Almost a decade on from its creation, Women in BIM founder Rebecca De Cicco discusses the group’s global growth and its ongoing mission to provide support, networking and education for female professionals in the sector
When I set up the Women in BIM (WIB) group in 2012 it was to provide support for female professionals in the BIM space within the digital built environment and create opportunities for their voices to be heard. As a regular attendee and speaker at BIM-related conferences around the world, I felt it necessary to ensure there were more women speakers encouraged in this space as thought leaders throughout the BIM community.
Almost 10 years on and the group continues to grow globally, connecting women in BIM-related roles for support, networking and education. The group has had a great influence in empowering our Members and encouraging young women looking to begin their career in the construction industry.
Which is one of the reasons we launched our Women in BIM Mentoring Scheme in March 2020, designed to inspire collaboration, and the exchange of knowledge and skills for women around the world.
After a successful 2020 programme, we launched our 2021 search for new mentors to join the scheme and invited mentee applications. Our mission is to elevate the skills, knowledge and confidence of women in our industry. In May, we welcomed out 2021 cohort with 33 matches, a major increase from our first year, when we planned to set up 10 matches and ultimately set up 20!
As WIB grows, we continue to appoint Regional Leads and now have 48 leads in over 20 counties including: Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Canada, the US, China, Brazil, UAE and Egypt. These Regional Leads are creating visibility for women in BIM in their regions of the world and developing exceptional local networks for BIM and digital engineering.
Guidance launching a career in BIM
Our Regional Leads in Australia have set up a new Careers in BIM Series, Episode #1 was released in early May and Episode #2 is due to air in June. This four-part series has been developed to share advice and guidance on how to start and progress a career in BIM, with discussions from leading AEC industry specialists in BIM roles on how their careers began and opportunities in BIM and digital engineering, specifically in the ANZ region.
There will be examples of what a BIM-career path could look like and detailed debate on Modern Methods of Constriction (MMC), digital twin, smart tech, data management, machine learning, robotics and education.
I am incredibly proud of all our Regional Leads, who are not only making things happen for female professionals but also creating game-changing events that are leading on digital transformation.
We have been looking at educational initiatives for some time and the Careers in BIM series is the first we are rolling out. Not only do we aim to encourage women in BIM-related roles to have a strong voice, but our goal is to bring together women in our industry to support the need to bridge digital skills shortages around the world.
There is a pressing need to not only retain women in the AEC industry but also create new roles and opportunities. We encourage all our members to strive to be the best, advancing their positions and transition into senior roles and that also means being a role model to younger generations.
Our core drivers are to encourage and support, attract and promote and advance and retain. Acting as a collective is crucial as we strive to develop a more inclusive industry. This is also evident in our WIB Podcasts, when global vice-chair, Vicki Reynolds, talks to some of our friends in the industry, focusing on developing collaborative cultures, leadership, new technologies and industry trends – all designed to provide immediate value.
Podcasting has provided us with a new way of reaching out to our members and supporters, as we continue to navigate through the fallout of the global pandemic – this has been a quick and easy opportunity to remain connected with our audience and in an extremely accessible way until such time when we can safely return to in-person events and networking.
Just as technology continually grows and evolves, so does our work through Women in BIM; we are expanding year-on-year and don’t plan to stop any time soon. Our events, insights, initiatives and network all support professional development and empower our members to be more confident in their career choices.
Rebecca de Cicco
Founder and global chair
LinkedIn: Women in BIM