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February 2019
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3 entries from March 2019

Fighting Pot Holes One Tap at a Time

In classic Dickensian form, Vancouver is a tale of two cities in the spring. One Vancouver is beautiful, full of streets lined with different species of cherry trees, bursting into bloom. The other Vancouver (like a lot of Canadian cities in the spring) is Gotham-gone-wrong, full of streets dotted with pot holes. I encountered both Vancouvers on my way home from the dog park on Sunday - so enchanted with the first round of cherry blossoms that I bounced into a pot hole.

No damage to the car (thankfully), but I thought I should do my civic duty. So I pulled over, got out of the car, whipped out my phone and opened the VanConnect app. Vancouver, like a lot of cities across Canada, has a municipal app where citizens can request services or report issues.

Not too sound too much like a geek (or a neighbourhood busy body), but I love the VanConnect app. I've used it to report a burned out street light on our block, request that some low-hanging branches be removed from trees on our boulevard and renewed our dog's license. All from the comfort of my phone. And now I can report this pot hole.

When reporting, the app first geo-locates me. I can then attach a photo, a description of the pot hole and fill in specifics of its size and depth. Takes 2 minutes. The app also has a stream of recent requests you can check out too see what else is being reported around the city. Now that I've reported it, the City will also send me updates. And the timing on those vary. The street light bulb was replaced within a week; the tree branches took a month.

I browsed the iOS app store and found several for cities and towns across Canada; a couple that stood out: Montréal's Resident Services App and Kitchener, ON's app that is built on the Pingstreet platform (a popular municipal app platform for smaller cities in Canada). These apps are such handy way to report issues, but also to stay informed about what is happening where you live. Are you using a municipal app to report pot holes or other municipal issues?

- Rose R.

Celebrating Indigenous Achievement and Leadership

Ah, award season. We've had the Oscars and the Grammys. And the Junos and Geminis are coming up. But one award program that deserves a lot more press is the Indspire Awards, an event that celebrates the accomplishments of extraordinary First Nations, Inuit and Métis individuals.

Since 1998, Suncor, proud owner of Petro-Canada, through the Suncor Energy Foundation, has supported Indspire, an Indigenous-led registered charity whose vision is to enrich Canada through Indigenous education and by inspiring achievement. In addition to recognizing Indigenous people who have made significant contributions to Indigenous education, art, culture, business, health, law, sports and public service in Canada, there are also three youth awards to First Nations, Inuit and Métis role models.

Students at the Indspire Suncor Youth Luncheon

The Indspire Awards were held this year in Calgary on February 22 and it will be broadcast on APTN as well as on CBC, including CBC's Gem Streaming service, on Sunday, June 23. For a taste of the celebration, check out this video of the amazing opening number: Come and Get Your Love by Pat Vegas, his son PJ Vegas and the Northern Cree Singers.

The Indspire Awards gala was also part of the itinerary for 20 Indigenous youth who gathered in Calgary to participate in this year's Indspired Youth Experience. The youth participants are selected by their communities because they stand out as future leaders. Some of the highlights of this year’s event were The Walrus Talks youth leadership event, the Soaring: Indigenous Youth Empowerment Gathering, and the Suncor youth luncheon with Indspire award recipients.

Since 2003, Suncor has brought over 300 Indigenous students to this multi-day experience focused on leadership and learning opportunities that are grounded in culture and reconciliation.

Suncor also supports Indspire through bursaries and scholarships, including the Petro-Canada Award for Indigenous Students, a bursary awarded to high school and post-secondary students to help with their education.

Congratulations to this year’s Indspire Awards winners!

- Rose R.

International Women’s Day Interview with Jamie Reddekopp, Team Leader – Biofuels Optimization at Suncor

When I started my professional career, I was really lucky to have a tough but fair-minded boss who showed me the ropes and encouraged me to do my best. She also rocked a fabulous wardrobe, more so that you would expect from the notoriously stodgy Ministry of the Attorney General. And while some of my experiences at MAG are the stuff of legend, for International Women’s Day I thought it would be better to interview someone from Suncor, the proud owner of Petro-Canada.

Jamie Reddekopp

Meet Jamie Reddekopp, Team Leader – Biofuels Optimization!

Biofuels – that sounds exciting! Can you describe what your team does?
Our team is involved in a number of areas that relate to biofuels. There are many different renewable fuel regulations across Canada, both provincial and federal. We are responsible for ensuring that Suncor meets the requirements of the regulations, optimizing our biofuels portfolio and keeping us moving towards our sustainability goals.

As part of this we work closely with our commercial team – the people who buy, trade and sell renewable fuels to ensure we are getting the products we require to support our business objectives.

That must be fascinating - being involved in the emerging space of biofuels! What do you love most about your job?
Three things; first in the work that I do, I love being part of the solution. We are addressing important issues like climate change and developing a path forward. We don’t put our heads in the sand; instead we look for opportunities to lead change.

Second, the talented people I get to work with. I’m grateful to be part of a broader Suncor team who is passionate about what they do.

And third, to be part of a principled Canadian company that wants to be a leader in sustainability and make a positive impact on peoples’ lives.

So what's the one thing that would surprise people about working at Suncor?
I think there would be two things. First, people assume that oil and gas is a “dinosaur” industry. But it’s not. Suncor is extremely innovative and the work we’re doing will impact the future. And second, there is a real diversity of roles within Suncor and support for cross-functional development. You could essentially have multiple careers all within one company – from biofuels to marketing to operations and so on.

How did you get started in your career?
After university, I started working for a global consumer packaged goods company. But I really wanted to have a career at a Canadian company that has an impact on Canadian lives. And one that has values - that they put into practice and were evidenced - that match my own. So I made the move to Suncor.

What's the best piece of career advice you've received?
Be your authentic real self. Don’t be a carbon copy of someone else.

And be humble, always looking to learn. The moment that you stop learning is the moment you stop growing. Know what your strengths are but always be willing to learn.

Do you have any heroes or mentors?
I’ve been really influenced by the works of Brené Brown. She’s written a number of books and given speeches around the power of vulnerability, courage and leadership.  I love all her books but in particular Rising Strong and Daring Greatly both really stuck with me. As Brené highlights in her work, vulnerability is a strength, not a weakness. She also speaks to the importance of courageously owning our own story in life vs. seeking external affirmation.

One of my favourite quotes from her is: “Integrity is choosing courage over comfort. It's choosing what is right over what is fun, fast, or easy. It's choosing to practice your values rather than simply professing them.”

In terms of my career, I am lucky to have a strong role model and mentor in my mom. She is a senior leader in the energy industry, starting her career in a time when the industry was very male-dominated, particularly for leadership roles. From her I’ve learned strength, courage, perseverance and humility. She showed me what is possible while staying true to yourself and your values. She also was diligent in finding balance between her career, family and passions. Not always easy – but something I strive to do as well.


Thanks, Jamie, for sharing your perspective on International Women’s Day! Do you have a mentor or someone who influenced you in your career? Share it with us in the comments below!

- Rose R.