March 8 is International Women's Day (IWD) and the theme for 2021 is "Choose to Challenge"
Collectively, we can all help create a more inclusive world by choosing to challenge things like gender bias and inequality. To recognize IWD 2021, we choose to celebrate women within our organization who have challenged the norms and are achieving great things!
"Celebrating International Women's Day is one way we can help recognize diversity and inclusion in the workforce," says City Manager, Craig Dalton. "I hope the stories shared here inspire others to see the many different opportunities the City of Lethbridge has to offer in a wide-range of career paths - regardless of gender."
Hailey Wood has worked for the City for three years and is part of the Water & Wastewater Operations department.
"The City is a great place to work and I find the water & wastewater department very interesting and exciting, it can be different every day," says Hailey. "Water is a huge part of our daily life. It is crucial to maintain and improve our system for future generations, while protecting our environment."
Hailey is one of just four women working in the Water & Wastewater Operations department but she is in a fairly familiar place.
"I played hockey my entire life, with only boys until I was fourteen, and my Dad gave me the confidence to prove others wrong and not care what people say."
As an elite hockey player she is used to blazing her own trail. She was the first female to play in the AA/AAA full body contact league in Lethbridge. She went one to get a full athletic scholarship to play for the women's' hockey team at Clarkson University in Potsdam, NY, a NCAA Division 1 school.
It's about how hard you work and the type of person you are. I think that stayed with me throughout my athletic career and definitely transferred over to my professional life."
Kennedy Meyer is a Waste Pickup Operator and has been working for the City for 9 years. She says she didn't really choose her career; the career chose her, but she always knew she wanted to drive truck in some capacity.
"I kind of had to forge my own path to find a place I felt like I was a valuable player. I feel like I've got to a place now where I am respected for my knowledge and skill," says Kennedy.
"I would encourage young women to believe in themselves and not allow anyone to tell them that they aren't strong enough or skillful enough to succeed in a male dominated field. Skill comes with experience and if you practice and have support from employers, you can do anything."
Karrie Nightingale has been working for the City of Lethbridge for 13 years and currently holds the position of Facility Services Manager.
When choosing a career path, Karrie picked a degree in engineering because she enjoyed science, math, and problem solving. At that time, it never really crossed her mind that it was unusual for a woman to make that choice. Opportunities along her journey led to the construction industry and eventually to facility management.
"I've been very fortunate to have supportive family, friends and colleagues throughout my career but I would say my biggest inspiration came from two women in my family who didn't have the same opportunities to challenge the norms of their time. I think we always build on the people that come before us," says Karrie.
As much as she loves her job, the biggest challenge has always has been - and continues to be - finding that important balance between career and family. But Karrie believes, if you want it, and your willing to work for it, the opportunities are there.
"Professions don't belong to any one gender. There is value in diversity. Find your passion, figure out what's important to you, set and reset your goals and then get to work."
As the Foreman for Feature Parks Maintenance and Outdoor Special Events,
Shaunna Zonta has seen a lot change throughout her 19 years with the City.
"When I joined Parks at the Brewery Gardens our crew only had 2 women and we were all under 22 with the exception of our Foreman," says Shaunna. "But now, our crew has a balanced mix of men and women of a variety of ages"
Not one to sit behind a desk, Shaunna loves that she gets to work outdoors every day and enjoys challenging the expectations of others.
"I like surprising people with what I can do, maneuvering our trailers into tight spots is my favorite. Operating one of the Bobcats is still on my list to scratch off…one day!"
Shaunna says the Parks maintenance shop is like her second home and she couldn't be more proud of the work they do to keep our city beautiful. Residents care and appreciate the efforts of her and her crew making it an extremely rewarding career.
"I say, don't cross anything off your list. If you love it, go do it."
The City of Lethbridge recognizes the diversity of our community and works to ensure that diversity is reflect within our organization. This includes working to ensure programs, services, facilities and employment opportunities are inclusive to all people.
For more information on the City's commitment to diversity and inclusion, visit:
To learn more about International Women's Day and the #ChooseToChallenge movement visit:
From challenge comes change, so let's all choose to challenge.