Embracing Diversity as a Tool for Success
Member Profile: Deanna Burgart, P.Eng., C.E.T.
09, Jun, 2015
Recently recognized as one of Oilweek Magazine’s Rising Stars of 2015, Deanna Burgart, P.Eng., C.E.T. first started her career as a laboratory technician before returning to school to obtain her Chemical Engineering Technology diploma. Looking to constantly improve herself, she worked in a variety of positions within oil, gas and chemical engineering, building her environmental and regulatory experience while working to attain her Bachelor of Engineering in Chemical Engineering.
High demands for anyone looking to succeed in the technology industry, but add the fact Burgart also started her professional career as a single parent. While she considers her partner to help share the responsibilities of supporting a family as a blessing, she understands the difficulty in keeping a balance between career and family as a top priority.
“I was fortunate to have employers willing to provide the flexibility I needed to do both,” recalls Burgart. “And while no one ever said I needed to do so, I also knew I had to be willing to put in the extra time and effort in creative ways – whether getting work done from home, from the hospital, or from a soccer game.”
Balancing work-life responsibilities often comes up as one of the top challenges for women looking to lead successful professional careers. However, Burgart believes the key is to know that being a woman in this industry is not an ‘obstacle,’ but a diversity we need to embrace and continuously support until there is an equal representation within the profession.
“Women are, and always will be, different. We communicate differently, we have different life experiences that make us who we are,” she states. “Diversity is a huge advantage on the job –a variety of gender, cultures and personalities provides unique perspectives for strategies and solutions to work tasks.”
Quoting the motto that ‘diversity happens – inclusion is a choice,’ Burgart credits the companies she’s worked for over the years for fostering environments of inclusion, helping her to thrive. Not only did it help her balance the many priorities she’s had in her life, but also provided life lessons about the nature of the industry and what it takes to succeed.
“I have been through a lot of dynamic changes, whether it was downsizing of an organization, re-organization, or changes in my role,” reveals Burgart. “It has taught me that change is inevitable, and the more adaptable we are to it, the easier it will be to get up again and keep moving forward.”
Burgart has no plans of slowing down. In her relatively new role at Inter Pipeline, she looks to draw on her extensive experience as part of the organization’s operations management team. She also continues to find ways to improve herself and help grow the industry, recently being elected to ASET Council, and volunteering on APEGA’s Aboriginal Mentoring Program and Alberta Women Science Network’s Power to Choose program. Looking to help grow structured training programs, Burgart partnered with her husband to develop a Pipeline Fundamentals course.
“We learn so much from our students and in the continuous improvement of this course,” she says. “When you teach others, you also give back to the profession – it’s truly win-win.”