Although the number of women in the AECO industry is significantly lower than that of men (over 1 million women vs over 10 million men*), there is still no question that the industry benefits from the contribution of women. Women bring a valuable diversity of insight when they join AECO teams, and diversity is a crucial ingredient in innovation, problem-solving, and creativity.
The AECO industry is attractive to women and men since it is a continuously growing, and reasonably new specialty. In our interview with Megan Brooks, Associate Design Tech Leader of DIALOG she goes over why she loves the industry, “that she has always been attracted to it, and it provides the ideal platform for her. Its unique combination of creativity and technical expertise keeps Megan on her feet and gets her excited about the opportunities to collaborate with diverse professionals.”
When we asked Megan what she would say to other women starting in the AECO industry, she told us.
Megan emphasized how important it is that women in the AECO industry believe in themselves. She said, “Starting out can be daunting, especially in a male-dominated field, but it is important to remember that you have valuable skills, perspectives, and experiences to offer.” This is a crucial piece of advice in any field of work when you are first starting.
Another piece of advice that Megan offered was not to be afraid. She stated, “Don’t be afraid to take on new challenges, ask questions, and make mistakes.” There is never a stupid question to ask; most likely, someone else is thinking of the same one.
Megan was keen on this piece of advice. Stating, “Embrace your uniqueness and use it to your advantage.” There is only one of you in this world, and no one can replace you.
Finding the right people in the industry to have around is vital; as Megan said, “Surround yourself with supportive people who will encourage and inspire you and seek out mentors who can help guide you on your professional journey.” Having positive support is always a plus.
Megan found this piece of advice to be the most important, stating, “most importantly, never lose sight of your passion and why you chose this field in the first place. With hard work, perseverance, and self-confidence, you can accomplish anything you want.”
When it came to talking about finding jobs and finding the right company for you, Megan went on to talk about her process, talking about how she evaluated companies and their inclusion when on the job hunt—talking about how she took a multi-faceted approach to assess its culture. And then went on to figure out if it would be an inclusive workspace by looking at the company’s mission and values, policies, current employees, and then on to the company’s leadership.
Megan then went on to talk about the key points of her gender inequality strategy. “My strategy for calling out gender inequality at work is to approach the issue with a combination of assertiveness and diplomacy; by approaching these issues with a positive and constructive attitude, I hope to not only bring about positive change but also foster a culture of respect, equality, and collaboration within my organization.” This is excellent advice for someone who is in a position of gender inequality and doesn’t know how to act upon it.
Megan’s advice can help women in the AECO industry to have the confidence and insight they need to have success in the industry. UNIFI thanks her for contributing to the Women in BIM blog series.
Are you a woman in the technology field too? How has your experience been similar or different?
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