Wood Business

Features Q & A Women in Forestry
Inclusivity champion: Q&A with Mosaic’s Louise Bender

March 4, 2024  By  Jennifer Ellson

Meet Louise Bender, the powerhouse behind Mosaic Forest Management’s vibrant workplace culture and groundbreaking diversity initiatives. With a career spanning across various sectors in Canada, Louise brings a blend of passion, expertise, and a touch of serendipity to her role as vice-president of people and administration. Her journey into the executive realm wasn’t a straight line from point A to B; it was more like a scenic route filled with unexpected twists and turns. But that’s what makes her story so compelling. From her roots in a forestry-filled town to spearheading the Forest Sector Equity Diversity and Inclusion Alliance (FSEDIA), Louise embodies the spirit of innovation and inclusivity in the forest sector. So, let’s dive into her world and glean some wisdom from her remarkable career journey.

CFI: What career path led you to your current position? 

My journey into the executive realm began with an early pivot from marketing to human resources in the natural resource sector, almost 17 years ago. About seven years ago, an intriguing opportunity arose for me to lead the HR operations at TimberWest Forest Corp. It was a juncture where my professional path intersected with a passion rooted in my upbringing, as I grew up in an interior town filled with forestry jobs. Shortly after joining TimberWest, the management company Mosaic Forest Management was created, where I work today.

My career journey has served as a reminder that our paths are often a blend of serendipity and deliberate choices. It’s about recognizing the synergies between our personal narratives and professional endeavors and leveraging them to create meaningful outcomes.

CFI: What inspires you to continue working in forestry? 

What inspires me most about working in forestry are the people and their profound passion for the industry. The progressiveness, the ever-changing landscape, the collaboration, and the array of opportunities make each day unique and exciting. In forestry, no two days or years are alike. As I look ahead, I’m energized by the endless possibilities that lie on the horizon.


CFI: Do you find there are certain challenges or hurdles for women to enter or stay in the industry? 

While the forest industry has made significant strides in inclusivity, there are still challenges for women to enter and remain in the sector. Initially, it can be daunting if you don’t see yourself represented at the table or on-site. However, over the past several years, I’ve witnessed the beginning of a remarkable transformation; more women are being represented across all levels, from executives to log truck drivers.

As we continue forward, fostering a truly inclusive environment where everyone feels they belong remains a journey, but the momentum toward this goal is undeniable.

CFI: What can companies do to attract and support women or other people with diverse backgrounds and to advance them into leadership?

Companies can take proactive steps to attract and support women and individuals from diverse backgrounds by reevaluating their hiring practices. Merit and competence should be the primary criteria for hiring decisions, rather than relying solely on personal connections. Challenging the status quo by rethinking traditional role titles and processes is essential. Additionally, companies must review and update their policies to ensure they reflect the diversity and inclusivity they aspire to achieve.

CFI: What advice do you have for those considering a career in the forest industry, or those in the industry looking to advance? 

The forest industry offers an abundance of opportunities for individuals from various backgrounds and disciplines. Whether you’re interested in functions like legal, HR, accounting, or forestry itself, the options are endless. My advice is to actively seek out resources such as career days and mentorship programs like Project Learning Tree Canada. Familiarize yourself with the industry and its employers. Remember, there are roles to fit every unique skillset and passion within forestry!

This article is part of CFI, Pulp & Paper Canada and Canadian Biomass’ Women in Forestry series, an annual celebration of women in the industry. Find more content here and follow us on social media with the hashtag: #WomeninForestry.

Remember to join us for the Women in Forestry Virtual Summit on Mar. 8 at 11 am ET/8 am PT! It’s FREE to register. Sign up now!


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