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Celebrating International Women’s Day | Inspiring Inclusion

Natalie Kangwa, Director of Sales and Marketing at RST/Sunbury, has always been an advocate for herself and other women in her life.

She’s been dreaming big since she was young. It’s something she learned from her mother who immigrated from Zambia to England with her children when Natalie was 15. From that age on, Natalie had her eye on international work experience, even before completing high school.

Throughout her career, Natalie would quickly learn that limitations are often placed on women, especially on single moms like herself.

"Looking back, I've definitely taken risks or made choices to prove something,” Natalie said, adding that she took on the role of Shift Manager for a large logistics organization to prove to herself and others she could be both a career woman and a mother.

This experience would eventually lead Natalie to a crossroads in her career journey: take a local job or enter a leadership program that could fulfill her childhood dream of working internationally.

The choice wasn’t easy. Facing suggestions from others that she didn’t have the ability to take such a major plunge, Natalie said she drew inspiration from her mother’s immigration story.

"Seeing her drive to support our family is what pushed me to do more and to try,” she said. “She had it in her and I had to believe that I had it in me, too."

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Natalie ended up taking the role with international travel, leading her to work in the historically male-dominated heavy lift industry in Western Canada.

"I'd walk into these rooms and get so excited when I saw another woman at the table because it didn't happen all that often,” Natalie said.

“At some point I realized that if I wasn't going to see who I wanted to see in the room, I would be who I wanted to see in the room.”

Since that shift in perspective, Natalie has moved across Canada to join the J.D. Irving, Limited group of companies, working in the heavy haul, fabrication and now trucking industries. Throughout these experiences she’s continued to build her support network.

While it’s important to find those who will be your cheerleaders through thick and thin, Natalie said it’s also important to put effort into your own success.

"Be the inspiration you look for and don’t be afraid to be selfish.”

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