International Women’s Day is a global day to celebrate the achievements of women and a day to call for action to accelerate women’s equality. Our CEO, Scott Olsen, praised the efforts of women in our businesses and industry, and shared a message about this year’s theme, Embracing Equity.
“This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is Embrace Equity, a reminder that equality is achieved through equity and a combination of individual and systemic actions and approaches.
“Fredon is committed to maintaining and creating a diverse, gender balanced and representative workforce, underpinned by an inclusive and respectful working environment, so I am excited about the progress we are making to Embrace Equity.
“I’d like to acknowledge all of the women in our businesses and their achievements and contributions to Fredon and our industry. Thank you also to Giselle Phillips, Shantelle Moody-Rowe, Emma-Lee Tydd, Sharon Clarke and Jigi Jani for sharing your views and experiences in the lead up to International Women’s Day.”
Thank you to our staff members who shared their views on Embracing Equity and their experiences as women working in the construction industry.
Giselle had a career in event management before her eye for detail, interpersonal skills and organisation caught the eye of her superiors who encouraged her to take on the role of Health and Safety Coordinator. With their support, Giselle flourished in her role and developed a passion for safety and company culture.
Returning to work after spending some time raising her family, Giselle was referred to Fredon by a friend, and subsequently employed in the role of HSEQ Advisor for Fredon QLD – where she is responsible for promoting and improving functionalities within the operations of safety, as well as working closely with her peers to inspire a culture of safety, innovation and initiative.
Giselle shared her personal experience and explained why equality is so important to her.
“When I think about my own personal journey, it hasn’t really come easy. It’s always been a fight for me – whether it be a fight to be seen, for a seat at the table or for your talents to be acknowledged. Now that I have my own kids and teenage daughters, I still want to be in that space of change, so that they use me as a benchmark and see me as a strong woman.
“I think it’s about igniting the change and being the change going forward.
“How am I committing to it? I try and show up every day, be as real as I can be and by being a voice, being a part of change and calling out when things are not looking right.”
In her 5 years in the construction industry, Shantelle Moody-Rowe acknowledges that she has seen significant progress to Embrace Equity.
“Our industry is evolving and there are so many opportunities for women in management positions and leadership positions now, so I am excited for the future and to see what it has in store for us all.
“I think it is so important that everyone makes it a priority to embrace equity, but ultimately, I believe it has to come from the top.
“Our industry leaders need to encourage, inspire and implement change. Everyone else will follow…it is happening already, which is great! There has been a lot of improvement but of course, there is still a long way to go.”
Shantelle’s success has been enabled by her ability to embrace change, to be flexible and her willingness to learn, which has seen her move freely within the divisions of Fredon.
She began as a receptionist before taking on the roles of Electrical Service Coordinator, Asset Services Contracts Administrator and then Infrastructure Contract Administrator before the role of Cost Controller became available – offering her an opportunity to try something different to anything she had done before.
Inspired by her seamless transition, her advice to other women is to step out of their comfort zones.
“Taking risks is never easy. I think people need to give themselves a chance to get to know themselves and reflect on their situation. Ask yourself questions like am I getting too comfortable, am I being challenged, and am I able to grow or learn? If not, get out of your comfort zone and take that next step. I wouldn’t have had the opportunities I did if I didn’t speak up. There’s so much opportunity here at Fredon and in the industry, you just need to get yourself out there.”
Having commenced with Fredon through the Women In Construction Australian Training Company Pathway Program, Emma-Lee Tydd is a second-year mechanical apprentice who is passionate about her work, and someone who is assertive and stands her ground when she needs to.
“I’m very lucky to be able to do this trade with the support from my employer, my team, my family and everyone that I’m interacting with in the trade. There are some instances where I have been given a hard time for being a woman on a construction site but I don’t sit back and take it. I stand my ground.”
As a mentor and ambassador for Australian Training Company who inspires other young women to pursue their interests in working in construction, Emma-Lee shared the importance of embrace equity-
“To me, Embracing Equity means being able to pursue the trade I want to do, with the support of my community. Everyone has the right to do what they want to do and it’s important for people to support each other through these things.”
In her new role as National Finance & Customer Service Manager, Sharon Clarke inspires collaboration, innovation, team culture and efficiency amongst the Sturdie team to ensure the high-quality delivery of service and maintenance with maximum client satisfaction.
For Sharon, embracing equity is vital for the workplace –
“Everyone needs to feel welcome and part of a team in a workplace- it creates more success.”
“It’s about embracing equality and inclusivity, no matter who you are. It’s about being harmonious. ”
Reflecting on her 16 years with Sturdie, Sharon believes a great supportive team and culture, and an appetite to learn, has been the secret to her success. It’s this ethos which has seen Sharon master multiple roles within the company before her most recent promotion.
“I’ve had really good support throughout my whole time here. There is a good culture so it makes it more fun to be here. I’m learning new things all the time – there’s always something to learn! It’s been an experience and I’m looking forward to my next big challenge!”