Faculty of Engineering

Tattle challenges audience to find their passion during Lynda Shaw Memorial Lecture

Lynda Shaw Memorial Lecture

Western Engineering News March 23, 2015

By Jason Teakle

Dawn Tattle, president, Anchor Shoring & Caissons Ltd. – a highly respected, Toronto-based contracting firm specializing in innovative soil retention and foundation problems – delivered the 24th annual Lynda Shaw Memorial Distinguished Lecture on March 19.

The Lynda Shaw Memorial Distinguished Lecture Series was established in memory of Lynda Shaw, a third-year Mechanical Engineering student at Western who was murdered near highway 401 in 1990.

During the lecture, Tattle shared her path to taking the helm of the company her father helped found, how she discovered her calling in the construction industry, how being a mother has made her a better leader – and how women should take advantage of the unique opportunities that they have as women – in both engineering and business.

“Being a leader certainly didn’t come naturally to me,” said Tattle. “It was important to identify and acquire the skills I needed to become an effective leader and to not take myself too seriously in the process.”

After completing a degree in Applied Science at the University of Toronto in 1985, Tattle began her career with a structural engineering firm as a project engineer, but despite the valuable experience she gained, she soon found it was not where she wanted to spend her career.

The position worked to prepare her for her professional future and it was this realization that led her to join the family business in 1986, assuming the role of president of Anchor Shoring & Caissons Ltd. in 1997.

“The most exciting thing about engineering is the legacy we get to leave,” she observed. “I discovered I had a passion for construction.”

This passion for the industry helped solidify her leadership career, but there are days when she faces many challenges. Learning to remain calm and develop a plan that includes others in the process has helped Tattle overcome adversity during tough days on the job.

Being a mother has taught her how to approach leading a team of employees as it gave her “empathy and caring,” she wouldn’t otherwise have been able to bring to her role.

She told the audience comprised of many students there are many paths to leadership and different types of effective leaders.

“I hope you find your passion and that you’re not afraid to take chances. You will never be completely ready for something new and outside your comfort zone. When the opportunity arises, seize it, and put in the effort to learn what you need to learn to be successful at it.”

In addition to leading Anchor Shoring & Caissons Ltd., Tattle serves on the Prevention Council for the Ministry of Labour, the board of directors of the Toronto Construction Association and has received two of Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Awards – in 2008 and in 2010.

Visit www.anchorshoring.com for more information about Anchor Shoring & Caissons Ltd.