Marci Cooke describes herself as “homegrown,” and after nearly 12 years working at Horizon North in several different roles, there is little doubt she is just that.
She started with Horizon North in 2006, working in Human Resources for one of the company’s manufacturing divisions in Grande Prairie, and was transferred to the Calgary office in 2007. From Manager to Director to Vice President of Human Resources, the example of her growth within a single company is rare in a time when employee movement between companies is higher than ever. “It has been very exciting,” Marci says. “The opportunity to stay with a company whose culture I have really valued from the beginning was definitely something I wanted.”
As a member of the Human Resources team for so many years, Marci has had a unique vantage point, working with people across different departments and getting to see the whole company. She credits good leadership, a real appreciation for her contribution, opportunities for continuing education, and her broad understanding of the organization as key factors in her professional progress.
Marci is the first female Vice President at Horizon North, but “I have never felt limited,” she says. “I’m proud of my accomplishments, but I’m prouder that Horizon North recognizes that diversity on all of our teams, including at the executive level, is tremendously valuable. When you add one woman in with 13 men, it changes the dynamic, but it’s a positive shift.”
In her new role as Vice President, Human Resources, Marci will set the continuing vision for cultural evolution at Horizon North, and she is full of ideas and passion. “I want us to be an employer of choice. I want people to hear that Horizon North is hiring and they immediately want to come work for us. I want to attract and retain the right people, and for me that means a diverse group of people. If you’re working with a group of people that’s too similar, without larger, broader perspectives, that becomes quite limiting.”
Marci understands the impact her engagement at a more senior level has the potential to make. She knows the historical barriers that existed in business for women, but sees attitudes continuing to change and finds optimism in the global conversation taking place regarding women in the workplace. She feels a personal responsibility to do her part.
“Things really started changing 30 years ago but it has been a pretty slow shift. Now, there’s a greater acceptance for an individual’s contributions without categorizing them. Recognizing all our employees for their contributions to Horizon North is something that’s really important to me. I feel like the chance to sit at the executive table is part of that progress, and sends a really strong message to all women in our organization that the opportunities don’t have to stop at any level.”
In Marci’s view, Horizon North is well on its way in creating rewarding opportunities for employees doing great work, no matter who they are. She notes as evidence the female leaders and the different backgrounds represented across all areas of the organization.
“We need to keep having conversations that are meaningful, so we can all be working towards the same thing – a culture that fosters growth, creativity and innovation, and celebrates diversity.”
Learn more about Horizon North’s full executive team, including Marci.