By Marie Grieve, Founder and Managing Director of Costello Palmer Communications and Women in BIM Core Team Member
Women in BIM (WIB) is a global online community actively supporting, empowering and celebrating female building information modelling (BIM) and digital construction professionals. WIB was founded in 2012 by Rebecca De Cicco and from the beginning, diversity and equality have always been part of the core principles of the network.
As a Membership group it strives to integrate and nurture the talent and capabilities of its Members, as well as taking positive action to increase respect, fairness and inclusion throughout the construction industry. Fostering cultural, ethical and social diversity is high on the WIB agenda, with a particular focus on gender equality.
In 2022, WIB celebrated its 10th Anniversary and to mark the occasion we held several events in prominent regions around the world. Whilst I was involved in the planning and set up of all the anniversary events and activities, I had the pleasure of hosting the Los Angeles event in person on Tuesday 18 October.
And what an honour. I met some incredible women doing amazing things within the digital built environment for the benefit of the city of Los Angeles and the wider construction sector across California.
WIB originated in the UK. When it all began a decade ago, the following and appetite in the UK was strong – BIM was buzzing, and everyone wanted in on the action. It was the new black for UK construction. Adoption levels are not quite as high (yet) in the US as the UK, but the momentum is building and those that do know about BIM are actively championing its benefits and transformational effects.
As a result, our WIB Los Angeles 10th Anniversary event was a resounding success for the women (and men) delivering BIM in this region.
You just know that when everyone in the room is onboard with the topic you’re talking about, it’s going to be a great evening, and it certainly was.
Let me start by thanking the team at Arup Los Angeles for their generous support in allowing us to use the event space on the 20th Floor of their Downtown Los Angeles Wilshire Blvd office – the view was superb – and for assisting with the set up and managing our guests for the evening.
As our guests started to arrive, there was a buzz of anticipation, because for some, BIM was very new to them and their appetite to learn, gain new knowledge and grow their skill sets was to be admired. For others, BIM was part of their daily routine and they wanted to share their digital experiences to enable our community in Los Angeles to advance further into the BIM-environment.
We had some superb speakers, all of whom are highly skilled, industry leaders in their field of expertise. I had the pleasure of facilitating our expert panel and was very much looking forward to asking about their career choices and hearing about their successes.
Each speaker gave a marvellous presentation on their own journey starting with the reasoning why they chose a career in construction through to their current roles as leading female professionals in BIM, design, engineering and technology.
We had the pleasure of hearing from Arup’s very own BIM-guru Erin McConahey. Erin is a Principal and Fellow at Arup, where she has been responsible for the design leadership of many of the firm’s most significant projects.
Through her talk, Erin’s extensive technical knowledge of innovative and energy saving solutions, coupled with her commitment to sustainable designs was very apparent. Erin took us back in time to when her passion for digital design first began and why it is important to encourage women at a young age to engage with STEM subjects.
We were also fortune enough to hear from one of the City of Los Angeles’s very own architects from the Division of the Bureau of Engineering for the Department of Public Works, Marina Quiñónez. Marina is the Program Manager for the Homeless Facilities Program, for which she has spearheaded the design standards for a multifaceted approach to various housing typologies that have resulted in the construction of many much-needed housing to support homelessness in Los Angeles.
Marina’s career path is fascinating and her achievements and commitment to the City are commendable – a truly remarkable professional within our industry.
Our third speaker was WIB Regional Lead for Los Angeles, Mallary White. Mallary is a trained architect and leads the West Coast Architecture, Structure and Interior Design teams as the Vice President of Consulting – West Coast at Microdesk. As a Certified Autodesk Revit Architecture Professional, Mallary blew us away with her personal achievements and empowering talk for how other women in the field of construction can achieve their professional goals.
The evening was a true representation of why WIB started those 10 years ago: to empower women, give them a voice and support them in their career choices, whilst advocating the use of new, innovative and advanced technologies accelerating the digital future of construction and infrastructure projects around the world.
I want to thank our speakers and our Los Angeles guests for being true women in BIM and showing our industry the commendable results we are producing with the work of these outstanding women.
This just leaves me to say, as always, these events cannot happen without the support of our Members, Partners and Sponsors. Thank you to Microdesk, Arup and Costello Palmer Communications for enabling the WIB Los Angeles 10thAnniversary celebrations to come true.
To women in BIM everywhere, we admire you and encourage you to know your strength, know your ability and know yourself.
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