By: Stephen Sidwell
Nexii Chief Executive Officer
Since 1914, March 8th has marked International Women’s Day as a time to celebrate the achievements of women across social, economic, cultural, and political contributions and advancements. A range of global organizations recognize this day with special events, themes, communications, and calls to action.
The International Women’s Day website set their 2022’s theme as #BreakTheBias, calling on the world to address biases, stereotypes, and discrimination that impact women, inclusivity, and a gender-equal world. As well, the United Nations set their 2022 theme as “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”, recognizing climate action by and for women and girls as the key to saving our planet.
These two themes very much resonate with the Nexii team and our goals as a company. As an innovator in buildings and construction, we are very aware of opportunities for improvements across the industry, including equity and diversity. In example, in the U.S., only 10.9% of all people working in construction are women, while in Canada it is only 13%.
At Nexii, our team is just over 30% women, but we are committed to continuing to drive for even greater diversity. We are incredibly fortunate to have so many inspiring women on our team throughout the entire organization, helping us achieve our vision of building a vibrant future for people and planet.
Today, we spotlight just a few of our team members who have been nominated to be recognized for their spirit of leadership and determination to make the world a better place.
Zosia Brown, VP Sustainability
Zosia is a born and raised Vancouverite who received her PhD, Resource Management Environmental Studies at the University of British Columbia. In early 2021, she started with Nexii as a Senior Advisor, helping shape a number of aspects of our company’s mission and goals. However, in very short order, it was clear that her leadership, expertise, and strategies were so valuable, we had to have her full time. She was promptly recruited as our Vice President Sustainability and has since helped drive all aspects of the company’s ESG commitments, metrics, and most recently in-depth sustainability training program.
Zosia is a frequent public speaker who we rely on for our own internal and external education and awareness events and communications, partner and industry roundtables, media interviews, podcasts and more to take advantage of her brilliance. She managed a recent “Re-use Project”, working with Light House Sustainability Society on a case study demonstrating the game-changing abilities of Nexii buildings being disassembled and reassembled.
Zosia says she was drawn to working with Nexii because of “our mission of buildings as a climate solution, progress through disruption, walking the talk and stubborn optimism about the future at net zero.”
Allanah Brown, Engineering Team Lead
Allanah is an adopted Canadian who we doubt we’d ever let return to her birthplace of New Zealand – she’s just too valuable to our company and country! She received her Bachelor of Engineering, with Honours, in Civil Engineering at University of Canterbury, before coming to Vancouver and acquiring her Master of Applied Science (M.A.Sc), Civil Engineering, at the University of British Columbia.
After her Masters, she spent years as a Structural Engineer at an award-winning architecture and engineering consulting firm before we were lucky enough to bring her onto our team. That was two years ago, and since then she has touched multiple areas of the company as we’ve expanded our products and operations. She is currently the Lead of our Engineering Team, and has been instrumental in a range of operational and product enhancements that directly supported our Marriott project build.
Allanah is consistently recognized for her incredible work ethic, outstanding leadership to her direct reports and other teams, and relentless dedication to the Nexii mission. She says her greatest excitement about Nexii is “our vision of creating sustainable products and using new technologies to advance a better way to build”.
Annie Cruickshanks, Operations & Project Specialist
Annie has been an unfailing MVP in our Squamish Plant for over a year and is constantly recognized by others as ‘THE contributor’ to ensuring its smooth operations. Quick to identify and problem solve, constantly known for stepping up for others, and always going ‘above and beyond’, you would be hard pressed to find an individual at the plant who has not personally had help and direct support from Annie.
She not only ensures countless day-to-day operational tasks stay on track, but layers on supporting external tours, the occasional media or filming request, and was personally responsible for a huge contribution towards the actual look and feel of both the inside and outside plant environment. She says she is particularly proud of shaping and coordinating the physical space to ensure it is an inviting place for team and guests – you can clearly see that the minute you arrive onsite!
Annie grew up in Calgary but spent over 11 years supporting the operations and process-excellence of world-renowned Rocky Mountaineer. This may have expanded her passion for and commitment to nature, but it can be traced all the way back to her teens when she sailed the South Pacific in a tall ship schooner! It’s clear the Nexii mission is close to her heart, and she says feels directly aligned with the company’s values. However, what she is most excited about is the difference she and the Squamish team are also making in the local community. Squamish – and the entire Nexii team – are lucky to have you!
Preet Kahlon, Senior Manager, High-Performance Buildings
Preet is a few months shy of her two-year anniversary with Nexii and is another leader whose contributions can be felt across the company. She is Senior Manager on the Customer Experience team, but has played multiple roles, including project managing many of Nexii’s building projects literally from ground up!
Constantly recognized by others across the entire Nexii team, Preet is known as a results-driven manager who can be relied on for outstanding problem solving and delivery – or as her manager put it: ‘absolutely nailing every initiative she’s been involved with’. This is reflected in her reason for joining Nexii too, as she “loves how the company is revolutionising the construction industry with innovation and forward-thinking initiatives”. Preet is most definitely aligned with Nexii’s commitments to changing the world.
Another born and raised Vancouverite, Preet is first-generation Canadian as her parents immigrated to Canada and chose Vancouver as their new hometown – how lucky are we they chose our head-office city?! Her expertise, dedication to excellence, and ability to build relationships internally – and externally with our clients – make Preet a key reason for many of our projects’ success and ‘wins’ across the company.
Renee Ragnvaldsen, Production Team Lead
Renee is not only part of Nexii’s Squamish team, she was also born and raised in the community. As the Production Team Lead, she’s been with the company for a year and is responsible for overseeing the plant’s batching. Continuously recognized for her commitment to creating outstanding products and processes, Renee is known throughout the company for her personal contributions to getting the batch plant up and running.
In a new, rapidly scaling plant, working with ground-breaking products, it is common for constant changes and challenges to arise… actually for absolutely Everything to be new! Renee is credited for creating and improving manufacturing practices and operational procedures that have made Squamish incredibly successful. She then took her expertise to Hazleton and trained their local teams to ensure operational excellence in Nexii’s first U.S. based plant.
Renee was drawn to Nexii because of her interest in and excitement for being part of an innovative start-up. She has personally been a key part of the company’s success in rapidly delivering sustainable building products and is incredible proud of her work, as well as also helping other women increase their leadership skills and experience in the company.
Nancy Maribel, Director of Marketing
Nancy just hit her two-year anniversary as Director of Marketing with Nexii but is considered an honorary “original start-up member’ given all her contributions to the company. Personally overseeing the development and expansion of Nexii’s brand – that is now recognized by the likes of Reuters and Fast Company – Nancy is known in the company as the woman to talk to for all things marketing and brand!
She originally grew up in Texas, where she got her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism-Advertising before moving to Canada 12 years ago. Upon arriving, she quickly became a significant player in the local construction industry, with a focus on green buildings, as she held leadership roles at several award-winning architecture and engineering firms. At the same time, she also sat on the board of several local non-profits including the Living Future Vancouver Collaborative, Canadian Construction Women and Canadian Society for Marketing Professional Services. That is just an example of how hard this woman works and how much she accomplishes!
Upon joining Nexii, Nancy helped define, develop and scale up the Nexii brand, while also supporting all aspects of the company’s marketing efforts, digital channels, collateral, signage and materials. She was drawn to Nexii because “beyond the core mission, the company had an ACTUAL sustainable product – non-toxic buildings. I was lucky enough to see the very first panel go up for Starbucks, and can’t wait to see the Millionth panel go up in future!”
Danielle Hicks, Investor Relations Specialist
Danielle has been with the company for a year and a half, and during that time supported Nexii raising approximately $200M! As an integral part of the IR team, Danielle has personally supported development of a pitch deck, range of collateral, and data room that world-leading investors have said is the best they’ve ever seen.
She came to Nexii after several years with Canaccord Genuity Wealth Management, a global wealth management firm administering over $100B in assets. Joining the Nexii team, Danielle quickly became recognized as a producer – someone who could effectively create and deliver high quality messages, documents, materials, and even events to help drive investment in the company! She has not only supported Nexii’s fundraising and Investor Relations / shareholder management requirements, but also has been a key contributor to critical client and NCM prospect presentations and tours. However, across all her deliverables, she is particularly proud of her work on Nexii’s Shareholder Fairness program.
Danielle is another of Nexii’s native-Vancouverites who joined the company specifically because of its values and ability to reduce climate impacts that will measurably improve our planet. However, she also has a personal goal to raise $50k for the BC Cancer Society, and is already fifth of the way there – she is a true example of the outstanding heart and soul of the Nexii team.
Ashley Karol, Senior Financial Analyst
Ashley recently hit her one-year anniversary within our Finance team, and in that time has accomplished an incredibly long list of achievements. She was a key player in analyzing, restructuring, and organizing a range of Nexii’s financial processes, data, reports, and systems for successful tracking, budgeting, and management of funds for 2021 and 2022. However, she was also a critical player in supporting Nexii’s successful implementation of a new ERP which is improving efficiencies throughout the entire company.
But it was the end of 2021 planning, projecting, and reporting that Ashley is particularly proud of for her support of the Nexii team. Over the course of November and December, Ashley directly aided business units with budgeting efforts and plans that resulted in a highly detailed, extremely efficient budget report submitted to the Nexii Board. This not only supports Nexii’s 2022 plans and projections, but also is aligned to the company’s larger 2025 vision of growth. Ashley worked tirelessly to support these efforts and the end result was a very impressed Board who quickly approved – and commended – the 2022 budget and report.
Ashley was drawn to Nexii because of a desire to be a part of real change and tackle the critical global climate crisis. She’s always loved the outdoors, but after university chose to volunteer in Costa Rica and billet with a local family where she developed an even greater desire to protect our planet. She moved from Calgary to Vancouver to attend Sauder School of Business at UBC 18 years ago and after graduating with her Bachelors of Commerce, was Edelman’s Director Finance, then a Senior Financial Analyst at Lush. We feel extremely lucky that she decided to stay in Vancouver, and that we were able to attract her to the team!