NAWIC Award Winner: It's an Amazing Time to be a Woman in Construction


Winner of the HASSELL Award for Business Woman of the Year at the NSW NAWIC Awards for excellence, Juliette Economo, said it’s an “amazing” time to be a woman in the traditionally male-dominated industry.

Downer National Commercial and Risk Manager Juliette Economo, who recently won Hassell Award for Business Woman of the Year at the NSW NAWIC Awards for Excellence in August.

Now is the time for women to carve out careers in the construction industry. [We] have an extraordinary opportunity to make a real difference to the way our industry operates – not just because there are less women in the industry than men, but because people are looking for real change."


Juliette EconomoWhile her division has grown exponentially and is performing well, the judges were impressed with her commitment to her team.

The NAWIC award also acknowledged her drive to develop industry-leading mentoring and internship programs, which Downer runs in conjunction with the University of Technology Sydney and Engineers Australia.

Economo said mentoring programs have been central to her career success, providing “great guidance, support and an important sounding board”. She’s now piecing together a special program for female undergraduates that will promote telecommunications engineering to young women.

“When I look back at what’s brought me to where I am today, the lesson I’ve learnt from my mentors and other people I’ve admired is resoundingly to be yourself," she said.

"Trying to be something other than that might work for a while, but it won’t change our industry [...] This is a message that transcends gender, but it is particularly important to women.”

In terms of where Economo sees the industry heading, she said the sky’s the limit.

“To achieve true diversity, we have to create an environment where all individuals are encouraged and inspired to be the highest vision of themselves," she said.

“It is beyond any doubt that organisations and industries at large benefit from diversity, whether it be gender, age, ethnicity or otherwise.

"Our industry remains overwhelmingly under-represented by women, especially at senior levels, and can only be strengthened as female representation increases and female voices influence and shape the industry.

“I think we all have a unique opportunity to seize the current momentum and make a positive, meaningful and lasting impact on this great industry of ours.”

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