Who's That Gal: Shaina Dinsdale, Senior Manager of Operational Performance at Veolia

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Name: Shaina Dinsdale
Occupation: Senior Manager of Operational Performance, Veolia
Hometown: Whitby, Ontario, Canada
Current ‘hood: Brooklyn, New York
Currently Reading: The Best Kind of People by Zoe Whittall
Place I’m Currently Wanderlusting for: Kiting in Tarifa



In school, you studied engineering and at one point were considering quitting. Tell us why you pushed forward and how you got your confidence back.

I credit a strong support system and excellent role models with giving me the confidence to push forward in engineering.

My dad has always been a crucial figure in my fight against Imposter Syndrome; he’s constantly ready to contradict me when I think I’m not smart enough. He’s an engineer, so his opinion carries a special weight for me.

Still, it was really my introduction to the Head of Engineering at my school that was critical. Her name was Annette Bergeron, and lucky for me she was a former engineering student at my school; I knew she could relate to my sense of isolation and concerns about not being smart enough to succeed in the program. She understood the classroom dynamics and challenging situations I found myself in. I trusted her. Hearing her tell me that I could do it was crucial.
 

You also have an MBA. What are the advantages (or disadvantages) of having a background in STEM when pursuing a business degree?

I’m not sure that being an engineer helped or hindered my pursuit of a business degree, but I can confidently say that having both in the workforce is beneficial.

When I’m working on a problem at work, I can’t help but notice that having a background in both engineering and business helps me see the problem from multiple angles. Not every technical solution is feasible; my business training allows me to incorporate other elements into my solution.

Plus, there aren’t many women engineers with MBAs in the workforce; it gives you immediate credibility. When people hear that I have both an engineering degree and an MBA, they often comment that I must be ‘really smart’! Over time, I’ve learned not to contradict them.
 

Is the attitude towards women in STEM different in the other places you’ve lived and studied?

I’ve lived and worked in five countries across three different continents and I can’t say that I’ve noticed a significant difference.  I find the attitude towards women is more varied across the industries and businesses than the countries themselves.

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Why did you choose to pursue a role at Veolia?  

  1. I wanted to work in the energy and water sector: Veolia is one of the largest environmental companies with a mission to resource the world.  You can’t beat that.
  2. I wanted an international career:  Veolia has offices all over the world.
  3. I wanted diverse experiences: I’m part of a newly formed consulting team where I engage with multiple external and internal clients and projects.  It allows me to see a lot of problems in a short period of time and it definitely never gets dull.
     

What advice would you give to other women looking into a career in operations?

Now is the best time to get into STEM.  Companies are looking to hire more women into these fields. Companies aren’t just doing this because they think they should; they’re hiring women because they know diversity makes their companies stronger.  

You, women reading this, make companies stronger by bringing your natural talents to the table. Take pride in being different. Embrace being a woman in a male-dominated field. Don’t be afraid to apply for a position you might not feel fully qualified for. You’ll find so many ways that your unique perspective works to your advantage.
 

What’s next for you? 

In July I’ll be canoeing down the Snake River in Yukon, Canada.  I can’t wait.

 

This post was sponsored by Veolia - but note that JUGS only accepts sponsorships from mission-aligned brands that meet our core values of compassion + fulfillment.