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“Ladies take over the City”

The Worshipful Company of Constructors’ were very pleased to be instrumental in organising the recent “Ladies Take Over the City” event, which was a resounding success. The event marked a high-profile celebration of women leading the construction sector with the aim of empowering more women to aspire for leadership positions in the industry.  It also emphasised the importance of diversity to both the Worshipful Company of Constructors and the Livery Companies of the City of London.

This important flagship event, which was master-minded by Freeman Diana Chrouch, took place on the 23 September 2019 in Canary Wharf, at their stunning Level 39 venue with its panoramic views of the city.  It received keen industry interest with tickets quickly selling out and an impressive attendance by women and men from all areas of the industry.

The event was a collaboration between the Constructors and the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) and featured a line-up of prominent women in the sector. The key note speaker, Sue Kershaw (managing director of the Major Projects Advisory and UK Head of Infrastructure Management at KPMG) gave a rousing speech.  In it she charted her own journey to success and shared her personal tips for building confidence among women aiming for leadership positions.

The “Ladies Take Over the City” initiative is part of a drive to encourage more women to join the Constructors by raising awareness about the Company’s important role in representing the construction industry and supporting the work of the City of London.

Mike Parrett, Master of the Worshipful Company of Constructors led the speakers and reiterated his support for both the promotion of more women into leadership positions and increasing diversity levels across the sector.  Indeed, during his year as Master, Mike has supported several strategies to increase the diversity of the membership of the Constructors and was instrumental in the creation of a Diversity and Inclusion Group to drive this initiative.

Since its creation as the Company of Builders in 1976, the Worshipful Company of Constructors has had three female Masters who have each served a one-year term.  These include past Master Victoria Russell, who attended the event.  Victoria is not only a Past Master of the Company, but is also Chair of the City Livery Committee.  She outlined the important and influential role that women can play in the sector by not only taking up membership of the Worshipful Company of Constructors, but also, thereafter, advancing their careers through the livery company as a gateway to leadership positions in both the City of London and the Industry more widely.

This aspirational message was keenly supported by chair of NAWIC, Cristina Lanz Azcarate, who has been a long-time advocate for change. NAWIC is also behind the iconic “Images of Women in Construction” photography project to inspire women and girls to take up and advance careers in the sector.

The event was kindly sponsored by leading diversity advocates, City construction law firm Mayer Brown, whose senior partner, Sally Davies, gave a passionate talk about the firm’s hands-on commitment to diversity.

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