Dawn Williams is an engineer, Production Unit Leader and (an exhausted) mother to two wonderful kids!
Dawn Williams is an engineer who has forged a successful career in the heavily male-dominated petrochemical industry in Sarnia’s ‘Chemical Valley’ and is currently a PUL (production unit leader) at NOVA chemicals, responsible for the operation of a polyethylene plant and a pilot plant. Dawn loves what she does and the time, energy and passion that she puts into her job has allowed her to excel at it! She says she does not want her work to define her, but it is a large part of who she is. Taking time to sit down and write the story for Pursuit365 was a bit of a struggle as the engineering side of her brain is dominant. She credits her sister with having received the family’s creative gene..
My journey is not mine alone. Other female engineers have travelled and are travelling similar paths. While my career has been rewarding, it has not been without its challenges. Hard work, determination and a little of being in the right place at the right time have made it possible. Despite working for a great company, I have faced chauvinism and harassment; as I do with most things in life, I met it head-on, not giving in or up. By challenging stereotypes, I have promoted change to the work environment, so others do not have to experience the same pitfalls.
I have had many incredible influences and supports during my career; in particular, Joe Palko, Ian Macdonald and Tom Strifler come to mind as they supported and provided guidance through particularly challenging times. While never formally mentoring others, I use my voice, success, and position to advocate for other employees.
Most importantly, I am the devoted mum of 2 children. I struggle with society’s perception that women should work like we do not have kids and raise kids like we don’t have a career. These two cannot exist together, yet so many of us try to make it happen. We must remember that we are human and cannot do it all! I like to ski with my family in my valuable downtime and spend some time recharging by reading.
I adhere to the philosophy that to be a good mum and be the best version of myself, I must take time for myself and celebrate what makes an individual unique. I recognize I have dropped the ball in this area for years but have now picked it up and am moving forward with self-care on my mind. I see life as a three-legged table. One leg is parenthood, one leg is my career, and the third leg is self. If one leg becomes too short, that table becomes unbalanced and topples. Finding equilibrium in looking after myself, being present for my children while maintaining focus at work is the new goal. My table is solid.
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