Choosing to Challenge; Thakeham’s women at a glance

To round up our International Women’s week, we wanted to give you a snapshot of some of the stories of the women at Thakeham. Their challenges and triumphs of working in the construction industry, as well as colleagues that truly inspire them every day. In truth, every woman that works at Thakeham deserves an inspiration nomination.

As a colleague so aptly put, “There are so many inspiring women at Thakeham – all with too much humility to appreciate being mentioned!”

What do you enjoy about working in the construction industry?

Josie Thornewill, Thakeham’s Head of Sustainability

“I’ve always loved the legacy that construction leaves behind, particularly creating communities. The impact of the decisions we make lasts beyond a lifetime, and that’s where I’m passionate about making sure that we make the best decisions possible.”

Do you feel challenged as a female in the industry?

“Starting as a fresh-faced graduate nearly 8 years ago, I definitely felt tested about my competency but I always looked to challenge where that came from – separating out whether it was questioning my competency based on my experience, or assumptions based on my gender. We need to celebrate women in construction by engaging construction sites with schools, before we will start to see those assumptions disappear for good.”

What would you challenge within the construction industry?

Rebecca Warren, Director Oxford-Cambridgeshire Arc

“The industry has evolved significantly, especially in the last decade with more diversity not just gender diversity.  There is still more to do, but there are many women breaking down the barriers.  Thakeham support people for what they can bring to the table, not what gender or background they come from.  I have been fortunate to have had mentors (all of them men) who have been open to and supportive of my career development which has allowed me to make the progress to a senior level.  I would challenge more of our industry’s men to be open to and step up to mentor and support your female colleagues.”

Do you feel supported as a woman in this industry?

Sarah Crush, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager

Yes – Thakeham is great at tackling traditional gender bias, and this plays out in our team statistics – 39% female vs. 12% across the construction sector. Thakeham actively supports diversity and it is great to see our female site numbers growing. From a personal perspective, Thakeham is incredibly understanding of the pressures working mothers face and allowing flexibility for mothers to be a valued part of the workforce while delivering on their home commitments. The business recognises the value that working parents (not just mothers) have to offer an organisation and that is inspiring and still sadly unusual in my experience of other workplaces.

Is there a woman you work with externally, you feel inspires you or the business?

Lilian Tse, Architectural Technologist

“There are inspiring women everywhere. My manager in my first job taught me to be that change you want to see, and to have compassion and encourage others. She taught me that there is no clear map to success, but more the impact you leave on others. She remains my role model to this day.”

Is there a woman you work with internally you feel inspires you or the business?

Susan Warwick, Managing Director, Southern Home Counties

“I have only been here a few weeks but I recently visited the site at Portslade where I met Amy Sommerville, Trainee Site Manager,  Ellie Wilkins, Assistant Site Manager and Terisina King, Traffic Marshal, and they inspired me.  Their capability and enthusiasm for their job was inspirational to me and ultimately, they are the future of this industry.”

Choose to Challenge

As this week draws to a close, it’s important that our appreciation of our female colleagues continues far beyond International Women’s Day. Making up almost half the staff, the females at Thakeham, along with our male counterparts, strive to drive the change within the sector. We choose to challenge. #ChooseToChallenge #IWD 2021

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