Be Determined, Never take no for an answer and most importantly be yourself!

Fiona Cussen, Managing Quantity Surveyor at Osborne discusses her time at the Women in Construction Summit

“I spent both an enlightening and educational Community Day at the Women in Construction Summit 2018 in London, recently – which was appropriately timed as International Women’s Day fell during the same week! I had the opportunity to meet and listen to likeminded, talented and inspiring women speakers who have forged successful career paths within the construction industry.

A particular highlight for me was having the privilege to listen to two inspiring talks given by two equally inspiring women.

The first was from Katrina Dowding, Skanska’s Executive Vice President titled; ‘Nobody Told Me I Couldn’t Do this’.

Katrina is a strong advocate for Women in Construction and was previously chair of the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) for a period of 8 years. She reminded each woman that they are already role models by simply having a career  within the construction industry in the first place.

The second talk was by Isla Hill, from BAM Nuttall, titled; ‘Stepping Up: A Day in the Life of a Female Site Quantity Surveyor’. Isla is a member of the Institute of Civil Engineering Surveyors and a Senior Quantity Surveyor from the Highlands of Scotland.

In addition to her day-to-day responsibilities she also delivers STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) activities,  supports “BAM Bring Your Daughter to Work Day” and the ongoing implementation of the WISE 10 Steps within her company.

Her experiences within the industry have been similar to my own experiences. She confirmed that she has never experienced any adversity, nor found that being a woman has been a disadvantage to her career progression.

She simply explained the key to her success as a quantity surveyor thus far by the following:  In summary; Be determined. Work hard. Never take no for an answer. Be persistently tenacious, and most importantly, be yourself.

Funnily enough, I couldn’t have put it better myself!”