Two exceptional women at TransLink nominated for awards

Two exceptional women at TransLink nominated for awards

SkyTrain crossing SkyBridge with Pattullo Bridge in the background

TransLink’s Jennifer MacLean and Michelle Babiuk are among an esteemed group across Canada nominated for a Women’s Infrastructure Network award.

It recognizes the exceptional women in the Canadian infrastructure industry who are making significant and meaningful contributions.

Jennifer, who is Director for the Surrey Langley SkyTrain Project, was nominated by her peers as an outstanding leader. Michelle was nominated as an emerging leader; she is the Senior Manager of Transit Planning.

Jennifer MacLean
Jennifer MacLean

In her role as director, Jennifer leads a dedicated team through project development and procurement preparation for this 16-kilometre SkyTrain extension that includes eight stations and three bus exchanges. The project is currently proceeding towards procurement and implementation.

“I am honoured to have been nominated, and to be included as a nominee in a group of very talented and impressive women from across Canada’s infrastructure network,” Jennifer says.

“I’m glad to see that TransLink is represented in this group, through myself and Michelle Babiuk’s nominations, to showcase our organization that is both supportive of and proactive towards women in these roles.”

Michelle Babiuk
Michelle Babiuk

Michelle currently leads our Transit Planning team that’s responsible for near-term service planning for all transit modes and ensures that we have the fleet to support those plans and the facilities to store and maintain that fleet.

But prior to that, she’s spent a lot of her career on engineering teams over her 12-year career at TransLink. Michelle’s worked on projects such as SkyTrain station and bus exchange upgrades, cycling infrastructure, rail car procurement, transit operations, and the Pattullo Bridge replacement.

Jennifer encourages aspiring leaders to be open with their manager about their career goals.

“Seek out increased responsibilities and new roles whenever you see the opportunities,” she says. “It’s okay to make mistakes, sometimes that’s where the best learning occurs. It’s also great to have mentors you can go to for advice.”

Michelle has similar advice.

“I’d encourage women who are exploring a career in infrastructure to be unafraid of failure and of taking on new roles,” she says. “It’s normal to not know how to do everything in a role at first and that doesn’t mean you won’t grow into it.”

Women are underrepresented in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and computer science (STEM) fields at universities.

According to Statistics Canada, 44 per cent of first-year university students aged 19 or younger enrolled in STEM programs were women, while women made up more than 64 per cent of students in other fields.

Jennifer, who has a degree in engineering, highly recommends the STEM field as a career choice for women.

“My engineering career has provided me with some really interesting, fun and varied work over the years,” she says.

Michelle agrees, calling infrastructure planning and design a people-oriented business.

“We’re always thinking about how facilities can be designed to work best for customers and surrounding communities,” she says. “A lot of time in the process is also working with many types of people such as municipal planners and engineers, our internal operations and maintenance staff, accessibility planners and advisory groups, community organizations, and the public.”

“It’s very rewarding to know that you’re designing or building something that’s considered so many people’s perspectives and is going to have a positive impact.”

The Women’s Infrastructure Network (WIN) describes itself as a dynamic forum designed for women in infrastructure to help facilitate connections and networking, exchange ideas, and help shape the infrastructure agenda.

The Outstanding Leader and Emerging Leader Awards will be presented at a virtual event held across Canada on Thursday, April 29.

Best of luck to Jennifer and Michelle, and congratulations on their nominations!

“Thank you to all my colleagues who I’ve worked with and am working with — it’s a pleasure to be part of your team!” says Jennifer.