Campaign: #100for100

At Wates we are committed to the long term sustainability of our industry, and to encouraging equality of opportunity for everyone, regardless of gender, faith or background. We believe our industry should be more representative of the communities it serves, and we, in turn, must play our part in promoting careers in the built environment for everyone and championing the role models we have in our own businesses.

2018 is a milestone year as it marks 100 years since women in the UK were given the right to vote as part of the Representation of the People’s Act.

At Wates we want to use this historic anniversary as a catalyst for promoting equality of opportunity for women across our industry. Throughout 2018 we are running a campaign called #100for100, where we will feature 100 women from across the business at all levels – providing a window into the daily working lives of our female colleagues and a platform for their views.

You can see the weekly instalments below, or follow us by searching for #100for100 on Twitter.

Leanne Chatt
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Leanne Chatt, 100 for 100, wates
Introduce yourself for us
Leanne Chatt, Marketing Manager, Scape Major Works UK, Wates
How long have you been in your current role?
1 year
What brought you to Wates?
I had quite a few friends at Wates, they all said it’s a great place to work!
What advice would you give to women entering the industry?
Be yourself and don’t be afraid to have a voice. You shouldn’t feel the need to try harder because you’re a woman, all of your efforts should be to support your own ambitions.
What changes would you like to see in 100 years’ time?
More women in senior leadership positions

 

Dr. Zainab Dangana

Dr Zainab Dangana leads Wates Sustainable Technology Services – a business unit within Wates focussed on sustainable buildings. Zainab trained as an Architect, is a chartered member of Chartered Institute of Builders (CIOB) and has a doctorate in sustainable construction management.

 

Lucy Abbott

We’re very proud to announce that this week’s #100for100 featured employee is another nomination in the European Women In Construction & Engineering (WICE) awards. Responding to her nomination, her comments are below:

What has been your proudest moment working in the Construction Industry?

My proudest moment in the industry has been developing and implementing our organisational BIM strategy, which is actively delivering business efficiency and productivity whilst developing the skillsets of our people.

How have you helped to shape the industry?

The construction industry is a diverse and exciting sector which offers huge opportunities to progress and develop new skills. I have transitioned from working on site, where I worked as part of delivery teams helping to build environments for people to live and work; through to leading a department of technical specialists who support our people, supply chain and clients in achieving their digital construction aspirations. I am extremely proud of my career achievements and hope that my experiences motivate others considering a career in construction.

What is your biggest motivation?

What motivates me is initiating positive change for the benefit of the construction industry. I want look back on my career knowing that I have made an impact and inspired others to collectively transition the sector from what is commonly perceived to be antiquated, to one which is progressive, agile and able to keep up with new and innovative developments.

 

Helen Bunch

Introduce yourself for us

My name is Helen Bunch and I’m the Managing Director of Wates Smartspace.

How long have you been in your current role?

I’ve been in my current role for six years now. I joined Wates 12 years ago.

What brought you to Wates?

People. I used to work in the chemicals industry. I travelled all over the world which was very exciting, then later I decided I wanted to do something completely different to what I’d been doing over the past 15 years and I met the CEO (at that time) of Wates and the family members. I thought construction sounded crazy – particularly the margins, but as I started to meet people within Wates and learned what they did, it really intrigued me. I’ve never looked back.

What advice would you give to women entering the industry?

I would say please consider it. There are so many different roles you can do. It’s not all about being out on site. Right now there are great opportunities for women, as organisations recognise they are missing a trick by not having a more diversified workforce – which includes women.

What changes would you like to see in 100 years’ time?

Lots of things. I’d like to think somehow as a world we worked out how to stop hurting each other, and the environment. I think there is so much each of us can do individually in the way we live to create a better, safer, healthier world for our children to grow up in.

 

Emma Gruenbaum

Introduce yourself for us

I’m Emma Gruenbaum from Wates Developments.

How long have you been in your current role?

Three and a half years.

What attracted you to the job?

I was career changer. In my late 30s I decided I was going to follow something I’d always wanted to do which was property and project management and combine those two and so went and found a course at Kingston a surveying degree, then I hounded Wates until they gave me a job!

What advice would you give to women entering the industry?

Be tenacious. If you want it, keep going, keep asking and make it happen.

Who is your role model?

Wates Group’s Helen Bunch

Tell us something unusual about you

Before I worked in the construction industry I was a sports therapist for 20 years

What changes would you like to see in 100 years’ time?

That the conversation about being a women would be a redundant conversation. It would just be about being talented.

Charlotte Handy

This week’s #100for100 featured employee has already gained industry recognition via a nomination in the European Women In Construction & Engineering awards. Her story is below:

Introduce yourself for us

I’m Charlotte Handy. I’m a design manager for Southern Home Counties region in Wates Construction.

How long have you been in your current role?

I’ve been a design manager at Wates for 13 years.

What attracted you to the job?

I started life as a project manager for Homebase, and I decided that didn’t want to work in the retail industry directly. So I put my CV out and went for two different jobs, one for Wates Construction and one for M&S. I chose Wates because I decided I wanted to follow in my grandfather’s footsteps.

What advice would you give to women entering the industry?

I would say don’t discount the construction industry because you think it’s a male environment. There are many options for ladies within the construction industry and I am living proof of that. I never thought I would be in this industry, and I’m very proud to be here.

Tell us something unusual about you

I did a theatre design degree and I am a stage manager for an amateur dramatics company. It’s very time consuming, but I love it and it’s a creative outlet for me.

What changes would you like to see in 100 years’ time?

I would like for better environmental policies to be put in place – the oceans to be clean, and for us to have eradicated plastics and environmental damage.

Kate Ives

Introduce yourself for us

I’m Kate Ives, the development director for Wates Residential.

How long have you been in your current role?

I’ve worked for Wates for 12 months – and it’s been the best 12 months of my career.

What attracted you to the job?

I started out life as a town planner and I loved my job. I worked for lots of developers, and every time I got planning permission, they would go out and have beer and steak and I would have a cup of tea in the office. So I worked out I was on the wrong side of the equation and I decided to retrain and work in the development industry.

What advice would you give to women entering the industry?

Courage and conviction. Make sure you understand the ‘why?’ and have the courage and conviction to take that forward with you.

Who are your role models?

I don’t know if I’ve got a role model. My day to day inspiration is my daughter, and making life better for her

Tell us something unusual about you

I have just started Karate. I’m not doing very well at it – but I will persevere! One day I might be a black belt.

What changes would you like to see in 100 years’ time?

I think to think about others more. In the built environment we often think about buildings and we’re really busy making buildings beautiful but what we often forget is how we make buildings beautiful for people. I think if we start thinking about people more we’ll make the world a better place.

Adunni Abimbola


Introduce yourself for us

My name’s Adunni Abimbola and I work in London Residential as a Production Trainee.

How long have you been in your current role?

Since October – so about five months.

What attracted you to the job?
For me it was the family feel, the inclusiveness and the opportunity presented to me as an industry newcomer to grow in something I’ve never done before

What advice would you give to women entering the industry?
Confidence – whether it’s training yourself through self learning, or speaking to various people that are confident in their role. Building confidence will help people respect you. Also, be true to yourself. Be you – as your uniqueness will be what brings an different angle to the business.

Who are your role models?
Oprah Winfrey – it’s nice to see somebody similar to yourself in a top role. It’s been inspirational watching her journey as she came from a challenging start. It shows anyone can end up being the absolute best version of themselves, by just having that self-belief.

Tell us something unusual about you
I’m originally a make-up artist. So moving from make-up to construction was a complete change, I’m almost starting again! I like the idea that if you’re determined, you can make that jump.

What changes would you like to see in 100 years’ time?
Inclusiveness – I think that’s so important. There’s so many people from different backgrounds, different ways to contribute, different experiences and if you can bring all these people together into one setting you’re only going to make things better because you’re not going to approach a problem from one direction, you’re going to approach it from different angles. Master inclusiveness and the company, and all of us, grow.

Nina Hughes


Introduce yourself for us

I’m Nina Hughes, Community Investment Advisor for Group

How long have you been in your current role?

Just over 3 years

What attracted you to the job?

I wanted to work for a company that’s committed to making changes for good within society

What brought you to Wates?

The diversity. I’m never in the same place – I’m on site, I’m in offices, I’m in school, no day is ever the same

What advice would you give to women entering the industry?

Just go for it! There’s no reason why women can’t be in the industry – there’s no barriers to it

Who are your role models?

My mum

Tell us something unusual about you

I recently climbed Kilimanjaro

What changes would you like to see in 100 years’ time?

I hope we don’t have to have a specific day where we celebrate women – I hope we’re sufficiently equal for that not to require it’s own day any more.

 

 

 

Salhe Sharif

Introduce yourself for us
My name is Salhe Sharif, and I’m a Health & Safety administrator

How long have you been in your current role?
I’m just coming up to 3 months

What brought you to Wates?
It was a bit of a coincidence. A friend of mine who worked at Wates suggested I undertake one of Wates’ free Building Futures courses. I enrolled on the course, did well, and that resulted in me being brought on full time by Wates, where I am now.

What advice would you give to women entering the industry?
They need to think bold, go with their gut feeling and not be afraid of taking that step. For me there was a real fear of what might happen – of whether or not I would be accepted in the industry. As it turns out, it’s been very easy.

Who are your role models?
I have two – male and female. My two managers have been so supportive. They encourage me to make the most out of what I do.

Tell us something unusual about you
I have a degree in Environmental Management. I’m a bit of an authority on all things renewable energy.

What changes would you like to see in 100 years time?
I would like diversity and gender equality to be deeply ingrained in everything we do.