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Celebrating International Day of Women and Girls in Science 2023

February 11th is the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, a date recognized by the United Nations to draw attention to the critical role women and girls play in the science, technology, mathematics and engineering (STEM) fields. 

To celebrate this day, we are recognizing the women in STEM across our operations who go above and beyond at work and in their communities. 


Katherine Lorette - Reliability Engineer, Irving Paper 

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Nine years ago, Katherine lost her little sister, Caroline, due to anaphylaxis. After Caroline's passing, Katherine and her family founded the Sweet Caroline Foundation to end death and disability due to allergies and anaphylaxis through education and awareness.

What had originally started as a small initiative in Rothesay, New Brunswick has grown into a nationwide allergy education campaign, where Katherine has visited schools, community spaces, and organizations across the country to educate individuals on the importance of recognizing the signs and symptoms of a severe allergic reaction and how to administer life-saving medication in the case of an emergency.


Anna Kuksenko – Business Analyst, JDI IT 

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After immigrating from Ukraine, Anna understands the challenges that come with moving to a new country. Learning from her own experience, she now provides mentoring and coaching for newcomers, helping them with job searching in New Brunswick.

"Being an immigrant myself, I remember how much time it took to adapt in a new country," says Anna, a Business Analyst with JDI IT. "I am glad that I now have the opportunity and skills to help others, so they adapt faster and have a positive experience."


Jenna Hazelton, P.Eng., EMBA – General Manager of CFM (Custom Fabricators and Machinists) and PumpsPlus

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Jenna is the first engineer in her family and was drawn to the field through a natural love of math and science and early exposure to the industrial manufacturing sector. Her father worked for a cement plant in Brookfield, Nova Scotia. After graduating from the Nova Scotia Agricultural College and Dalhousie University in 2011, she started her career with J.D. Irving, Limited. Since 2013, she has served in various operations and managerial roles for several JDI businesses. She's currently the General Manager of CFM (Custom Fabricators and Machinists) and PumpsPlus.

We asked Jenna which of the United Nations' 17 Goals of Sustainable Development resonated with her — decent work and economic growth shone through.

"I enjoy helping to grow the businesses that I lead. That growth enables us to continue to provide additional opportunities for others in our communities," Jenna said. "People want to come to work, make a positive difference and enjoy what they are doing — so that they can help to provide for their families."


Kersti Lee, P.Eng. – Team Lead Engineering, NBM Railways

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Kersti started her railroading career early, working with NBM Railways as a co-op student while studying Civil Engineering at the University of New Brunswick.

After graduating in 2018, she accepted a role as a Civil-Engineer in Training at the rail, continuing her love for learning by earning her lean six sigma white belt, Certified Logistics Professional (CITT) certification, and professional engineer designation (P.Eng.). In 2021, Kersti was promoted to Team Lead, Engineering where she manages a team of her own and paves the way for women in rail.

Outside of work, Kersti is an active volunteer, working with Outflow providing community meals, participating in Coldest Night of the Year, and leading a high school youth group. 


Ashley Ballanger – Continuous Improvement Analyst, Ashland Sawmill

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After obtaining her Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Maine and her Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of New Brunswick, Ashley joined our team at the Ashland Sawmill where she has played an integral role in implementing artificial intelligence (AI) into our operations. With a passion for innovation, she recently spoke at the State of AI in Maine and the Roux Institute about our current use of artificial intelligence in our Ashland Sawmill.


Clara Schortemeyer (Silviculture Forester) & Olivia Blizzard (Silviculture Supervisor) – Irving Woodlands 

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Recently, Clara and Oliva led the creation of a cross-divisional women’s networking group for female leaders across our Woodlands and Sawmills divisions. With the aim to support and uplift women and contribute to a welcoming culture within male-dominated fields, the group looks forward to representing the company at local events, and conferences, and encouraging young women to enter the industry.


Jennifer Skerker – Converting Manager, Irving Tissue 

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The Irving Forest Supply Chain, which includes Irving Consumer Products, was declared carbon neutral for the first time in 2020 and again in 2021. Ensuring the Forest Supply Chain carbon neutral declaration is maintained until 2023 is a key part of Irving Consumer Products’ tissue manufacturing operations’ sustainability goals. 

Jennifer Skerker is a Converting Manager at the Irving Tissue plant in Fort Edward, New York. She plays a role in developing processes that strive to have a positive impact on the environment.

“I chose Engineering as a profession because I gravitated towards math and science in school. My mother was a Chemical Engineer, and my grandmother was an Architect, so I grew up with strong female role models around me. I’m proud to be working for a company that includes environment as a core value.”

For more information, please visit 2030 commitments