Congratulations, Victoria Stanhope winner of CCA’s Young Leader Award

The Construction Association of Nova Scotia (CANS) is proud to share that Victoria Stanhope is the first-ever recipient of the CCA Young Leader Award. Congratulations, Victoria!

Victoria Stanhope may not fit the traditional construction mould, but she has dedicated her career — from day one — to the development of this industry.

In addition to her role as President of Stanhope Simpson Insurance, Victoria has served on the CANS Board of Directors since 2016. She is only the second female to serve as chair of CANS board in its 160-year history, serving from 2021-2022 at the height of the worst global pandemic our generation has seen.

Given everything she has done for our industry, CANS is specifically proud to share Victoria’s well-deserved win during Women in Construction Week. Click here to watch Victoria accept the award.

To learn more about Victoria’s career, read our Q&A below.

Q&A with Victoria

What led you to a career in the construction industry?

My father, Victor started Stanhope Insurance in the basement of his home in the late 70s with a handful of construction clients. He grew the brokerage over several decades with a strong concentration in the construction industry and a focus on its highly specialized needs. As such, one might say it’s in my blood. My father encouraged me to try the insurance and surety bonding business during my undergraduate studies and as ‘cheesy’ as it may sound, it wasn’t policies and bonds that I developed a passion for, it was the construction industry. The Construction Association of Nova Scotia (CANS) also played a critical role in charting my career path from a young age; I was welcomed at CANS from day one in my early twenties, regardless of being a young female. CANS provided me with exposure to the entire industry and thus I learned early on just how impactful, rewarding and fun the industry is.

What are the advantages of being a woman in construction?

Where should I begin? The table is set for women in construction. Construction companies – some of which are the most prominent and esteemed businesses in Atlantic Canada – are not only welcoming of women but they are actively seeking them out. This is because women bring different perspectives, distinct experiences and unique talents to the job site and boardroom table, which employers in the construction industry recognize and embrace. Women are different than men in many ways, which means we offer distinctly different problem-solving skills and strategic visions. These points of differentiation are in fact our advantages – and the construction industry has never been more ready than today to embrace us.

What advice would you give to a young woman entering the industry?

I would advise any woman considering the construction industry to go for it – dive right in! Have the utmost confidence in your abilities, your talents and the unique perspective you bring to the job site or boardroom. If you have any reservations, flip the script of hesitation in your mind and instead, embrace the fact that you might be different than many (or most) in the industry but that your differences are actually your strengths. And get involved in CANS (or your local construction association if not CANS); put your hand up, so to speak, get involved and immerse yourself in this impactful and gratifying industry. As you build your network, expand your skillsets and forge your career path, I have no doubt that you will find the industry to be welcoming and rewarding, just as I did, and you will meet remarkable people along the way who will – whether you know it or not – cheerlead and champion for you and your success.

How do you think construction can attract more female candidates?

Representation is important. The more that one sees others similar to themselves in a given industry, the more that they too will envision themselves in that industry. Therefore, I applaud the Construction Association of Nova Scotia (CANS) and so many of its member companies for recognizing, actively supporting and promoting female involvement.

What makes you proud of working in the construction industry?

The construction industry is one of the most critically important and impactful industries. From the roads and bridges that the industry builds to safely and efficiently connect communities, to the apartment buildings that contractors work together to erect to provide so many with a place to call home, to the hospitals and nursing homes that are constructed to provide best-in-class healthcare services, to everything in between, we are all impacted every day by the good work that the construction industry is undertaking. It is certainly a dynamic industry with a healthy spirit of competition – after all, healthy rivalry drives innovation and better work outputs – however it is also an industry, especially here in Atlantic Canada, that fosters great camaraderie and community-mindedness. A smile still comes to my face when I hear that a contractor faced an unforeseen circumstance within their organization and pulled through because their peers, who are also their competitors, stepped up to assist in their time of need. As such, I’m proud to be working in, and for, the construction industry because it is an industry that has a tangible, critically meaningful impact and it is comprised of individuals, groups and businesses that aren’t afraid to work together for the betterment of all.

You recently were awarded CCA’s Young Leader award. What does this mean to you?

I am incredibly humbled to be recognized by the Canadian Construction Association (CCA) with their Young Leader Award.

As a woman in the construction industry, this award is especially meaningful as it signals to all women in this industry today, or those considering entering it, that not only can this industry be welcoming to females but it can pave the way for great achievement – as long as we as women put our hands up, so to speak, and do not shy away from forging our path forward.

As a professional service provider (being an insurance and surety broker), as opposed to a boots-on-the-ground contractor, winning this award is also very special. I have always believed that as a business owner and leader, one has the responsibility to support the industries that support you and your business, well beyond cutting a sponsorship cheque once in a while (although that’s important too!) but to truly roll up your sleeves and meaningfully give back.

Although I never imagined or expected to be recognized for my contributions to the construction industry, it is profoundly meaningful to me, both personally and professionally, to be acknowledged. I am so humbled that the Construction Association of Nova Scotia (CANS) thought to nominate me; just the nomination alone is such a sincere honour. And I share this honour with my incredibly dedicated and supportive colleagues at Stanhope Simpson Insurance because without each and every one of them helping to steer the ship at the brokerage, this recognition would not be possible.

About the CCA Young Leader Award

This award recognizes individuals under the age of 40 employed by a CCA member firm, who demonstrate strong leadership skills, demonstrated growth and improvement, and who support the construction industry through active membership in a CCA Partner construction association(s) and/or the association’s Young Leaders Group.

CCA’s National Awards Program

Each year the Canadian construction industry celebrates the achievements and contributions of their peers through special awards presented at the Canadian Construction Association’s (CCA) annual conference.

CCA’s National Awards recognize individuals, organizations and projects that promote and enhance the Canadian construction industry in nine different categories. The awards program is open to all relevant CCA member organizations and individuals who meet the requirements of each award, regardless of organization size or project scope.