To get a better understanding of how far we’ve come and where we are headed, we spoke with five women in varying positions at McCormack to help us define what it is to be a woman in the industry, the things we’re doing right and the things we need to tackle.
Representation matters – Maddison Greer, People and Culture Coordinator
As of the last quarter of 2022, McCormack had 42% of leadership positions occupied by women, increasing to 50% in the office. And while there’s more to be done in trades, women represent 14% of all trade positions in the company. Compare this with the industry average of 2.5%, and you could say we’re pretty happy about the direction we’re going, though we continue to push.
“In my experience, gender diversity, or diversity of any kind for that matter, happens organically when the culture is one of respect and inclusion. Without setting targets and instead focussing on empowering our people and the company’s culture, we have achieved a far higher than industry standard representation for ethnicity, gender, age, religion and sexual orientation within the company. In my role, I focus not just on numbers but the support and development of our team”, Maddie says.
“Representation matters, and we are very proud of our female representation, but it’s about more than just numbers,” Maddie says. We turned to our Senior Project Manager to learn from her experiences.
Equality is more than just filling spaces – Kristine Davison, Senior Project Manager
“I started in the industry when leadership and mentoring in my field were predominantly male, and I learned to adapt to the environment. I really didn’t have any women mentors until later on in my career. They were able to provide me with invaluable knowledge, set aspiring benchmarks and provide me with opportunities for me to excel,” recalls Kristine.
The search for equality is more than just filling spaces. The normalisation of employing women in all facets of our operations is essential to the true implementation of these ideals and key to reaching critical mass where these actions start to take on real meaning. Alongside Project Management, Kristine works hard in her role to drive this encouragement and support, something she wish she had early in her career.
In a senior role, Kristine firmly states, “It’s really important to me that women and men, early in their careers, felt supported and mentored, something I never really had. Moreover, one of the main reasons I accepted this role at McCormack is Loz (Lauren McCormack) I admire her enthusiasm and passion but also her heart. She really does go above and beyond in her role and makes me feel like I am part of a family, not just a company. My role here feels like it fits the purpose, not just for its gender.”
“It is when women feel that there are several of them, that they are not sitting alone at the table, that they begin to exercise their power.” Birkvad, I. (2016, October 26). The secret behind Norway’s gender quota success. Kilden
Finding a balance – Jenna Sorensen, Administration and Payroll
Jenna has been with McCormack for nearly nine years, beginning in facilities management and then moving to administration and finance. She’s quick to point out the shift she has noticed and share her firsthand experience with us.
“When I started in the industry, it was common to see more women in admin roles, a stereotype we have all seen. But I’ve seen a really healthy shift at McCormack, a good balance of leaders, trade apprentices on-site and even other departments over the years. I am always encouraged to contribute to making improvements within the business. The opportunities and various paths I can pursue within the organisation entirely rely on my skills or merit, not just because I’m a woman,” she says.
In her role, Jenna is an essential conduit between all teams, on-site and in the office. She sees, hears and speaks to all of the different people within our family. She’s not one for labels but truly believes that forging gender equity isn’t limited to women solely fighting the good fight. Allies are incredibly important for the social, economic, cultural, and political advancement of women.
Allies, mentors and the way forward – Trang Perrine, Chief Financial Officer
For Trang, these empowerment measures are what made all the difference. From Finance Manager to Chief Financial Offer, she recalls that her journey with McCormack has been ‘satisfyingly challenging’.
“I was fortunate to have the trust and support of the Directors, but my role wasn’t handed to me; I had to work for it. What made it easier was my team and my colleagues. Every day here, there was a focus on my learning and development, almost as if the organisation’s success depended on my success. It was not hard to take the lead for people who deeply cared so much about how far I went in my career.”
As we develop and grow, so too does the message, and over time, it extends further than our four walls. Importantly, the message goes where our people go, our successes are the industry’s successes, and the example we set is, hopefully, adopted by all. “My role now is to pass it on to the next person,” finishes Trang.
Sending the right message – Annie Koiker, Marketing Manager
In her role, Annie assumes the voice of the brand and is tasked with the critical role of ensuring McCormack puts out meaningful communication. As a woman in a male-dominated industry, it is particularly important to her that the stories we tell are true to who we are.
“We’re fortunate to have many intelligent, innovative, creative, passionate women in our family here kicking goals within the company and the wider industry. As the manager of our communications, it’s my responsibility to make sure these achievements are celebrated,” she says.
Hand on her heart, Annie wants it to be known that “Women really are supported here. It’s not just talk. We’re well ahead of the industry standard in terms of employment and especially within leadership roles. It feels very equal here, and intentionally so. We can thank Lauren [McCormack] for helping drive a number of initiatives, including providing industry mentoring opportunities.”
As far as allies, mentors and leaders go, the McCormack family is proud to play its part in a new equitable world. If we could click our fingers and make it so, we would. But we acknowledge that these things can take time and conscious effort. It’s also important that they benefit everyone on our team, regardless of gender. Only when we have an inclusive industry, one that is normal, safe, welcoming and rewarding, can we call it a win.
“But we’re confident we’re heading in the right direction,” Annie proudly says.