Sonepar Asks: Oksana Lukash

As we continue to celebrate the successes and strides that women have achieved in the workplace. We are highlighting our female associates in honour of their accomplishments and to promote positive visibility of women at Sonepar within Canada. We have asked each associate about their career journeys and the opportunity to share their experiences and perspectives with Sonepar. Meet Sonepar Ontario’s Projects Manager, Oksana Lukash!

What was the position that you started with the company and how did you progress into the position you currently hold?

I joined Sonepar Ontario in 2019 as a Project Coordinator and was promoted to Project Group Manager over six months ago. I’ve worked in the electrical wholesale industry for the past 6 years. The product knowledge that I gained helped a lot with my previous project management experience and served me well with progressing into my current position with the company. Amid the pandemic while we saw man changes including colleagues leaving the organization, I saw this challenging time as a good opportunity to re-evaluate and take on more project works proving I could find ways to lead the teams and establish other processes to support day to day functions.

What is the most important piece of advice you have been given that supported your career journey?

I am from Ukraine where people approached work differently than they do in Canada. Tasks were dictated and we are supposed to follow through completing projects without asking any questions because it could be considered as challenging your manager or leadership. Promotions were also determined by seniority in a company versus considering your contributions to the company regardless of the number of years you have been with them. The first piece of advice I was given during my first career placement in Canada from a colleague at the time was, “take initiative and keep asking questions if you would like to progress in your career.” Today if someone were to tell me the sky is not blue but green, I would step up and ask them why they believe the sky isn’t blue. Asking questions might annoy some but the key is to remember you are asking for yourself as this is an opportunity to expand upon your knowledge. A growth mindset is important to have in any part of every organization.

Is there anyone that inspires you in your career?

I have had many managers throughout my career who have inspired and helped my growth within the industry. However, my source of inspiration I found many years ago as a child in my mother. I’d like to take this time to inform those who are unfamiliar with life for Ukrainians in the 90s living in the Soviet Union. Factories had started being shut down and career opportunities did not exist for many yet, my mother through a lot of hard work and perseverance, managed to build a successful career in sales while being a full-time mother providing for me and my sister. At a time when people around me were facing depression and giving up, there were others like my mother who really put themselves out there and sought out opportunities. My mother built her business, and her hard work was recognized by the former Ukrainian government before she chose to retire in her 40’s after having achieved everything she wanted to. I wanted to resemble her in so many ways from her work ethic to her sense of style as she always dressed for success. I started developing my work mindset and learning how to navigate life through seeing my mother navigate hardships and success throughout her life.

What is an important message you would like to share with associates who are new or those who are considering growing within the organization?

I believe you need to be good at what you do and have a growth mindset which are your keys to success. That leads us to the question of, how do you become good at your job? Sharing from my personal career journey, its imperative to become an expert in what you do which for me was taking time to improve my product knowledge and understand processes. It’s crucial to put yourself out there and ask colleagues clarifying questions without fear. It is helpful to continue to work upon our relationship building and communication skills, along with coming into work wanting to learn and improve. LinkedIn Learning is an empowering resource provided to all Sonepar associates and I enjoy being able to see our leadership also completing courses through the platform. The courses are designed by industry experts for industry professionals seeking development opportunities. As an organization, we can support technical skills development, however we cannot impart strong work ethics and a growth mindset. This is universal messaging and hopefully will support others as it has for me with their career journeys.

About Sonepar Canada:

Member of the Sonepar Group, we are Canada’s largest privately-held B-to-B electrical products distributor and supplier of safety, facilities maintenance and MRO (maintenance, repair, and operations) products and related services. In Canada, we are represented in nine provinces by Dixon Electric, Gescan, Lumen, MGM Electric, Sesco, Texcan and Vallen. Sonepar Canada has over 1800 employees working out of over 100 offices between our distinctive brands.