What are you most passionate about?
Making the world easier for those who have been oppressed, hurt, abused, or have experienced hardship due to racism, discrimination, prejudice, or unconscious bias and being a safe place to walk with them while they heal.
Who is your greatest role model?
Elder Evelyn – she has been through many experiences in her life, yet she has time for me, to laugh, and makes me feel like I am family.
What is your greatest accomplishment in your career trajectory?
I have been a part of so many projects, programs, and organizations that have influenced positive change for the engineering profession, but I would say my biggest accomplishment is the people I have developed, influenced, and inspired.
What advice would you give to new or emerging leaders who are building their careers?
Practice building courage in small ways and then look for opportunities and take them. You never know where they will lead.
What do you think is the biggest challenge for the next generation?
The biggest challenge for any generation is that you carry the bundle from the past generations – there are a lot of things that will need healing and correcting from climate change to systematic racism to growing population without adequate means for food.
Jessica Vandenberghe, P.Eng., M.Sc. is born of the Dene Thá First Nation, is a sixties scoop survivor and raised in an inclusive German farming family in northern Alberta. Her exceptional career is based on two engineering degrees from the University of Alberta. She has worked in the oil sands, mining, regulatory, infrastructure, consulting industries and academia. She is the Assistant Dean, Engineering Community and Culture at the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Alberta. Her consulting firm, Guiding Star Consulting walks in a good way with Indigenous Peoples and Communities and those who want to build meaningful relationships to build strong vibrant communities. She is a mother of two and is passionate about ensuring inclusive organizations and equitable frameworks. She sits on many boards and Councils that contribute to STEM outreach, support underrepresented demographics, build capacity and lead to healing, ethical behaviour and trusted relationships.
To learn more about the Bridge to Gender Equality Project, go HERE.