I’m very happy to announce Copperleaf’s sponsorship of an exciting new networking event to support women working in the infrastructure sectors. The Women’s Infrastructure Network (WIN) is an inclusive global network with Chapters operating in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, and Australia. WIN’s mission is to help women emerge as leaders in the infrastructure industry—a field in which women have been historically underrepresented.
The newest regional branch in the UK is the Northern WIN, which aims to bring together women working in the transportation, utilities, communications, government and environmental sectors across the North of England. As a co-organiser of the Northern WIN UK, my ties to the North of England are both personal and professional.
On a personal level, I grew up in the North of England, where I studied physics and engineering. In university, it was evident that there was a gender disparity in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). This disparity naturally extends into post-academic/professional life and is exacerbated by the challenges faced by women working in male-dominated fields. Oftentimes, these challenges lead to talented women leaving their roles to the detriment of the business and the industry at large. For example, according to Engineers Canada, more than 20% of engineering graduates are women, but less than 13% are practising engineers.
On a professional level, I have the pleasure of working with customers based in the North of England, such as Northern Gas Networks (NGN), and have developed strong relationships with many of the talented women I work with. I’ve often invited them to networking events in London and have found that it’s difficult for them to get involved due to the geographic distance and travel logistics. For these reasons, Claire Spencer, Strategic Planning Lead at NGN, and Victoria Bradley, Director of Energy Infrastructure and Government at Walker Morris LLP, began organising events which catered to women in the North of England. They invited me to join their efforts and together we formed the Northern WIN organising committee.
In my opinion, gender diversity is a business priority. Research shows that developing and maintaining a diverse workforce results in quantifiable revenue benefits for businesses. A recent Gallup study found that gender-diverse business units had better financial outcomes than those dominated by one gender. It is my goal to work for companies like Copperleaf™ who recognise the value of a diverse workforce, at all levels of an organisation.
Recently, the Northern WIN organising committee has been working tirelessly with the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre to launch our first network event, which will take place on Thursday, 24 January. This is a free half-day event which includes a meet and greet breakfast, workshop on increasing gender diversity, and a networking lunch. I hope to see you there!