Chantal herself was encouraged to step out of her comfort zone and push forward to the next level in her career – not from a female mentor but a male leader. She currently mentors several younger females herself at her workplace now and says she has found her visible success is encouraging them for their own futures.
‘They see it as a possibility for them now because within this business there are females exposed to executive roles, and they can look at that as something to aspire to,’ she says. ‘I’ve even had a few female colleagues comment and say “I want to be like you, I’d like to be in these senior roles”, so it’s definitely having a positive influence.’
When Chantal was presented with the 2019 HIA Professional Woman of the Year award she says the accolade was an opportunity to have her voice heard. She believes awards programs for celebrating women in business, and other networking opportunities, are pivotal in making women’s contributions so much more apparent to the general community and broader industry.
‘These initiatives, such as IWD, HIA Building Women and the HIA Recognition of Women in Building & Construction Awards held every year is a stepping stone in the right direction,’ she says. ‘What HIA is doing to have these platforms and programs for women to be a part of and recognition by way of these awards is invaluable.
‘We’ve come such a long way in recognising women in the workplace. A day set aside to celebrate our social, economic, cultural and political achievements is so important, to voice that women are not just employees in organisations and not just a male counterpart but they’re actually making a difference with their talents.’
Chantal adds that everyone should recognise that they can influence change and try to do so.
‘A single person definitely can’t change things but many people with a single goal can and it’s important that people are being encouraged in that way.’
So, perhaps you may consider sleeping in a little less on 8 March, and joining the crowds to further the cause for the women in your life, lending your voice to the momentum for change.
Let's all be #EachforEqual #IWD2020
Read about 2019 International Women's Day Scholarship recipient Dr Fiona Lamari and her research into engaging female high school students in the construction industry through virtual reality here.