International Women’s Day – Celebrating Women in the Marine Sector
In honour of International Women’s Day, join Ships2Shores as we celebrate the extraordinary women in Canada’s sailing and marine community! We’ll be sitting down with panelists who have diverse experiences. They will shed light on their experiences, challenges, the progress that has been made for women, and the various opportunities available. This is a chance to take stock of the important role women play in pushing our marine sector forward.
Beatriz SimasChief Petty Officer 2nd Class, RCSCC CHAUDIERE, Milton, ON
CPO2 Simas cadet career started in 2012 as a Navy League Cadet at NLCC REVENGE in Mississauga. During her time as a Navy League Cadet, CPO2 Simas took on many opportunities and participated in many trips. She also participated in Squadron competitions and won 1st place in Drill and 2nd place in the Drill with Arms Competition. She also led a corps-wide 1812 Drill Display Team during their Annual Inspection. She rose through the ranks and achieved the rank of Chief Petty Officer 1st Class and Coxswain of NLCC REVENGE.
In 2015 she graduated from the Navy League Cadet program and moved on to the Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps HAIDA. While at RCSCC HAIDA, CPO2 Simas participated in the Inter-Provincial Drill Competition and achieved 2nd place status. In 2017 CPO2 Simas transferred to RCSCC SCARBOROUGH in Scarborough, Ontario. When she arrived at RCSCC SCARBOROUGH at the rank of Leading Cadet, CPO2 Simas helped to recruit and retain cadets. She ensured communication flowed to and from the officers and was loyal to both her superiors and her subordinates. She quickly achieved the rank of Petty Officer 2nd Class and at that rank she sat and passed the Coxswain’s board, and was appointed Coxswain of RCSCC SCARBOROUGH. During her time as Coxswain of RCSCC SCARBOROUGH, CPO2 Simas also volunteered as a Cadet Instructor with NLCC COMPASS ROSE in Acton, ON.
In 2019, CPO2 Simas transferred once again to RCSCC CHAUDIERE in Milton, Ontario. Since moving to RCSCC CHAUDIERE CPO2 Simas took on the position of Guard Commander and led her Guard during the Remembrance Day ceremonies at Milton’s Town Hall. During the pandemic CPO2 Simas got promoted to the rank of Petty Officer 1st Class and subsequently on to her current rank of Chief Petty Officer 2nd Class, serving as Chief of Training. While tending to her job at RCSCC CHAUDIERE, CPO2 Simas is a founder Sea Cadet member and instructor of the new NLCC ADVENTURE, a Navy League Cadet Corps for cadets ages 9-12, located in Milton.
Some of the awards CPO2 Simas received are: The Navy League of Canada Cadet Long Service Medal, 2 Gold and 1 Silver Award from the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board Mathematics Competition, Top Marks in Mathematics with an average of 99.9%, Honour Roll for all 4 consecutive years, Top Debater in Toastmasters, received the Youth Leadership Program Certification from Toastmasters and 2 letters of commendation for community service from Mr. Parm Gill, Member of Provincial Parliament for Milton. She also won the HMCS YORK Leadership Award, Best Drill Member, Top Shot Award, and the Award of Recognition from HMCS YORK.
CPO2 Simas lives in Mississauga with her parents, her brother and a big black cat named Sherlock. She is currently finishing her High School studies and hopes to pursue a degree in Arts and Art History at the University of Toronto this September.
Cdr Suzanne AppletonCommander, Royal Canadian Navy
Suzanne is a Commander in the Royal Canadian Navy in the Naval Technical Officer occupation. Her love for the sea and the marine environment was fostered at a young age but really solidified during her time as a teenager with the Toronto Brigantine tall ship sail training program. Throughout her career, Suzanne has had the privilege of gaining extensive technical leadership experience through numerous projects and programs on topics such as engineering support, technical trials, HR, Environment, IT and innovation. This professional path contributes to ensuring that RCN sailors have the equipment and systems they need to protect and secure Canada’s three coasts. Some of her career highlights include operations at sea, representing Canada at NATO fora, advancing women and BIPOC in STEM, and being part of an award-winning project team.
Danielle DoggettFounder & CEO, SAILCARGO, INC.
Danielle grew up on Canada’s Great Lakes, sailing on the brigantine St. Lawrence II at the age of 13, later signing onto the infamous cargo ship Tres Hombres in the Dominican Republic in early 2010, which introduced her to sail-powered shipping. Named by the Royal Institute of Naval Architects (RINA) as one of the most influential women in the industry of the past century, she is an adviser to the Caribbean Sail Training Association. She has worked on large projects with SAILMASTER BV in the Netherlands and Germany: the Peking, Gorch Fock and Shabab Oman II. As captain of schooner Ruth, flagship of Barbados, she wrote & implemented the launch, which is the largest ship to be launched in the history of the country. Danielle is currently responsible for orchestrating and harmonizing the CEIBA S.A. crew and fellow owners of Ceiba, she works diligently to keep the project as running smoothly as possible at the ”mangrove shipyard” in Costa Rica, AstilleroVerde.”
Jillian AdamsProject Engineer - Structures, Aker Arctic Technology Inc.
Jillian’s love of the maritime world started at a young age during her summer visits to family in the East Coast of Canada. Her love of the water brought her to Toronto Brigantine during high school. She turned to engineering for her university studies, but it wasn’t until her second year that she realised she could combine her passion for the marine industry with her studies. A co-op placement at a naval architecture firm in Canada during her mechanical engineering degree allowed her to find this balance.
In 2016, she moved to Finland to pursue a Nordic Masters in Maritime Engineering allowing her to specialise further in the area of ship design while also being able to travel through the Nordic countries. Her thesis focused on gaining a better understanding of how ships and ice interact and the resulting pressure loads on the ship’s structures. Today, Jillian continues to live in Finland and works at Aker Arctic Technology Inc. where she is responsible for structural design and analysis of ice-going ships.
Libby DrewFerry Operator for the Frontenac Howe Islander
Libby Drew is a Ferry Operator for the Frontenac Howe Islander based out of Kingston, Ontario. She began her maritime career at Tall Ship Expeditions, St. Lawrence II formerly Brigantine Inc. back in 2004 at the age of 14. After completing the program in 2008 she continued working on traditionally rigged sailing vessels on the Great Lakes and East Coast.
She studied Film & Media at Queen’s University, where she still hosts a weekly dance music radio show, but instead chose to pursue a career on ships. During her 17 years in the maritime sector, she has worked for organizations such as Tall Ships America, Sisters Under Sail, and Class Afloat. She primarily works on the vessels themselves, but has also worked on the shore side of things, handling: marketing, fundraising, program development, and grant writing.
At her current job for the County of Frontenac, she is the only woman working on the ferry, but hopes to see that change in the near future.