Thank you for nominating me for the 2013 APEGBC Council. I look forward with anticipation to this natural next step in my service to British Columbia and to the engineering and geoscience professions. As councillor, I hope to improve the general reputation of the Association and its members, to promote gender balance and diversity, and to advocate for all aspects of fairness in our profession.
As I become more involved in professional community outreach, I am increasingly aware that the reputation of engineering and geoscience is having a negative impact on our youth, and their parents and counsellors. We are seen as introverted, somewhat socially inept and intolerant people; this perception dissuades young engineers and geoscientists from entering the profession. I believe that, for the long-term success of engineering and geoscience in the global community, we must evolve our reputation to reflect who we truly are: responsible and knowledgeable public stewards who value professionalism, integrity, fairness, inclusivity and service to the community.
Evolution of Public Perception
As an Association, therefore, we hold the responsibility to improve that public perception of engineers and geoscientists. Efforts underway at our educational institutions teach students increased awareness of the needs of the community and of each other through ethical case studies and community projects. Branch events that invite public attendance and participation, such as the Spaghetti Bridge Competition at Camosun College, Math Challengers, and the Skills Canada Competition, raise awareness in the community about APEGBC.
These activities are vital and necessary, and do have a positive affect. As Outreach Coordinator for the Victoria Branch, it has been my focus to coordinate our efforts in this area, but are they enough? Not so far…
Modeling Diversity Through Gender Balance
The Association must somehow encourage its members to model diversity throughout our organization. It is only through diversity that the broadest spectrum of possible and potential solutions to design problems is accessible — and, as the global population is approximately 50% female, the most influential aspect of diversity is gender balance.
APEGBC council authorized a task force at the 2012 AGM (Women in Engineering and Geoscience Task Force) to investigate the issue of gender balance and make recommendations for future action. I assert that the Association must itself model gender balance and diversity on our Council. Organizations have the ability to influence change through the actions of the leadership team; APEGBC needs more women on council.
The Way Ahead
As I talked with professionals, members and non-members of APEGBC, about my vision for the future of engineering and geoscience, the two topics mentioned above consistently resonated. I heard stories about the challenges men are facing in the healthcare industry to overcome gender prejudices, so similar to those women are still facing as minorities in executive levels in all industries such as sports, accounting, medicine and law. I heard comparable stories from professionals in small, medium and very large corporations, about bias issues that arise as they vie for contracts against seemingly immovable competition.
These stories reveal a foundational concern: fairness for all. Professionals want their concerns to be heard and they want processes that are fair and transparent. They want to understand why decisions are made and they want to know that unfair practices are investigated and changed. APEGBC has jurisdiction over engineering and geoscience and has influence with other professions. We can make a difference.
I believe in and value fairness and the inclusion of all voices at all levels. I have the experience to review and design processes and policies that are fair and transparent. I consult and solicit feedback before making recommendations. If elected to council, I will ensure all voices and needs are heard.
- Outreach Coordinator, APEGBC-Victoria Branch (13 years on executive)
- Camosun College Board of Governors (3 years)
- Academic Governance Council of British Columbia (3 years)
- Education Council, Camosun College (6 years)
For more information about me, please view my LinkedIn profile at:http://ca.linkedin.com/in/kathytarnailokhorst
For information about the vision, mission and values of APEGBC, visit: http://apeg.bc.ca/about/mission.html
Official Candidate Statement, 2013 Election
Niall Parker said:
What is position on continuing professional development ? Do you feel it needs to be made mandatory or left to the individual members to be responsible for ?
Kathy Tarnai-Lokhorst said:
Thank you for this question. I feel that continuous professional development is an obligation we have as professionals. As to whether it is a something to be controlled by the association, I am not convinced.
As professionals, we should be learning and growing and maintaining our currency because we each believe it to a necessary requirement to be the best we can be as engineers and geoscientists. If we only do this because our professional association — a group of our peers — requires it, then perhaps we are not behaving as true professionals.
My integrity will not allow my knowledge to become stale. Will yours?
Do you and I need the association to hold us accountable? Maybe..or maybe our colleagues do. As far as I’m concerned, the jury is still out…