One of the Canadian Navy's most prominent women will give a seminar at UPEI Friday on how women can become leaders in technology and innovation industries.

Cmdr. Michele Tessier commanded HMCS Nanaimo from 2010-13 and will take charge of HMCS Margaret Brooke next year. It is currently under construction. She joined the reserves while in university 21 years ago, just to try it out.

"Never did I think back then that that would lead to the command of a warship," Tessier told CBC's Island Morning.

Tessier said the challenges facing women are real, particularly for women who want to become mothers, but it is possible to overcome them.

"Most of it is just in your own head. It's convincing yourself that you have what it takes to be able to do it," she said.

"There's a place for everyone. It's more about encouraging people to look at what they like to do, what they're interested in, and having them go and achieve that, as opposed to of feeling that there's a barrier because of your race, your gender, your cultural background."

Tessier will speak at the UPEI School of Sustainable Design Engineering at 10 a.m. Friday.