Leah Lawrence, P.Eng., FEC, FGC (Hon.), FCAE President and CEO
Sustainable Development Technology Canada 20 18 AP EGA C ent enn i a l L ead e rsh i p Summ i t Award R e c i p i ent
Alberta has long been an incubator of remarkable leaders and innovators who have changed the province—and the country—for the better. Leah Lawrence, P.Eng., is among the many APEGA members on that list. After starting her engineering career in Calgary in the mid-1990s, Ms. Lawrence spent two decades building her reputation as a cleantech innovator and entrepreneur, focusing her attention on sustainable technology development in the oil and gas and electricity industries. She stepped into the spotlight in 2012 to serve as APEGA’s President, only the fourth woman to take on the role since the association’s founding in 1920. She also served as the fourth female chair of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce in 2014, before moving to Ottawa to take her career to a whole new level. In 2015, she was appointed the President and CEO of Ottawa- based Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC), a foundation that manages nearly $1 billion in clean energy research, development, and demonstration projects for the federal government. Her ties to APEGA and Alberta’s engineering and geoscience community remain strong, though, and in 2018 she was recognized with APEGA’s Centennial Leadership Summit Award, the association’s highest honours. “APEGA and its history embody the importance of upholding a set of higher ideals and ethics,” notes Ms. Lawrence. “To be recognized by my peers as one who has been able to do this is, in some small way, very humbling.” Serving as an APEGA volunteer and as President were valuable learning experiences for her, allowing her to meet and work with hundreds of students, other professionals, and members of the public. “I learned that leadership is mostly about listening, learning from other people’s perspectives and experiences, and understanding that there are a multitude of worldviews that must come together if we are to make progress,” says Ms. Lawrence. Not only that, it’s about building a framework that enables and encourages others to effect change towards a common goal, and, hopefully, a greater good.
“When I was APEGA President, this greater good was an engineer’s and geoscientist’s duty of care to the public,” she says. “At SDTC, it’s about nurturing an ecosystem of entrepreneurs developing transformative environmental technologies.”
“I learned that leadership is mostly about listening,
For Ms. Lawrence, leadership is a continually evolving journey. Her advice to other professionals looking to grow as innovators and influencers is summed up these words, which she aspires to daily: - - Be courageous - - Never settle - - Resist dogma - - Follow your curiosity and intuition, but at the same time be rigorous in your facts and thinking - - Don’t be afraid to fail, and when you inevitably do, try and do it graciously - - Passionately believe that change can happen, if you work for it. Know that it can happen at any level, anywhere, anytime learning from other people’s perspectives and experiences, and understanding that there are a multitude of worldviews that must come together if we are to make progress.”
2018 APEGA Annual Report
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