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Jamie McMillan

Skilled Trades Visionary &
Motivational Keynote Speaker

Fee Range
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Bio

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 her company, 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.

Jamie’s message has helped inspire thousands of audiences to overcome adversity, pursue viable careers in the trades and optimize recruitment and retention practices across North America…

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 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 keynote speaker across North America, works on various construction projects whenever possible and enjoys helping out at a homeless shelter for women.

Jamie 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.

Topics & Categories
  • Creativity & Innovation
  • Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
  • Employee Engagement
  • Human Resources & Workplace Culture
  • Inspiring Stories
  • Resiliency
  • Women of Influence
  • Workplace Safety

Jamie McMillan Speaking Presentations:

Empowerment: “Smiling In The Face of Adversity: Living a Life of Passion and 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!

The Story behind the Slogan: “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).

Takeaways:

  • Learn how to tackle difficult situations, set boundaries and trust yourself to make mistakes on your way towards finding what’s right for you
  • 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” --

Workplace Innovation: “The Workplace Detox: Build It And 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 organizations 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.

The Story behind the Stats: 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”.

Takeaways:Plan to become a more profitable, productive and progressive company that takes a step beyond the well-meaning “policies and procedures” and addresses core issues affecting workplace performance.

  • 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. --

Career Pathways: “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.

The Story behind the Mission: 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.

Takeaways: Get real-life insight into what it’s like to enter and excel in the trades.This talk is also a great break-out workshop for employers and educators who want to know how to improve RECRUITMENT.

  • 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 --

KickAss Careers: 1/3 of Your Life is Work: Find a Career You Love +

In this inspirational speech, Jamie dives deep into the wonderful world of skilled trades and the opportunities it can bring to the next generation of talent, encouraging them to consider this incredible industry as a pathway to success and fulfillment. There are many myths and perceptions within this industry; through her own experience as a "boots on the ground" Ironworker, Jamie demystifies these myths and leans into how truly incredible these career paths can be and the outstanding benefits the skilled trades can bring to your life.

Through 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. As a multi-award winner, Jamie is the perfect example of what happens when we find our true purpose.

After all, according to Jamie; you spend a 1/3 of your life working, you might as well find a career you love. The skilled trades could just be the career you have been looking for, book this talk to learn why. --

To inquire about Jamie McMillan's speaking schedule & booking Jamie McMillan, contact us.

What Clients are Saying

Very happy with the session! Her ability to help people overcome hesitation and gain the ability and confidence to see themselves in careers in the skilled trades is a very special and unique ability. She is one of the best in our industry, helping grow awareness and confidence for the next generation of skilled trade professionals.

–Program Director Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario

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Very happy with the session! Her ability to help people overcome hesitation and gain the ability and confidence to see themselves in careers in the skilled trades is a very special and unique ability. She is one of the best in our industry, helping grow awareness and confidence for the next generation of skilled trade professionals.

–Program Director Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario

Thank-you to Jamie for sharing her journey with our delegates, apprentices, and guests at our annual Ontario Sheet Metal Workers and Roofers Convention. It was very well received and gave us a lot to contemplate as we try to be a more diverse and inclusive Union. I would recommend her to speak in front of any labour or management group.

–Ontario Sheet Metal Workers' & Roofers' Conference

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