Women In Forestry

Preserving your place: Q&A with Wood Preservation Canada’s Natalie Tarini

February 26, 2024
By Maria Church Avatar photo
Presented by:
Wood Business
Women in Forestry

Natalie Tarini, executive director of Wood Preservation Canada, based in Ottawa, sees growing opportunity for women to enter and advance in the forest industry. A good start, she says, is reaching out to provincial forestry associations to learn about career options and openings. You never know, your path might lead to working with her to amplify the voices of the treated wood industry in Canada.

CFI: What career path led you to the executive director position with Wood Preservation Canada? 

I began my career in healthcare communications in North Bay and later accepted a role with the fabulous team at the Canadian Wood Council in Ottawa. For nearly 10 years, I had the pleasure of working alongside some of the most passionate and hardworking individuals that I’d ever met. We were a motivated team that believed in the benefits of the work that we were doing to advance the built environment.

From there, I had the opportunity to work for one of the Canadian Wood Council’s members, Wood Preservation Canada. The membership has been very welcoming and I’m thankful to everyone that has contributed to my learning curve to date. I also appreciate the opportunity to collaborate with our US counterparts on various projects and initiatives.

CFI: What inspires you to continue working in forestry? 

There are a lot of buzz words being used in marketing pieces for different building products – climate change, green. I truly believe that forestry is a big part of the solution for climate change. The work that the forest industry does collectively is what inspires me to continue working in this sector.

I also appreciate the collaborations that take place amongst forestry organizations, research entities and government branches. There’s a real willingness to work together for the greater good of the built environment.

CFI: Do you find there are certain challenges or hurdles for women to enter or stay in the industry? 

I prefer to see them as opportunities. With more organizations aware of the need for diversity, equity and inclusion for their operations, and with an emphasis on educating people about the various career paths that exist in forestry, I think there are diverse opportunities for women of all ages to enter the forest industry.

I would encourage anyone interested in a career in forestry to learn more about the provincial forestry associations in their area and the various careers that exist.

CFI: What can companies do to attract and support women or other people with diverse backgrounds and to advance them into leadership?

Companies are aware of the need for DEI, and not because of how it will look in their annual reporting, but for the message that it sends to future and existing employees. There’s been a fundamental shift in what people look for in a working environment. Being a proud equal opportunity employer that encourages career growth means that you will be part of a team.

The best thing a company can do to attract diversity is to believe in it fundamentally. When you do this, the rest will fall into place. 

CFI: What advice do you have for those considering a career the forest industry, or those in the industry looking to advance? 

If you love collaborating, have an appetite for learning and are passionate about the work that you do, then there’s a career in forestry for you! I would encourage people to attend the educational events hosted by the forest industry and network with the speakers, exhibitors, individuals hosting the event, as well as the attendees. I’ve met some amazing people at these events and you never know when your paths will cross again.

Surround yourself with great people and you’ll be inspired to advance your career. Advancement can mean different things to different people. For some, it’s attaining a higher-ranking job title and more responsibility. To others, it may mean perfecting their work and becoming more knowledgeable in their field of interest. Either way, I love the mantra that I never want to be the smartest person in the room because if you are, then you’ve outgrown that room. Personal and professional growth should never end, regardless of a person’s age or job title.

This article is part of CFI, Pulp & Paper Canada and Canadian Biomass’ Women in Forestry series, an annual celebration of women in the industry. Find more content here and follow us on social media with the hashtag: #WomeninForestry.

Remember to join us for the Women in Forestry Virtual Summit on Mar. 8 at 11 am ET/8 am PT! It’s FREE to register. Sign up now!