On behalf of all of us in LIFT and at Reliance, thank you so much for today! You brought so much passion and energy to the virtual room, and everyone was really moved by your story. 

Reliance Home Comfort, Rebecca Ruddle, Manager

Jamie McMillan

Skilled Trades Visionary &  Motivational Keynote Speaker

From GRIT to GLORY: This Girl is Made in the Trades 

A Trailblazer and a Catalyst: Jamie McMillan is killing it as a female iron-worker in a male dominated industry; but it’s not about the gender… It’s about the pathways, stigmas and hidden success-factors waiting for all of us to grab and “build something better” with. 

Jamie became an ironworker in 2002 when women only represented 2% of the workforce across Canada and the United States. She thoroughly understands the struggles and challenges of working a male dominated workforce and is on mission to break down the negative misconceptions and stereotypes.

Through KickAss Careers, Jamie travels approximately 30 weeks a year providing engaging keynote presentations and workshops to more than 50,000 students, parents, educators and employers each year across North America. Her efforts have gained international notoriety for opening doors and minds to the possibilities of well-paid careers in skilled trades and technology sectors.

Over the years, Jamie has received the Top 20 Under 40 Award for making an impact in the metal trades, the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program Champion Award and District School Board of Niagara Technology Education Partnership Award for her commitment to youth in schools across the province of Ontario. 

In 2019, Jamie McMillan was named a co-chair on a National Skilled Trades Advisory Committee to create a campaign to promote careers in skilled trades as first choice pathways to youth for the Canadian Federal Government by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Jamie continues to speak professionally as a motivational keynote speaker across North America, works on various construction projects whenever possible and enjoys helping out at a homeless shelter for women.

Jamie McMillan joined the Helmets to Hardhats Canada team as an Outreach Specialist providing career opportunities in the Building Trades for serving, transitioning and former members of the military.



The Workplace Detox: Built It & They Will Come

Good help is hard to find: but it’s harder to keep! Learn how we can work together to boost retention in the trades and become organisations thriving with RELIABLE talent. Find out why turn-over is so high, and companies are losing millions of dollars in lost productivity and supplies because of “toxic norms” affecting job sites across the country. 

After years of working in camps, job sites and handling the same kind of antagonist behaviour that comes with nearly any workplace Jamie has identified key areas employers and unions can be taking a more active role in to help their workforce succeed. Touching on elements of mental-health, jobsite politics and talent management, Jamie brings an eye-opening perspective to what it’s really like to work on these job sites. She highlights hidden (and actionable) opportunities for employers to pivot from “bleeding staff, time and money” to “booming, thriving and supporting the workforce of tomorrow”.  

Learning Outcomes: 

  • Improve retention and recruitment efforts
  • Increase jobsite safety and employee performance
  • Streamline spending, hiring and managing techniques
  • Recognize “bigger picture trends” (and get ahead of them!)  
  • Learn how to better support workers’ mental health and wellbeing
Talk Tools in Schools: Recruiting Tomorrow's Workforce Today!

Inspire new generations and marginalised or at-risk youth to consider a viable and fulfilling career in the trades. Learn how Jamie overcame adversity to become a female ironworker during a time when women represented less than 2% of the trades, and how her mission to partner with hundreds of schools across North America (through #KickAssCareers) has helped connect thousands of youth with the option to find better suiting careers for their learning styles.  

It was a fluke incident in her late twenties that opened the door to the trades for Jamie, and since earning her status as a Journeyman Ironworker (one of the highest certifications you can earn) she has been on a mission to help open that same door for thousands of other women, youth and at-risk groups. Through vulnerable, real-life experiences and courageous conversations Jamie helps prepare students with what they need to know to take charge of their own lives –and futures! Her company, #KickAssCareers, speaks with over 30,000+ students, parents and educators per year in an effort to open pathways, debunk stigmas and inspire youth to find their own callings in the trades.

Learning Outcomes: 

  • Improves access to the trades
  • Inspires new career pathways through awareness and exploration
  • Helps encourage marginalised groups to overcome adversity
  • Help youth focus and thrive with different learning styles
  • Empowers educators to help steward and shepard students
Smiling In The Face of Adversity: Living A Life of Passion & Purpose

In this engaging and inspirational session, Jamie shares her unconventional path from “struggle to triumph” as a bored high-school student with ADHD to finding the wonderful world of trades and becoming an advocate for women in male-dominated industries. As a multi-award winner, Jamie is the perfect example of what happens when we find our true purpose, lean on those who lift us up and disregard those who pull us down. After all, success is the best revenge!  

Life is a series of mountains, hills and valleys that helps teach us what it’s like to find ourselves on the wrong path; and if we’re lucky we can learn from that and find the courage to start again”. Jamie draws on her experience as an avid mountain climber, neurodivergent learner and female ironworker to lay a foundation for what it takes to “keep going” and “smile in the face of adversity” when it seems like so many around you are telling you it can’t be done. Filled with vulnerable and uplifting stories, Jamie is an inspirational women’s speaker who leaves audiences filled with a newfound sense of purpose, direction and sense of courage to blaze their own trail. This talk is perfect for anyone trying to find their own voice, path or sense of self (very popular with women, youth and marginalised groups). 

Learning Outcomes: 

  • Learn how to manage setbacks, failures and adversity
  • Develop a greater sense of confidence and courage
  • Embrace your inner light, and create your own path to success
  • Finding strength in ourselves, and others (the importance of mentorship) 
  • “Trust in the journey, just keep exploring and no one succeeds alone”
KickAss Careers: 1/3 of Your Life is Work: Find a Career You Love

Details coming soon!

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