Top Women in Safety 2022

Leading the change in OHS

The past two years have been immensely challenging for industries across the board, and notably for the health and safety profession. The role of the safety professional often tends to be dismissed or misunderstood. But occupational health and safety is about so much more than just preventing injuries in the line of duty, says Sheri Benson, founder of Thrive Safety Consulting. 

“It is about creating workplaces where we are not only protected from harm but supported and encouraged to thrive,” says Benson. “I believe that our work provides opportunities to positively impact every aspect of the lives of our people, not just their physical safety on the job.” 

Perhaps this outlook is why Benson was nominated as one of the Top Women in Safety. In an industry which is still male-dominated, COS believes that it is of utmost importance to recognize the professional women who are truly making a difference and pushing for change. 

We hope that these awards can shine the spotlight on some of the best and brightest in the field, and empower those who want to enter the profession.  

“Safety is full of opportunities and possibilities for women. I see organizations where trust in female leaders is standard. The question is, do the women believe in themselves?”
Natalia Pashutina, NP Educator 



Leading with passion

“I am honoured and grateful to be recognized as one of the Top Women in Safety and to have been selected for this prestigious award by Canadian Occupational Safety,” says Nada Vuckovic, head of environment, health and safety at Siemens Canada.  

“This important award recognizes women who are doing great things in the industry to support health, safety and well-being and create work environments where all employees are safe,” says Vuckovic. “I have faced several challenges on my way here, but determination end resilience made me the person I am today; a professional who leads with passion, keeps raising the bar and is not deterred by a challenge.” 

Indeed, for the winners, this award is a testament to the hard work and hustle that have led them to the top of their profession. It is a great opportunity to look back at the challenges they have faced. 

“When I first started my journey and founded Thrive Safety Consulting, my goal was to take what I had learned from my personal experiences in the workplace, and to make an impact on a larger scale. Stepping outside of my comfort zone opened up new opportunities which have brought on exciting challenges and growth,” says Benson. 

She says that being recognized as a Top Woman in Safety is an honour and she looks forward to “continued growth, speaking and finding new ways to engage with fellow and upcoming leaders and impacting the safety industry.”  

Benson, like many safety professionals, says that sharing accolades can be challenging, but awards such as these are a great reminder of the reason to celebrate their success. 

Being distinguished as a Top Woman in Safety is also a great way to inspire others wishing to have a career in OHS. This recognition “sets an example,” says Natalia Pashutina, health and safety specialist at NP Educator and chairwoman of the Canadian Society of Safety Engineering, BC Lower Mainland Chapter.  

“As an OHS instructor, I got to see so many brilliant female students. I am confident they will do great in their OHS career and be recognized by colleagues, leaders and peers,” she says. 

“Gender equality, diversity and elevating women to leadership roles is a real struggle. We must commit to increasing the number of women in the leadership positions in the occupational safety and health field”
Nada Vuckovic, Siemens



The importance of mentorship

In March 2022, Canadian Occupational Safety held its third annual Women in Safety summit. Many of those on the Top Women in Safety list were in attendance – either in the audience or on a panel of speakers. This inspiring event raised various important topics that women in OHS are keen to discuss.  

As Pashutina said, mentorship is a key aspect of being not only a Top Woman in Safety but being a leader in the OHS space. As the safety professional’s role continues to expand, a growing number of young women are choosing it as an exciting career path. Having a mentor in the field can be an enriching experience for the mentor and the mentee alike. 

During the COS summit, a significant point raised was the progress in recent years concerning the fair treatment of women in OHS. Most of the event participants concurred that there are still a number of issues facing women in the sector today. 

“Our work provides opportunities to positively impact every aspect of the lives of our people, not just their physical safety on the job”
Sheri Benson, Thrive Safety Consulting


Self-doubt and other challenges

What exactly are the challenges that women have to deal with in the OHS sector? According to Pashutina, these come from within.  

“Safety is full of opportunities and possibilities for women. I see organizations where trust in female leaders is standard. The question is, do the women believe in themselves?”

Indeed, the notion of self-belief is crucial because many women are often plagued with self-doubt and a lack of confidence in their hard-earned abilities and skills. This is a sentiment echoed by Benson: “Although we continue to make progress in our industry, women still face many challenges in the field. Some external factors still exist such as bias in a male-dominated industry. However, I believe some of our biggest challenges are often internal. I think a lot of women can relate to creating their own limitations with self-limiting beliefs. The feeling of ‘imposter syndrome’ often sets in.” 

Benson says that learning to embrace differences and seeing what women bring to the table as an asset instead of a weakness is “one of the most powerful realizations we can make, which can impact us profoundly both personally and professionally. Not sharing your gifts and talents is a disservice not only to yourself but to others.” 

Stepping into their full potential requires women to move past the barriers they create for themselves first, she says, and then the ones that come next seem a little easier to overcome. 

Taking a slightly different view, Vuckovic says that “gender equality, diversity and elevating women to leadership roles is a real struggle. We must commit to increasing the number of women in the leadership positions in the OHS field.” 

Diversity and inclusion across the safety industry “makes diverse and inclusive workplace safer and more profitable. Having diverse safety professionals balances the strengths brought to the table, which serves the organizations and employees better,” she says. 

These are all valid opinions – there is no one singular female experience but a multitude of experiences. One thing the sector must do, as Vuckovic says, is bring these different voices together to create an environment where people of any gender feel welcome. Each person, regardless of gender identity, brings a fresh and interesting perspective that can lead to long-term change in the OHS profession.


Top Women in Safety 2022

  • Adeeta Marie Bandoo
    Director, EHS, Stanley Black & Decker
  • Alison La Rue
    Safety, Risk, and Compliance Manager, Searcy Trucking
  • Amandeep Beesla
    Director of Safety Insight and Innovation, Salus
  • Amber-Lee Jenkins
    Associate Director, Safety and Security Quality Assurance, Greater Toronto Airports Authority
  • Ana Ivanic
    Chief Operating Officer, Occupational Safety Group
  • Carol Molloy, BA, NCSO, P.GSC  
    President, Molloy’s Premium Consulting Services & Solutions
  • Connie Bradburn
    Manager, Education and Safety, Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency
  • Diane Campbell
    Safety Supervisor, City of Moose Jaw
  • Erin Oliver
    Vice President of Health, Safety and Sustainability, Modern Niagara Group
  • Janine Williams-Ward
    On-Road Safety Manager, Amazon Logistics
  • Jessica McCaughey
    Senior Manager, HSE Shared Services, Bird Construction
  • Jill Vrolson, CRSP
    Team Lead, Health and Safety, Operations Terminals and Pipelines, Keyera
  • Julianne Da Re
    Director of Health, Safety and Environment (Canada), AECOM
  • Leigh-Ann Stewart
    Director Safety, Kaltire
  • Lisa Beech-Hawley
    Section Manager, Corporate Environment, Health and Safety, Ontario Power Generation
  • Lisa Wells
    HSE Coordinator, Contractor Management, IOC Rio Tinto
  • Lori Kennedy
    Directory, Regulatory Affairs, Canadian Pacific Railway
  • Melissa Gould
    Director of EHS, North America and Corporate, Linamar
  • Michelle Richer
    Health and Safety Manager, Marathon Construction
  • Monica Szabo
    President, Szabo Safety & Operations Services
  • Natalia Pashutina
    Health and Safety Instructor and Consultant, NP Educator, BCIT, Langara college
  • Natalie Edery
    Corporate Manager, Safety Health and Environment, ATS Automation
  • Nicole Kaskamin
    Director of HSE, Mikisew Group of Companies
  • Paula M A Campkin
    Vice President, Operations and Safety Centre of Excellence, Energy Safety Canada
  • Reshma Sukdhoe  
    Territory Director of Safety Health and Disability Management, Salvation Army, Canada and Bermuda Territory
  • Robin Angel
    Chair, Board of Canadian Registered Safety Professionals
  • Sarah McCurdy, BS, ROHT, CRSP, EP 
    Senior Occupational Hygienist, SunCor 
  • Serese Selanders
    Founder and CEO, SolusGuard
  • Shayna Helal
    Chief Safety Officer, Mott Electric GP
  • Sheri Benson
    Founder/Consultant, Thrive Safety Consulting
  • Sobi Ragunathan
    Vice President, Operations, Strategy and Partnerships, 4S Consulting Services
  • Sonya Wickens
    Health and Safety Group Leader, Honda of Canada
  • Stephanie Benay
    Director, Safety, BC Hydro
  • Susan Harahap
    Manager, Corporate Occupational Health and Safety, Pro Administration Services
  • Tracy Buck
    Assistant Deputy Chief Member Services, Regional Municipality Wood Buffalo
  • Trina Hayden
    Director, Advisory Services, NORCAT


At the start of Canadian Occupational Safety’s research period, the COS team sent out a call via email and through its website asking OHS professionals to nominate the top women in the Canadian health and safety sector. The process was also open to self-nominations. The team received hundreds of nominations from across the country.  

Nominators were asked to highlight the nominees’ professional accomplishments and initiatives as well as provide evidence of contributions to diversity and inclusion in the workplace and the entire health and safety sector. They were also asked to provide additional details on why the nominee should be considered for the distinction.  

Each nomination was thoroughly vetted to ensure that it met the rigorous criteria. Thanks to the expert insights of COS readers – many of whom are stalwarts of the OHS industry – and the dedication of the research team, this special report presents a list of Canada’s Top Women in Safety. From 40 women in its inaugural 2021 edition, this year’s list has expanded to 61 winners.