Congratulations to the 2017 YWE Award Winners!

Aalia Ratani
Engagement Manager
McKinsey & Company

About Aalia

A born and raised Calgarian, Aalia has certainly developed a global perspective in the energy industry through her diverse experiences. After studying chemical engineering at the University of Calgary, Aalia went on to work with Husky Energy, where she managed a $76 million capital development program, while coordinating a multi-disciplinary team of geologists, engineers, landmen, and operations staff.

When asked what the biggest risk has been in her career so far, Aalia cited the decision to pursue an MBA. “I was leaving a comfortable role at Husky to be a student again – but, at the end of the day, you have to trust your gut and do what excites you.” she said.

After pursuing an MBA in 2013 at INSEAD, where she studied both in France and Singapore, Aalia joined McKinsey. Since joining McKinsey, she has had the opportunity to work in countries all over the world, including Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States. As an Engagement Manager, Aalia is most excited about the complexity of the challenges that she faces on a day-to-day basis and the impact that her work has on the clients that she works for.

For Aalia, the YWE award is a great opportunity to draw attention to gender diversity issues, as well as to elevate the incredible work that women are doing in the industry. “The facts show the energy industry is male dominated, so it’s great to highlight women who are making a difference.” she says.

On the role of mentorship, Aalia has been grateful for the mentors and sponsors she has worked with, which has played a significant role in the opportunities she has chosen to take her career to the next level. The best advice she received was to get a global perspective on the energy industry and to continuously push herself outside of her comfort zone.

In spite of her hectic schedule, Aalia is passionate about giving back to the community by mentoring several young women both formally and informally. She has also led workshops for current and future female business leaders across Western Canada, is a Volunteer Board Member for the Aga Khan Economic Planning Board for the Prairies and a consultant on a number of pro-bono projects.

When asked “what’s next?” Aalia is keen on not having a defined plan. She recommends doing work that excites you, and to stay continuously challenged in whatever role you take on.

Congratulations Aalia!

Written by: Sarah Vandaiyar

Courtney Dragani
Senior Advisor, Enterprise Information Systems Planning

Cenovus Energy

About Courtney

As a senior advisor at Cenovus Energy, Courtney utilizes her advanced strategic planning and portfolio management proficiencies to support the development of technology initiatives for the company. In her first formal leadership role, Courtney strives to be a supportive and motivating leader, while providing opportunities for development for those that she works with.

Courtney is also an active volunteer in her community. As part of the Calgary Youth Justice’s “In the Lead” program, Courtney works with “at risk” youth to help them identify and develop leadership skills. As well, she has also contributed her time to organizations including the Rotary Club, and the Ignite Summit.

Previously, Courtney joined YWE as their Blog Coordinator, and then as the Communications Manager, where she managed a group of passionate volunteers who worked on the website, social media, newsletter and event promotion. “It was immensely gratifying to be able to curate and write unique content to support the personal and professional development of women in the energy industry,” she explains.

When asked about the role of mentorship in her career progression, Courtney recalls having a manager who acted as her advocate and was a significant part of her development. The two pieces of advice that she would offer a young professional is to be very conscious about what you can learn from your leader, and to develop a strong network to carry your career forward. “It is important to have your hands in many things, learn, and to build your network. In the early stages of your career,” she advises.

Courtney would like to use the YWE award to highlight the role of diversity and inclusion through informal coaching, as well as to share advice on career development with a broader audience. She would also like to continue to act as a YWE ambassador in order to strengthen recognition of the organization in the community.

Congratulations Courtney!

Written by: Sarah Vandaiyar

Elysse Dalla-Longa
Crude Oil Trader
Tidal Energy Marketing

About Elysse

As a Governor on the Board of the Calgary Petroleum Club, Elysse is the first female under 30 years of age to serve, and has been an instrumental voice in shaping the Club for a strong future. She began taking on a larger role at the organization after planning successful engagement events that appealed to a broad range of members. When asked what she is looking forward to contributing to the Club, she states, “What I would like to bring is an opportunity for the Club to build on the success of its business community members of today and the past with the young professionals who will be the success of the business community of the future. I want to work and learn from long term members and strengthen the Club with ways it can support young professionals.”

A born and raised Calgarian, Elysse completed a bachelor of commerce in finance at the University of Calgary before completing a three-year leadership program at General Electric in Montreal. While at GE, she developed research and data analysis skills and was part of the development of GE’s modular technology.

In the fall of 2013, Elysse joined Tidal Energy Marketing to lead the development, and implementation of the company’s first formalized Oil and Natural Gas Liquids Market Fundamentals and Analytics Reporting system. “This was a great opportunity to flex my entrepreneurial spirit,” she says,  which allowed her to take initiative beyond her comfort zone.

When asked about the role of mentors in the development of her career, Elysse recalls having a strong support group of female mentors, who helped her build a personal brand. “The most significant piece of advice I received was to be honest and open about what I have to offer, as well as the skills that you have developed,” she said.

Elysse believes that the YWE award is a great opportunity to highlight the importance of engaging the next generation of energy leaders that she is championing through her work with the Petroleum Club.

Congratulations Elysse!

Written by: Sarah Vandaiyar

Jeanette Patell
Vice President, Government Affairs and Policy

GE Canada

About Jeanette

When Jeanette Patell was asked to co-chair Alberta’s Energy Diversification Advisory Committee in 2016, she almost said no.

“I said, ‘why me?’ I’m not a vice president, I’m not a CEO, so why should I do this?” Jeanette recalled. “I was encouraged, because the response was, ‘because we have faith in you, and you need to have faith in you.’”

Jeanette, whose career in the energy industry spans nearly 10 years, is one of Young Women in Energy’s 2017 award winners. She worked in the foreign service advocating for Canadian natural resources, spent time in Washington D.C. representing Canada’s interests in agriculture, and now works for GE Canada as a government affairs and policy leader.

She also accepted the co-chair position with the province’s advisory board and is busy preparing recommendations on how to diversify Alberta’s energy sector.

Overcoming her own reservations – taking a deep breath and “diving in” to new challenges – has been a key part of Jeanette’s successful career in the energy industry.

“I think that’s one of the big obstacles that we face as women,” said Jeanette. “We’re ready to believe the doubters and we don’t always have the confidence in ourselves to take on these big challenges.”

“You don’t always know if what you do matters,” she added. “The recognition from YWE is really heartening and it’s a way for the industry to say, ‘this matters,’ and ‘your effort matters.’”

Jeanette hopes to help other women in the industry put themselves out there more and take risks that could benefit their development – both professional and personal. And she says Calgary is a fantastic place for women in energy to grow.

“Women in my domain in the energy industry have banded together to support each other,” said Jeanette.

“Oftentimes there are only a few of us women in the room, and I’ve really been impressed by the acknowledgement of that and the acknowledgement that we need to support each other,” she added.

She said organizations like YWE not only increase the visibility of women in the industry, but also foster an important sense of community.

“It’s such a huge step – even to say, ‘this matters,’” she said.

It’s a great time to be a woman in this industry, added Jeanette.

“I think that opportunities exist and we have to be ready to seize them.”

Congratulations Jeanette!

Written by: Erika Stark

Jil Macdonald
Vice President, Science and Evaluation Branch

Alberta Energy Regulator

About Jil

In personality type tests, Jil would be the perfect example of a Builder. The 2017 YWE Award winner has been building her career, and the organizations she has worked for, shaping their culture and business based on an exclusive masterplan highly influenced by Jil’s top tier education, continuous improvements principles, and all while ensuring her accomplishments leave a legacy.

Starting her career as a Geophycisist at Encana, Jill quickly moved towards integration and transversal roles that benefited from her natural leadership skills, global thinking and strategic mindset. Shortly after, Jil became a Continuous Improvement Advisor while passing her Lean/Six Sigma Green and Black Belts.

Her mantra is to challenge the status quo and build stronger organizations; but she knows this can only be successful with the appropriate input, data, and processes in place. In mid-career, Jil completed an MBA, alongside her “Performance Management in the Canadian Energy Sector” thesis. Her formal education now aligning with her values and interests, she then transitioned to the consultancy industry as a Manager of Performance Improvement for Ernst & Young.

Jil was quickly enlisted by her client where she became the Director of Operations and Continuous Improvement at the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER). In this role, Jil supported the organization transition to the Regulator it is today; she led a team of 50 diverse staff, was instrumental in shaping the new AER corporate culture, and above all, started to instill the basics of performance analytics to ensure all teams have metrics and tracking tools to monitor and improve their deliverables.

With such a proven track record of efficiency, planning management aptitude, and being praised as a pioneer eager to motivate teams towards grand challenges, she was appointed Vice President of Closure & Liability Branch only a year after being hired. This position enabled Jil to be immersed into one of the hottest topics in the Alberta oil & gas industry, with the development of the One-Stop Reclamation Certificate and launching the Inactive Well Compliance Program.

Jil has now embarked on a new adventure with the AER as the Vice President of Science & Evaluation Branch where she is excited to leverage her risk based decision making approach and data analytics skillset.

Alongside her career, Jil has been an active mentor and mentee; although at times she has witnessed negativity and competitiveness between women, she has, however, often worked with engaging and motivating leaders. Jil’s primary advice to people is to encourage everyone to grow their network, by reaching out to peers and positive leaders. Jil’s experience is  fantastic proof that one’s career belongs to them, that continuous support from your sponsors and mentors will help break barriers and that, with a dedicated mindset and diligently building personal development stepping stones, emerging leaders are recognized.

Congratulations Jil!

Written by: Charlotte Plombin

Liz Lappin
Exploration Manager
E3 Metals Corp.

About Liz

What is the link between volcanoes in Ecuador, Geothermal beer nights, an Oceanography Major, Lithium exploration, and founding a startup? Perhaps not much to you and me; but to Liz Lappin, a dynamic, passionate, and courageous professional geologist, and winner of the 2017 YWE Award, the link is quite significant.

Throughout Liz’s life, it is evident that she does not like status quo or predetermined trajectories. After completing her Geology undergraduate bachelor degree at the University of British Columbia, she acquired solid training and experience while working for EnCana (Cenovus) on international and local developments.

Early on in her career, she discovered the immense geothermal resources and associated opportunities, and although not directly working on this topic, started to self-educate herself on this renewable source of energy, which overtime morphed into her passion. A passion she decided was going to be her career.  

As if changing career paths was not challenging enough, Liz decided that she would create her own company, leveraging from her past conventional experience to counsel major producers and resource stakeholders for geothermal project evaluations. In parallel, to share knowledge and educate peers, colleagues, and the public, Liz can be found presenting Geothermal 101 at geothermal beer nights, while also volunteering for the CanGea, where she quadrupled the size of the Geothermal Ambassador Program.

Eventually, this led Liz to take on a new role, as Chair for the Alberta/Saskatchewan Policy Committee, while further being appointed as Fellow of the Energy Future Lab, to develop cooperative solutions for future energy challenges. Today, Liz is the Exploration Manager for E3 Metal Corp., leading a technical team towards the development of Southern Alberta Petro-Lithium resources while investigating the usage of geothermal for powering a local lithium mine. Within this role and her everyday interactions, Liz postulates her understanding that all energy resources in Alberta are not mutually exclusive, in that growing our province’s portfolio is the best way to revitalize our economy, repurpose infrastructure and bring new opportunities to our young skilled workforce.

Aligned with Liz’s drive to challenge industry norms, she remains a strong advocate for women and diversity in the workplace. She utilizes YWE as an influential platform to support the movement to diversify the energy sector in Alberta. A balanced lifestyle and resourcing in our native mountains and natural environment is what continues to motivate and inspire Liz with the support of her family.

Undoubtedly, it takes courage (yes, Liz got laid off a couple of years ago), creativity and determination to be an entrepreneur, a leader and trailblazer. If there’s anything we take from Liz’s journey thus far is that vulnerability is not a barrier, that we should embrace it, accept that things might not work out and forge ahead anyway!

Congratulations Liz!

Written by: Charlotte Plombin

Maja Nisbet
Program Manager, Pipeline Integrity
Enbridge Inc.

About Maja

Community engagement, dedicating time to others, and acute public service sensitivity, best characterizes Maja Nisbet’s professional and personal values. She is a highly regarded professional engineer, winner of the 2017 YWE award, and is proud to work for Enbridge - where she is considered a safety leader in the energy industry, as the Program Manager ILI Execution.

Maja’s role and responsibilities integrate planning, scheduling, and managing pipeline integrity inspection in the Western and Athabasca Canadian Regions. Technical scrutiny, public perception and stakeholder engagement dictate her daily actions and guidance she provides to her team. Maja is also an active energy advocate, who strives to ensure energy is provided to the customer beyond one commodity, as liquid and natural gas are starting to shape the future of our province diversification.

Over the past year, Maja became the Vice-Chair of Women at Enbridge in their Edmonton Chapter. The Edmonton Chapter is the largest in the company - members enjoy initiatives that bring speakers, panel discussions, themed book clubs and lunch & learn programs. Maja hopes that the exposure provided by the YWE award will provide her more visibility into other organizations and corporate cultures to learn how they celebrate diversity, encourage dialogue and break silos.

Although, public safety and engagement are a part of Maja’s daily job, it does not stop there. She is also the Chair of the Water Committee for Adopt a Village (Honduras) and member of the Rotary Club, through which she received a Centennial Rotary project award for fundraising three new water wells that her team is planning on executing in partnership with local engineering firms, municipalities and the community. This is not Maja’s first immersion into supporting underdeveloped regions: as a student, she was an active member of Engineers without Borders, serving as VP Outreach, and volunteering with the Seminar on the United Nations and International Affairs as a program counselor and Promotions Director.

Maja is a strong advocate for the power of knowledge and education, coming from an immigrant family where hard work, continuous learning, and community integration were at the foundation of her upbringing. Maja’s strength also resides in her capacity to lead and engage peers, positively motivate teams, and celebrate successes. She believes that we all need role models, and that mentorship is an invaluable opportunity for both the mentee and mentor. Maja goes beyond consensual statements, asserting that mentorship is an absolute requisite in one’s career and that they are duties and responsibilities not to be taken lightly.

With that being said, Maja easily associates and connects her mentoring journey with that of her recent Ironman experience; reaching out to others to grow your network and challenge yourself to achieve a goal. In fact, as a member of the Cops Cancer Ironman team, she not only connected with the community, and raised significant funds for the charity, but she also went out of her comfort zone by challenging and motivating herself (she did not know how to swim 10 months prior to the race) and her team, while trusting dedication, will and capabilities to complete the race of a lifetime.

Congratulations Maja!

Written by: Charlotte Plombin

Marnie Smith
Senior Client Partner
Korn Ferry International

About Marnie

Marnie Smith was described in her nomination as a person with, “a deep passion for supporting, mentoring and promoting women not just in energy, but across all professions and industries.” After just a brief conversation with her, I can already unabashedly agree with this desription.  Not only is Marnie a bright, driven young woman with an exceptional career, she is an unapologetic advocate for women in traditionally male dominated fields and a passionate mentor for the women in her life.

After a nearly 14 year career dedicated to equity research and investment banking, including a tenure as the sole female Managing Director at Macquarie Group, Marnie has recently taken on a role at Korn Ferry International working with local and national executives on board level recruiting. She took this opportunity as a challenge to make an impact both on the diversity of corporate boards, as well as setting companies up for effective succession planning. Marnie believes that, “the most important thing is to get women into senior positions and have a sustainable cycle of female senior executives.”

Marnie is passionate about changing the face of our city and helping young women enter professions and stay the course of their careers - whether it is finance, law, engineering, or science. This passion is given an outlet in her work with Women in Capital Markets (WCM), a Toronto-based organization of more than 1,500 women that she recently brought to Calgary as Co-Chairperson. WCM aims to develop a community of women, in all stages of their careers, who are a support network for each other. WCM works to increase the visibility of role models in industry and develop a growing pool of talented women to advocate for and support throughout their careers. Marnie finds inspiration in the vision of “having an incredible pipeline of women who are ready to be on boards” in 10-15 years. This goal is something that guides her in both her career and free time.

For Marnie, inspiration is also found in surrounding herself with smart, driven, talented people. “Having a community of support where you can share stories and know that people have faced the same challenges as you is sometimes more powerful than a formal mentorship relationship,” she says. Citing sponsorship and advocacy as important elements in career advancement, she places importance on having a network to rely on beginning when young women are just starting out their careers, and continuing to when they are facing challenging decisions regarding family and career.

“Providing role models and a community that helps provide that support system, and encouraging women to pursue and advance in their careers to the senior level will ultimately change the face of business,” she explains. Marnie is dedicated to being that role model not only for her peers and colleagues, but also for her two daughters who she hopes will one day, “emulate monuments like the ‘Fearless Girl’ on Wall Street.”

We are proud to recognize Marnie Smith as a 2017 YWE Award Recipient, a young woman who continuously embodies the notion of going above and beyond to change the face of energy.

Congratulations Marnie!

Written by: Berkley Downey

Maude Ramsay
Senior Supervisor, Environment and Regulatory
Devon Canada Corporation

About Maude


What excites Maude Ramsay the most about the energy industry? “It’s all about the challenges. More and more, we are stepping up to meet the unprecedented challenges in the energy sector with creative and innovative ideas to solve the most pressing issues facing energy companies today.”

As the Sr. Supervisor of Environment and Regulatory at Devon Canada, she is one of the women addressing these pressing issues head-on. She leads a multi-disciplinary team responsible for air, water, land and regulatory management. She believes in continually challenging the ‘status quo’ in a quest for better performance. There is a definite sense of pride when she discusses accomplishment achieved by her team and her company to find new and innovative approaches to monitor and improve environmental performance. Impactful outcomes include carbon reduction initiatives, studies that trial reclamation techniques for wetland restoration, innovative ways of using and reusing waste stream, and protecting water quality both locally and regionally.

She is a passionate advocate for industry and was recognized for her contribution to technical knowledge and relentless drive to seek alignment amongst various stakeholder perspectives in the development of policies that will affect the future of oil and gas development.

Maude has always been intrigued by the design and complexity involved in the processes and equipment behind the energy industry and this is what compelled her to pursue a degree in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Calgary. She started her career working at General Electric in California where she received Six Sigma certification and applied this in equipment design. She then worked at Fluor on a variety of projects ranging from some in the Middle East to projects closer to home in the Alberta oil sands. However, Maude always wanted to be able to move into a role where she could have a direct impact on the environment. After building a technical base, she felt empowered to pursue a career in the environment field and joined Devon Canada's Environment and Regulatory Department.

Mentorship is a topic that Maude is particularly passionate about, and her career has been shaped by those who mentored her. Maude was nominated for the YWE award because she is seen as a mentor within Devon, who “actively seeks to develop her employees and provide them with opportunities for growth.” As an award recipient, she is excited for the opportunity to continue to act as a mentor to other young women, and to continue to educate and share the field of STEM with younger generations. Not only does Maude inspire others in her workplace, but she also brings her passion home to share with her two daughters.

Although the challenges facing the energy sector are not easy ones, Maude believes that there have been significant strides towards addressing them. However, she notes that the right approach requires great minds working together and she is incredibly motivated to continue enabling this collaborative action in her own company, across peer companies, and across sectors.

Written by: Jennifer Le

Rochelle Longval
Exploration Geologist (GIT)

Cenovus Energy

About Rochelle

Rochelle Longval’s passion for geology is more than a passion - it’s her life. After all, her name means “little rock.” Ever since she was little, Rochelle had a love for science and the outdoors.

“I knew early on that studying the natural processes of the earth would lead me to my future career,” Rochelle said.

She’s now working as an Exploration Geologist for Cenovus Energy - and using her own experiences to inspire new generations of geologists. “Sharing this passion with kids and getting them excited about being an integral part of the energy industry is the most rewarding experience,” said Rochelle, one of YWE’s 12 award winners for 2017.

“They have a sparkle in their eye that reminds me of my childhood, collecting my first rock specimens and seeing that passion evolve.” In addition to helping shape young minds, Longval is dedicated to advancing women like herself in the energy industry. She initiated the Geoscience Women’s Group for the Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists, and continues to be an advocate for women in geology. “I am constantly looking for new opportunities within the industry to create awareness and find innovative ways to connect people,” she said.

Rochelle says being recognized by YWE will empower her to be a role model and mentor for the next generation. She says the energy industry needs mentorship at all levels of business, and a peer-to-peer approach like YWE’s can be immensely beneficial.“The industry needs us to invest our time and resources,” Rochelle said. “The power of mentorship must not be ignored.”

Outside of work, Longval’s commitment to helping others is just as strong. “I have always felt a strong need to give back to my community,” she said. “Every smile I create gives me a sense of purpose and energizes me to take on more community initiatives.”

“Strong women are essential to building a healthy community,” Rochelle added.

Congratulations Rochelle!

Written by: Erika Stark

Siobhan Galbraith
Legal Counsel
Schlumberger Canada Limited

About Siobhan

When Siobhan Galbraith first entered law school at the University of Ottawa, after studying Sociopolitical Science at the University of Alberta, she never imagined that she would one day be acting as legal counsel for the world’s largest energy services company.  Siobhan’s career has evolved in unexpected ways, from starting as an articling student at the Calgary Court of Queen’s Bench, to her decision to remain in Calgary after being drawn by the vibrancy of the city, to developing her legal expertise in the energy industry – ultimately landing her in her current role managing the Canadian legal team at Schlumberger.

Since she began practicing law in the energy sector, the market has experienced significant upheaval, which has presented unique legal issues, and strengthened the need for legal services to be offered in-house, which is why Schlumberger relies on Siobhan’s expertise to tackle these issues.  Another major challenge Siobhan has faced has been to maintain a positive outlook and to motivate her team during the industry downturn. 

Throughout the challenges, she has drawn inspiration from leaders in the business units that she has worked with. “These leaders have offered feedback and guidance that have helped me to flourish and improve, but the freedom and space to make the role my own.” says Siobhan.

She has clearly been doing an effective job as she was nominated for the YWE awards by her company and recognized as “a highly talented and accomplished counsel who leads by example and makes people around her better.”

She has helped to improve the lives of those in the community through her volunteer work with Calgary Legal Guidance, which provides pro-bono legal service to individuals who cannot afford lawyers.  She is passionate about this organization as she believes that access to justice is a pressing issue in society and that this is an effective means for her to use her training and talents to give back. 

Siobhan also recognizes that one of the perennial difficulties of the energy industry is attracting, retaining, and promoting women, and this spurred her to spearhead Schlumberger Canada’s inaugural International Women’s Day celebration this past year to highlight women’s achievements. She has noted how the industry is evolving into a more inclusive industry for all historically underrepresented populations, and men need to be engaged in the conversation so that they can assist with overcoming systemic barriers and changing preconceived ideas about the industry. Siobhan shares the strong belief that leveraging diverse teams and striving for equal representation of women will promote better decision-making at all levels and a brighter, strengthened future for the energy industry.

Congratulations Siobhan!

Written by: Jennifer Le

Tara Chahl
Project Manager

Keymay Industries

About Tara

Tara Chahl’s career path progressed quite differently from many other women in the industry.  In 1999, she was one of only six women who successfully completed training at the Infantry Battle School, and upon graduation, she was posted to the 3rd Battalion Princess Patricia Canadian Light Infantry (3PPCLI). She served for nine years in various countries, including Bosnia and Afghanistan. Upon her retirement as Master Corporal, she went to school for chemical technology and her career evolved further as she transitioned from being a technologist, to managing projects, and now to her current role a Project Manager for Keymay Industries.   

Tara credits her training with the Canadian Armed Forces to her success today. “That experience gave me a strong, regimented work ethic, and the ability to logically think things through,” she said. Her ability to work under stress and deliver results has helped her to progress quickly in her career. Chelsey Reschke, VP of Business Development of Keymay Industries notes, “Tara can decipher issues well in advance and has a very proactive style of management when dealing with our field projects.”  

It was during her time in 3PPCLI when she first heavily incorporated sports into her life. Tara calls herself a “tourist at heart for sports”, owning over 40 pairs of running shoes and 4 bikes. With over 100 races under her belt - including 3 Ironmans, several marathons, and the prestigious Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc race - that is not an understatement. During the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc, she broke her shin 80 km into the race but continued running for 30 hours to complete the race, further showing her tenacity and determination. She is actively involved in community athletics programs as well, volunteering much of her time to coach and train others.

Tara feels proud to be part of Young Women in Energy (YWE), as a strong group of women representing the energy sector. As a YWE award winner, she is excited to be considered an ambassador, empowering other women to be more visible, and creating dialogue with men to work together.  She believes that there is strength in arms and that with the increased visibility, women can show that “we are there and equally capable.”

Congratulations Tara!

Written by: Jennifer Le