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Beyond the Textbook: WSP empowers young women interested in STEM


WSP is delighted to have taken part in an event that contributes to empowering many young women. SheBiz, organized by WCM (Women in Capital Markets), has had great success in Toronto for more than seven years. On September 29th, the event was held in Montreal for the first time.

SheBiz is a one-day event that brings together speakers from various industries and facilitates interactive activities for 14 - 16 year old girls.  The aim of the event is to expose young women to the math, engineering, finance and accounting fields, as well as to acquaint them with various opportunities offered to women in business. This year’s event, held at McGill University, unfolded with a series of speakers who presented their professions in broad terms.

Kateri Normandeau, Vice President - National Strategy and Project Management, was selected by Isabelle Adjahi, Senior Vice President - Investor Relations and Communications, to speak about what motivated her, as a woman, to get into the engineering field. Passionate about her work, Kateri proudly presented her experience as an engineer, her typical workday, along with an inspiring video about the engineering profession. 

SheBiz tasked Kateri with creating and leading a participative engineering workshop. She was assisted by two engineering students from the university, along with an on-site interpreter to make sure that everything was offered in both languages. It is worth noting that multiple generations of women were involved in these group exercises.

Between now and 2050, 66 per cent of the world’s population will live in urban areas. Urbanization is, therefore, an important issue for future engineers. This is what sparked the idea to create a participative workshop where young women had to design a smart city. “Moreover, this exercise made it possible to combine multiple engineering sectors in a single project,” Kateri confirms. In teams of 10, the students were given 25 minutes to build their future city taking into account four criteria:


At the end of the exercise, participants presented and discussed their various ideas with Kateri. The panel, composed of Kateri and the university students, delegated and announced the winners. From there, the winning team presented their city to the 160 participating students, professors and business sector representatives present at McGill University. The young women were very receptive, enthusiastic and creative. According to Kateri, these students had innovative ideas that she had not expected, such as car-free cities and cable car transportation. Sustainable development and energy-saving solutions seemed to be most popular with the group, which the activity leader found particularly pleasing, having environmental training herself.

About WCM

Women in Capital Markets has supported the interests of women in the financial sector for several years. It is important to WCM to encourage women to participate in the business world so that women are represented to a greater extent in management positions. For more information, please visit their website.