International Women’s Day is a day to celebrate and acknowledge the contributions and achievements that women have made in society.
This year at Fredon, we shine the spotlight on a few of our employees across the business together with a message from Fredon CEO Scott Olsen-
At Fredon, we work to create inclusive and respectful work environments where our people have equal opportunities to succeed.
We recognise that gender bias exists across our industry and that there is more work to be done. We have a responsibility to increase women’s participation and develop teams that more accurately reflect the society in which we live.
There is a long way to go but we can start by putting the spotlight on some of the women within Fredon. Today, on International Women’s Day, we celebrate the achievements of women in our business such as Pearl Vengesa, Bec West, Korinna Poblete and Stephanie Lee.
And while we are very proud of the accomplishments of women, these celebrations cannot serve as proof that we’ve reached our goal. Instead, it is a reminder of how much more we must do to reach gender equality and how much more we will achieve when we do.
– Scott Olsen, Fredon CEO
Pearl Vengesa, HSEQ Programs Coordinator
“It’s not about entitlement or accommodating us – it’s about competence.”
Pearl Vengesa’s career in HSEQ began in the FMCG Manufacturing industry in Zimbabwe before she joined a Construction Engineering company in the UAE and then her current role as HSEQ Programs Coordinator for the Fredon Group.
In the lead up to International Women’s Day, she shared her own pearls of wisdom about biases and the value of diversity in terms of not just women, but also experiences.
“Finding a candidate who is a cultural fit is important – but so is knowledge and experience. It’s about being given an opportunity to be part of the industry, not out of entitlement or accommodation, but through considering a candidates capabilities and potential .”
“I feel that companies tend to focus entirely on local experience overlooking the value that international exposure can bring. I have been able to leverage my own experience working in other countries to better support my team and stakeholders.”
Bec West, Estimator
Being in the industry for almost 20 years, Fredon QLD Estimator Bec West, encourages more women to join the industry and shares her career experience.
“The construction industry has so much to offer for both men and women. It’s exciting, fast paced and there’s so much variation. Women can do whatever they want in this industry, if they want to do it.
“I am always proud to walk past places – anywhere in the Southeast of Australia, and say ‘I have helped build that or I was part of the project.'”
And Bec’s advice for women who are keen to enter the industry?
“Always have a voice and don’t be afraid to speak your mind. Find your voice and use it.”
Korinna Poblete, Group Contracts Specialist
Korinna Poblete is a Group Contracts Specialist at Fredon, who started out in our industry as a Site Civil Engineer working on the Marina Bay Sands Project in Singapore.
She has faced biases at all stages of her career, particularly when she first came to the industry.
“I was a petite lady working in the middle of a massive labyrinthine site, outnumbered by male counterparts. I really stood out from the crowd because I looked different, with some questioning my presence and doubting my abilities.”
“As a woman, you might have to work harder to gain other people’s respect at first but it does make you a stronger person and it builds up your resilience. I was also fortunate to have senior managers who advocated for me and helped me tread my own path. The construction industry is not just for tradespeople, engineers or architects – if you love business, law, or in my case, have a penchant for contracts, then you can carve out a niche for yourself within this industry that can be a spring board for your career.”
Korinna recommends the construction industry for other women and acknowledges the efforts made by industry leaders to increase women’s participation in the workforce.
“I think the next step in our industry to improve inclusiveness is supporting more flexible working arrangements for all – not just for mums, but for dads, singles – for everyone. It’s an opportunity to attract and retain talent, no matter what their life circumstances are.”
Stephanie Lee, Project Administrator
Stephanie Lee has been in the construction industry for nine years. She is a Project Administrator who is currently working on the Royal Melbourne Hospital project. For International Women’s Day, Stephanie shared her views on the industry.
“The construction industry has a lot to offer. There are so many different avenues you can go down in this industry with lots of room for growth and progression. You learn something new every day. I enjoy working in a supportive environment and as part of a team, and seeing a project from the beginning to the end is so rewarding.”
And her views on the progress on gender equality in this industry?
“There’s that saying ‘it’s a man’s world’ – which it can be in this industry, but more and more women are out on site and more women are in leadership roles as well, which is great.”
“Sometimes women are still judged by appearance instead of skill, and we need to remind people that we need to give everyone a fair go. Progress has definitively happened in the past few years, but it’s probably something that could still be improved on.”