Our final profile celebrating International Women’s Day is Janna Schrottner, President of Jepson Petroleum (Alberta) Ltd. in Calgary.
Hi, Janna! Please tell us a little bit about your role.
I’m the president of Jepson Petroleum (Alberta) Ltd. and the Petro-Canada wholesale marketer for Calgary and Southern Alberta. Our company has approximately 80 employees and a fleet of 45 trucks, with staff based in 12 locations throughout Southern Alberta. We deliver fuel and lubricants to our own customers, as well as Petro-Canada customers, and operate Petro-Canada’s Petro-Pass cardlocks in our area. In our organization I handle the major relationships with outside parties, including with the bank and Petro-Canada, and make sure that our vision, mission and overall direction as a company is clear, communicated and implemented. As we are a small company, I also deal with safety oversight, HR matters, financial statement oversight, internal controls and pretty much anything else that comes up.
Q. What career highlights are you most proud of?
I obtained my Chartered Accountant designation in 2005. A lot of work went into both studying for the exam and articling at the CA firm and I have a huge sense of pride in that accomplishment even now, years later.
In 2016 I purchased AgCom Petroleum Sales Ltd, which was the wholesale marketer in Southern Alberta, excluding the Calgary area. I took over Jepson Petroleum (Alberta) Ltd. in 2017 when my dad retired, and I consolidated the two companies. Aligning the business processes of the companies and working to get the right team in place is still a work in progress, but we’ve made significant headway in this and it is very satisfying.
Q. How long have you been connected with Petro-Canada?
As Jepson Petroleum is a family business, I have been connected with Petro-Canada since I was a child. I started working for my dad’s company cleaning Petro-Pass washrooms as a teenager, and in the summers would work doing maintenance, delivering lubricants and acting as vacation coverage for the office staff. Between my first and second years of university I was a guest service attendant at a full service station just outside of Calgary, and mainly worked attending the pumps. After university I worked in various accounting and consulting firms but came back to Jepson Petroleum on a full time basis around 10 years ago. Petro-Canada has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.
Q. In your time with Petro-Canada, and from your perspective working in a traditionally male-dominated industry, what has helped you navigate the workplace and your career?
Generally I find the most difficult aspect of working in a traditionally male-dominated industry to be dealing with (mostly) unconscious biases and stereotypes, resulting in my input being dismissed or not sought after at all. If it’s something unimportant, like being mistaken as an office manager and summarily dismissed by a cable tech, my reaction is different than if I am being talked over in a meeting or not sent important information by someone who knows my position in the company. I find pointing out the mistake to be helpful; I pick my battles and I try to make sure I am present and noticed. As a woman, finding a balance between being considered a decisive leader and being considered a difficult person can be a challenge. I hope that as more women are in more senior leadership roles, this will become less of a problem.
Q. The 2020 theme for International Women’s Day is #EachforEqual – an equal world is an enabled world. What does this mean to you?
To me, #EachforEqual means that we can all contribute to a more gender equal world, and that even small changes in thoughts and actions can make a difference.
Q. From your perspective, how do you think Petro-Canada and Suncor are achieving #EachforEqual?
My experience as a woman dealing with Petro-Canada and Suncor has been positive. I have had nothing but support from all levels of the company, particularly during my takeover of AgCom, and do not feel that my gender has hindered my ability to work with Petro-Canada at all.
Q. Why do you think it’s important we work together to create a respectful and inclusive workplace? How will you support our journey?
Different people from different backgrounds bring different strengths to the workplace. I will support the journey by continuing to hire and promote women into positions that are not necessarily considered “women” positions, including drivers and site managers. In addition, I will continue questioning assumptions and biases to create opportunities for all.
Q. What two key pieces of advice would you offer women in the workplace?
One piece of advice I would offer women is that leadership doesn’t have to look the same for everyone. Leadership in business has shifted and does not necessarily mean that it always has to be a top-down approach – collaborative leadership can be very effective. Also, sometimes even being in the room can be the beginning of change. Being present and being heard can make a difference.
Q. How will you be celebrating International Women’s Day?
I have 2 children and will be watching them in a ski race on International Women’s Day.
A big “thank you” to Janna, Darlene, and Patty for taking the time to answer our questions. How are you celebrating International Women’s Day? How are you supporting women in the workplace? Leave a comment below – we’d love to hear from you!