Designing Equality, Respecting Our Differences

PARO Centre offers resources for women and youth. Supported by Trillium Foundation

THUNDER BAY – BUSINESS – In recognition of International Women’s Day, PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise in partnership with Bombardier Transportation Thunder Bay, is paying tribute to women in Northern Ontario. “Designing Equality, Respecting Our Differences”, is being hosted to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The event will take place on Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016, at Bombardier Transportation from 5:30 pm to 8:00 pm. Featuring interactive activities, inspiring keynote speakers, and a Northern Women Tribute Exhibit, the event offers an opportunity for everyone to acknowledge Women’s Day and make a pledge for parity.

“Women continue to make huge contributions in our communities. You would think by now, in this day and age, everyone would be equal but a gender gap still exists,” said PARO Executive Director, Rosalind Lockyer. “Closing the gender gap is everyone’s responsibility. This event is designed to encourage the community to take responsibility to forge change. Our goal is to inspire participants to question what more we can do as individuals to advance other women and become stronger catalysts of change. Men are an equally important part of the solution.”

Over the years many industries have been heavily dominated by men in both workforce and executive ranks. However, recent studies indicate that increased female leadership results in stronger companies, and suggests that with more equality, there is higher productivity. “Women’s leadership and advancement is central to business performance and economic prosperity;” continues Lockyer.

Despite the gender imbalance within their industry, two women who will speak at the “Designing Equality, Respecting Our Differences” event, saw an opportunity and overcame this challenge. Carolyn Leroux is the first female General Manager of Bombardier Transportation Thunder Bay. Leroux has worked for Bombardier Transportation for 16 years in various senior leadership roles including sales, business strategy and project management. She moved to Thunder Bay in 2010 as Project Director to launch a multi-million dollar contract with Metrolinx. Last fall, after being the portfolio Project Director, she became General Manager of the Thunder Bay plant.

“I feel fortunate to work for a progressive company like Bombardier where there is a greater focus on gender equality.  It is proven that companies with more women in leadership roles perform better and we are proving this every day at Bombardier in Thunder Bay. In my career, I have not excelled by trying to act like a man in a male dominated industry,” stated Leroux. “On the contrary, I am a proud woman, mother and daughter, and I know that I bring valuable strengths to the team. My hope for future generations is that all people are empowered to succeed based on their unique skills and competencies without gender bias.”

Also speaking at the event is former owner of Northstar and Cobra Drilling and Founder of Women in Mining, Barb Courte. Courte explains that on several occasions she was told that women had no place in the mining industry. “Because it’s 2015 women need to support each other. We need to teach our daughters to have confidence and self-esteem to succeed, and to celebrate those women that have succeeded in non-traditional jobs. It wasn’t easy, but determination helped pave the way for future generations to have that opportunity.”

International Women’s Day is a global initiative being held on March 8th, 2016. For further information about “Designing Equality, Respecting Our Differences” or to register, visit, or call the PARO office at (807) 625-0328.

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