“It’s no wonder girls often think that a career in the construction sector isn’t for them“
Hi Ele, thanks for taking the time to talk to us today. Can you tell us about yourself and how you got involved with BeOnBoard?
I am the Innovation Lead for a ‘volumetric modular’ housing company, Totally Modular, based in the West Midlands. We specialise in ‘factory-made’ homes produced from modules which are more than 95% complete when they leave the factory. My background is in sustainable construction and have worked in the construction and property sector for over 20 years now.
I first became aware of BeOnBoard through LinkedIn. I was really inspired by the work they were doing to diversify board membership. As a woman in the construction industry, most of my day-to-day interactions are with men and it’s disappointingly uncommon to see female board members or women in senior positions. This is already an area that I passionately advocate for – greater representation of females in our sector. I think that ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’. In other words, it’s no wonder that girls often think that a career in the construction sector isn’t for them if they don’t see anyone like them doing it!
Why did you want to become a Trustee?
I was keen to become a board member to be a role model to younger women in my sector and to use my skills and experience for a charity whose aims and values I strongly aligned with, but it was something that I was considering for the future. After getting in touch with BeOnBoard, however, I was persuaded that my skills and experience would be of interest and that I should look out for roles now. I wasn’t really expecting things to move so quickly, but not long after making contact I saw that Bricks were looking for someone with construction or development experience.
Bricks’ values include being creative, collaborative, inclusive, and sustainable, so I knew straight away that it was an organisation that wanted the same things as me. When they told me about their exciting plans for community led development, I really wanted to be part of it and felt I could contribute to the success of the organisation. As a board, we are diverse in our backgrounds and I think this is a really important aspect.
How did BeOnBoard help you?
I didn’t think I was experienced enough to apply but BeOnBoard and their CEO Kalpna Woolf really encouraged me. I don’t think self-belief is my strongest attribute so I am glad that they took the time to encourage me because I applied, and the rest, as they say, is history!
What do you hope to achieve as a Trustee?
Bricks works with developers in Bristol city to write and produce public art programmes that support local voices. I hope that my background in construction and development can help us foster cross-sector partnerships between artists and developers to secure and run long term creative infrastructure for Bristol citizens.
As I mentioned, Bricks are looking at an exciting community led development project too, so it will be brilliant if we are able to help facilitate a scheme that meets that community’s needs.
Increasing diversity is at the heart of what BeOnBoard are about. If an organisation is serious about diversifying, I’d recommend BeOnBoard.
If you’re looking to develop your leadership skills then register as a Candidate with BeOnBoard today and help us deliver on diversity