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3 Career Tips from Women in Engineering Industry NightMarch 2, 2018

Alumnae offer valuable advice to help students kickstart their careers.

On February 28, McMaster Engineering’s Alumni Relations team hosted Women in Engineering Industry Night, a Q&A panel event that welcomed 90 female students eager to connect with McMaster Engineering graduates and women in engineering.

Regan Dixon, Engineering Group Manager of Autonomous Prognostics at General Motors; Andrea Forster, Municipal Project Manager Leader, SUEZ Water Technologies & Solutions; and Brittany Robertson, Project Manager, C.F. Crozier & Associates spoke about their paths to success, lessons along the way, and what it’s like to work in a variety of engineering industries and roles.

Here are three of the best career tips offered by alumnae at the event:

1. Ask for the job you want.

When Andrea Forster returned to work after her maternity leave, she was hoping to land a new role at the company. Her boss asked her what she wanted to do.

“I said, ‘one day I’d like to have your job.’ I’ve always been a bit gutsy like that. So rather than reacting with shock, he said, ‘let me work that out for you’ and he quit two weeks later. I took his role as Commercial Excellence Leader. I loved that role because I was able to influence the direction the company was going in.”

2. Create a genuine network.  

Regan Dixon manages the Autonomous Prognostics team at General Motors. She also enjoys mentoring young people interested in STEM. Her best advice for people starting out in their careers? “Don’t ask for a job,” she says. “Connect with people in a genuine way. Ask for advice, learn what people do, and then you will start to create a network and employers will see what you can offer.”

3. Get involved.

“Get out there and get involved,” explains Brittany Robertson, a Civil Engineering and Management graduate.

During her time at McMaster, Robertson had a focused career plan to build skyscrapers and bridges in Toronto. That all changed when she participated in the Ontario Engineering Competition. Her current boss was one of the judges at the event. “Learn about what people do and learn about the opportunities around you.” She followed a different plan as a result of getting involved in extracurriculars and is now a passionate Project Manager.

Explore more upcoming alumni events.