A note from our Women in Leadership 2018 Award Winner Vivienne Edwards: 

When I was asked to write this blog, I thought about sharing all the amazing opportunities and experiences I had had as a result of winning the 2018 UDIA WA & Frasers Property Women in Leadership Award to inspire other women in industry to apply for this award.

The feeling of being recognised in a room of hundreds of your peers, having a full page spread published in the West Australian about you and developing a network of inspiring women in our industry.

Although the above is true, the reality of publishing a blog post like that is that the target audience is a very tiny proportion of our industry. So I instead want to encourage those of you in the majority to consider steps you can take to embrace diversity and inclusion in our industry.

If there aren’t any women in leadership positions in your organisation or network, start creating them. Champion women at all levels within your organisation whether it be mentoring women at lower levels or providing opportunities for women to progress to leadership roles. Tap someone on the shoulder and tell them you want to help them win awards like this, I promise it will make their week.

Normalise flexible work conditions, this means for all staff. The flexibility must be provided genuinely and real growth opportunities need to be available for people working in flexible working arrangements. Avoid falling in to the trap where flexible work arrangements means everyone being accessible 24/7.

Lastly, avoid falling in to the merit based argument by understanding that most merit-based systems have inherent biases within them and seek to promote people that are ‘like us’.

If you think your organisation doesn’t have a problem with falling in to the merit-trap, consider the representation of women and another minorities at all levels of your organisation. Look to create systems that value diversity in leadership qualities.

Thank you to all those inspiring people that have provided these opportunities for me, I’m forever grateful to work in such a supportive industry and hope that you can provide the same support to candidates for the 2019 UDIA WA & Frasers Property Women in Leadership Award.

Vivienne Edwards is a Principal at Wood & Grieve Engineers now part of Stantec 

More information about nominating for the UDIA Frasers Women in in Leadership Award here.