100 for 100 Series: Karen Heigham | Wates

Equality of opportunity for everyone is essential for businesses to thrive. For 2019 International Woman’s Day, Karen Heigham shares what #balanceforbetter means to her.

Karen Heigham - Regional Commercial Manager, Wates Construction

Introduce yourself for us

Hi, I’m Karen Heigham, a Regional Commercial Manager in the London Construction Residential Business.

How long have you been in your current role?

I have been at Wates for 12 years. I started out as a Site Surveyor and have worked my way up to Regional Commercial Manager over that period.

What brought you to Wates?

I came to Wates for the range of projects (sizes and sectors) which I felt gave real opportunity for growth, as well as the family feel of the business, which is noticeably different to contractors in my experience.

What advice would you give to women entering the industry?

Now is the perfect time to get into construction. There’s a real change happening around inclusion, meaning there truly is opportunity for everyone to reach their full potential.

Who are your role models?

At Wates, Maria Joyce (Regional Commercial Director) who interviewed me when I first joined. I have always had Maria to look up to and encourage me to keep being ambitious and developing myself. I am a big believer in “if you can see it, you can be it” and having a senior female role model has been invaluable to me. Outside of work, I’m a massive rugby fan and have a great deal of admiration for Mike Brown (Harlequins and England Rugby full back). Despite being told he wasn’t fast enough or strong enough to ever play international rugby, he kept working away and took on extra training to develop himself, eventually cementing himself as the number one full back and a senior leader within the England team – proof that hard work and dedication really do pay off!

Tell us something unusual about you

I’m a keen musician, and can play guitar, drums and (a bit of) piano, despite having only one hand!

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

I would like to see a world where people are judged purely upon their skills and talent, where there is no need for a conversation about inclusion. (Hopefully well before 100 years!!)

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