web analytics

Leading in Manufacturing: The ‘WoW’ Factor of Mom Power at Wajax

Janice Radosevic is a single mom and the VP of Marketing at Wajax. She joined the company due to its rare people-first culture, which enabled her to succeed in both her professional and family life. Now, she guides the Women of Wajax (WoW) initiative to extend that same support to working mothers across Canada’s manufacturing industry.

“It’s a family environment here at Wajax,” Radosevic observes. “I feel supported and empowered individually. The people-first culture benefits the company as well. People who love their work environment naturally become more productive, offer enhanced customer service, and foster stronger teamwork. It’s a mutually advantageous outcome.”

single mom

Surviving on the corporate ladder as a single mom

As a first-generation Croatian immigrant, Radosevic was inspired as she watched her parents toil tirelessly to create a better life. “Their work ethic was off the charts, and so were their expectations,” she recalls. “We were expected to do chores at home, work summers with my dad on construction sites, and maintain high grades. That background of resilience and perseverance played a large role in preparing me for the challenges I would face as a working single mom.”

Radosevic’s son was born while she was a senior marketing manager at Dell. Understandably, she was torn between the career and company she loved and the newborn child who needed her care and attention.

“I desperately wanted to be with him,” Radosevic remembers. “All working moms know what this is like. Babies are demanding, but so are careers, and sometimes I felt like I was failing in both areas. Many days, the pressure of being a single parent on a single income seemed almost insurmountable.

Just as Radosevic began to feel it was time for a career reset, however, Wajax reached out with an enticing offer. After years in the tech industry, she found the move to the industrial sector refreshing.

“I was immediately drawn to Wajax,” Radosevic says. “I think the job brings back happy memories of summers working with my dad on construction sites. I have been at Wajax for over six years now and am responsible for driving the company’s marketing vision and strategic plan.”

As a 165-year-old company, Wajax is one of Canada’s longest-standing and most diversified industrial products and services providers. It operates in the Canadian economy’s core sectors: construction, forestry, mining, industrial and commercial, oil and gas, transportation, and metal processing.

When Radosevic joined Wajax, her son was in school. As a single mother, she treasured the flexibility she found at this forward-thinking business.

“I drop off my son at school in the morning, pick him up in the afternoon, and get right back to work from my home office,” Radosevic remarks. “I still encounter challenges, such as  coordinating childcare when I travel, but I am always supported as I find solutions.”

Launching the WoW initiative

While Radosevic thrived in her new role at Wajax, she also wanted to lift up the working women around her. Despite her company’s example, she knew the industry as a whole had room to improve. In Canada’s manufacturing landscape, women represented just 29% of the workforce.

Radosevic collaborated with Wajax’s HR department to launch WoW as a new kind of diversity and inclusion initiative. “Employees are predominantly men in this sector, so we wanted to give our female colleagues a safe space to connect and talk through their challenges,” she explains. “Our goal was to raise awareness of the hurdles women face in our industry and establish a place for learning and mentorship.”

According to Radosevic, WoW’s culture is based on inclusivity. In fact, many of the company’s mlale colleagues reached out, hoping to join and support women at Wajax.

“We continually track our progress and tailor our approach based on employee needs,” says Radosevic. “We are building a people-first company to empower everyone to reach their full potential. Our mission is grounded in caring for the employees around us so that we can bring our absolute best to our customers, co-workers, loved ones, and community.”

Today, as a team leader, Radosevic carries on the tradition of support she found at Wajax. “I trust my team to accomplish their tasks/goals and don’t question them,” she says. “If you give it your best and your performance is great, I don’t look at the hours you’ve clocked in — go take your kids to the dentist or pick them up from soccer practice. Working moms are incredible. They all over-deliver! Their ability to juggle family and career is incredible, and I fully support making them successful.”