Gillian Gardhouse, P.Eng., graduated from Linden in 2004 and recently spoke with us about her career choices and plans.
Linden: How did you decide to become a geological engineer?
Gillian: I had never heard of geological engineering before taking a first year course on the subject. What I really liked about it was that it focused on understanding the systems of the earth, but put this knowledge in the context of how we can apply it to societal needs and do so responsibly.
Linden: Tell us more about your experience working in the gold mining industry and what excites you about it.
Gillian: I work for a Toronto-based Canadian gold mining company with operations all around the world. What I like most about the mining industry is that it is very dynamic. There are constantly new problems to solve and challenges to overcome. Through mining, I have had the opportunity to work all over the world, learn a new language, and spend lots of time in the great outdoors.
Linden: What influenced your decision to go further and pursue an MBA?
Gillian: The mining industry requires both technical and financial knowledge, so pursuing an MBA seemed like a natural way to open new doors. So far it’s allowed me to shift out of a purely technical role in geotechnical engineering and into a senior analyst role in the company’s Business Optimization group. My new role requires me to understand the operational aspects of mining and then apply them to figure out how we can mine more efficiently.
Linden: There are quite a few all-girls independent schools in Toronto. Why did you choose to attend Linden?
Gillian: I chose to attend Linden because I like the overall atmosphere — I instantly felt I belonged. I was also attracted to the small class sizes and rigorous academics.
Linden: What lasting impact has Linden had on your life?
Gillian: Linden gave me the critical thinking and communication skills to adapt to new situations in life, not to mention the ability to speak confidently in public!
Linden: What advice would you give Linden high school students about pursuing careers in STEM and business-related fields?
Gillian: Use the many opportunities at Linden to try out new things, from Science Fair to challenging courses, to participating in external events. See what you find interesting and then learn more. Don’t worry about what others think, or the fact that there may be few women in some areas at the moment. Your curiosity and passion in a subject will lead you down exciting paths.
Linden: What advice do you have for Linden parents?
Gillian: Support your daughter in whatever drives her intellectual engagement. Let her know that her curiosity has no bounds and that she can pursue anything.
Linden: What do you plan to do next?
Gillian: At the moment I’m focusing on advancing my part-time MBA studies and balancing a full time job. I’m trying to make the most of every opportunity that comes my way, and learn as much as I can both in school and in the workplace.