Look Within

Tall Poppies: Maintaining Your Confidence

Time and Date: 1:45–2:45 pm on Saturday, May 4
Session Type: Panel
Panelists: Susan Koch, Susan MacDougall, Sweta Rajan, Dr. Jane Roskams, and Anna Stukas (moderator)

Women in STEM are told to "lean in" and be more assertive to get what they want, but in practice this may not be the most effective way to get ahead. This panel session will explore the issues with how confident women are perceived in the workplace. Come learn how to effectively translate your confidence into results while remaining true to who you are.

Susan Koch is Chief Financial Officer of Carbon Engineering Ltd. (CE), a Canadian-based clean energy company. CE is leading the commercialization of groundbreaking technology that captures carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere, and a second technology that synthesizes it into clean, affordable transportation fuels that are drop-in compatible with existing engines and infrastructure.

Susan is a finance veteran in pre-commercial technology companies and is a chartered professional accountant (CPA, CA) with 30 years' experience. Prior to joining Carbon Engineering (CE), she held positions of CFO at General Fusion and Vaperma, and VP Finance and CFO at Cellex Power Products. From Cellex through to General Fusion, Susan was a core team member on financings totaling $130M, raising funds from North American, European and International investors.

Susan MacDougall, P.Eng. is an owner and Building Performance Advisor at Focal Engineering, which she founded in 2015. She is an experienced mechanical engineer and energy modeller with a passion for sustainability. Susan also teaches for Passive House Canada, sharing her knowledge about energy efficient building design.

Susan is an active volunteer in her community, particularly in the areas of women in STEM and sustainability in buildings. She is an elected Councillor with Engineers and Geoscientists BC and is currently the Council champion for the 30 by 30 initiative that aims to increase gender diversity in the professions. She recently finished 6 years as Chair of the provincial energy modelling association, IBPSA BC, and regularly sits on municipal and provincial committees related to energy performance in building code development. She was recently honoured with an Engineering Excellence award from her alma matter, Queen's University, for her contributions.

Connect with Susan on LinkedIn or through Focal Engineering.

Sweta Rajan is a scientist, speaker, coach, facilitator, and champion for diversity and inclusion. She is a passionate advocate for a world where innovation and productivity are driven by equitable workplaces, where all people are free to speak out and are heard.

As a molecular biologist, she acquired 10 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry across US and Canada, predominantly in developing assays and applications for proprietary platforms.

Her keen interest in building inclusive workplaces was driven by an early experience with harassment during graduate school. Her experience of isolation and helplessness inspired her to create psychologically safe workplaces where she initiated, led, and facilitated people, culture, and change initiatives to build thriving, resilient organizations.

Sweta believes in the power of coaching, mentorship, and peer support groups, and has actively supported early career professionals and visible minorities throughout her career. She currently co-leads the IWS chapter in Vancouver, a peer support group for immigrant and international women in science with 9 sister chapters across Canada that she helped co-found.

Dr. Jane Roskams is a professor of neuroscience and neurosurgery at UBC and the University of Washington, and a leader in the global Open Data Movement. She recently finished her term as Executive Director at the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle, and served on advisories for the (Obama) BRAIN Initiative, Governor Jay Inslee (Life Sciences and Global health), and Hillary Clinton (Mental health and STEM). An award-winning mentor nationally and internationally, she has trained a wide array of highly diverse individuals who are now working at all levels of STEM (research, education, policy, and industry) worldwide, at the same time as raising 3 feisty children.

Jane is passionate about creating new collaborative structures across the tech, academic, and non-profit sectors to democratize new opportunities to data and analytics to accelerate brain data-based discovery. Jane is also the co-developer of a new NSF/NIH-funded citizen neuroscience game-based platform (Mozak) designed to engage teams of the "lay public" to train themselves—and AI/ML—in analyzing brain big data, and CSO of a new device-data hybrid start-up (Context.AI). She currently heads training and analytics for the Canadian Open Neuroscience Platform (CONP) and the INCF in Sweden—where she works across several global brain initiatives to expand access to online neuro-informatics training.  

Anna Stukas is a Business Development Lead at Carbon Engineering (CE), a Canadian-based clean energy company leading the commercialization of groundbreaking technology that captures carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere, and synthesizes it into clean, affordable transportation fuels. Anna is a professional engineer with more than 15 years' experience bridging the gap between technology and business to overcome barriers to CleanTech commercialization. Anna previously worked with Angstrom Power and BIC developing hydrogen and fuel cell technologies, and has led a variety of CE initiatives from strategic projects to government programs. Anna holds a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Victoria.