Marianne Quimpere has been with Sherritt for 6.5 years. She is a Senior Environmental Advisor and the Fort Site Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator. She is also part of the leadership team of the first Employee Resource Group established to cultivate an inclusive environment that supports and encourages women through opportunity, collaboration and advocacy: the LeadHERS group. Marianne is a registered Environmental Professional and has recently earned a Management Development certificate from the University of Alberta. Here is Marianne in her own words:
Why is diversity and inclusion (D&I) important to you?
It’s important to me that not only are we hiring people from diverse backgrounds but that we’re positioning those people to succeed by supporting their unique needs. Without a diverse workforce, you’re limiting new ideas. I want to know that when I come in to work every day I can feel comfortable being my authentic self, and I want to know that others feel the same way. We are all happier, more creative and more productive when we’re able to be ourselves at work. The differences between us, our uniqueness, should be valued and celebrated.
What is the importance of leadership support and collaboration for D&I?
Without leadership support, it’s impossible to sustain any of the D&I changes. Our leaders must show their teams the importance of creating an inclusive environment. Many of our leaders and influencers within the organization are engaged in our D&I initiatives. We saw this through the high participation in our International Women’s Day events across the company. It is critical for D&I coordinators to collect feedback from leaders, including suggestions on how to implement effective changes, what kind of challenges they’re facing, and what kind of improvements and behaviours they are seeing.
I think we have good collaboration and information sharing between the divisions and the global D&I committee. Each division faces its own challenges based on differences in our workforce, location and types of operations. One of the things we’ve been doing really well is having overarching directives while still allowing each division to identify and address their unique challenges and strengths.
What do you think the opportunities are for both the Fort Site and Sherritt in the advancement of D&I?
I think that over the past few years Sherritt has come a long way, but there is opportunity to go even further. Being an old site, the Fort Site has some unique challenges as our facilities were built for a workforce in the 1950s. Updating our infrastructure will help position Sherritt to achieve the goal of doubling the percentage of our female workforce by 2030.
One of the growth opportunities we have is to better understand the unconscious biases we hold as individuals and as an organization. Becoming conscious of these biases will help us to overcome them and become allies to groups that are currently underrepresented. We need people from different backgrounds and different experiences, who think differently, to come up with new ideas and opportunities for improvement that will keep the company competitive and drive efficiencies.
“Marianne is passionate about diversity and inclusion. As a Senior Environmental Advisor, she often handles challenging assignments and drives cultural change. She has tackled her diversity and inclusion role in her typical organized and forthright manner, engaging leaders across the site and pushing us to recognize our unconscious bias.”
– Greg Poholka, P.Eng., Director, Sustainability