by Giulia Pustorino, Regional Lead for Cumbria and Revit BIM Manager at Weston Williamson + Partners
When I was nominated Women in BIM Regional Lead, one of my main goals was to raise awareness of Women in BIM in my region.
I am a foreigner in a remote area during a pandemic. How can I raise awareness of BIM benefits and create a network of female professionals within the AEC industry dedicated to supporting women in BIM-related roles? I must admit that I felt challenged by this task, and at first, I did not know how to address it.
I had to rethink myself and create connections where there was none. I started looking for other organisations aligned with our core values through LinkedIn. I aimed to understand how to build a WIB network, learn from their experience, and exchange best practices. Instead of doing this, I understood that interacting with a diverse array of organisations supporting women are not distractions from being a WIB Regional Lead but was at the heart of my new role.
LinkedIn was a powerful tool to build a network of people interested in BIM and the role of women in our society.
BIM is a process for creating and managing information on a construction project across the project lifecycle. Instead of focusing only on my area of expertise, I thought that potentially anyone working from design to managing facility in my area could be interested in it.
Working from home gave me the opportunity to get in contact with several amazing women from my new LinkedIn network and organise virtual meetings. I found that many organisations promoting women in construction had a much-structured network in my area, so I decided to partner with them.
Women in Property, for example, organises periodic breakfast seminars. To collaborate with WIP to organise a breakfast on BIM was a way to attract even more women to their meetings and let them know about Women in BIM.
We organised a joint Women In BIM and Women in Property event in April, and for the second time, I was “Getting out of my comfort zone” talking about BIM. This time was much easier, though.
WIP proposed a provocative topic, “Does BIM have an identity problem?”. Vicki helped me present WIB, and I introduced BIM, talking about the most pertinent challenges and opportunity of using BIM in the construction industry.
One of my goals was to create engagement and share experiences – good and bad – to learn from each other. For this reason, we break the conversation into small groups to incentive the discussion between attendees.
I feel that Women In BIM gave me the tools and confidence to start creating my network.
Networking for me did not come naturally at first. But now that I started and understood its power, I do not want to go back. I will take any opportunity to meet new people, not just for Women In BIM but also for me as a professional. Keep the conversation flowing and leave room for future meetups and discussions.
Events like this allow us to meet women in leadership and find mentors that will guide us as well as finding new opportunities. Together we can help everyone grow.