The WISE Sudbury community is made up of inspiring women connecting to build relationships, advance their careers, and encourage the next generation to pursue their aspirations. The WISE Member Spotlight is a monthly initiative to highlight the contributions of women in STEM in our community.
Meet Trang Tran-Valade, P.Eng., PMP
I am a Professional Engineer and a Project Management Professional. I was born in Vietnam and moved to Ottawa at the age of five. Upon graduating from the University of Ottawa with a BSc. in Applied Science which included a Business Management Option, I moved to Sudbury to work for BESTECH. Since then, I have filled various technical and management positions within the company and have been an ambassador for the organization in the global market. I am happily married with two young children and I am active in various professional development associations and community groups, including the Canadian Institute of Mining (National and Sudbury Branch) and WISE Sudbury.
Which of your career accomplishments are you proudest of?
Some of my career highlights include:
- Developing and presenting whitepapers at conferences about the innovative products and solutions offered at BESTECH
- Travelling internationally for technical projects including France, South Africa, Indonesia, and Chile
- Participating as one of two female representatives on the BESTECH senior management team
Selected Achievements include:
- 40 Under Forty Award, Northern Ontario Business, 2011
- President’s Role Model Medal, Canadian Institute of Mining, 2015
- Chair, CIM Sudbury Branch, 2014-2016
- Co-Chair, Maintenance, Engineering and Reliability/Mine Operators Conference, 2016
What challenges have you met and conquered in your pursuit of a science, engineering, or technology career?
At the start of my career, being a young female with a leadership position in a male dominated industry certainly was challenging. It seemed that I was often met with hesitation and was asked to consistently prove myself; more so than a male counterpart. I still occasionally experience discrimination regarding my age and gender in my work environment, but the industry has transformed considerably over the years as more and more females have assumed leadership roles and have succeeded in the mining industry. Thus, I find it easier now to gain respect from my male colleagues.
As I aged and started my family and became more involved in various community organizations, work-life balance became the dominant issue. The pursuit of professional success, active volunteerism, and engaged parenting continues to be an ongoing challenge.
What are your short-term and long-term goals?
My short term goals are to continue learning about mining and to continue building a strong presence in the industry. I would also like to become a more active mentor to young women starting their careers in science and engineering.
My long term goals are to continue earning new responsibilities within BESTECH, ultimately reaching higher positions as they open and helping the company succeed in the long term.
Who had/has the greatest influence on your life choices?
My work ethic and life choices are heavily influenced by my immigrant parents. From an early age, I was taught the following lessons which have stayed with me: anything is possible; you always have a choice; be confident; work hard and make it happen! With these in mind, I try and face every day challenges with an “I can do it” mentality.
What advice would you give to a young woman considering a career in science or engineering?
- I have learned that a degree in science or engineering will provide you with a solid foundation for building your career of choice. Should you choose to pursue a degree in one of these areas and hone your technical skills, the education received during your post-secondary studies will be instrumental in your development and continuous learning. If later on you decide that the technical stream is not for you, this degree will certainly open many doors including options in project management and business management.
- Get involved in different community organizations. Volunteering is not only a great opportunity to give back; it is also one of the best networking opportunities available. As an example, get involved with WISE and meet potential role models and mentors who can share their experiences. You will likely develop great friendships as well.
- Don’t be afraid to try different things and to go out of your comfort zone – these actions will allow you to grow as an individual, both personally and professionally.