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Q&A with Industry Leader Johanna Valera

Q&A with Industry Leader Johanna Valera

Johanna Valera

Johanna Valera, CRL, is a Senior Reliability Specialist with over 12 years of experience in the oil and gas industry, power generation and utilities, and executing and improving asset performance management and reliability programs, including operational performance and reliability analysis, condition monitoring, risk management, continuous improvement, problem-solving, maintenance management, root cause analysis (RCA) and incident investigations, and project management.

Johanna currently works for Inter Pipeline, Ltd. Inter Pipeline is a major petroleum transportation, storage and natural gas liquids processing business based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Uptime magazine recently had the opportunity to speak with Johanna about her career, the role of diversity and her position at Inter Pipeline.

Q: How did you get started in this career?

I love challenges. I am always looking to challenge myself somehow, and all this started when I decided to become a mechanical engineer.

Q: Women in Reliability and Asset Management (WIRAM) is committed to increasing diversity in teams to advance reliability and asset management. Why do you feel this is important and how does it add value?

Several social groups, such as women, have been subject to labor discrimination for many years throughout history. We have found many closed doors in society, including jobs. Promoting gender and background diversity in the workplace allows us to evolve into a more inclusive, better informed and more educated society.

I work with a team at Inter Pipeline that is not only culturally diverse and brings different perspectives, but we all come from different work experiences. All of these reasons are why we have a successful and results-oriented team. Every day there are opportunities for learning something new.

Q: What are some examples of how you have successfully promoted diversity?

Since the beginning of my career, I have been working in a male-dominated world, which has generated many professional challenges for me, but it has allowed me to successfully promote diversity by advancing women’s equality in the workplace. As part of work teams, I have brought diversity of thought to the table. Successful work teams need to have different brains in the room.

At Inter Pipeline, we have a great mix of ages, cultures and genders that adds to our corporate culture and ultimately makes us successful.

Q: What are some of the challenges faced in advancing diversity in reliability and asset management?

To set the path for more women to be confident about their potential to choose a career in maintenance reliability. To achieve gender parity does not happen overnight.

Q: What suggestions do you have for anyone wanting to support diversity in reliability and asset management?

If you have people from a range of backgrounds, it helps build a robust team and then, ideally, everybody learns from each other. That sums up Inter Pipeline really well. Our diversity is definitely a strength; everyone is willing to share a different perspective.

Q: Who has inspired you as a leader? Is there a quote from that individual that has left a positive influence on you?

There was a person in my life that always inspired me and supported me to be a leader. That person always said to me: “You are a leader, you can do big things!” I am also a fan of Margaret Thatcher and I always remember and inspire myself with her quote: “Defeat? I do not recognize the meaning of the word.”

Q: What advice can you share with young women who are interested in a career related to reliability and asset management?

Don’t be afraid to do it. It’s not easy, but it’s a great journey. We need more women in this journey to build a more inclusive world and a better society.

Q: Are there any books you would recommend? If so, what are they?

I just finished reading 10 Rights of Asset Management by Ramesh Gulati and Terrence O’Hanlon. I totally recommend this book for those who are on the asset management journey.

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