by Rebecca De Cicco, Director, Digital Node

Being part of the Women in BIM (WIB) initiative is extremely rewarding and we have come a long way since I first set up this group in 2012.

Diversity and inclusion have always been part of the core principles of WIB. We strive to integrate and nurture the talent and capabilities of our members, taking positive action to increase respect and fairness throughout the global construction community.

We have been remarkably busy over the past few months, and I wanted to give you an update on what we’ve been doing. There is no denying the coronavirus outbreak has hit us all hard. Regardless of where we are in the world right now, our members, supporters, sponsors and partners all need help and reassurance, and often just want to see a friendly (virtual) face.

Which is why our Mentoring Scheme has proved extremely successful. When we first started to plan out this scheme pre-COVID, we never dreamt that having such opportunities to work with and receive support from industry leaders and experts would become so vital in helping to build resilience against the disastrous effects of the coronavirus on the AEC industry (and beyond).

Our Mentoring Scheme lead, Katya Veleva, has been outstanding in organising and keeping up to date with our Mentor & Mentee matches as well as keeping track of all our sessions. She has been instrumental in the strategy, development and organization of this scheme and we are lucky to have her as a key member of our core team.

The one-on-one mentoring has so far proven to be very successful and we have received several Mentoring Session Record Sheets which indicates that our matches are happy, open and engaging with each other. 

And our group mentoring sessions have been amazing. We have conducted four Career Coaching Sessions, delving deeply into values, career goals and personal strengths. A key supporter, Elizabeth Kavanagh has helped host these events which have truly been inspirational to our attendees.

Our objective is to ensure that the work that we have been doing is sustainable and the Mentees have a solid plan for the months ahead.

But that’s not all we have been doing, we have started recording our new podcast series, delivered webinars, written many, many blogs and taken part in wider industry panel debates. Our second webinar, focused on how our allies can help us to support diversity and increase productivity was well received and an article between regional lead David Philp and our global Vice Chair Vicki Reynolds was published by the Construction Innovation Hub and can be found here

Another event we took part in was for the Festival of BIM and Digital Construction when I chaired a panel on the application of concepts and principles of ISO19650. Although specifically not focused on Women in BIM, we had great representation from our member Jenny Tseng who helped drive the discussion as well as other industry leaders from Australia.

Another panel discussion for the same event which was extremely well received was our Women in BIM around the world discussion, led by our core team member, Gergana StaykovaPBC Today Magazine published a wonderful piece featuring the discussion and our panellist, quoting Natalia Diaz, Project Director at AmbientePRO, Santiago, Chile in saying: “In Chile, we have a significant presence of women working in BIM. There is a group of remarkable women defining the national BIM strategy, developing the national standards and implementing BIM in the public sector. In fact, the governmental BIM programme and the Latin American BIM group are led by a woman.” This is amazing to hear.

We have a superb and dedicated core team which also includes Nicole De Cicco and Dr Jenni Barrett (as well as Vicki, Katya and Gergana noted above) who are working very hard to support our network and continue to create opportunities for women in BIM related opportunities. I’m looking forward to what we have lined up over the coming months and will keep you all posted on our progress and as we develop!