By Meagan Gillmore
When Jaynine McCrae became a community engagement officer for Nuna Logistics in fall 2018, her co-workers joked she’d run the company soon. In eight years, the 31-year-old Inuit woman has held positions in nearly every department of Canada’s largest Inuit-owned heavy civil construction earthworks and contract mining company. McCrae began in project administration on a Hope Bay, NU, worksite. Between administrative contracts, she took positions as a travel coordinator and an assistant winter road coordinator. She’s given orientations and assisted the shipping department. In her latest role, she travels to worksites and represents the company to employees. Her job is to be the “bridge between the office and the worksite,” McCrae said. Duties include listening to workers’ concerns or planning Indigenous Day celebrations for workers at a mine.
“Mining is something that I’ve really come to enjoy,” said McCrae, who moved seven years ago to Edmonton, where Nuna’s headquarters are, to further her opportunities with the company. Growing up in Yellowknife, McCrae saw many people – mostly men – involved in the industry. “Everyone’s working in the mines,” she said. It didn’t automatically appeal to McCrae. She worked for territorial governments in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories before joining Nuna, looking for a change from Monday to Friday work. She also liked the opportunity to travel in between her rotations. (Besides visiting family in the North, she’s also travelled to a long list of foreign countries including China, Thailand, Costa Rica and Jamaica.)
In the beginning at Nuna, McCrae was like any new, young worker: overwhelmed by all the things to learn and uncertain that the job was the right fit. Living at a camp, away from her family and friends, only magnified these feelings. McCrae credits her success to the women who encouraged her and helped her through the loneliness. She’s developed her own leadership and organizational skills, while becoming more aware of how the mining industry can benefit Nunavut and its residents.
“I’m passionate about the Nunavut territory,” said McCrae who was born in Kugluktuk and regularly travels back to the territory, where she has extended family.