Catherine Tokarz hasn’t always worked in dairy. Before starting her career path to becoming Senior Vice-President of Government Affairs at Saputo, Catherine had taken a break from the dairy industry to expand her knowledge of international trade. When she returned to dairy, it was with purpose, having been given the opportunity to work for one of the world’s leading dairy processors.

“Dairy is a highly complex industry” she explained. “There are always challenges to face, opportunities to pursue and the differing perspectives make it all very interesting.”

Catherine has built a reputation for being a knowledgeable and strategic colleague and competitor. As a woman working in a traditionally male dominated industry, she has, at times, been the only woman in the room. When asked how she handles such situations, Catherine offers this advice:

“Never focus on the fact that you’re the only woman in the room, don’t dwell on it and don’t let it matter. If you want to get something done, plan what you need to get there and then do it.”

However, building a successful career has not been without its challenges. She notes that, regardless of your gender, striking a work-life balance is a difficult part of moving up the corporate ladder.

“It is a long journey, but women continue to pursue and land top leadership roles across all disciplines.” Catherine adds. “It’s only a matter of time before we’re no longer speaking about this as an issue.”

If you have an interesting story to tell or know of someone who does, please contact Ciana Van Dusen at cvandusen@dpac-atlc.ca

More stories on the innovative and hardworking Canadians creating your favorite dairy products here!