IN LOCO FELLOWS BLOG SERIES 2019 #1: I am because we are
My womanhood and age in a male dominated industry has always been a sharp piercing thorn in my side, for unlike most of my male counterparts who had pre-exposure to the built environment in their upbringing, for me it was the dawn of a new world.
In June I was scanning my Facebook newsfeed and I saw a poster about the fellowship. What struck me as odd was the call for recent graduates for too many times the prominence is on experience. After carefully nit-picking the poster, I decided to take a shot in the dark with marginal hope it would lead to a call for an interview on a random Wednesday afternoon.
Fast-forward a few weeks later, I’m accepted into the fellowship and I make a conscious decision for a radical mind-set shift. With this new conviction, I was and still am, open to learning new things, asking questions and never shying away from research. This rejuvenated outlook gave way for acquisition of immense knowledge in carpentry, researching, concrete mixing and social media marketing.
Moreover, it has translated into an understanding that the built environment is a boys’ club thus if I can’t beat them, I have to join them. And in amalgamation with them, what has shone through is the need to speak up and be assertive as a woman and school them and us (women in construction) into a culture that accepts and celebrates each other’s differences, promotes collaborative effort and championing for each other. In this regard, no gender will fall victim to having an inferiority complex.
The most phenomenal thing that rise has done is to provide a platform to learn, hone current skills and without fail, advocate for a teachable spirit which due to constant exposure to captains of industry is a must-have. Befittingly, this spirit is what enables one to learn from fellow fellows as we are a team that stems from diverse professions. And due to this, I am no longer just a water and environmental engineering graduate, but one with carpentry, social media marketing, communication, negotiation skills and so much more.