In honour of International Women's Day this year, we spoke with four individual women in various roles within the design and built environment industry for their take on the importance of supporting and celebrating women, and how we can embrace equity, particularly within the workplace.
Read on for our interview with our very own Havwoods APAC managing director, Megan Pyziakos.
Celebrated annually on March 8, International Women’s Day brings attention to issues such as gender equality, particularly within the workplace. This year's theme is #EmbraceEquity with an emphasis on the difference between equity and equality. This International Women’s Day aims to drive a worldwide understanding as to why equal opportunities are not enough.
In a traditionally male-dominated industry, Havwoods Australia is proudly embracing equity, with 44% of our employees identifying as female, including our very own female APAC managing director, Megan Pyziakos.
We sat down with Megan to discover the obstacles she has faced in her career due to gender bias and how she overcame them, how we can support other women in their careers, important advice, and what steps Havwoods is taking to continue to embrace equity within the workplace.
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Megan Pyziakos. I am a wife and mother of two children, Peyton 14, and Logan 10 years. My role with Havwoods is as APAC managing director, through which I oversee the strategic direction and operations of the brand in Australia in pursuit of our global vision.
Why do you think it is important to celebrate International Women’s Day?
International Women's Day is an opportunity to acknowledge the courage and determination of women of the past that have enabled the modern women and young girls of today to have a stronger voice in society with strengthened empowerment and choice. Reflecting on what this looked like for our grandmothers in comparison, places the progress made into perspective on a person level.
Have you faced any barriers in your career due to being a woman? If so, how did you overcome them?
My daughter arrived when I was 21, in the midst of balancing university studies and full-time employment at entry stage of my finance career.
A conversation with my employer at the time shared an untenable position on the ability to pursue the success of both roles.
I reflect on this now with hindsight and wisdom, as a conversation that sowed seeds of doubt. I'm grateful to have had admiration for a role model who is strong willed, courageous and defiant in the pursuit to prove otherwise - my Mum.
What steps are you taking within Havwoods to help improve equity for women?
Havwoods is leading by example when it comes to equality and women in the workplace. I work with an incredible team of capable women and men working collectively to support the Havwoods vision and mission. All whilst spinning other plates within the workplace, with flexibility given freely to support them.
One such step we take in embracing equity is by ensuring to look past gender in hiring. We hire purely for skill set, capability and aligned core values.
How can we encourage more women to pursue senior leadership roles in their career?
Women leaders have the ability to defeat workplace barriers and are transformational role models. When we empower women as leaders and decision-makers, the community and economy benefit. From the workplace to popular culture, women in the workplace and in leadership roles bring a refreshed lens to the table in combining forces and proving output benefits of gender equality.
What is the most important message you want to send out to young women thinking about their careers?
In raising a daughter of my own, it's critical that rising talent, full of passion and tenacity, have the confidence to share their voice, ideas, perspective and opinions. This is where the grassroots of improvement and efficiency are founded.