Accelerating Social Change within Engineering

Monday, October 29, 2018
Pine Room

Parnian Jadidian, University of Toronto

In the context of rising momentum for a move towards equity in sciences, engineering, technology and mathematics (STEM), this session will to offer participants at all levels strategies to overcome obstacles to advancing equity in engineering. Focus is placed on gender disparities to increase awareness of invisible barriers to the professional growth of historically underrepresented groups and to initiate dialogue among members of the chemical engineering society on how we can overcome these barriers. Ultimately, the session hopes to inspire action from the audience to internalize the change, take ownership of their role in addressing inequalities in engineering communities, and take action within their realm of influence to facilitate positive social change in engineering.

This session is aimed at all audiences regardless of their identified gender, their position, or their level of professional experience. It is a space of positive change rather than an atmosphere of negativity or personal blame, so bring your positive energy along to help transform engineering into a place where all are welcome.

Keynote Speaker

Dania Kechrid, McKinsey & Company

Dania KechridBio: Kechrid is a senior business analyst at McKinsey & Company, where she advises financial institutions and principal investors on strategy topics. She co-wrote McKinsey & Company’s report on the Power of Parity in Canada (2017).





Panel Discussion

The panel will discuss the efficacy of existing and past initiatives, plus opportunities and challenges in their respective sectors, to inspire ideas of what can be done to address the gender gap.


Rian Burger, Arup

Rian BurgerBio: Burger has 17 years of experience working as an architect, specializing in the aviation sector. Currently, he works closely with Arup’s engineers on the aviation planning team. His experience enables him to bridge the work of Arup's planning and design teams and to assume strong design leadership roles on aviation projects of all kinds.

Arup consists of designers, planners, engineers, consultants and technical specialists, and is a humanitarian organization, which embraces the skills, abilities and knowledge that only a diverse and inclusive workforce can harness. They are constantly striving for diversity across the firm. As Associate Principal, Burger provides an interesting perspective on how Arup has tackled social change and gender diversity. 

Katrina MacDonald, City of Mississauga

Katrina MacDonaldBio: MacDonald graduated in 2009 from the University of Toronto with a Bachelors in Applied Science for Chemical Engineering.  Before joining the City of Mississauga in August 2016, her industry experience included working for an environmental testing laboratory to working for an environmental consulting firm. At the City of Mississauga, she provides technical guidance on environmental site investigations and remediation projects as well as assisting with policy review and development.



Valerie Davidson, University of Guelph

Valerie DavidsonBio: Davidson, P.Eng., has an inter-disciplinary background that combines engineering and food science. Her professional career includes consulting engineering, food manufacturing, university teaching and research. Recently she has been a consultant to the United Nation’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) to develop guidance materials for food safety decision-making.

A passionate advocate for creating a more inclusive environment for women in STEM fields, Davidson served as the NSERC Chair for Women in Science and Engineering for Ontario from 2003 to 2011.  Under her leadership the Ontario Network of Women in Engineering (ONWiE) was launched connecting all of the schools and faculties of engineering in Ontario.