WIDAC builds cultural change
Women lifting each other up.
Original article written by Elise Honeyman, WIDAC general manager NSW.
On any given week across Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, you will find a community of women from the design, construction and related industries having powerful discussions among laughter, good food and wine. Hosted within beautifully designed spaces, often having been delivered by the members themselves, Women in Design and Construction events have a certain je ne sais quoi and warmth that can be attributed to its community, who come together to celebrate each other and their successes. Women in Design and Construction is the brain child of national directors Althea Papinczak and Erin Oxley, a dynamic duo whose relaxed approach set the tone for the events and community.
The organisation was founded in Brisbane in late 2016 after Althea, looking to broaden her network, attended a series of industry events that didn’t quite fit. Each event either felt too formal, unaffordable or uncomfortable and didn’t cater to the diversity of professional female interests in an authentic way. Althea was moved to create her own group, where women from the design and construction industry could meet to share projects, tips and tricks and have space to discuss issues they are faced with at work.
Althea and Erin have grown WIDAC from within the industry, where they work at Shape Australia as design manager and project co-ordinator respectively. WIDAC was born out of the desire to create something that felt natural — starting out as a night in a bar with 20 friends from the industry. WIDAC has since gained a life of its own and developed into what the girls refer to as an “accidental business” that is grounded by its original values.
It appears the essence of Women in Design and Construction is contagious as in two years the community has grown to 5000 women across Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. Within each city, the ideals of WIDAC are protected by a team of passionate women, who are driven by the collective ambition to create inclusive, innovative and approachable events for women across all built environment disciplines.
The individual experiences of the members are WIDAC’s greatest asset and the events have women from all levels presenting to keep content relatable to a wide audience. Industry workshops are offered to develop technical skills, while key events are carefully curated to explore broader themes which are generally relevant to all professionals. With an emphasis on culture, collaboration and support the WIDAC community hopes to lead by example and impact the industry from the ground up.
Building on the full schedule of events, workshops and social sessions, already booked for 2019, the WIDAC team are looking to expand the offering by introducing initiatives to make an impact and create tangible changes in the industry. The organisation has come a long way since its humble beginning, yet still holds true to its underlying values. The real magic of WIDAC lies in its community — an evolving group of women who as peers, empower one another, create pathways to leadership and improve as a collective.
Original article here.