Nicole Wiedman

Community Relations Advisor, MEG Energy

Describe a typical day

I generally wake up pretty early and press snooze… repetitively. 

In all honestly, there truly is no “typical day” as a Community Relations Advisor. A large portion of my job requires me to be travelling to different communities. Our team at MEG works to help communities understand more about MEG and MEG to understand more about communities. My days can vary significantly, where one day I may be hosting a consultation meeting on a project, listening to a presentation for a local or Aboriginal business opportunity, or receiving information on a community investment initiative and the next day I’m attending a trade show or a community event such as a training program graduation or a pow-wow.

The days spent in the office are interesting too. I help MEG ensure that we are addressing and mitigating concerns that local and Aboriginal community members may have in relation to our oil sands development. Therefore, I have to work with many different departments within MEG that have specific expertise, such as environment, geology and supply chain management. There are elements of consultation that are grounded in law and carry specific reporting requirements too, which puts me contact with regulatory and governing bodies at the Aboriginal community, municipal, provincial and even federal levels.  So I can be spotted jumping around from meeting to meeting, or completing some reports from my desk, all while preferably sipping on a caffeinated latte.

Perks of your job and things you like about your current company.

I think MEG is a company that is known for its forward thinking whether it is through the implementation of cogeneration (producing electricity to power our operations and sell back to the grid as a byproduct of producing steam for production), a forthcoming pilot project that would allow bitumen to be shipped in pipelines without blending light hydrocarbons and process improvements that reduce the steam that is required for SAGD operations.  Everyone at MEG strives to be innovative and creative.

MEG is also known as a company with a great corporate culture. This is exemplified as one of my coworkers organizes an all-women’s trip every spring. Each attendee pays her own way and we always have an incredible turnout – 38 fabulous women came this year! The trip provides the opportunity for us to connect with coworkers that we wouldn’t get to work with on a daily basis and fun experiences are shared by all!

I’m so fortunate to work with a great team that motivates me to work harder and smarter. MEG tends to hire truly inspiring people and I feel lucky to have the opportunity to work here!

Proudest accomplishments both in and outside of work.

At MEG, I’ve helped develop and implement a stakeholder information management program which helps our team with reporting requirements. I have also organized many Aboriginal Awareness events for the company. I’m also proud that I completed my Masters of Public Policy at the University of Calgary while working fulltime. It was an experience that honed my writing skills, taught me invaluable time management skills and introduced me to a lot of great people.

Thoughts on the future of the industry as it relates to your field.

The voice of Aboriginal communities in conversations and decision-making around land use and energy development is growing stronger by the day. In Alberta, the procedural aspects of consultation with Aboriginal communities on proposed projects are generally delegated to industrial proponents. These projects have important elements like environmental commitments and economic participation for the community and local businesses to ensure positive relationships and long-term community benefits. I play a role in managing all of that. The combination of evolving case law and changing political will is going to ensure that Aboriginal consultation becomes even more important, so long as there is an environment that is conducive to natural resource development.

Current community involvement efforts.

I try to attend as many YWE events as possible, and I lead the Golf Program at YWE.

Otherwise, this year I was able to volunteer with the Communications Team for CARE Canada’s Walk a Day in Her Shoes campaign and volunteered over the Christmas season at the Sheldon Kennedy Centre and at CUPS. I also participated in the MEG’s MOvember Move Campaign and we raised over $50,000 dollars for the MOvember Foundation.

Why YWE?

I first became involved because I wanted to meet and learn from the seriously impressive women of YWE. [I encourage everyone to have a coffee with a fellow member and you’ll see what I’m talking about.] I continue to volunteer with YWE as I’ve now met so many other extraordinary women who inspire me.

And to give a little golf spiel: I started the YWE Golf Program to help women gain confidence on the course so that they do not fear the next invite from a coworker, client or company golf tournament. There’s a lot of really exciting initiatives this year that is welcome to all skill levels – bootcamps, golf league and partnerships! Come check it out, we would love to see you!

What are you reading?

The next YWE bookclub book, obviously! Our next meeting is May 19th and we’d love for you to join us! Sign up here.