Fleet supervisor urges women in trades to consider leadership positions
Carla Grimann has come a long way since starting her skilled trades career as an apprentice service technician with the City of Vancouver more than twenty years ago. After rising through the ranks, she is now fleet supervisor at the Vancouver Parks Board and oversees the purchasing and maintenance of all its equipment.
Her career trajectory hasn’t followed a typical path, but it has had one consistent factor: a willingness to take on new challenges that supported her trades training and ongoing career development.
“When my foreperson saw a four month secondment to work at the United Way of the Lower Mainland and said, ‘I think you would be good at this, you should apply,’ it made me realize I have other skill sets that can allow me to grow and reach for leadership positions,” says Carla. “Since then I have seized many opportunities to grow my leadership skills and do things out of my comfort zone, make mistakes and grow.”
The next year, Carla took the lead on the Employee Workplace Campaign for the United Way and when that ended, she became an Employee Engagement Coordinator at the City on a temporary basis.
She then accepted a position as a maintenance planner and scheduler at the City. “This was a new position that had lots of challenges to navigate through,” Carla says. “It was not always pleasant but being uncomfortable and challenged is part of growth and building strength."
A few years ago, Carla became fleet supervisor. She says she would not have been the successful candidate for the position had it not been for the hands-on trades experience, combined with the depth of knowledge from other challenging roles along her career path.
Now she wants to inspire other women in the skilled trades to consider leadership positions. “Leadership positions are obtainable. Go out and seek opportunities that are out of your comfort zone. Those scary things that build confidence and experience will build your resume.”
To help inspire others, Carla is now creating a podcast as part of the Minerva Women Lead the Way program. “I don’t know the first thing about podcasts, but I do know I enjoy listening to them and they are a great way to reach many listeners. You’ve got to start somewhere!”
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