Feedback and Engagements

NAWIC CEO Shadow Program

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Neil Savery, ABCB CEO shares his experience in participating in this year’s National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) CEO Shadow program.

"As the title suggests, the program provides an opportunity for aspiring women working in the sector to engage in the day-to-day work of someone who is involved in senior management in building and construction. It not only provides exposure to the variety of work that exists, but to have the opportunity to witness how things tick and ask questions about the role" says Neil.

"Such an exercise is clearly a form of mentoring although it does not necessarily involve an on-going commitment by either party. In the ACT at least, group discussion sessions by all participants in the program are held, everyone’s experiences including mentors and mentees is shared, along with some general insights into how people behave and shape the workplace".

"Participating does involve a small commitment of time, but depending on the approach and interest, this can be in the form of the shadow watching what you do rather than setting aside time to spend dedicated to talking to the mentee. In my case I found it useful to provide a mix of explaining my role and the work of the organisation, along with the opportunity to observe some of my commitments of the day and engage in some question and answers".

The program involved the rotation of three mentees across two days, which promoted a good mix of interests and ideas, along with the three evening sessions, which includes an induction, of approximately two hours each.

"I greatly enjoyed the experience of sharing time, thoughts and interests with Dulani, Amy and Nicole, who between them had backgrounds in electrical engineering, project management, procurement and development of on-going learning. As one of the mentors described in their own feedback, it was somewhat refreshing to step back and have the layers of an onion peeled by those exploring what motivates you to do your job and what was the journey that took you to where you are. In our hurried lives it is likely that like me, we don’t pause to reflect on these things. For others it is an important part of understanding the steps involved, the fortuitous events that might have smiled on you in some instances and the hazards that held you back in others".

"I think it is also important to both recognise the NAWIC initiative in helping break down barriers and stereo-types, as well as acknowledge those firms willing to allow the time for their employees to participate in the program".

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