In the mid-1990s, many companies were downsizing and employees in a variety of jobs and sectors were panicking over job security. This economic climate entered into Anne Giardini’s life in 1995, when she was an administrative assistant at Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL). Instead of waiting to be downsized, Anne entered a tool & die apprenticeship within the organization. And with a what-have-I-got-to-lose attitude, Anne’s career path took a sharp 90-degree turn. The rest, as they say, is history.
Once she was certified as a General Machinist, Anne was promoted to Project Leader after only five years on the shop floor. In addition to her machining duties, that makes Anne also responsible for project assessment, ordering materials and meeting inspection requirements. One of her current projects at AECL involves manufacturing control rod magnet assembles for the research reactor. The project involves creating and overseeing work from her own shop, as well as work contracted out to four other shops.
Anne was fortunate to enter the trades when she did. For one thing, she found that even once she was certified in her trade, having a clerical background with computer experience was extremely helpful. For another, she found that having some career experience enabled her to have a more positive attitude. “I knew that I would get resistance from some of the guys, but since I started my career later in life, my maturity and life experiences were a definite asset.” Still today, Anne loves her work for its variety and hands-on nature.
It’s difficult to find someone with more enthusiasm about women in skilled trades than Anne. She has been a dedicated mentor at the “Skills Work!® for Women” Networking Dinners and Young Women’s Conferences for several years. She is also an active member of Women in Nuclear, a global organization that connects women working within the nuclear power field. Her role as Deputy Mayor for the Town of Laurentian Hills probably doesn’t hurt her efforts either!
Anne’s basic message to young women boils down to this: “It is definitely a good career option. The money is good and many times you get to be your own boss. There is a great network of women who will give support, so take advantage of it.”
Anne was a mentor at the November 16th “Skills Work!® for Women” Networking Dinner in Pembroke.