Plan for the future: Inspiring the next generation of female leaders

Cenovus welcomed two Youth Ambassadors from Plan International Canada’s Girls Belong Here Program to job shadow members of our Leadership team. Rhona DelFrari, Chief Sustainability Officer & Executive Vice-President, Stakeholder Engagement, and Susan Anderson, Senior Vice-President, People Services, were joined by the two young women in sharing the executive seat for the day. The two Youth Ambassadors had the opportunity to sit in on meetings, gain insight into our executives’ career paths and were provided with exposure to teams across the company – capturing these experiences throughout the day in a vlog-style video. 
"Cenovus has a strong commitment to fostering a diverse workforce and has targets to increase women in leadership roles. These goals are backed by specific actions, including mentoring opportunities," says Susan. "Partnering with Plan International Canada for Girls Belong Here is a unique opportunity for us to showcase the varied roles women leaders have at our company and enables us to ask participants for their viewpoints about how to attract the next generation of female leaders to our industry." 
We know the importance and benefits of giving everyone a chance to speak up and be heard. This partnership gives aspiring women leaders the chance to see what achievements are possible by hearing about the backgrounds and experiences of our own accomplished leaders, and in return gives us the opportunity to listen and learn from the shared experience and from the young leaders' unique insights. 
“Rhona, Susan and the rest of the team at Cenovus were extremely open to the ideas that we were sharing,” says Krushi, a Girls Belong Here Youth Ambassador. “They genuinely noted them down, which made it feel like our input would have purpose within the company.” 
Alongside the job shadowing experience, Cenovus hosted an Innovation Hub, a thinktank-style presentation where the participants of Girls Belong Here reflected on and shared ideas that were inspired by their time spent with our executives and discussions with the other leaders and young grads across the company.  
“Girls belong everywhere, and this initiative continues to demonstrate the truth in those words to participants and young women across the country,” says Kim Guttormson, Director of Communications.
Since 2016, Plan International Canada’s Girls Belong Here program has fostered connections between 195 youth ambassadors and senior leaders from across Canada.  
“Today was incredibly inspiring,” says Angelina, Girls Belong Here Youth Ambassador. “I got to learn more about leadership, including how open to opinions all of these high-level executives were.”
Girls Belong Here is dedicated to creating opportunities for Canada’s self-identifying girls, young women and gender-diverse youth to connect with leaders and claim spaces across civil, corporate, academic and government sectors. 

Watch Plan International Canada’s video to learn more about how integral female leadership is for both the Youth Ambassadors and Cenovus’ future. 

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