TONY CHAPMAN CHATS WITH
Natalie Marchesan

A Canadian woman who flew for her country in combat brings her leadership skills to the private sector to champion the underserved. Why are no women at the altar if God made us equal? This was the question teenager Natalie Marchesan wrote to her Bishop. His response was you are equal but different, and that answer didn't sit well with Natalie. In fact, it began her lifelong quest to level the playing field, to create equal opportunity for all. Why are no women serving at the altar if God made us equal? This was the question teenager Natalie Marchesan wrote to her Bishop. His response was you are equal but different, and that answer didn't sit well with Natalie. It began her lifelong quest to level the playing field to create opportunity. In 1987, as her friends were heading off to University, Natalie applied to the Royal Military College (RMC). Natalie later became one of the first female members of the Canadian Air Force to see combat, spending eight years as a navigator of a C130 Hercules aircraft, flying search and rescue operations and supporting Canadians in combat zones. As the only woman in her squadron, Natalie alludes to "stories that would make your toes curl" as minorities like her had to navigate an often-toxic and unwelcoming environment. She refused to quit as her mission was to right the wrong. After almost a decade, Natalie left the Air Force, got her MBA and relying on the skills she learned in the military, she went into the private sector, first as a consultant and then working in positions where she could push for equality. Today Natalie is the head of global procurement at RBC, with 145 people on her staff. Natalie is an extraordinary woman who has found a way to shatter glass ceilings with courage and conviction. A standing ovation for Natalie Marchesan, her service to Canada, and lifting those around her. As Natalie says, diversity is a fact, and inclusion must be our only path forward.

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