Championing sustainability and inspiring new ideas
As Hatch’s global director of community engagement and social performance, Chelsie leverages her role as a female leader at conferences and workshops to deliver this key takeaway: innovation requires renewed vision and energy, we must help each other stay motivated to tackle the world’s toughest challenges and explore the ideas and needs of the future.
With this philosophy in mind, Chelsie represents Hatch on the national conference stage, bringing her ideas to life.
This year she will be co-chairing the Sustainability and Social Performance Committee with Leor Rotchild for the 24th World Petroleum Congress in Calgary. Specifically, she’ll be helping to define realistic, workable paths to a net-zero future.
In 2022, Chelsie interviewed The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould and she led and facilitated an
innovative workshop at the Metallurgy and Materials Society’s COM2022 conference, focusing on the pathway to net-zero and how to generate creative solutions in unexpected ways. Chelsie’s workshop elevated the theories introduced in Todd Henry’s book The Accidental Creative, using it as a springboard for generating ideas that will lead organizations on the pathway to net-zero. These conversations generated concrete, creative solutions, one such example is starting with small-scale things to create net-zero culture e.g., paper bag vs. plastic, reusable cutlery, making time to reach out to colleagues and friends, dedicating personal focus time, working on minimizing unnecessary distractions, and promoting collaboration. These ideas are both accessible and unprecedented at an organizational level.
Chelsie was also a speaker at the 2022 Ten Peaks Innovation Xchange, a dynamic conference for Alberta high school students and teachers that explores Alberta’s transition to a more sustainable and inclusive future. Included on the list of leading industry, academic, and public sector leaders, Chelsie was part of the roster of advisors who are driving the province closer to their net-zero energy goals.
And finally, to round out Chelsie’s skillset as a leader in both sustainability and diversity, her recent presentation at the 2022 Axis Connects Leadership Forum focused on gender, diversity, and inclusion in the workplace, with a specific focus on strengthening the diversity of Calgary’s business community. The event showcased an incredible list of leadership experts, coaches, and executives, and left attendees feeling inspired and well equipped with topical and relevant resources. With a focus on driving connection, collaboration, and championing leading female and male role models, Chelsie as a representative of Hatch used her unique skillset to bring energy and excitement to this event.
Commitment to long-term impacts
Chelsie has been a prominent part of major projects that have a long-term impact on the organization and stakeholders. Her efforts through these projects have proven to bring a positive change to the communities she works.
She played the key role of Community Engagement Lead for the Stony Point First Nation housing and resettlement project. In this role, Chelsie’s responsibility for resettling the community required the building of a sustainable relationship with the residents: a community that had been in an 80-year conflict with the Department of National of Defence (DND) over repurposed land and housing. With relationship-building at the forefront, the project could truly embody reconciliation between the two parties, allowing Hatch to be the key
player that brought housing resolution after several decades of conflict. This type of meaningful community engagement helped create a unique, sustainable, outside-the-box solution based on mutual respect between the Stony Point First Nation community and the DND.
Additional projects where Chelsie brought major positive changes to are:
Sun Cable AAPowerLink, where Chelsie, as the community and Indigenous engagement lead, created a social impact assessment management plan. • H2 Green Steel, where she was a project sponsor for environmental permitting, social risk, and stakeholder planning.
First Nations Master Services Agreement. This was a first-of-its-kind collaboration where Chelsie built relations with the Siksika Nation to work on community-led projects.
Weeneebayko Hospital Redevelopment, where Chelsie worked with Indigenous communities to find common ground to improve their healthcare facilities.
An additional example of Chelsie’s commitment to long-term impacts is as a woman in a leadership role, Chelsie never misses a chance to highlight Hatch’s Diverse and Inclusive (D&I) Engineering Design program that supports women on project sites. She understands the value of asking important questions: Can equipment be used by all personnel, regardless of sex? Can the site be adapted to accommodate future workforce changes?
She prioritizes D&I design on each of her projects, consistently striving to support and encourages an equitable working environment by keeping diversity, equity, and inclusion at the top of her priorities from beginning to end.
Leading their organization toward a more sustainable future
Chelsie is proactively working on expanding the ESG team at Hatch and is actively engaged with her peers around the globe to understand their sustainability, community engagement, and social performance achievements and goals.
Some specific examples of this include:
1. Chelsie’s unwavering commitment to community engagement and social performance services has led Hatch toward becoming the very first engineering, procurement, contracting, and management consulting firm to attain the bronze level for Progressive Aboriginal Relations (PAR) from the Canadian Council for Aboriginal business. This certification proves that Hatch recognizes the mutually beneficial impact of business development with Indigenous-owned businesses. Now, with Hatch’s increased involvement with Indigenous communities, Chelsie, and Hatch, are once again in the process of applying for PAR re-certification for 2023 and beyond.
2. She is advancing community and Indigenous engagement globally, with active projects in Canada, Australia, Asia, Africa and the USA. While expanding our ESG team to international regions, Chelsie has been brought in to assist in understanding current Aboriginal and social issues in Australia.
Australia has applauded Canada for our progress with our Indigenous Peoples and have used our initiatives and policies as a positive example to be followed. They have even been considering changing their terminology from “Aboriginal” to “First Nation” as we have done.
3. At a recent UN Global Compact Leaders’ Summit, Chelsie—along with her colleagues— presented a review of their Young Sustainable Development Goals Innovator Project (YSIP), which outlined an energy security decision-making framework for off-grid communities that rely solely on diesel fuel.
The decision-making framework evaluated the technical, political, and social elements needed to advance energy security and affordability. Hatch’s YSIP team presented a summary of their project at the leaders’ summit, which highlighted the ways the project would:
Directly contribute to three Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), while tracking and monitoring progress to the 2030 agenda.
Implement wind and battery with diesel baseload technology to reduce diesel dependency by 50 percent.
Elimination of 870,000 tons of GHGs by 2060.
Propose a community revenue-sharing agreement to compensate for any unintended supply chain impacts.
Decrease the levelized cost of energy by 30 percent per community. • Improve government spending by reducing subsidies by CAD$12.5 million per year. • Provide acceptable rates of return for private investors.
Sustainable organizations strive to balance the triple bottom line of people, planet, and profit to achieve long-term success and viability, and Chelsie is a catalyst in bringing this balance to Hatch and to our world.
Evidence of how Chelsie’s leadership, passion, and motivation has helped accelerate Hatch’s sustainability journey
Growing up in small-town Northern Ontario, Canada, Chelsie connects her humble roots with all aspects of her work by listening intently and integrating stakeholder feedback into major project designs. Her empathetic and proactive approach ensures that local cultural traditions are respected, and social risks are managed. She prides herself on the personal connections that she makes along her journey and enjoys collecting local art that remind her of the places she has visited. Her favorite example is an Inuvialuit jacket from her work in the Northwest Territories that she has proudly displayed in her home office.
As the Global Director of Community Engagement and Social Performance at Hatch, Chelsie has been spending her time supporting community engagement activities for the largest proposed solar project in the world, Sun Cable’s Australia-Asia PowerLink (AAPowerlink), and has been focusing on the global expansion of her team as mentioned above.
As a recently appointed Associate at Hatch, Chelsie exemplifies strong female leadership in the engineering industry. She advocates for local benefits, social performance, community engagement, and Indigenous engagement. She brings the “Social” to Environmental, Social Governance (ESG), and is an unfailing advocate for the development of sustainability practices, and for working continuously to manage relationships with Indigenous and non Indigenous communities as an ESG practitioner.
“Chelsie truly puts the “S” in ESG. She knows and encourages both employees and clients to be engaged, and at the same time, to move business forward for sustainable success. She is a motivated and skilled professional in her ability to connect with communities and share our combined value, and she creates positive change for all stakeholders involved every day.” - Heather Royston, Managing Director, Environmental Service, Hatch
With 15 years of experience in social performance and stakeholder engagement spanning across the energy, metals, and infrastructure sectors, Chelsie holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics, a Master of Arts in Conflict Analysis and Management, and a Master of Laws. She was recognized by Oilweek Magazine as a Rising Star in the oil and natural gas industry for outstanding leadership in communications, and has been named a United Nations (UN) Innovator by the UN Global Compact.
Chelsie started the Community Engagement and Social Performance practice at Hatch and has developed the team to twenty professionals in 2022, with plans to expand further in areas of social value and risk assessment, stakeholder enablement planning and engagement, sustainable community placemaking, and local benefits planning.
As a leader, Chelsie encourages innovation and positive change and sets clear expectations for her team members. She establishes achievable goals and brings everyone to the table to encourage a culture of collaboration with these “must-haves” for sustainable leadership in any organization.
“Creativity and innovation are synonymous with Chelsie Klassen. To her, no two communities are the same and each one deserves a unique, catered approach to sustainability. She inspires her team every day with her enthusiasm and passion for making a difference in the lives of the people around her.” - Tonya Zelinsky, Senior Specialist Community Collaboration, Community Engagement & Social Performance, Hatch
In closing, Chelsie Klassen is an expert and a transformative leader in her field and an ideal candidate for the 2023 Sustainability Leader of the Year award.