Staff Feature : Aileen Sison-Catahan

Aileen started her career as a Licensed Electrical Engineer in the Philippines. She came to Canada through the Foreign Worker program in 2007, just over a year after becoming a Licensed Engineer in her home country. She started as an Assembler for a cable assembly manufacturing company in Calgary, quickly moving to an Engineering Technician role, moving up to Quality Assurance Lead and finally, an Engineering Manager.

In 2013, Aileen was hired by MRO to help us become certified for the Controlled Goods Program and ISO9001 QMS. Aileen says that MRO was very supportive of her goals for the company and always considered and approved her recommendations. “I felt very appreciated that I strived to do more for the company. Because of that, I made it my personal goal to help MRO succeed and get to another level in business. Aside from successfully getting our ISO9001 certificate and Controlled Goods certificate, we also got additional certificates for MRO that help bring up our qualifications and reputation in the industry” says Aileen.

Unlike other business owners that she has worked with and met before, Aileen says that MRO's owners run their business with their heart. She recalls Kevin Stiles said to her "we try to hire for life here".

Aileen goes on to say that her team at MRO shows her that they trust her and MRO in keeping their best interest at heart, at the very least, their job security. Because of this, her teams are always ready to help and support where needed. They step-up to challenges, sometimes even voluntarily, which is inspiring and empowering as a Manager.

Alieen says that MRO has been supportive of her personal career goals. When she was given the role of General Manager, Aileen says she felt unprepared. However, she took the challenge head on, and also enrolled in Professional Management courses from the University of Calgary and Contract Management: Business Law courses from Mount Royal University.

As a woman, Aileen has faced some hardships working in a male dominated industry. She says that there have times in her received comments like "can a woman really be an Electrical Engineer?", and degrading comments like "when it comes to trade shows, just stand there and look pretty, but when it comes to business meetings, the men have to do the talking". However, when it comes to working at MRO, Aileen says she has never felt that I was judged because of her gender.

“They respected that I am a mom and would sometimes need to work from home to tend to my sick kids. They even remind me sometimes that work-life balance is important and I should avoid working too much extra hours to spend time with my family.” says Aileen, adding, “what's great and what I appreciated most is, my manager did not think being emotional sometimes and leading with a heart is a weakness. I did not feel the need to act in a more cutthroat way when making business decisions. This made me feel free and very comfortable in my own skin, empowering me to do my best