New NAWIC Advocacy Agenda Announced at Awards Night

Women at all levels of the construction industry were celebrated on Thursday night at the 23rd 2019 National Association for Women in Construction Awards for Excellence.

Hosted by the NSW chapter, 1,200 guests gathered for the gala event to recognise a record 136 nominees in 11 categories vying for coveted awards.

Growthbuilt’s Melanie Kurzydlo took home the Lendlease Crystal Vision Award for Advancing the Interests of Women in the Construction Industry, while Aurecon’s Global Leader for Rail and Mass Transit, Rowenna Walker was presented with the Laing O’Rourke Award for Business Woman of the Year.

Ms Kurzydlo told WILLIAMS MEDIA it was important to push all parts of diversity and inclusion in the construction industry, especially woman.

“There is still such a misrepresentation of women in leadership roles as well as a lack of representation to the younger generation of women on what the construction industry is,” she said.

“I feel I have achieved immense success within this market as a woman and diverse person and I can’t wait to see the future of this industry grow as we continue to push diversity and inclusion in all facets.

“What I hope for in the future is that we can all come together as one and that all groups that support Diversity and Inclusion collaborate, and aim to drive a better future for the construction, development, property industry, as one group.”

The night also ushered in a leadership change for the NSW branch, with Harriet Oldmeadow and Elizabeth Brookes taking the reigns as co-presidents.

The former was excited to announce a new advocacy agenda “to build NAWIC’s industry voice”.

“We want NAWIC to be the ‘go to’ organisation that can assist in transforming the construction industry,” she said

“The solutions, we think, are multi-faceted – big steps and small steps are required. As NAWIC recalibrates and starts this journey of change, there are two important steps that everyone in the industry can take together: listen and challenge the status quo.”

Melanie Kurzydlo of Growthbuilt with Joel Stringer from Lendlease Source: NAWIC
Leadlease Crystal Vision Award Winner Melanie Kurzydlo

In her address, Ms Brookes announced a new award which will be launched in 2020 to recognise men in the industry “who demonstrate real acts of mentorship”, before outlining the importance of the awards.

“NAWIC established the Awards for Excellence because we recognised that ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’,” she said.

“More than two decades later, we are overwhelmed by the exceptional talent and extraordinary outcomes delivered by women across the construction industry.

“Our annual celebration of excellence continues to demonstrate how far we’ve come as an industry – and we applaud every woman contributing, from the first-year apprentice to the company CEO.”

A panel of industry experts selected winners based on strict award criteria.

Richard Munao, founder and managing director of Cult, in partnership with Fritz Hansen, generously donated a JH97 lounge chair, which was auctioned off to support NAWIC’s International Women’s Day Scholarship in 2020.

Cult has supported the scholarship for 11 years, making the annual $20,000 grant the most significant of its kind for women in the property and construction industry.

2019 NAWIC Awards for Excellence winners:

Lendlease Crystal Vision Award for Advancing the Interests of Women in the Construction Industry: Melanie Kurzydlo, Growthbuilt

Laing O’Rourke Award for Business Woman of the Year: Rowenna Walker, Aurecon

Transport for NSW Tradesperson Scholarship: Aurora Hartshorn, AXIS Plumbing NSW Merit: Fatima Bertolini, Planet Plumbing NSW Pty Ltd

Probuild Award for Project Manager of the Year: Brooke Emmett, Fulton Hogan

CBP Award for Contribution to Sustainability: Amanda Visser, The Star Entertainment Group

Roberts Pizzarotti for Contribution to a Project’s Development: Natalie Borozan, Multiplex Merit: Natasha Devlin, Investa

Acoustic Logic Scholarship for Future Leaders: Camille Sevestre, Turner & Townsend

MPA Award for Achievement in Construction, Refurbishment and Fitout: Diana Jones

HASSELL Award for Innovation in Design: Madeleine Blanchfield, Madeleine Blanchfield Architects Merit: Rebecca Deegan, Hansen Yuncken

John Holland Award for Team Innovation: Multiplex HR team Merit: Timnit Tessema, Vanessa Lesicnik, Harshaa Raha and Aleksandra Rakic, Multiplex Merit: Delivery Coordination Team, Stockland

CBRE University Scholarship: Vanessa Lesicnik, Multiplex Merit: Kara McCormick, CPB Contractors