Julie Sheppard, BScF’15, MF’17
Julie Sheppard currently works as Stewardship Forester in the Ministry of Forest Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. Julie is based out of Burns Lake, B.C. and shares her experience working in government and with various stakeholders. We asked Julie about her career advice and her leadership lessons.
Tell us about your role
My main responsibilities include reviewing Forest Stewardship plans, working on timber supply reviews for area and volume based tenures and monitoring of current forest practices. A lot of my work deals with managing and balancing the multiple values on the forest land base. I work with a variety of different people in my role, including other government agencies, industry, consultants, First Nations and the public.
What attracted you to this organization?
Working for the government provides the opportunity for a really good work life balance. I like that the decisions and direction of government are often value based and seek to serve the public good. I was excited by the opportunity to be part of policy changing environments that are working towards the benefit of the public.
What excites you about this role/organization?
Working with different stakeholders, First Nations and the public can be very challenging but is also very rewarding. Forestry is in a time of change and it is exciting to be part of advancing technologies, value shifts and new management regimes.
What does leadership mean to you?
To me leadership means being reliable. Having someone you can count on goes a long way. Whether this means someone that is able to get their work done on time and to standard, or someone that will listen and be empathetic when needed.
What lessons have you learned from a leader you admire?
That most issues and challenges involve a human factor, take the time to listen to people. People are not always going to agree with you and a good leader will listen to all perspectives to identify where ideas are coming from and seek common ground where applicable. By building trust you can get things accomplished even when there are competing values or opinions involved.
What ways do you demonstrate leadership?
I demonstrate leadership by taking initiative. I try to identify potential obstacles that may slow a project or goal down and eliminate or mitigate them if possible. By being proactive but also flexible I feel I demonstrate leadership in my work.
What's the best career advice you've received?
Don’t be worried that you are too new, young or inexperienced when seeking out job opportunities- if you are willing to ask the right questions and keep learning you will be successful. Most people don’t have it all figured out even if they’ve been in the sector for a long time there is always something new to learn. Fresh perspectives can go a long way.