Virginia Cullen

Executive Leadership Program - Amsterdam Class 13

Virginia Cullen
Chief Operating Officer at BGC Engineering Inc
at BGC
I am based in: Vancouver

I am, first and foremost, a west coast Canadian who finds restoration in outdoor play. I am especially happy around saltwater and have had many biking, skiing, kayaking, and sailing adventures with my husband Jeremy. Jeremy and I have twin, four-year-old daughters who make us laugh and who still believe that mermaids are real.

I discovered THNK during the 2015 Globe Summit in Vancouver. The THNK team expertly facilitated an exercise in thought disruption, and I realized this approach was a missing piece to the strategic planning I was developing.

I started my career as an environmental engineer with a focus on hydrogeology. When I started at BGC Engineering Inc., I worked on groundwater assessment, remediation work, and mine closure projects for clients in Canada and Chile. While working in Chile, I took a more senior project and people management role that catalyzed a shift away from technical engineering work and toward leadership, people development, and strategy. Over the past three years, I led a values discovery and visioning exercise and spearheaded strategic planning efforts in line with the newly developed values and vision. The vision for BGC includes a leadership goal to affect positive change on the systems that we work within.

I am passionate about inclusive human systems that hold space for every voice to be heard. By valuing each individual contribution, new solutions emerge that may not have otherwise been visible. This approach is greatly needed in the resource extraction industries. Within this space, engineers and scientists need to have a louder voice. They often hold the knowledge and technical toolsets that can transform progressive policy into practical and workable solutions. I want to support scientists and engineers launching their knowledge, ideas and research into the realms of public policy and leadership. My dream is to see the knowledge held in brilliant technical minds and amplified through world-class facilitation, presentation, communication, and creative thinking methods; in this way, we can create the opportunity to make huge leaps forward with some of the world's biggest earth science challenges.