Female trailblazers nailing it in the building and construction industry | Queensland Building and Construction Commission

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Commissioner and CEO Anissa Levy, Board Chair Michelle James, and Chief Building Regulator Angela Masson are setting a great example for women who aspire to have a career in the industry.

Anissa, a civil engineer by profession, and Michelle, a Principal and Director with law firm Maurice Blackburn, are highly accomplished leaders with extensive experience in their respective fields. Angela, a former prosecutor and corporate governance professional, has a strong background in major project infrastructure, regulatory reform, and delivery improvement processes.

Despite the fact that women account for only around 15 per cent of all people employed by construction firms, Anissa, Michelle, and

Angela are optimistic more women will be encouraged to consider a career in the building and construction industry.

Anissa, the QBCC’s first female CEO and Commissioner, celebrated one year in the top job in February, and is urging other women to consider a career in the building and construction industry ahead of International Women’s Day on 8 March.

“This industry can provide fantastic, interesting and challenging careers for women,’’ Anissa says.

“The roles are diverse and you can choose from being physical and on the tool and trade jobs to planning, architecture, design, project management, regulation and engineering.

“This is such a rewarding industry to work in. It is an industry that does something tangible, that has real impacts on peoples’ lives,

whether it is building homes that people live in, the places we work in or major infrastructure.”

The accomplished leader and senior executive with 30 years’ public and private sector experience across a range of roles, including as the inaugural CEO of Water Infrastructure NSW, says it is exciting to be working alongside fantastic and capable women.

“Unfortunately, there are still male-dominated industries that would be better off for having more balance, and that does not just apply to gender. I am proud to be part of an organisation with a Senior Leadership Team of nearly 50 per cent women, and a Board where four out of the seven members are females,’’ Anissa says.

“I hope this encourages women to see that any career is possible and to not let anything limit them.”

Angela was appointed as the inaugural QBCC Chief Building Regulator in August 2022 after working on Queensland’s largest infrastructure project – Cross River Rail.

“It is an exciting time for women in leadership and women in construction,’’ Angela says.

“There are still some barriers for women and it's not easy, but people are starting to look at what a female leader brings as her skill set, rather than the female leader being there as a token gesture.”

QBC Board Chair, Michelle has more than 20 years’ experience in personal injuries litigation and significant expertise in governance, not only as the QBC Chair but also as Director of Maurice Blackburn Lawyers and the Australian Lawyers Alliance.

Michelle served six years on the (Queensland Building and Construction) Board, three of those as Deputy Chair, before being appointed Chair in December 2022, and says employers are increasingly recognising that women bring a different perspective to work in the construction industry.

“There has never been a better time for women to get into the building and construction industry,’’ Michelle says.

“I would encourage any woman considering a career, to contact the Queensland Chapter of the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC).”

NAWIC is a not-for-profit organisation that seeks to promote and improve the construction industry through the advancement of women.

Last reviewed: 4 May 2023 Last published: 4 May 2023
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