Interview: How can we ‘empower women to thrive in male-dominated industries’?

In celebration of International Women’s Day, we spoke with Charlie Avara, managing director of London based All Done Design, who was keen to share her journey and experiences as a woman in the traditionally male-dominated construction industry, and share some advice for those looking to break into the sector. Read on to find out more…

Firstly, could you please walk us through the trajectory of your career and how you have gotten to where you are today?

I had focused my career path towards Television Production and spent my 20’s pursuing jobs in that field. I moved to Los Angeles in my early 30’s to further my career, but after landing a production job for a documentary series, I quickly realised that I was unfulfilled and was ready to make a change in my career.

Still living in LA, I found myself in a construction role where I was able to learn on the job and I absolutely loved it. When arriving back in London a few years later, I was determined to find a job in Project Management and started to approach businesses with the prospect of working for their company.

I was eventually offered a role at All Done Design and I haven’t looked back since; I’m now running the business as managing director.

How does All Done Design encourage and foster greater diversity within the sector?

The construction industry in general is incredibly multicultural, and although there are only two women working at All Done Design, I am the only person from the United Kingdom working for the business. Our team consists of many individuals from all over Europe, and as a small business, we are extremely proud to have such a diverse workforce.

We would not positively discriminate women applicants, as we must select employees that are best suited for the job role and requirements. However, we would certainly be delighted to see more interest from women applying to our job vacancies, as for the most part the applicants tend to be male.

Can you tell us a bit about your role in the recent London Build ‘Diversity in Construction’ event?

As a Women in Construction Ambassador, I attended the London Build ‘Diversity in Construction’ event to network with like minded individuals within the construction trade.

An important aspect of the event was being able to have relevant work-related conversations with the many men attending London Build, as a woman working in a senior role within the construction industry. Men would usually be having these conversations with other men in the trade, so having it with a woman may have an impact on reducing prejudice.

It was also fantastic to speak with other inspiring individuals within the construction industry, sharing advice and support to women aspiring to join the trade.

What advice would you give young women who are looking to break into a traditionally male-dominated sector such as construction?

I believe that if you are determined and truly wanting to succeed, nothing is going to stand in your way and you should not let being a woman hold you back from doing what you love.

It can be intimidating knowing that construction is a male dominated sector and feeling that you can’t break into the trade because you are a woman but all it takes is being authentic and true to yourself to get where you want to be. I’m not saying that there won’t be hurdles along the way but with energy, drive and perseverance, I assure you that you will get there.

If you could sit down and have a chat with one influential woman from history, who would it be and why?

There are so many amazing influential women in the world, I find it truly impossible to simply pick one. I would love to chat to the likes of Angela Merkel or Madonna, those that influenced the 21st Century and also Michelle Obama or Oprah Winfrey of course.

However, there are so many women who have a positive influence on young women with valid stories that might not be picked up by the press but are still making a difference. I’ve met women before that have absolutely blown my socks off that I haven’t heard of previously, and these are the women I am truly interested in meeting.

What can you share with us regarding All Done Design’s plans for the remainder of 2023?

At All Done Design we are in the process of implementing our next five-year plan which includes business growth, with involvement in more complex projects, as well as building on core foundations that have been established by the business for twenty years.

By Matthew Neville – Senior Correspondent, Bdaily

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