THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE GRAND VALLEY CONSTRUCTION ASSOCIATION

January - February 2024

deCONSTRUCTED - FEATURE ARTICLE

Mandy Bujold joins the Grand Valley Construction Association

The Grand Valley Construction Association is excited to announce that Mandy Bujold is joining the team as our new Industry and Community Partnerships Manager.

Bujold is an 11-time Canadian National Boxing champion, two-time Olympian, public speaker, and an advocate for women in sport.

Bujold will be putting that same energy into expanding the opportunities for women in construction across the region. It’s a fight she said she is ready to take on.

“I spent the last 16 years of my life dedicated to the sport of boxing, and I never thought it was going to take me where it has. It has been an opportunity to travel the world, meet some amazing people, and learn a lot of really great transferable skills,” said Bujold.

One of those opportunities was fighting to make boxing more equitable for female athletes. In 2020, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) informed Bujold that she did not qualify for the games due to changes in the qualifying events, which had been rescheduled multiple times due to the pandemic.

“Basically, there were a few events that weren’t supposed to be qualifiers that ended up being retroactively bing selected as qualifying events. For women, they were looking at an 11-month period, but for men, they were looking at a 16-month period. I missed three events because I was either pregnant or postpartum—and those were the ones that they were going to look at,” she said.

Bujold ranked in the top 10 but wasn’t allowed to compete. She spoke with a friend in the legal profession, and after some investigation, they realized this was a clear case of gender-based discrimination.

“It was not fun to go through, but as we started putting this out there, it became a global issue. People were messaging me from all over the world and pushing me to fight for this. I think it’s because not only in sports but in every business, women have to take time off if they want to have children. You have to plan around your career and your family,” said Bujold.

After taking the course to arbitration with the IOC and winning, Bujold was allowed to compete at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, held in 2021. The decision was that the IOC had to make an accommodation for any pregnant or postpartum female when determining qualification scores.

“It was a big win for me. I thought an Olympic gold medal would be the ultimate thing that I walked away from the sport with, but in the end, I think having this win for women in sports was bigger than that. I can walk away saying I left sport better than I found it,” she said.

Bujold added she is looking forward to helping more women discover opportunities in construction and the trades. One of the challenges for our industry is showing girls and young women that great careers are waiting for them. Bujold said the issues in construction and boxing have a shared root cause—lack of exposure.

“I think being able to go into schools at a young age and expose kids to the options is critical. Everyone in my family works in construction, but I was never exposed to it in a way where I saw it as a career. I remember in high school, the girls did home EC and the boys did shop. Why weren’t trades talked about as something that women could get into as well,” said Bujold.

As Industry and Community Partnerships Manager, Bujold will work with partners like Jill of All Trades and Conestoga College to increase the opportunities for young women to discover the trades. She said showing young women that there are careers for them in the trades is the key.

“My husband is in the fire department, and they go out to the high schools, and they find women who are interested in simply having an opportunity to see what it would be like to be a firefighter. They come in and do VR training, they put them into situations that give them a taste of what it would be like. Sometimes that’s what it takes—getting your hands in there and getting dirty,” she said.

Bringing more women into the trades is only part of Bujold’s mission at GVCA. She is also leading efforts to improve physical and mental safety through better training, from school to apprenticeship to the job site. Bujold said no one would ever step into a boxing ring without the proper training.

“There are a lot of really great parallels between sport and the construction industry. In boxing, the number one thing is having a great foundation. Everything in construction is built on a solid foundation. If you don’t have a good stance and good footwork, you’re not going to be successful. I’m excited to kind of get to know the different areas and the different people in the industry, and I think it’s going to be a lot of fun,” Bujold said.

Please join us in welcoming Mandy Bujold to the GVCA! You can learn more about her on the deConstructed Podcast, available wherever you get your podcasts.

THE OFFICIAL ONLINE PUBLICATION OF THE GRAND VALLEY CONSTRUCTION ASSOCIATION

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