Celebrating Inspiring Women

Industry People
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Throughout March, in honor of International Women’s Day, our three companies – Paper Excellence, Domtar and Resolute – profiled some of the outstanding women who work across the Paper Excellence Group of companies.

We decided to bring these different profiles together to celebrate their leadership and accomplishments.  

Jessica Dubois Martel, Manager – Larouche and Saint-Prime (Quebec) Engineered Wood Products Facilities (Picture 7)
Jessica completed a bachelor’s degree in wood engineering and a graduate degree in forest carbon management. After serving in several technical and managerial roles, she was appointed manager of the Larouche and Saint-Prime engineered wood products facilities in 2021.

She believes that she has a positive impact by working with a renewable, green resource. Jessica loves collaborating with regional communities and supporting their development. She also appreciates the industry’s evolution, its historical role and all its technological innovations of recent years. Her advice to other women considering careers in forest products is, “First, be confident. Make sure you want to be in this industry, in this environment, and want to take up this kind of challenge. Be yourself and express your opinions and views to your team. Make sure you’re open to learning and can adapt quickly.”

Lori Kilgour, Chief Information Officer, Paper Excellence Group – North America, Montreal (Quebec) (Picture 2)
Lori has been in the forest products sector for 31 years. She graduated with a degree in chemical engineering and landed her first job as a process engineer. A couple of years later, she accepted a position as a shift supervisor at a pulp and paper manufacturer in a small town about 3,000 miles (4,500 km) from home. She then took on increasing responsibilities within the forest products sector throughout North America, working for different companies, and 10 years ago, she accepted a lead role in the IT department at Resolute which led to her current role with the Paper Excellence Group. Lori enjoys the intellectual stimulation of finding creative solutions to complex issues, whether in health and safety, operations, strategic planning or IT infrastructure.

Her advice to women considering careers in forest products: “We need diverse and inclusive workplaces that reflect our world, so it is wonderful to see more women as well as ethnic and visible minorities considering careers in our industry. I strongly believe that more diversity in decision-making will lead to better decisions and improved business performance over time. So I would encourage women to embrace the many opportunities available to them and to know that their unique perspectives, experiences and talents contribute to a stronger industry and a
richer society.” 

Marie-Noëlle Watts, General Manager – Dolbeau (Quebec) Paper Mill (Picture 6)
Marie-Noëlle studied chemical engineering because she was interested in solving complex problems and contributing to solutions that benefit the environment. She began her career with Resolute at the Dolbeau paper mill in 2006 until 2009 when it shut down. She returned in 2012 for the restart of the facility and that’s when she really immersed herself in the production aspect of the operation, which led her to become production manager at the Amos and Alma (Quebec) paper mills. Marie-Noëlle returned to Dolbeau and has been at the helm since August 2021. To her, there’s no such thing as routine when it comes to making paper, and every day brings new and exciting challenges. She finds her job rewarding and thinks papermaking is the most interesting process of all.

Her advice to women considering careers in the forest products industry: “Women are increasingly gaining influence in the industry, which is a welcome shift. Contrary to what some may think, it’s a really inclusive environment with plenty of room for women who are resourceful and eager to learn. Professionalism ultimately takes precedence over gender. Women considering careers in forest products – or any manufacturing sector – should forge ahead, develop their skills, build strong relationships and embrace the opportunity with confidence.”

Daria Anico, Continuous Excellence Coordinator – Howe Sound (British Columbia) Pulp Mill (Picture 4)
Daria has an MBA and is a project management professional. She has always been fascinated with the pulp and paper industry. Her job includes coordinating programs and projects, reporting and organizing events, most of which involves a lot of interaction with people, which is a fun combination of project management and business reporting analysis. Seeing the machines at the mills “make magic” makes her more intrigued in the production process. Since she’s always been an end user, she enjoys being part of the production process. Her advice to other women is, “Adapt to the culture of continuous learning to expand your amount of knowledge. Striving for knowledge is what makes someone successful.”

Pamella Tsai, Senior Pulp and Market Analyst – Richmond (British Columbia) (Picture 3)
Pamella has been with Domtar for over 20 years, working in different departments – from transportation and supply chain management to inventory and production planning. Her current role includes troubleshooting issues and brainstorming solutions, and running monthly reports for finance and sales. Her team also cross-collaborates with the functional group to make sure everyone is aligned to drive process improvements and meet financial targets. Her words of advice are, “Be curious, ask questions. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. Always prepare yourself for opportunities.”

Krista Cuddy, Interim Director, Operations and Integration – Crofton (British Columbia) Pulp and Paper Mill (Picture 1)
Krista has always loved science and initially wanted to become a doctor. Then she joined an engineering co-op program, realized she loved to make things and found her passion in engineering. Krista was the first female general manager at Paper Excellence Canada. She joined the Engineers in Training (EIT) program at Catalyst after she graduated from university and has been with Paper Excellence for 20 years. Throughout her time with the company, she has worked in various roles, including process engineer, paper machine manager, technical manager and general manager.

Isabelle Harrison, Director, Product Management, Pulp, Paper and Packaging – Fort Mill (South Carolina) (Picture 8)
Isabelle is director of product management for pulp, paper and packaging, having learned many aspects of the business during her time working on the commercial side. She joined the inside sales team at Domtar 15 years ago without a specific career goal, but she knew she wanted to advance. For someone who wants to keep learning, the company has provided the perfect environment. Isabelle completed a leadership development program and is continuing her learning using the company’s online learning platform. She is currently working toward her MBA degree.

Tamara Sillars, Raw Material Coordinator – Rothschild (Wisconsin) Paper Mill (Picture 5)
Tamara grew up on a farm and always had an interest in agriculture. She says her role in the forest products industry and the area of sustainable energy suits her well. Her contributions to the Rothschild mill include participating in her department’s safety team, the safety leadership group, site security and the United Way campaign.

Her advice for women wanting to enter the industry: “We all have different strengths, and often they complement each other. Everyone, including women, is capable if they put their mind to it. We must show young ladies – most importantly, our daughters – in our lives that we are capable.”

Source: The Resolute Blog