Jessica Theriault, P.Eng., the first woman to chair the board of the Saskatchewan Mining Association (SMA), had already served in a director’s role at Mosaic for several years before she decided to take the next step in her formal education, enrolling in the Executive MBA program at the Kenneth Levene Graduate School of Business, from which she graduated in 2015. Her personal goal? To become a better strategic leader. “I was personally and professionally ready for the MBA experience. It was definitely the next challenge at the time that I was looking for.” Theriault chose the Levene School for several reasons. She knew other graduates from Mosaic, she knew she could work full-time while she took the program, and, most importantly, the school offered her a face-to-face education right here in Saskatchewan. “I didn’t want a distance education program,” she says. “I knew I wouldn’t be as effective in that kind of learning environment.” She has represented Mosaic on a number of industry association environmental committees, not only with the Saskatchewan Mining Association, but also the Saskatchewan Potash Producers Association, Fertilizer Canada, and the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce. While Theriault says she was honored to be elected the first woman chair of the SMA Board in March, she hastens to point out that the SMA has had an “amazing” female leader for several years: President Pam Schwann. “She’s well-respected in the mining industry and known as an industry expert throughout the provincial and federal governments.” The Saskatchewan mining industry is working hard to increase women’s participation in the industry, not only in the trades, but in leadership positions, Theriault notes. Mosaic is ahead of the industry as a whole. Whereas in Saskatchewan only about 14 per cent of the industry work force is made up of women, women make up 24 per cent of the workforce at Mosaic, and fill approximately 27 per cent of the engineering, EHS (environment, health, and safety) and technical roles. Theriault says her Executive MBA from Levene provided her with expanded strategic leadership and management skills, improved communication skills, a more in-depth understanding of the business world, and valuable accounting and financial skills. As well, she says, “It provided an opportunity for personal growth in a supportive learning environment, with access to leading and accomplished educators in a local Saskatchewan classroom setting.” Of equal importance were the connections made, to professors, educators, and, most of all, the other members of her cohort. “Our MBA cohort was put into the same situation and together had so much in common, juggling demanding careers and continuing our education at the same time,” she says. “The experience is what really binds us together, and that support continues beyond the MBA program. I met a talented group of incredible individuals and made memories and friendships that will last a lifetime.” She concludes, “It’s an experience I will never forget and definitely recommend to others.”