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Review: WICE Awards Forum 2018

The European Women In Construction & Engineering Awards Forum 2018 took place on Thursday 26th April at the Hilton London Heathrow T5 hotel. The award has been designed to find the most exemplary women in construction and engineering across Europe.

WIB welcomed the initiative and several members were shortlisted as well as core team members taking part as judges.

WIB member and Best Woman Architectural Technologist Finalists is Marina Villanueva Díaz from Jacobs engineering whom I had the pleasure to catch up with since our last encounter in September last year in hot Mumbai! 

After being a speaker last year at the WICE Forum, this year I was invited to join the crew of 60 judges who had the very difficult tasks to evaluate 200 very talented finalists.  I was joined by two other judges, Rand Watkins and Tedroy Newell in the assessment of the finalist’s 1-minute pitch in which contestants were asked to give their reasons for why they should win. From the start of the day, it was clear that every single finalist deserved to win. Like many of us, I spent most of my professional life surrounded by men. There are not many occasions in my life when I had the chances to spend the entire day with such a high calibre of bright and talented women. It was a true honour.

Despite the extremely challenging and demanding task, which at times required a substitute judge as I did not feel comfortable to judge finalists I personally knew well, it was an amazing and enriching experience. The atmosphere and the buzz throughout the day were amazing. The variety of candidates, personalities, nationalities, backgrounds was overwhelming and enlightening at the same time. I wished there were such competitions years ago when I started my career!

WIB Strategic Support Anne Kemp was also a judge for the Best Woman Architectural Technologist and Best Woman in Digital Innovation and found the event extremely enjoyable. Our chair Rebecca DeCicco also a finalist for the Best Woman Consultant due to unforeseen circumstances could not attend the event and was greatly missed.

I personally learnt a great deal, despite the challenges we all faced and we still encounter in the industry we still have our beautiful smiles on our faces and energy to challenge anyone, as we should, who believes we do not belong to the industry. I can reassure you that we all do!

I would like to challenge anyone who still has doubts about advancing and retaining women in the industry to take part in one of these events and learn how women bring collaboration, empathy, technical skills as well as a new perspective. Women can have a fulfilling career as architects or engineers but also be caring mothers, passionate wives, proud daughters, supporting sisters as well as work hard every day and be confident that they have got what it takes to build a better future for all of us.

Winners will be announced on the 24th May at The Royal Lancaster in London. Good luck to all finalists!

Cristina Savian

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