Pride at CIMA+

On June 4, at the beginning of Pride month, we published on our internal website an interview with Heather Shaw, a member of CIMA+’s Marketing team in Western Canada. In the interview, Heather talked about what Pride means to her, her experiences at CIMA+ as a member of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, and allyship.

Several people reached out to Heather after reading the interview to express their support to her and to share their own experiences at CIMA+. The interview also contributed to others at CIMA+ feeling that they are supported and welcomed where they work. To amplify the impact of Heather’s message and to help in the representation of 2SLGBTQIA+ people in the engineering community, we are publishing the interview externally and drawing the attention of CIMA+’s followers to it.


(A photo of Heather (right) with her partner Shone Thistle (left) hiking in the Virgin River Canyon in Arizona)


Engineering is for ALL people

Since my Pride interview was published June 4th on CIMA+’s Intranet, I have received many private messages and public displays of support from colleagues across the country.

I was really encouraged by a message from a senior leader at CIMA+, who said “We should all be able to come to work every day exactly as we are and feel supported in being our authentic selves.” This signalled to me that CIMA+ is serious about inclusion as a value.

Another colleague wrote a different kind of message. They said that their child is having problems right now in connection with their identity. I was relieved to hear them say how good CIMA+’s response has been, and that they feel “supported and protected.” I was also happy knowing that talking publicly about my own experiences of being queer may have been part of what makes them feel supported at work. This was my motivation for doing the interview in the first place. If it could help one person to feel less alone and safer, it would serve its purpose. If there is one thing that every member of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community knows, it’s that representation matters.

These messages and the support I have received and continue to receive reinforce why I will always share my story and never hide. From the interns to the C suite, people deserve to feel safe, secure, and valued and CIMA+ is and continues to ensure that engineering is for ALL people.


-Heather Shaw


(Original interview)


What does Pride mean to you?

As a person who has been out for nearly 40 years, I have often been subject to negative comments or actions. Because of these, Pride has many meanings for me. Over the decades, Pride has offered me a sense of community, physical and emotional safe spaces, targeted activism, human rights, and the opportunity to fight for the legal status to simply be me.

Pride was, and still is, political and as long as 2SLGBTQIA+ people are being denied equal rights and freedom of expression, Pride will always be necessary. And I will always be a part of Pride.



What has been your experience at CIMA+?

I came into CIMA+ just being myself. After so many years of experiencing discriminatory behaviour, I feel comfortable with who I am, and I think it shows. I am a parent, grandparent, daughter, friend, etc. Like everyone, I am more than just one identity. I have an exceptional group of team members for whom it is irrelevant (as it should be). Leaders around me set the tone and it is one of acceptance. When senior leaders step up, it makes a difference.



How can people become better allies to our 2SLGBTQIA+ colleagues, and the community?

Challenge yourself. Challenge your biases. Challenge your concerns or fears if you have any. Ask questions. Read. Watch. Listen. Queer people have spent their entire lives awash in a culture that “others” have defined. That doesn’t represent or reflect them. Remember that, and open yourself up to the reality that difference is normal and natural.


What resources or activities would you recommend to those who want to be informed and show their support?

There is a wealth of information available, so watch an eye-opening documentary, learn why Stonewall still matters, go to a Pride event, attend a drag performance, and open your heart and mind. There is no shortage of opportunities: you just need to choose to care about the people around you at work, at home and in your communities who are part of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community.


How to celebrate Pride season and show your support as an ally:


Please note that some of these resources may address difficult subjects and trigger memories of traumatic experiences. If you require emotional support, please refer to the following resources: list of local resources


Other useful links to help you get informed


Documentaries and movies

Skip to content