inspire others to thrive.

I hope you’ll join me in celebrating women’s contributions to conservation, recognizing that we still have more work to do in building an equitable, inclusive and diverse world. But look at areas of your life where you may be a role model, offer encouragement and elevate women’s and diverse voices and perspectives. Happy International Women’s Day!

Catherine Grenier (Photo by Geneviève Lesieur)

About the Author

Catherine Grenier is the President and CEO of the Nature Conservancy of Canada.

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