by Rebecca De Cicco, Principal, Digital Enablement at Aurecon / Director, Digital Node and Global Chair and founder of Women in BIM

How wonderful that today we are able to celebrate Women on International Women’s Day.

For me, it’s a day to reflect on my own life, my own career, and experiences that have shaped where I am today. Many of these experiences have been rewarding, challenging, heartbreaking and even incredibly difficult, but they make me who I am today. I sat with a few of my colleagues at Aurecon yesterday and realised that the early years of a career can be somewhat, the hardest years of your life. Moving from University where your dreams appear to be able to be a clear reality, dreaming of a life where you can stand on your own two feet, excel in areas you feel appeal to you and make a living doing something you love. Unfortunately it isn’t quite like we dream it to be early on. We are faced with a male dominated profession, a profession that is thousands of miles away from the reality you expected and a dream that become suddently crushed, with the expection of life not meeting the dreams you had imagined as a young professional.

For me particularly I struggled with the transition, from moving into the workforce from University. I completed my bachelors degree in Architecture in 2001, wanting nothing more than to be the next Zaha Hadid or Herzog and de Meuron. What I didn’t realised back then is the impact female leaders had on me in the Architectural profession, and in particular Zaha Hadid, who I would like to pay my utmost respects to today. I hope she’s watching us from whereever she has travelled to, thinking, I made a difference, because she certainly did to me.

But for me, it was less about the built environment, and more about how I could think, develop ideas in a digital world, all fuelled by innovative thought. This now I realise was more progressive than I realised back then. I felt inspired, excited and so fulfilled with the ideas of what we could do in digital back then. When I reflect on this, I am astounded by how far we’ve come with digital, particularly in our industry, but then saddened by the statistics that still show us women and young girls aren’t selecting careers in digital or even in construction as a career of choice.

This coupled with the statistics of women in leadership, women who drive businesses and the gender pay gap leave me somewhat feeling empty on my future and what comes next. What I do have to say is that for me, and its not just about Women in digital or BIM that inspires me, but to be able to influence others, help them in their conquests and drive women to celebrate themselves, is a huge driver for me retaining my role in the industry, and as a leader in an organisation like Aurecon.

I have to admit, the personal challenges, the extreme high moments, and the life I have lived impresses me and its only now, at 45 years of age, I can look at my career and acknowledge, damn Bec you’ve done well. But in the corner of my mind, the little black hole that exists, the questioning that comes in, I myself often feel that I am not good enough, that I need to do more, and that the industry just isn’t for me.

But what I have found only recently, is that if I can help to support more women, particularly those early in their careers, to stick to it, to accept the struggle, to drive yourself even with a family, I believe I have left a legacy and will continue to leave one for as long as I live. I want to celebrate International Women’s Day for not only myself, but for all the women who have inspired, supported, helped me and created an industry that I can say I am proud of. I want to inspire, to support and to further drive this for as long as I am employed, and for as long as I live. I have also learnt, that for someone who was obsessed by their career, always wanting to drive forward, the future  journey will not just be about my career anymore but other things. My life is different now, a mother, a woman looking for more meaning, and a future of (I hope) good health, happiness and satisfaction.

This article first appeared on LinkedIn.

Nicole De Cicco
Nicole De Cicco

I am the Global Administrator for Women in BIM. I support all of our global communications including managing events, as well as supporting & promoting our Regional Leads.