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WOMEN AT WORK : CASSANDRA PROCHERA

AN ELECTRICIAN FROM REVELSTOKE, B.C.


What does a day in your work life look like?
A typical day for me starts with exercise first thing in the morning, followed by breakfast, coffee, and some emails. I like to stay on top of my week by keeping in touch with client and on top of the material needed for my electrical jobs that I have on the go.

 What made you start doing the amazing things that you do?
After graduating high school I had the opportunity to purchase a house in my hometown. I knew that the trades work in the area was really starting to grow. Becoming an electrician allowed me, at the time, to be able to work and go to school while paying a mortgage. It wasn't until I was well into the electrical trade that I realized how few women were actually involved and how rare it might be for other males to see a female on site. This work experience was incredible for me. There was a lot of respect from those I worked with who appreciated seeing a woman jumping into the trades .  Also, a lot of curiosity made me want to become a tradeswoman in the first place. My answer about why I started at the time was " to pay the bills." Now my role of being a sparky means so much more. Beyond paying the bills, I feel like it's a position where I can be a leader, feel confident, and inspire other women.

 


Did you complete any training? If not, how did you learn your trade/skill?     
I have completed the four-year Construction Electrician apprenticeship training with Sask Polytechnic Post-Secondary College.

What did you want to be when you were growing up, or a little kid?
Growing up, the thought of what I wanted to be changed all of the time. It was always something involving action or some type of physical work. Some of the main ideas I had were becoming a firefighter, a jet pilot, a paramedic, and a mountain guide.
What do you have to sacrifice to be good at what you do?
When it comes to sacrificing something to become better at what I do, there isn't a lot that comes to my mind.  But, being one involved in the trades, hands on, means you are going to have hands like a trades person would. Every once and a while, I try to break from the "rough around the edge" look, but there is no escaping the calloused hands, haha. It is certainly something many are proud of. There is not much that feels better than seeing a good job being done, but it can be hard on the body over time. 

What are you great at, and what do you suck at?                                               
I feel like I am great with being a leader of projects. Time and material management are things that have always come naturally to me. I really enjoy getting involved with the details and planning of projects from start to finish. Something I kind of really suck at is saying yes to too much work. I have a hard time saying no to a job if it presents itself. This can make me want to rush when I know it is far better to give each job its proper amount of time and attention.   

What do you want people to know about being a woman in your field?        That there is a lot of respect for women in the trades from the men on job sites. I find people always asking and expecting to hear crazy stories of being mistreated, but really, I could not have felt more welcome and encouraged. I would not be the female sparky I am today if it wasn't for the male role models I had who taught me all I needed to know as I worked my way through my apprenticeship. I would say don't let this be a thought or assumption that holds you back ladies. Go for it and embrace the support!                                                                                                                                                                                     
What are the top five things that are always in your pockets?

Cell phone, linesman pliers, Olfa knife, extra ponytail elastic, chapstick
                                   
What are you doing when you’re not working hard?                            
Definitely dirt biking, snow biking or editing photos. In my down time I am a power sports photographer and enthusiast.                                                                                                                                                                                                      
How do you encourage other women to start doing what you do?
               
I speak my own story honestly and with real enthusiasm. A career in the trades has been amazing and has paved the way for me to be able to support myself with the other passions I have in life such as power sports photography and travel.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
Who’s a role model who helped you in your journey to where you are?

At a very young age my parents divorced. This was not a burden on me as a child. They did an incredible job of raising me and in such a way that there was still a lot of love as a family. With this being the situation, I got to witness my Mother do a lot on her own around the house. From renting the house to changing the oil in the truck and landscaping. Witnessing this created no label for me between what was a man's job and what was a woman's job. Right from the beginning, there was no doubt that if there was something I wanted to do the only person stopping me was me.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

If you could give your 20-year-old-self advice, what would it be?
Think bigger!! Think bigger than what you see this trade to be offering you right now and where you imagine it taking you. Keep working hard and think bigger.  

Do you have any special projects or cool things you want people to check out?

Nothing on the go just yet, but I have had a few ideas for a while. Maybe in time I will bring some thoughts to life to share with more women around the globe that are excited about making a career in the trades industry.                               

What does workwear designed for women mean to you? 

To me, it is a recognition that women are out there and are meant to be there if they want to be. It takes away from it being uncommon for women to be involved in the trades. It feels good to have the support of brands that want to make a product specific to women and in turn makes me proud to wear that work wear on my job sites. I look forward to see more evolve as more women being to join the trades.                                                                                                                                                         
               

Follow Cassandra Prochera on Instagram here


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