International Women in Engineering Day: Celebrating Engineering Excellence

June 23, 2024

On International Women in Engineering Day, we recognize and celebrate the achievements of the remarkable women who have made significant contributions in the field of engineering. These inspiring individuals have overcome challenges, broken barriers, and become role models for aspiring engineers. Join us as we highlight their stories.


Andrea Cherry, a thermal power engineer based in Mississauga, is a trailblazer for young women in the engineering industry. During her tenure at Hatch, she has cultivated meaningful connections with colleagues and clients. “I’m excited to come into the office every day,” she says. “Working with such incredibly intelligent people is something truly special.”


Starting in the Tunnels group within infrastructure and later transitioning to the Thermal Power team, Andrea now oversees critical projects for the Royal Ontario Museum, including the installation of natural gas boilers as well as initiatives focused on carbon reduction and energy efficiency. She takes immense pride in her role as a project manager, acknowledging obstacles she has overcome and the professional and personal growth she has experienced at Hatch.  Andrea is also a member of Hatch’s Diverse and Inclusive Design taskforce, where she develops tools and strategies to help colleagues better understand the critical part inclusive design plays in all areas of engineering.


Despite facing gender barriers as a female engineer, Andrea has been able to create her own opportunities with the support of her manager and mentor, Karim Meghari. His leadership and guidance have been invaluable in bolstering her confidence and solidifying her position as a talented engineer.  


Andrea is committed to empowering other women and young professionals entering the field. Leading the Gender Equity subcommittee within Hatch’s Diversity and Inclusion committee, she and her team facilitate discussions where participants openly share their experiences. These roundtables explore important topics such as allyship, unconscious bias, and impostor syndrome. Andrea emphasizes the significance of finding supportive individuals to create a positive work environment.


As a senior project engineer and manager at Hatch, Anna Little has made significant contributions to engineering. Throughout her seventeen-year career, she has successfully led multiple global asset management projects. Currently seconded to Snowy Hydro, an Australian hydroelectric company, Anna serves as a strategic program planning engineer, overseeing asset management and capital works planning.


Anna’s passion for engineering began in her childhood. “I've always been fascinated by bridges since I was little,” she says. When given the opportunity to attend an engineering summer school as a teenager, she eagerly embraced it, and it inspired her to become a civil engineer. Since then, Anna has steadily progressed her career, starting with part-time work at Hatch during university. 


She believes that providing early opportunities for young women is essential to encourage participation in engineering, emphasizing that women bring a unique sense of community to the workplace—a collaborative spirit that lies at the heart of effective problem-solving in engineering.


Anna’s journey has been shaped by great mentors who guided her along the way. Now, she is committed to giving back and sharing her knowledge with the next generation of engineers, ensuring that they, too, have the support and encouragement needed to thrive. “I think it’s important to give back. Otherwise, what’s the point of learning all this?” 


Reflecting on her career, Anna is proud of leading a transformation of FAARMS, a legacy asset management program, into a globally utilized online assessment tool—an achievement that significantly propelled her career and helped shape her identity as both a female engineer and an individual.


Gillian Cox is the regional manager for Structural and Architectural in AIM. Over her thirteen-year career, her expertise in both technical engineering and people management have made her a role model for women in the industry, driving sustainable results and inspiring a new generation of leaders.


Gillian’s journey began with the Hatch Bursary Program in South Africa, where she credits the company for helping her become an engineer. After graduating in 2010, Gillian started her career as a structural engineer, focusing predominantly on mining structures. Later, she transitioned to projects in bulk materials handling and the design of concrete silos, successfully managing key projects like Grootegeluk NRLOS.


Undeterred by the industry’s male-dominated landscape, Gillian is persistent in leaving her mark and breaking down gender barriers, stating, “I’m not a woman in engineering; I am an engineer.” She emphasizes that men and women are equals in the field of engineering, but differences become more pronounced as their careers progress—especially when women start families and need to take significant periods of time off work or require support, which may look different to their male colleagues. This motivates Gillian to work even harder, building a network of women in the field and fostering an environment of support and camaraderie. 


When asked about her greatest achievements, she’s enthusiastic about her role as a regional manager. Despite her initial doubts about her management abilities, she has received positive feedback from colleagues who value her unique leadership style, particularly as a female team leader. Moving forward, she is excited to continue collaborating on projects while also tackling more substantial structural engagements, further honing her technical expertise and leadership skills.


Meet Jessica Iacobucci, a seasoned mechanical engineer based in Ambler, Pennsylvania, whose path to Hatch was serendipitous. In a chance encounter, her mother met the wife of a Hatch employee at a gym who encouraged her to send Jessica’s resume for an internship. Years later Hatch reached out during her senior year with a job offer.


For thirteen years, Jessica has been an integral part of Hatch’s Vehicles and Operations group within the Transit business unit. She began with a focus on vehicle maintenance, but over time, honed her expertise in passenger door systems for rail cars, becoming a recognized subject matter expert. Currently, Jessica is the project manager for St. Louis Metro, overseeing the acquisition of 55 light rail vehicles.


During her tenure at Hatch, Jessica has been fortunate to have four mentors who significantly influenced her professional journey. She acknowledges that guidance from colleagues John Janiszewski, Tom Devenny, Jim Herzog, and Ben Spears helped contribute to her development as both an engineer and an individual. Their guidance has been a natural extension of their character, generously sharing knowledge and providing answers whenever Jessica sought their insight or advice.


Additionally, Jessica admires colleague Pallavi Lal, global director of Vehicles and Operations, sharing that she is an outstanding role model. "She is a female minority in engineering, who is extremely knowledgeable with great experience in this industry. She is respected by clients, competitors, and colleagues, and she is the example of what I would hope to be in the future as a working mom.” Jessica firmly believes that women bring unique perspectives and approaches to engineering, setting them apart from their male counterparts, with empathy contributing to effective management styles.


Jessica Iacobucci’s journey at Hatch is an example of how mentorship, passion, and diversity can make a difference to young female engineers.


Isabelle Nolet is celebrating 20 years with Hatch. Starting as a process engineer in Mississauga, she’s since contributed to studies, projects, and consulting for pyrometallurgical facilities in several locations including Australia, South Africa, and New Caledonia. "Every location has provided great opportunities for learning, growth and discovery, both professionally and personally," she says. Now located in Germany, she’s leading Hatch’s global Pyrometallurgy group.


Isabelle’s unwavering confidence and determination propel her to excel in the workplace. She firmly believes that trust and expertise, regardless of gender, garners credibility. “I always thought that when someone brings value, skills, relevant experience and unique perspectives, regardless of gender, they earn a seat at the table.” 


While managing the demands of a busy career, Isabelle actively strives for a healthy work-life balance. She and her husband both work at Hatch and share similarly demanding responsibilities. Isabelle firmly believes that achieving balance requires self-awareness and a truly supportive life partner. She emphasizes the importance of making time for family, staying mindful of personal well-being and being open to making necessary adjustments to stay on track.

As Isabelle celebrates her 20th anniversary with Hatch, she reflects on her journey thus far, emphasizing the pivotal role of mentors throughout her career. “I have been blessed with great mentors in my career and I encourage everyone to find a mentor,” she says. “It should be someone who you look up to, someone that you can learn from, someone who cares about you and your growth, and who you fundamentally trust.” Isabelle enjoys mentoring younger colleagues and helping guide and inspire them in their own careers.


Managing a six-year-long lithium project takes a particular level of commitment; one that drives excellence. Julie Vadeboncoeur, an accomplished piping engineer, knows this well. She is currently piping manager for Nemaska, based in Bécancour, Québec. Her unwavering commitment to excellence drives the success of this ambitious project, which involves collaborating with her team, located across eleven different offices and six different countries.


Julie was motivated to pursue a career in engineering to improve people’s quality of life and make a difference. Her people-centric approach and interest in effective leadership led her to pursue a master's degree in project management. Fast forward, as a piping manager at Hatch, she adeptly combines her passion for collaboration with her engineering expertise for outstanding results.


 Julie offers valuable advice to young women starting their own careers. She emphasizes, ‘Don’t be afraid to raise your hand and ask for advice. Don't be shy! Take the place that you deserve, and you will do just as well as anybody else. While engineering isn’t easy, it is rewarding, and the challenges you face will lead to significant growth.”


Finding a balance between her demanding career and personal life poses a significant challenge. With the support of her family and Hatch's flexibility, however, Julie effectively achieves a healthy work-life balance and cherishes moments spent with her fiancé and child.


Julie’s career is a testament to the potential of women in the industry. Her dedication, perseverance, and achievements shine brightly as we celebrate her today.


Meet Pamela Florian, our senior principal in advisory and country manager for Peru. Driven by a curiosity for life, Pamela originally wanted to study medicine or science.  Ultimately, she chose to pursue engineering because of the tangible, meaningful work. “If you ask anyone, they will say I am always wanting to know more and ask questions. I want to take on challenges and do things no one else is doing right now, and I want it to be great,” she says.


With many years of experience in the engineering industry, including six at Hatch, Pamela is acutely aware of the gender barriers for women in the industry. She actively works to remove these barriers, committed to support young women pursuing engineering. Her message to fellow women: “We need to believe in ourselves; believe that we are good at problem solving and forging meaningful relationships. We need to get over not feeling confident and remind ourselves that as women, we can do great things.” 


 Pamela’s most significant achievement lies in her team’s remarkable ability to tackle challenging projects with key clients. Notably, they have successfully expanded services with major mining companies, taking billables from thousands of dollars to millions while developing long-term client relationships. As she looks ahead, Pamela eagerly anticipates further work in the SAM region, aiming to extend her network globally, collaborating with as many colleagues as possible to create sustainable business growth.