To coincide with the 101st Canadian Chemistry Conference & Exhibition, the University of Alberta Women in Chemistry (UAWIC) hosted the 2018 Leaders Overcoming Gender Inequality in Chemistry (LOGIC) retreat on May 26 & 27, 2018. The theme of this retreat was “Paving the Path for a Career in Chemistry” as it was geared towards the professional development of young investigators, with particular emphasis on highlighting non-traditional careers one can pursue with a chemistry degree. The event emphasized the inclusion of women, people of colour, and other non-visible minorities in the chemistry community.

 Randy Sanichar.

Attendees gathered for a group photo during the first day of the LOGIC 2018 retreat. Photo credit: Randy Sanichar.

The retreat began with a plenary lecture from Mita Dasog, Assistant Professor at Dalhousie University. She candidly spoke of the obstacles she faced throughout her life and her journey to her current position – a story that not only resonated with, but also inspired, all 92 of our registrants. David Norman then used Eastman Chemical Company as a case study to affirm the importance of inclusivity and diversity in industry for fostering growth resulting from diverse perspectives.

In the afternoon, the WinSETT Centre delivered workshops focused on enhancing negotiation skills and finding mentorship – two key areas where women have been known to fall behind compared to men. Attendees also had a choice of participating in a Sexual Harassment Bystander Intervention Workshop, facilitated by the University of Alberta Sexual Assault Centre, or touring the scenic river valley and U of A campus. We closed the evening with a banquet dinner and the keynote address by Margaret-Ann Armour, who took her audience on a journey filled with laughter and tears as she recounted her personal story and her decades-long campaign to encourage women in STEM, as well as inspired everyone with her vision for a brighter and more inclusive future.

 Randy Sanichar.

Margaret-Ann Armour giving her keynote address to a captive audience. Photo credit: Randy Sanichar.

Raychelle Burks (known as Dr. Rubidium on Twitter) kicked Sunday off with an eye-opening discussion on racism and the struggles people of colour face not only in chemistry, but in their daily lives. We then had an open and stimulating panel discussion, where attendees were encouraged to ask questions covering everything from spending too much time on the internet to making a choice between family and work. The retreat closed with a networking session, allowing guests to share their thoughts on the topics discussed throughout the weekend with their new connections.

 Randy Sanichar.

Hayley Wan, Jillian Buriak, Jennifer Griffiths, and Lisa Shipley shared some insight during an enlightening panel discussion. Photo credit: Randy Sanichar.

UAWIC would like to extend a big thank you to the wonderful team of dedicated volunteers who organized LOGIC 2018 and to all the attendees who showed that this was a meaningful experience by their enthusiastic participation throughout the weekend.

This event would not have been possible without the generous support of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Merck & Co., Alberta Innovates, the University of Alberta Faculty of Science, the University of Alberta Department of Chemistry, Eastman Chemical Company, the CIC Chemical Education Fund, the NSERC Chairs for Women in Science and Engineering, Gilead Sciences, in addition to several other sponsors from the CIC and small companies.

 Randy Sanichar.

The UAWIC Executive Team & Margaret-Ann Armour at the LOGIC 2018 Banquet Dinner (left to right: Rochelin Dalangin, Meagan Oakley, Margaret-Ann Armour, Sorina Chiorean, Jocelyn Sinclair, Regina Sinelnikov). Photo credit: Randy Sanichar.