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Ms Kate Paul, a long-time Member of the WINS community and active contributor, has recently risen through the ranks at her organisation. Much of her success, she says, can be attributed to her experience with WINS. We sat down with Ms Paul to discuss her experience and participation in WINS programmes and events throughout the years, as well as her own professional journey at Bruce Power, a nuclear power station in Ontario, Canada.
For the better part of 12 years, Ms Paul had been an Armed Security Officer at Bruce Power and was promoted in June to Lead as a Human Resources Specialist in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. She can attribute part of this promotion, she says, to her involvement with WINS.
Ms Paul’s journey with WINS began when she embarked on expanding her personal development as a Nuclear Security Officer and came across the WINS’ CNSP programme, earning her professional designation in 2018.
“What WINS was able to offer was a better understanding of the significance and dynamics of nuclear security on a global scale.”
When asked about her experience in completing the CNSP programme, she said, “The most rewarding thing for me was the sheer amount of knowledge it gave me. When you’re working for one company, you don’t often have the opportunity to look outside the box and gain a wider perspective. What WINS was able to offer was a better understanding of the significance and dynamics of nuclear security on a global scale.”
Ms Paul added that the CNSP programme helped to shed light on the particulars on her previous job function as an armed security officer. With a clearer understanding of her role, she was able to use knowledge from the programme to enhance the responsibilities and effectiveness of frontline officers.
“After the programme, it was easier to identify why we were doing things the way we were doing them and to also identify some of the gaps and how we could work to narrow those gaps. For instance, there were a lot of unknowns as to why we were following certain procedures or guidelines and how that affects global goals. It provides you with a more educational piece of the puzzle that you can then pass on to other workers as well.”
Ms Paul wrote an essay about this experience of the CNSP programme for WINS’ 10th Anniversary Competition. She was selected to attend the anniversary celebration in Vienna in December 2018, which allowed her to connect with members of the WINS staff as well as other stakeholders in nuclear security.
WINS invited Ms Paul to share her perspective on women in response force roles for a webinar in November 2020 as part of a broader series of webinars on the underrepresentation of women in nuclear security. In her presentation, Ms Paul highlighted how she worked within Bruce Power to overcome organisational barriers for women, such as facilities unsuited for women or a lack of a maternity leave programme.
In responding to these barriers, during our interview, she said, “I worked with another woman in response to collaborate with the Bruce Power HR Department in order to launch a Diversity Awareness Campaign, which invited all levels of management from our fire department and our nuclear response force. My co-worker and I addressed all issues including gender bias and organisational barriers we had experienced within the department to about 40 members of the management staff. All the issues that could be corrected instantly such as women facilities located in the department fitness centre were rectified. We received positive feedback from the leadership team that it was educational and insightful to listen to personal experiences and how they had affected our development and contributions.”
Ms Paul’s contribution of her experiences to the wider discussion helped form the backbone of the WINS’ International Best Practice Guide on Advancing Gender Parity in Nuclear Security released in March 2021. For the launch of the Guide, Ms Paul also made a pre-recorded one-minute video on the best practice “Continue Professional Development.” In her video, she stated, “As women of the nuclear industry, we can empower ourselves by getting certified. Education is a key factor for women to prosper and develop in nuclear security.”
“My success has grown because of my passion for speaking up on behalf of women in the nuclear sector so that we can empower each other to make things better.”
Ms Paul noted that she had already made use of the Best Practice Guide in her transition into her new role as a Human Resources Specialist.
When asked about which aspects of the Guide she found particularly useful, she said, “Every best practice in the guide is interrelated with each other, and I can really attribute every aspect to my new position in the role. There are so many spokes to the wheel, particularly when we talk about leadership and organisational practices. The one that really sticks out is about males championing diversity, which is something that we really lack in this industry – that support from our male colleagues.”
Ms Paul further added that her involvement in the webinar and launch of the Best Practice Guide helped to raise her profile at her company, paving the way for her new promotion.
“My success has grown because of my passion for speaking up on behalf of women in the nuclear sector so that we can empower each other to make things better. And I truly believe that we have highly qualified female candidates in the nuclear security portfolio who simply don’t get the attention they deserve but could highly contribute to the innovation of nuclear security,” she commented.
When asked what advice she would give other women in the field, she said, “I would tell them it’s ok to challenge the status quo. For instance, I wasn’t getting anywhere in my personal development, so I started looking for partnerships and that’s how I partnered with WINS and Women in Nuclear to get more of that much-needed support and to gain more experience and education under my belt.”
And now that Ms Paul has gained the experience and know-how, she plans to use it in her new role as Lead as a Human Resources Specialist in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, where she will be involved in talent acquisition and recruitment strategies, leadership development, as well as reviewing organisational practices to ensure they are inclusive.
“Just to add to my success, WINS offered me a lot of opportunity, such as the opportunity to be on a discussion panel and to gain that experience in speaking in front of an audience and to do a webinar. WINS has these opportunities available – it’s up to people to take them up on it,” she commented.