Celebrating International Women’s Month with Krista Cuddy

International Women's Day

To celebrate International Women’s Month, we’re sharing the stories of female employees who do amazing work at our Paper Excellence mills. Our interview with Krista Cuddy:

Krista Cuddy is our Interim Director, Operations and Integration at the Crofton mill. She 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 mill General Manager at Paper Excellence.

How did you come to work at Paper Excellence?

“I joined the Engineers in Training (EIT) program at Catalyst after I graduated from university and have been with Paper Excellence for 20 years. Throughout my time here, I’ve worked in various roles including as a Process Engineer, Paper Machine Manager, Technical Manager, and General Manager.”

What is your workday like?

“My job focuses on developing strategies to address long-term challenges and keep operations competitive and adaptive to the future. This could include reviewing options for supplying wood fibre to the mills with the Fiber Supply team, working with the mills and the Carbon Strategy team to identify projects for reducing our carbon emissions, and working with our sales organization and mill teams to diversify our product offering.”

What do you love about your job?

“It’s certainly never boring! With the pulp and paper industry continuing to evolve, there are always new challenges and learning opportunities. In my current role, I am exposed to more aspects of the business and have had the opportunity to work with new colleagues within the organization.”

What challenges do you face in your work because you’re a woman?

“When I began 20 years ago, people weren’t convinced they should follow directions given by a young woman. Being in a male dominant industry, I had to work harder to build relationships, earn respect and have influence.”

Has the culture of women being in this industry changed from 20 years ago?

“When I started my career, there were very few women working in the mills and none in leadership roles. In recent years, more females are entering the industry, however we still are a long way from 50/50 gender representation. We have seen a subtle shift with more women represented in engineering and leadership roles. There are now opportunities for women to mentor, foster, and develop future female leaders.”

What would you tell girls who are thinking about studying science?

“If you are curious about how things work and enjoy collaborating with others to develop and implement solutions to problems, a career in science may be for you.”